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Forget About Perfection, Just Do It

Three times yesterday I gave the same advice. Two of those times were to consulting clients with absolutely brilliant ideas for blogs. I wish I could tell you what those ideas are, I just know a ton of you would sign up right away.

What was the problem? What was my advice?

The problem is the same for both, their ideas are so good they want their designs or content to be absolutely perfect at launch.

I can understand the need to get things “just so”. But all three people I spoke to were holding back because of things that can be fixed later.

Sometimes we are better going ahead with “good enough”.

  • Keep your momentum – Who knows if you will still have the enthusiasm down the line?
  • Benefits now versus later – Get the benefits of launching earlier rather than later. When you see some early results you will be motivated to go the extra mile
  • Strike while you are original – Head off a competitor entering the market first. It might be a brilliant idea (and they were, believe me), but that doesn’t mean someone else can’t have the same idea and get in there first
  • Reduce opportunity cost – While you are fussing and tweaking you are not earning plus are spending time on something that is taking you away from something else

There will always be something that you can tweak or polish, that is the nature of things, as Sean D’Souza says,

“If you must do a job, do it 70% right. Then fix the 20% later.”

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Comments

  1. I managed to kill a software biz through perfectionism. I still mourn the Β£22,536 it cost me. Still, lesson learned. I sure didn’t make the same mistake this time πŸ™‚

  2. I managed to kill a software biz through perfectionism. I still mourn the Β£22,536 it cost me. Still, lesson learned. I sure didn’t make the same mistake this time πŸ™‚

  3. Ouch! Perfectionism is holding up my ebook. I have stopped and started over so many times. Man, I need to get something out. 22 grand though, thats gotta hurt!

  4. Ouch! Perfectionism is holding up my ebook. I have stopped and started over so many times. Man, I need to get something out. 22 grand though, thats gotta hurt!

  5. Yup…when 22 grand was a lot of money. took me years to save it. still haven’t recovered financially yet. but things are looking good at the momemnt πŸ™‚

  6. Yup…when 22 grand was a lot of money. took me years to save it. still haven’t recovered financially yet. but things are looking good at the momemnt πŸ™‚

  7. When? 22 grand *is* a lot of money πŸ™‚

  8. When? 22 grand *is* a lot of money πŸ™‚

  9. Oh I think I’m in the position now. I have several apps that are “in the works” and instead of releasing them now and fixing as I go along… I wait until it’s perfect… and look what happens…someone comes along and beats me to the punch πŸ˜‰

  10. Oh I think I’m in the position now. I have several apps that are “in the works” and instead of releasing them now and fixing as I go along… I wait until it’s perfect… and look what happens…someone comes along and beats me to the punch πŸ˜‰

  11. One thing to keep in mind, first mover advantage is real but in fact it is not the idea but the implementation that counts over the long term. So you might have been beaten to the punch but if your customer experience is better then it will usually win in the end πŸ™‚

  12. One thing to keep in mind, first mover advantage is real but in fact it is not the idea but the implementation that counts over the long term. So you might have been beaten to the punch but if your customer experience is better then it will usually win in the end πŸ™‚

  13. Perfectionism is really something to be cautious about.

    It is really nice be able to launch something that seems perfect, but on the end, perfection just doesn’t exist.

    If you are going to get better at your thing, no matter how good it was when launched, you will still find it could have been better some time latter.

    The big problem one has to struggle is when you know is not perfect on the very moment you launch it and you know why.

    That is a struggle with proud, for sure, but I think the bottom line is:

    If the flaws are not bad enough to hurt your image, it is better to launch it right now, because even being sub-optimal, at least you are getting something out of it (money/fun/pride/readers/…) while you’d getting nothing by not launching.

    Salvador Dali said: “Don’t fear perfection, you won’t reach it”. I think the corollary would be “don’t rely on reaching perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

  14. Perfectionism is really something to be cautious about.

    It is really nice be able to launch something that seems perfect, but on the end, perfection just doesn’t exist.

    If you are going to get better at your thing, no matter how good it was when launched, you will still find it could have been better some time latter.

    The big problem one has to struggle is when you know is not perfect on the very moment you launch it and you know why.

    That is a struggle with proud, for sure, but I think the bottom line is:

    If the flaws are not bad enough to hurt your image, it is better to launch it right now, because even being sub-optimal, at least you are getting something out of it (money/fun/pride/readers/…) while you’d getting nothing by not launching.

    Salvador Dali said: “Don’t fear perfection, you won’t reach it”. I think the corollary would be “don’t rely on reaching perfection, you’ll never reach it.”

  15. So true for so many different aspects of life. I tell people I am a recovering perfectionist:) With business ideas, blogging, keeping house, organizing, etc. perfection does not equal success. I’ve spent lots of time looking at people who just do it and have thought ‘yikes, but you’re not ready…everything is not perfect’. Then I watch as they move forward and enjoy this great experience. Well, after all this time I am finally getting the message! Perfection is not a requirement for this ride we’re on!

  16. So true for so many different aspects of life. I tell people I am a recovering perfectionist:) With business ideas, blogging, keeping house, organizing, etc. perfection does not equal success. I’ve spent lots of time looking at people who just do it and have thought ‘yikes, but you’re not ready…everything is not perfect’. Then I watch as they move forward and enjoy this great experience. Well, after all this time I am finally getting the message! Perfection is not a requirement for this ride we’re on!

  17. Great advice Chris, this can kill all entrepreneurs; not just on the web, but in life. People often wait for ideal conditions to occur before jumping in, but in life, ideal conditions almost never occur. You have to take risk and just make the leap.

