Is 'striving for perfection' killing your profits?

36 replies
Are you jumping from one idea to the next idea, because you've just realised there is a slight flaw in your most recent idea?

Are you writing reports & creating products but holding them back from the public because there are a few sentences that 'could read better'?

I've been in that position at the start of my Internet Marketing too. Yes, you'll have a notepad full of ideas and inspiration but have the public got access to your products? Nope.

Then it all changed...

A few years ago I read a guru ebook that was riddled with spelling and grammar errors. My first thought was 'There is no way I would've put this out'.

But after reading the feedback I noticed only a very small minority complaining about the poor spelling. 95% of the feedback was excellent.

The author was a millionaire and I was a nobody. Yet, in my mind, the book wouldn't be 'anywhere near good enough' for me to release.

That was when I realised that action is paramount...

Since then I've stopped spending days proof reading my e-mails, reports, ebooks and just put them out there. My business has improved several times over.

Stop striving for perfection. You will not make any money from the half complete reports sitting on your hard drive. Finish the work and get it out there. The only person who expects your work to be perfect is you.
#killing #perfection #profits #triving
  • Profile picture of the author kenzo22
    I don't agree. I many times succeeded beacuse I paid attention to some details and others didn't.
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    • Profile picture of the author 4DayWeekend
      Originally Posted by kenzo22 View Post

      I don't agree. I many times succeeded beacuse I paid attention to some details and others didn't.
      I never mentioned that you should put work out without paying attention to detail. Of course you should put good work out there, that goes without saying.

      Sometimes work will never be perfect and there are people waiting for perfection before putting their product out there. Those people will end broke.
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    • Profile picture of the author retsced
      Originally Posted by kenzo22 View Post

      I don't agree. I many times succeeded beacuse I paid attention to some details and others didn't.
      By the way, you spelt "because" wrong. So much for your attention to detail, hey? At least you published the comment though, and didn't waste too much time trying to perfect it. That's the point the OP was making.

      I agree with the OP here. Trying to perfect everything can kill you in this business. That doesn't mean putting out crap, but good enough is good enough. Let your audience decide if it's worthy.
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      • Profile picture of the author Shenpen
        In my understanding 'striving for perfection' CAN be a sign of risk aversion and put a bake on action and profits. A cure for that would lead to acceptance of imperfect action, that does not hinder perfection, but rather supports the process leading to perfection.

        Problem is how to reduce risk aversion.
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  • Every successful entrepreneur knows that speed and motion trumps slow perfection. In this dynamic world, being fast is more important that being flawless.
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  • Profile picture of the author brutecky
    Originally Posted by 4DayWeekend View Post

    Stop striving for perfection. You will not make any money from the half complete reports sitting on your hard drive. Finish the work and get it out there. The only person who expects your work to be perfect is you.
    Wow your actually saying that you sell stuff that is not up to your own quality standards? Umm .. ok then.

    Originally Posted by retsced View Post

    At least you published the comment though, and didn't waste too much time trying to perfect it. That's the point the OP was making.
    Yea but here is the thing ... hes not selling the comment. The only 'good enough' on a product should be 'as good as I can possibly make it' .. just my 2 cents.
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    • Profile picture of the author 4DayWeekend
      Originally Posted by brutecky View Post

      Wow your actually saying that you sell stuff that is not up to your own quality standards? Umm .. ok then.
      Not at all. What i'm saying is that if you're a perfectionist and that is holding you back (like it was me) then you might never be able to create a product that you deem as perfect. You need to get over the obstacle and put work out that is good.
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  • Profile picture of the author bigballin6161
    I agree with OP just get it out there! If you want to tweak it and make it perfect you can do that while its out there. I have been guilty of this and kinda still am!
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  • Profile picture of the author Malcolm Thomas
    Great solid post that I totally agree with. Speed of implementation is very important if you want to make money online.
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  • Profile picture of the author Joe Stewart
    There are two quotes that I keep on my white board regarding this very topic from two individuals who make a LOT of money online. I've shared them several times already, but I'll share them again.

    Neil Patel said:

    "The real world doesn't reward perfectionists. It rewards people who get things done."

    Alice Seba said:

    "Don't limit yourself by worrying about what other people think".

    HTH
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  • Profile picture of the author garyv
    I don't think the OP is saying to just throw a ton of crap on the wall and see what sticks - he's saying at least throw "something" out there. I know what he's talking about. You get into this mode of over analyzing your products. Especially when you notice that there may be a competing product out there that looks really nice.


    Just get it done and put it out there. And then pay close attention to your customers. They'll let you know if something is not up to par. Then you just fix it as quick as you can - customers love that.
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    • Profile picture of the author Khemosabi
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      I don't think the OP is saying to just throw a ton of crap on the wall and see what sticks - he's saying at least throw "something" out there. I know what he's talking about. You get into this mode of over analyzing your products. Especially when you notice that there may be a competing product out there that looks really nice.


      Just get it done and put it out there. And then pay close attention to your customers. They'll let you know if something is not up to par. Then you just fix it as quick as you can - customers love that.
      ^^This, exactly! I have sat on things for so long because I was afraid they weren't perfect. It can be paralizing! Striving means you are moving forward! Let each endeavor make you move toward that perfection you are seeking!!

      Okay, done with the corniness.. It's just a subjest that has been on my mind a lot!

      ~ Theresa
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Originally Posted by garyv View Post

      Just get it done and put it out there. And then pay close attention to your customers. They'll let you know if something is not up to par. Then you just fix it as quick as you can - customers love that.
      Gary,

      The trouble with the "just get it done and put it out there" approach is that many customers just leave and will never let you know "if something is not up to par."

