One of my original marketing mentors was Dan Kennedy—the grumpy old guy on the bull. That’s not only who I learned powerful direct marketing principles from, but more importantly, I learned the saying, “ Good is good enough.”
When I first heard that, I was taken aback. You mean I’m not supposed to keep trying and working on things over and over and getting it as perfect as possible before I send it out or launch it? I’m not even required to have the “entire plan” mapped out and ready before I take a step?
So many of us are perfectionists, taking forever to write an article, design a business card, or launch a new product. I myself used to spend hours and hours making sure everything I did was written perfectly, designed perfectly, and made me look, well, perfect.
Now, for most things, I don’t care as much. Why?
1. I realized my perfectionist tendencies have no impact on the positive influence I’m having on others and for my mission; and, coincidentally, they have no impact on the amount of income I generate. (In fact, they have had a negative impact on my income in many ways, by slowing me down.)
2. I realized much of what I do would not ever get done if I kept up these old habits! Honestly I’d still be writing my first ebook from 2002 if I still worked in that mindset. (If you’re a writer like I am, you know that writing is never “done”.
3. I’m not Steve Jobs. Yes there are perfectionists like him who create insanely influential, world-changing products and companies, and dedicate their lives to them. But I’m guessing that’s not you either. I’m guessing you just need to start doing some profitable things and get your business off the ground, or to the next level.
I think many of us perfectionists—especially women—develop these tendencies while in school. I remember dreading getting back any paper that was marked up in that alarming red pen. Nothing made little Ali prouder than getting back a clean paper with a big “A” on it.
Then when I got out of school and into the working world, I went to great lengths to be the gal who did things right. If I learned I did something “wrong” (which of course happened several times in my career because I’m human, including botching a major print job at the publishing company I worked for), I was devastated, nauseated, and lost sleep for nights on end.
Then… I became an entrepreneur.
What a wakeup call. I quickly realized that I was being paid not to be perfect, but for creating results. Continuing to be a perfectionist would keep me in the poorhouse. In the beginning it was a hard transition, but after gradually letting go, I’m now a master of imperfection.
A quick example from my early years… I remember when I was starting out, and I wanted to create my first audio program. Several of my friends in the industry insisted I needed to do things a certain way. While they were renting recording studios to make sure things sounded perfect, and then editing out every “um” and “ah”, and agonizing over how long their sales page should be and which font to use—I’d already recorded my product via my laptop or phone (and made money as well by charging folks to attend the call), written a basic sales letter, launched the promotion campaign, and was selling the product. While they were focusing on perfection, I got my message out, made my venture profitable, and just got it done.
Of course I made sure my content was great, and I made sure the audio quality was pretty good. But it was nowhere near perfect. And boom there it is. And then on to the next project.
In fact, sometimes my deadlines were crazy—but they helped pull me forward and got me into motion. If I don’t have a deadline, I can be a hard person to motivate honestly.
Can you see how I run my business this way to keep pulling me forward? (No “pushing” required.) I think of it as self-imposed discipline. I create situations and deadlines that force me to get stuff out and be on with it.
Generating income quickly requires you to start doing things quickly. But caution: It requires some “organized chaos” at the same time! Which may be hard to adjust to—especially if you’re used to “perfect”.
Walt Disney, who was famous for putting amazing new attractions or processes into action at his parks almost overnight, said… “While the worriers are worrying, the planners are planning, and the accountants are figuring out why we can’t afford it, I’m busy getting started.”
I love that!
That big idea you have right now… Don’t wait for it to be perfect. Don’t wait for it to be all planned out. Or sometimes even “finished”. Just do something to get it out there.
I know that may go against everything you learned growing up, but it works.
And don’t worry if you end up going in a bit of the wrong direction. I’d rather see you zig-zag than stand still. It’s easier to “course correct” than it is to get started.
So think right now – what have you been putting off in hopes of first making it perfect? Is it a new program, product, or service? Is it a new talk you’d like to give? A new client you’d like to take on? Starting a new company altogether?
Perhaps a little fast imperfection is just what your business (and bank account) needs. Take that step today!© Copyright 2014 Ali Brown