When it comes to establishing and growing your online business, be that as an affiliate marketer or product owner, there are several pitfalls to avoid.
Most of us fight procrastination on a regular basis.
Some fear failure while others fear success.
And then there is the ever-present learning curve — what some call “information overload”.
But perhaps the most insidious enemy of all when it comes to succeeding online is …
It’s true and oh so subtle.
Even if you don’t consider yourself a “perfectionist” read on to see how this all-too-human tendency might be hurting your productivity.
Here are but a few examples, taken from real life.
- We won’t publish that article until every word is just right.
- We won’t buy that solo ad because we are just not sure that the list we have chosen or the ad copy we’ve written (or been given) is THE best list possible.
- We won’t release that product because we know we could make it better if we just had enough time.
- We won’t contact that JV partner because we feel our previous work was not good enough or we are not important enough.
Please understand that I’m not throwing stones here. Nor am I saying that quality does not matter because it does!
But I am saying that most of my consulting clients and online friends have not moved ahead as well as they could have because they waited.
- Waited to make things better with just one more revision.
- Waited until the time was just right.
- Waited to see how the market was going.
- Waited to see what the competition was doing.
- Waited to see what big launch was coming next.
They lost ground because they waited. They lost momentum because they waited.
They lost money because they waited.
And they’re not alone.
You see, I suffer from perfectionism too … big time.
In fact, I just checked my “articles in draft” folder and discovered I have 176 DRAFT articles.
That means I’ve spent time on these articles but have not yet seen the fruit of that effort.
And that is just what perfectionism does — it robs us of the reward of our labor while encouraging us to put in more time, more effort and check things just “one more time”.
As a result we are less productive, less profitable and suffer more spiritual and mental anguish as well.
So how can we defeat this monster?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can and will share what works for me.
The first step is realization
Realize that perfection is myth. It doesn’t really exist. Nothing on this earth is perfect.
If something was perfect it would not stay that way long as we live in an ever-changing world.
Recognize that perfection is impossible to achieve. No matter how hard you try or how long you take things (or people) cannot be made perfect.
Recognize too that perfection is the enemy of the good, and great.
Patton said “a good plan executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week.”
I have found this to be so very true in life.
How many great ideas have you had that never saw the light of day because you waited to make them perfect?
H0w many times have you had a great idea but not taken action and then seen someone else doing YOUR idea later? Wow that burns.
For me it’s far too many.
The next step is identification
Make a list of the projects you have going where perfection might be holding you back.
Once you have your list, choose four projects you really want to pursue. Not 10 or 50 but four.
Once you have your list of four, define the next action that can be taken in under 10 minutes to move that project ahead.
Now put these actions on your calendar for sometime in the next week.
Doing them first thing in your day is often best.
After you have a taste of this productivity either keep it going or embrace a full-out goals program like the one I use.
Click here for more details. Not an affiliate link, just a hearty recommendation.
The next step is choosing to enjoy the imperfect
If perfectionism runs deep in you it might be wise to spend some time thinking about the things you love and enjoy.
When you think about them you will find they are not perfect, but are good.
Some are very good indeed.
We often use the word “perfect” to mean very good. Nothing wrong with that. Word meanings can be flexible.
But we need to see things for what they are as well. And we absolutely must see that needing something to be truly “perfect” might be holding us back.
Now apply that thinking to your business.
- That article or product or ad you are working on needs to be good, not perfect.
- The ad you are wanting to run needs to get clicks, not be a perfect mini sales letter.
- The video you want to put on YouTube needs to be real, not be a Hollywood masterpiece.
And realize this — you can always change your work.
You can always make your work better as you go without waiting to take action until things are “perfect”.
This is a freeing thought that is best embraced every day.
PLEASE UNDERSTAND — A COMMITMENT TO QUALITY IS A MUST IN BUSINESS
But there is a huge difference between quality and perfection. There is a difference between doing your best now and comparing that to what you could do if you only waited three months or three years.
That difference is often the very difference between success and failure online in my experience.
Let me leave you with a few closing thoughts and quotes.
Zig Ziglar said “anything worth doing is worth doing badly until you learn how to do it well”.
This is so very true.
You won’t be as good at anything you do today as you will be tomorrow.
But if you wait until tomorrow just think of the joys and experiences you will miss.
Perfectionism is a funny beast. It likes to hide in plain site, hiding inside the projects we care most about but just can’t seem to move forward.
To smoke perfectionism out of it’s hiding places conider a review of these areas of your business life.
WRITING – Do you have articles, press releases, blog posts or ads in “draft” or in your mind to create?
If so, identify the top 3 and give each one hour of your focused time. In that hour finish them to the best of your ability.
Then use them as they are no matter how you feel about them.
MARKETING – Is there a method of marketing you want to use but you just can’t get confident enough to make it happen?
Remember this, only those who take action get rewarded.
Identify the top method you want to learn and set aside a few hours to really study that method. This needs to be focused time.
There is no method of marketing that can’t be understood by the average person working online if they give it three focused hours of effort.
Your goal here is not to become an expert. Your goal is to understand the marketing method well enough to take the next step and let the real learning process begin. For preferences, there’es this australianlatticeandtimber.com.au, a family-owned and operated Melbourne timber supplies business, which has been serving the local community in Dandenong, Melbourne since 1999. For almost two decades they know how to run their own business.
PRODUCT CREATION – I can’t tell you how many peeople I’ve spoken to who have a book “almost finished”. Or a membership site that’s “almost the way they really want it”.
I understand these because, Lord knows, I’ve been there.
Happily, this is an easy one.
Just identify the project, budget a fixed amount of time and make it happen.
Start with what you have and make a commitment to yourself to make it better as time goes by.
But by all means start! Get your work out there. It can’t do you any good in your computer on in your journal.
Then rest in the fact that you did your very best with the time you choose to invest and launch that product!
WEBSITE OR BLOG CREATION – This one is one of the biggies. So many people never launch their site because they can’t get the look or “feel” just the way they want it.
This is ironic because a review of the top blogs in the world will show that shiny design and fancy widgets are not what get the job done.
Content is what matters most online. Thus is has always been.
Just look at Seth Godin’s blog for one example. It’s very highly rated and (sorry Seth) not very pretty.
But oh my do you learn from what he shares.
Life is made up of a never-ending series of course corrections. On our way to where we want to go we start, correct, improve and do again continuously.
Don’t let the desire to create the perfect thing hold you back from the success you deserve today.
Set your goals, chart your course and do your very best today.
Remember, YOU control your projects, not the other way around.
Set your priorities, choose your actions, do your best, and (most importantly) choose to be finished when your work is good, not when it’s perfect.
This will lead to more accomplishment, more output and more peace of mind.
It’s worth the effort because accomplishing more with more peace of mind is a beautiful thing indeed.