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A Polyglot World

How I Screwed Up #Add1Challenge 4 (#A1C4)

Since we launched Add1Challenge #4 (#A1C4), we have been getting a lot of feedback.

If you are a skeptic, don’t know what the #Add1Challenge is, or if you think it is a great idea but don’t know if it’s worth the money.

This post is written for you.

Before I tell you how I screwed up, let me tell you a little bit of background and what the Add1Challenge is about.

The Add1Challenge is a community where we all learn a language together.

When a community of language learners are all in action and striving for the same goal of holding a 15 min conversation with a native speaker on day 91, a huge amount of inspiration and motivation transpires.

This empowers language learners in the Add1Challenge community to stay on track and keep each other accountable to meet their language learning goals while having a blast learning our target languages together.

This is why the Add1Challenge works.  (You will see plenty of evidence soon)

So far, we have completed Add1Challenges #1 & #2.
#A1C3 is still on-going (we are on about day 60) and #A1C4 is open for application as I write this.

We had 116 people in #A1C1 and 129 people #A1C2.

It was a huge amount of work, as I went through every application video manually (and each video is at least 3 mins long – do the math!), answering language learning questions and providing support, organizing Google hangouts so people can ask hyperpolyglots questions directly, improving on how to run the Add1Challenge so it’s more effective in keeping people motivated, and the list goes on.

I didn’t charge a dime for #A1C1 and #A1C2.  It was completely free.

And then I realized two things.

1.  I am scared shitless to ask people for money but I can’t work for free anymore.

2.  Only about 20% of Add1Challengers produced breakthrough results. (Meaning that they didn’t go way beyond their expectations, because they didn’t put in the time to learn).

I am scared to ask people for money because I am afraid to fail.  What if no one signs up? What does that mean about me, about what I created and what I worked so hard for?

And according to the 80/20 rule, 20% of people producing breakthrough results makes perfect sense.

But I asked myself, how can I focus and spend all my time and energy to serve that 20% of people who are actually serious about learning a language and filter out the people who are just messing around?

So I decided to charge a fee for the Add1Challenge #3.

At the time, I was in Fukuoka during my bicycle tour in Japan.  I grew some balls, wrote a sales page, and sent it out ONLY to my email list.

This offer was only sent to my email list because I didn’t know if people would be willing to pay for the Add1Challenge or how much would be the right amount to cover my time and make sure all the applicants took the challenge seriously.

 At the same time, I added new elements to the #A1C3 with “Add1Challenge Buddy” and “Study group” (more work for me but it makes a huge difference) so I limited sign ups to only 30 people.

41 people paid for the Add1Challenge after the registration closed a week later (yay!) and 29 people started the #A1C3 together.

(I declined some applications and gave those people their money back. Some people I never heard from again after they paid.  I have no idea why.)

Then Benny Lewis from Fluent in 3 Months sent me an email saying that Lauren wants to learn Russian and she wants continual support from a community so lets meet and talk about it in the Polyglot Gathering in Berlin.

Cool, this is just getting better!

I met Benny in person even before the 1st ever Add1Challenge last year and he was a part of the first Add1Challenge Facebook group during the #A1C1, so he knows first hand that this works.

Benny, Lauren and I had lunch in Berlin and I shared the new things that I’ve been implementing to the Add1Challenge.  By the end of it, Lauren wanted to be a part of it to learn Russian and Benny offered to share the #A1C4 with his audience.

WOW, Benny has close to 1 million unique visitors per month, win!  Let’s set the goal to 150 people this time!

And since I already had an existing sales page for #A1C3, all I needed was to make minor adjustments and give it to Benny.

Before we launched, Benny and Lauren reviewed the sales page and gave me some feedback.

This is where I screwed up.

I didn’t implement 100% of their feedback, and I should’ve completely re-done the sales page.

What I now realize is that since the original sales page was only sent to my audience, that means they know who I am, what me and the Add1Challenge is about.  Many people were just waiting for the Add1Challenge to open so they could sign up, which was why I had more than 30 registrations even though I have a small audience.

But Benny’s audience is different.  They don’t know who I am.  What I am about.  What the Add1Challenge is. And the sales page fell short on answering those questions.

3-4 hours after Benny sent an email, we had 18 sign ups.

We are closing the application today and we are at 60 sign ups. (Which I am still very stoked about! I am ready to serve these 60+ language learners!)

Even though I have completely re-done the sales page according to Benny’s, Lauren’s and the #fi3m Facebook page community’s feedback, the damage from the first sales page had already been done, and we most likely won’t meet our goal of helping 150 awesome language learners to learn together.

Everything in life is a practice and there is always positive in the negatives.

What I didn’t expect is that 9 out of the 29 language learners who are currently in Add1Challenge #3 signed up for the Add1Challenge #4.

That is a 31% repeat customer rate, not including a few that did the Add1Challenge #1 or #2 for free but they would still pay for Add1Challenge #4.

Why would they pay for the Add1Challenge again?

You can hear it from them.



It is very exciting that language learners like Kevin, Eleni, Aki and other Add1Challengers are getting results from the Add1Challenge.  And they see enough value so that they would join the Add1Challenge again.

If you are still skeptical by now, I understand that, and I know I need to do a better job of communicating the value of the Add1Challenge the next time it opens.

But the Add1Challenge works. It will motivate you to start a new language project, to keep your momentum, and to reach hard toward your goals.

If you would like to give the Add1Challenge a try because you are tired of not progressing in your target language,  it costs only 52 cents a day, for 90 days of support, with a 30 day money back guarantee, so you have nothing to lose.

We will close application today, July 18th at midnight PST, so I invite you to give it a try and apply here :)

About the author: Lets learn to speak a new language together in the +1 Challenge! Join the party, join the new language learning movement :)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Ketutar Jensen

    Hi, Brian!
    I want to say something. I would love to join you and your friends but there are two things I’m missing on the http://add1challenge.com/ page

    1) I want to know when the next challenge is going to be, to know whether I can take it or not, even if I end up not being selected

    2) I need to know it costs

    Maybe it is because I don’t know where to look or something, but I couldn’t find either information from the page.