This is a chapter from the book Starting & Sustaining which is a system to help you build and launch a web app with less pain and fewer mistakes. The entire book is free to read on the web.

You can also buy the book and additional resources which includes the digital version of the book, the audiobook, a playbook, and hundreds of dollars of discounts.

Maintain momentum

Remember, launching isn’t the goal. It’s simply a step on a long journey. Launching is an important emotional milestone to be sure, but it’s really just the beginning. Regardless of how your launch went, take some time to reflect on the moment, but then get back to work. If your application is live and in good shape, you’re going to quickly accumulate mountains of feedback. The sooner you take in that feedback and improve your product, the better off you’ll be.

Life changes after launch. Before launch, it’s easy to get away with a haphazard development and release process; you’re focused on shipping, and you don’t have to be as mindful of downtime or other hiccups–of course, it shouldn’t be that way, but it happens. But after launch, it’s different. Features or improvements require more planning. Database updates need to be scheduled. If you’re not careful, these types of changes can really kill your momentum at a time when maintaining that momentum should be your primary goal.

After your launch, you’ll probably be sitting on a huge backlog of work and feedback from the beta. Some edge-case bugs will start to trickle in, and you’ll try to balance it all while continuing to iterate and ship. You may feel you have more work than ever, and your customers won’t hesitate to remind you about all the features they need. It can be a lot to take in, but keep your focus on continuous improvement.

This may be the moment when you really start to recognize the value of prioritization and focus. Prior to launch, your ideas and inspiration may be limited to a handful of conversations with potential customers. Once the rubber meets the road, the unfiltered feedback begins to roll in, and you’ll face endless choices about what’s really important. In the meantime, you’ll also need to answer all of the emails coming in from new customers.

Despite all of this, nothing is more important than continuing to ship. Do everything you can to maintain business as usual without resting on your laurels.

Once you’ve taken a breather to appreciate the milestone, rally everyone around the success of your launch to keep that passion alive. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that you’ve made it. Launching isn’t the finish line. It’s the starting gun.

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