  18. Great advice Chris, this can kill all entrepreneurs; not just on the web, but in life. People often wait for ideal conditions to occur before jumping in, but in life, ideal conditions almost never occur. You have to take risk and just make the leap.

  19. What’s that, Chris? Perfectionism is holding up your ebook? Ah, that explains it… but we’re all waiting, you know!

    Let me know if you want a well-experienced book editor. I happen to know one who’d be willing to donate services in exchange for an advance peek at the text! πŸ˜‰

  20. What’s that, Chris? Perfectionism is holding up your ebook? Ah, that explains it… but we’re all waiting, you know!

    Let me know if you want a well-experienced book editor. I happen to know one who’d be willing to donate services in exchange for an advance peek at the text! πŸ˜‰

  21. Perfectionism has really been a problem for me. My wife and I were just having this discussion last week. I was having trouble coming up with the perfect design for a new project I am working on, but I realized the clock keeps ticking… and timing is pretty important for this project.

    In other words,

    perfectionism = bad
    taking action = good

  22. Perfectionism has really been a problem for me. My wife and I were just having this discussion last week. I was having trouble coming up with the perfect design for a new project I am working on, but I realized the clock keeps ticking… and timing is pretty important for this project.

    In other words,

    perfectionism = bad
    taking action = good

  23. There is certainly a balance though, right? I mean we could probably produce hundreds of great ideas that failed, because of lack of planning up front. Many people have wonderful ideas, jump right in, and struggle mightily.

    The balance between perfectionism and throwing caution and planning to the wind is probably a huge gray area and depends on a number of factors.

  24. There is certainly a balance though, right? I mean we could probably produce hundreds of great ideas that failed, because of lack of planning up front. Many people have wonderful ideas, jump right in, and struggle mightily.

    The balance between perfectionism and throwing caution and planning to the wind is probably a huge gray area and depends on a number of factors.

  25. The Happy Rock,

    I agree. I mean you don’t want to put out junk with your name on it. However, if you wait for the product to be perfect (which it never will be) you will never finish it.

  26. The Happy Rock,

    I agree. I mean you don’t want to put out junk with your name on it. However, if you wait for the product to be perfect (which it never will be) you will never finish it.

  27. Chris, thank you for this! I think it’s the kick I need to just launch my blog. I already know I’ll have readers because I’m very active in my little blog community and they’ve all been asking when I will start one of my own. But I, too, just want everything to be perfect! I want to read up on all the mistakes people made starting out so I don’t make them, learn all the good SEO tips for blogs, implement the best writing techniques… But I’ve already had people say I’m ahead of them when they started blogging, just by commenting and visiting and networking with other bloggers. And many times the best way to learn is by doing!

    “Perfection has one grave defect; it is apt to be dull.”
    -W. Somerset Maugham

  28. Chris, thank you for this! I think it’s the kick I need to just launch my blog. I already know I’ll have readers because I’m very active in my little blog community and they’ve all been asking when I will start one of my own. But I, too, just want everything to be perfect! I want to read up on all the mistakes people made starting out so I don’t make them, learn all the good SEO tips for blogs, implement the best writing techniques… But I’ve already had people say I’m ahead of them when they started blogging, just by commenting and visiting and networking with other bloggers. And many times the best way to learn is by doing!

    “Perfection has one grave defect; it is apt to be dull.”
    -W. Somerset Maugham

  29. “If you must do a job, do it 70% right. Then fix the 20% later.”

    and what about the last 10%??
    I’m wondering if someone ever care about that 10% of “unfinished”… πŸ™‚

    Stefano

  30. “If you must do a job, do it 70% right. Then fix the 20% later.”

    and what about the last 10%??
    I’m wondering if someone ever care about that 10% of “unfinished”… πŸ™‚

    Stefano

  31. Stefano,
    That 10% will be done by some one else and he will get the credit of 100% job done.:)

    Rajesh Shakya
    Helping technopreneurs to excel and lead their life!

  32. Stefano,
    That 10% will be done by some one else and he will get the credit of 100% job done.:)

    Rajesh Shakya
    Helping technopreneurs to excel and lead their life!

  33. @Guilherme – Excellent quote, thanks!

    @Sue – Yeah the biggest successes very often are not the perfectionists, just look at Microsoft!

    @mark – And the conditions change from one moment to another, waiting for the perfect time means waiting forever!

    @Jen – Not just perfectionism, other stuff is afoot, but I will definitely need that editorization at some point πŸ™‚

    @George – Yup, sometimes the action required is just to decide to do it πŸ™‚

    @Happy Rock/@George – Yeah there is a balance but a missed opportunity is probably worse than a mistake, you learn more from mistakes than chances not taken, right?

    @LaurenMarie – Another excellent quote, I need to collect these πŸ™‚

    @stefano / @Rajesh – Yup, in most cases the 10% is always there (as you monitor progress you WILL find things that can be improved), always changing, or just … goes away

  34. @Guilherme – Excellent quote, thanks!

    @Sue – Yeah the biggest successes very often are not the perfectionists, just look at Microsoft!

    @mark – And the conditions change from one moment to another, waiting for the perfect time means waiting forever!

    @Jen – Not just perfectionism, other stuff is afoot, but I will definitely need that editorization at some point πŸ™‚

    @George – Yup, sometimes the action required is just to decide to do it πŸ™‚

    @Happy Rock/@George – Yeah there is a balance but a missed opportunity is probably worse than a mistake, you learn more from mistakes than chances not taken, right?

    @LaurenMarie – Another excellent quote, I need to collect these πŸ™‚

    @stefano / @Rajesh – Yup, in most cases the 10% is always there (as you monitor progress you WILL find things that can be improved), always changing, or just … goes away