Let’s start with some questions to ask yourself when it comes to making changes in your business:
Do I have trouble launching a new program/client/campaign unless it’s absolutely perfect?
Do I work on the little details for hours on end, tweaking, adjusting, modifying…?
Do I do things myself because I don’t trust other people to get it right for me?
If the answer is yes to any of the above, you may suffer from business perfectionism.
And believe me, I know the symptoms because I’ve been there.
I’m a recovering perfectionist.
And I’m here to tell you that breaking through to the other side isn’t easy, but 100% necessary if you want to experience vast business growth.
You’ve got to work through a lot of the beliefs you’ve held about yourself and others, for quite possibly your whole life:
…the belief that nothing less than perfection will do.
…the belief that no one will take you seriously if the find a typo, mistake, color mismatch, etc.
…the belief that you must be the absolute expert on a topic you’re writing, speaking or presenting about.
…the belief that there is such a thing as the perfect product/service/program (there’s not, you’ll always find flaws down the road).
Why Perfectionism Is Holding You Back From Business Success
Perfectionism prevents you from launching, growing, learning new skills or changing.
In other words, it prevents you from success.
Because when you spend time reading and rereading and re-rereading materials you’re putting out there (whether it’s your website, marketing materials, email newsletters, etc), you’re effectively slowing or stopping progress on the things that could actually be making you more money.
Moving around your photo on your About page will not make you more money.
Adjusting the pantone color of your business card’s backside will not make you more money.
There’s a phrase I love: Striving for perfection is like moving around furniture on the Titanic.
There are bigger issues to focus your attention on than the font in your latest email’s call-to-action button. If you’re not directing your attention to the big things that need to happen in your business, and instead spending your time trying to arrange the minutiae just perfectly, then your business ship is going down.
Rather than hire someone else to design those call-to-action buttons, perfectionists do it themselves because they believe they’re the only ones who can get it right the first time.
Why Perfectionism Sabotages Your Business Success
Let me tell you, this perfectionist DIY attitude leads to so many things that hinder your business success:
- Your expectations won’t be realistic – After spending so much time building up a vision of the perfect product/service/campaign in your head, it can be hard to execute. In fact, you may need to bring in an additional team of experts to bring your vision to life, adding more time, money and resources to your project. And you may invest all this time envisioning for nothing, when a web developer finally tells you no, you actually can’t put that 3D animation of unicorns in the header of your homepage.
- Your creative well will run dry – When you focus on the nitty gritty details, your ability to stand back and take in a bigger view of your business diminishes. Your creative energy is instead being blown dotting “i’s” and adjusting the font size on your landing page. You’ll have nothing left afterward to brainstorm new partnership ideas, marketing campaigns, or networking opportunities. You’ll be spent.
- You’ll waste time – When you spend hours, days or months planning or perfecting a project, it gives other entrepreneurs more time to swoop in and launch the same (or similar) idea before you do. You’ll miss your window, when instead you could have already launched, adjusted, gotten feedback, improved, re-launched, and moved on to the next great opportunity.
- You’ll miss opportunities – By being bogged down with details, your feet will be tied when it’s time to jump on new business opportunities. A new lead wants to hire you for seven logo mock-ups by the end of the month! Dang, you don’t have time because you haven’t finished proofreading your blog posts for the month (and you couldn’t possibly miss a posting date or misspelling!). When you focus on being perfect, you’ll watch high pay-off opportunities pass you by and land on your competitors doorstep.
- You’ll be heartbroken when you fail – After putting all your energy and efforts into launching the perfect campaign, you’ll be crushed when things don’t go as you planned. Because your standards have been elevated so high, it’s going to be nearly impossible to meet the expectations you’ve set. This means setting yourself up for outrageous personal pressure and stress each time you make a change or try something new.
Business Success Relies on Action and Failures
I know, this is a hard pill to swallow.
Think of it this way: there’s a reason for A/B testing, right?
In A/B testing, we try two versions of the same ad, email, brochure, etc., because we want to know which one resonates, which one gets clients to convert, and which one underperforms.
You can’t have two perfect models in an A/B test – that’s not the point.
The point is learning.
The point is failing.
The point is finding out which attempt works better and then making changes and taking action based on numbers and feedback.
Marketers often A/B test over and over and over, each time making their ad iteration a tiny bit better.
That high-converting ad? Well, it can take 10, 20, and even 30 little tweaks to get to a place where it performs well.
And you and your business? Same thing!
You can’t learn if you’re not taking action.
And you can’t take action if you’re paralyzed by a need to present everything in its absolute, 100%, shiny perfect state (which doesn’t really exist anyway).
Instead, you can present something in a GREAT state.
You can take feedback, look at your analytics, graciously accept criticism (“Thank you for pointing that out!”), and make changes and move on. Or, hire someone else to make the changes for you. Because you’re busy moving on to the next open door.
Goodbye Perfectionism, Hello Action
It’s extremely difficult (ahem, impossible) to get something perfect the first time around.
Remember, done is better than perfect. And good is better than nothing at all.
Get something to a point you can launch it (your logo, your business card, your website, your mailer), and then start collecting feedback. Be open to improvements and change.
It’s not inefficient – it’s business.
The all-or-nothing approach gets you exactly that: all the stress, pressure, and exhaustion of striving to make something perfect, or nothing at all.
Taking action, making changes, learning from mistakes, rolling with the punches…these are what make your business success eventual. These are the things that take your business from dragging along to zooming ahead.
If the idea of exposing your less-than-perfect product or service to the world still makes your skin crawl (and I get it, it takes time!), let’s talk.
As a recovering perfectionist, I get it. I’ve been through it.
I’ve felt the stress of doing what I thought was good work (i.e. an ineffective obsession with making everything perfect), and I can tell you that the other side is brighter, healthier, and more productive.
Stow away your need for perfection in a high cupboard, and close the door. Then join my free masterclass and start learning the steps you can be taking each day to start experiencing the kind of business success you’ve been dreaming of.
It’s there. It’s real. And it doesn’t need you to be perfect to find it.