Is Your Perfectionism Holding You Back?

Is Your Perfectionism Holding You Back?

I know, I know.  It’s been SO long since I last posted to this blog. You probably are wondering if I fell off the face of the earth.

Let’s see, what’s happened since my last post?

I’m still working on Zazzle as my main source of online income from home. I design my own products and also I use their affiliate program to earn referral commissions. In fact, I recently got featured on the Zazzle website here (and more recently HERE), with my quote about why I love the Zazzle affiliate program.

On a more personal note, our family transitioned into some major milestones, with my oldest son heading off to college last fall and my youngest daughter starting preschool all day.  This is given me more time during the school day to focus on my online businesses.

Lately, while I’ve been working on my Zazzle stuff, I’ve also been listening to a lot of podcasts on various topics for small businesses and entrepreneurs. When I listen to these podcasts, I get SO many ideas! Too many ideas. So many ideas that I never seem to even get half of them done, or even started. But I find it very exciting to listen to someone talk about their business. About how they run their business. Or about a new tool they found that has helped them in their small business. And then my mind analyzes it, trying to find a way to implement it into my own online business models.

The other day I was listening to a guy talk about what he called the “70% principle”. No, this is not another rendition of the 80/20 principle, but rather it was all about getting over our perfectionist qualities that keep us from moving forward with a project. He talked about how we should strive to get something 70% done, and then release it for sale. Because if we don’t, most of us will fixate on the little bit that is not quite right, and we will never release the product for sale.

We think it’s not good enough.

And we sit there, with a 3/4 finished project that is just sitting on the shelf. Waiting.

But the fact is that there are quite possibly thousands of people searching for that information or product that you already have 70% completed. They are looking for the information that you know. The 70% finished project is already more than they can handle. They would be happy to get their hands on that book or item. You think it is only 70% completed. But for them, it’s exactly what they are looking for.

I struggle with this concept of “procrastination from perfectionism” with this very website. In my mind, I think I have to have an information packed 3,000 word post with cutting edge information before I can release a new blog post. So I sit, with 10 million ideas in my head, but nothing finished and posted, and pretty soon 6 months have went by, and I haven’t posted a single new blog post!

I don’t think we will ever feel like anything is completely DONE. We will always see room for improvement. And that’s a process. So how can we overcome our tendency to think our product or idea isn’t quite ready for market? That’s it’s not perfect yet?

We can do this by committing to releasing it when it’s 70% complete, with the intention to make a version 2 and release it later. Or make a sequel to your book. Or make an add-on tool or accessory to complement your original item, once you hear feedback from your customers about what improvements can be made to the product.

There are all kinds of articles and blog posts about the concept of a “lean startup”. About releasing a “minimally viable product” to a select group of beta testers, offering these first customers the product at a highly discounted price (or for free), in exchange for feedback on what options to add to the product to make it better. This helps entrepreneurs get over the hurdle of thinking everything has to be “perfect” before it’s released to the public. It also keeps you from spending hours and hours on a feature that nobody wants anyway.

So how can YOU apply this 70% principle to whatever your online business sells?

What are you working on right now that is 70% done and still sitting on the shelf, waiting to be perfect? Tell me in the comments below!

Just in case you’re wondering, here a few books that I’m currently reading

  • De-Mythify: All about how to create systems for your small business using free tools so that your business runs like a well-oiled machine
  • The 12 Week Year: How to get more done in 12 weeks than others do in 12 months


7 comments on “Is Your Perfectionism Holding You Back?

    • Hi Virginia! What are your ebooks about? I’ve always loved your work on Squidoo. You could set a deadline for 2 weeks out to complete 1 of the ebooks and post it for sale! And make the deadline a no-excuses, has to be done by this date, hard deadline! 🙂

      • Thanks for your encouragement. I have a 2 topics underway for the ebooks. One is about chipmunks and one is childhood memory prompts. I just need to be firm with myself and not putter around so much.

  1. It’s so true, we need to throw perfection out the window and just get things done. Regarding Zazzle I made $100 in commission in one day, and if it wasn’t for you I would never have started Zazzle so thanks so much!

    You’ve inspired me since Squidoo and have ever since 🙂

  2. Thanks for great advice. I also have a lot of ideas and projects with never done, it went haft way and stop. I will apply it in my life.

  3. I would love to see an updated summary of your view of this ‘industry’ now, your successes and failures along the way, and how you see your place now that you’ve really established yourself. I’ve been reading through a lot of your older posts from 2012 and a lot of them seem like experiments but are still very relevant. Would be interesting to get a good summarized picture of things you gave up on, things you put more effort into, things that worked really well, current experiments we haven’t heard the end of, or old experiments we might have missed cherry picking what to read (“Hey remember that time I spent $1000 on a domain name…”)

    I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read here.

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