Most businesses owners I've met tend to have perfectionist tendencies, at least in some areas of their life or business.
For instance: In general I believe that a new project is not worth starting unless I'm able to make each part of it perfect from the beginning.
In other words: It's not worth even bothering to write a blog post if I don't also have a plan to send it to my list, promote it, have an opt-in form with a good lead magnet, etc.
In my last post: How To Overcome Analysis Paralysis I shared this graphic:
This type of thinking has sabotaged me in the past, and I've developed a method for getting through it. Here are some of the ways I've sabotaged myself...
... I can't advertise my services unless my website is perfect...
... I can't offer this product unless the UX is perfect...
... I can't create a Facebook community unless I have at least 3 months of content prepared...
... I can't write a blog post unless I understand how to optimize it for SEO...
The Online Business Culture Is Toxic (Sometimes)
Online businesses are great (obviously) - My success, and a lot of other peoples successes are owed to the ease with which people can do business online.
But when you immerse yourself in the culture of it, you naturally begin to expose yourself to a LOT of marketing. No doubt, you are subject to daily emails, advertisements and advice from friends and "Gurus" alike.
You just HAVE to join a mastermind, and Facebook group, where you interact with other people who want to build an online business, and who want to help you do it, so of course they've got advice for you about who you should follow, listen to, subscribe to...
You probably listen to some podcasts in the car, you've probably bought at least one course, coaching program etc.
The result is that you don't have to look very far to find a perfect example of someone being super successful with whatever business, marketing plan, or product you're thinking about developing.
I'm deliberately avoiding examples in this section so I don't create a bigger problem for you 🙂
The problem is there are plenty of people who want to sell you their model of success, but not enough people who are talking about what it's like exactly where you are in the process.
There are a lot of Mike Tysons out there who want to teach you to be the next Mike Tyson, but aren't talking about what it's like the first time you put on your gloves and step into the ring.
Because you've seen what an SEO strategy looks like, or a product launch, or a Facebook ad campaign - you assume (naturally) that this is the best way to proceed - and you forget that the people teaching you didn't start this way.
The point is that there is often a minimally viable version of whatever you are trying to do, but you've talked yourself out of it because you know that it's not "The best" way to do it.
Here are a few tips I've learned that will help you find the minimum viable version of whatever you're stuck on...
Focus On Where You Are
You might not need to pay for email marketing software right now. The amount of revenue you're generating might not warrant software to manage it.
You don't need a custom designed website.
Focus on what you need to do right now, not what you will need to do in the future. "Future Planning" is something I am really guilty of... It's when you're unable to get started with something because you know that at some point you will need to change.
For instance, the way we handle design requests at Graphic Rhythm Designs has been (And continues to be) a work in progress. We started by just having clients message me in Facebook messenger. Then, we had them create tasks for us in Asana. For a brief period of time we had an official form with Airtable, and most recently we retrofitted a helpdesk software for the task.
But the goal has always been to have a custom software dedicated to the task. Our current solution is an imperfect custom software and I know that in a year we will need to change yet again.
Do Things That Don't Scale
Being small has a few advantages and one of them is that you can do things that you know you'll never be able to scale. That's Ok!
This is the time in your business to do those things. If you're holding yourself back because you know it won't scale, consider whether or not it NEEDS to scale, or if you can consider it a competitive advantage for the time being.
For example, personally getting on a call and on-boarding a new customer or client may not be something you can do forever, but the value it provides to your clients right now in this stage of your business is immense and is a competitive advantage.
Find Your Minimum Viable Audience
The definition of a minimum viable product is a product which only has the features necessary to attract early adopters.
You can serve a small audience with a very niche product that doesn't have every feature possible. This audience is your minimum viable audience, people to whom your imperfections will be overlooked because you have the specific thing that they need.
Automate - Only When Necessary
I can't tell you how many hours I've spent trying to automate processes which I haven't even done one time yet.
Things like figuring out how to automatically update customer profiles, or how to automatically move files around.
The fact is that until you have enough volume, it's probably easier to do things manually and figure out how to automate it only when it becomes necessary.
"Imperfect action is better than perfect inaction" is a favorite phrase of mine. You've probably heard it before, but consider all of the things it implies...
... You have permission to do it wrong...
... It's ok if you fail...
... No, it's not right, but it's going to be ok...
... Failing is learning...
... The best time to start was last year, the next best time is now...
One of the things that routinely holds me back is this: I don't like starting something if I can't see from the beginning how I can eventually get someone else to do it for me.
In other words: Outsource.
Outsourcing is basically my favorite thing, and I use it enthusiastically to get unstuck and to get through analysis paralysis... so stay tuned for more information on how I pull it off!