      If I purchase a WSO and find it's not up to par . . . I'm gone. I'll unsubscribe from the seller's list and leave with a bad taste in my mouth.

      My experience has been that, more often than not, customers won't put up with crap. They have too many other better alternatives. And not only do they not give junk dealers a second chance, they will often spread the word about how they got scammed or screwed over.

      Steve
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      • Profile picture of the author Khemosabi
        Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

        Gary,

        The trouble with the "just get it done and put it out there" approach is that many customers just leave and will never let you know "if something is not up to par."

        If I purchase a WSO and find it's not up to par . . . I'm gone. I'll unsubscribe from the seller's list and leave with a bad taste in my mouth.

        My experience has been that, more often than not, customers won't put up with crap. They have too many other better alternatives. And not only do they not give junk dealers a second chance, they will often spread the word about how they got scammed or screwed over.

        Steve
        Steve, I agree with you. Crap doesn't cut it! But over analyzing yourself can lead to doing nothing. Mistakes can and do get made. I think if someone makes their best effort and fixes any mistakes along the way, then that is a great way to learn.

        ~ Theresa
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        • Profile picture of the author Plugin Profits
          I agree with this to a point. I believe in quality over quantity and always will. I need to feel proud of what I put out there.

          Though most people don't seem to understand the difference between high quality and perfectionism. Someone with perfectionism is never satisfied as they keep finding more and more flaws, and then they become obsessive about it and obsessively indecisive about changing things, adding things, and can never feel that something is complete or good enough.

          I have some of this, and while most people don't care at all and just pump out junk scraped together quickly and then brag about being able to produce content in only an hour, I'll never ever be like that or accept that. Though the 2 ebooks I wrote and launched both took me about 3 weeks to finish. Not that I worked on them full time everyday or anything, though at least several hours a day. When I thought I was finished, I decided it wasn't good enough and could not stop from rereading and re editing and doing more and more research to add more to them and couldn't stop adding to it and improving it. They ended up really long. I was happier with them in the end, though if it weren't for the launch dates set, would I of ever stopped? I literally was re editing it up to the last min of the launch. In fact I was late a few hours getting the final version uploaded, so lots of people had downloaded the previous version and I had to email them the new link. So the pressure of a set deadline saved me from never finishing it. Though even after that launch when I have thought of where to sell it next, I haven't wanted to cause I want to totally re edit it again for an even better version.

          It's not totally a bad trait, though as far as the bottom line is concerned and for making the most money, it's the people that are easily satisified that are killing it with their 5th ebook or launch while you're still obsesing over details of your first one that probably most people won't even notice or appretiate, only you.
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      • Profile picture of the author garyv
        Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

        Gary,

        The trouble with the "just get it done and put it out there" approach is that many customers just leave and will never let you know "if something is not up to par."
        That's not true. That may be what you do, but from decades of split testing products online, I've noticed that very few people look at an imperfect product and just leave. Most of the time when someone is in search of a product they need or want, the quality of the presentation is the last thing on their mind. They just need to be convinced that what you have is what they have been looking for.

        The title of the thread says "killing your profits" not "killing your quality"

        Many of my most profitable items have been things I've thought of at the spur of the moment and literally thrown onto the internet in less than an hour, only because I knew that people would want it and buy it no matter what form I presented it in. And had I waited to put out the most perfect product I could have, I'd have lost out on huge profits.
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  • Profile picture of the author Steve B
    Originally Posted by 4DayWeekend View Post

    Are you jumping from one idea to the next idea, because you've just realised there is a slight flaw in your most recent idea?
    4Day,

    Nice post and I agree with the overall concept of not letting perfection keep you from presenting your work.

    However, I don't necessarily agree with you on two points.

    First jumping from idea to idea as you said above is something that I think most entrepreneur types do. It's in their makeup. They are always thinking of ideas and new things they would like to try. I know that even if I have an idea that is not flawed and seems perfect, I still think about other new ideas, often having a dozen or more keeping me entertained. Multiple ideas are not bad at all.


    Originally Posted by 4DayWeekend View Post

    Since then I've stopped spending days proof reading my e-mails, reports, ebooks
    If you're spending multiple days to proofread stuff there's something wrong with how you're doing it. Proofreading is always important for me and I don't think writers should ever leave this step out. If you don't proofread you're a sloppy writer. I would never suggest putting a product out there and avoiding this step.


    Originally Posted by 4DayWeekend View Post

    Stop striving for perfection . . . The only person who expects your work to be perfect is you.
    I totally disagree. What should you strive for other than to make your work the very best it can be?

    Do you strive for average? If so, your stuff will never rise above the mediocre and the commonplace that very few ever notice. You want your work to rise to the top and stand out. That doesn't usually come unless you do the very best you can.

    Striving for perfection is not the same as waiting on perfection before you release something. Think about it from your customer's perspective.

    Would they rather have your very best effort, or would they want something you knew should be better but you were anxious to just "get it out there?"

    Thanks for the thread,

    Steve
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    • Profile picture of the author 4DayWeekend
      Originally Posted by Steve B View Post

      4Day,
      I totally disagree. What should you strive for other than to make your work the very best it can be?

      Do you strive for average? If so, your stuff will never rise above the mediocre and the commonplace that very few ever notice. You want your work to rise to the top and stand out. That doesn't usually come unless you do the very best you can.

      Striving for perfection is not the same as waiting on perfection before you release something. Think about it from your customer's perspective.

      Would they rather have your very best effort, or would they want something you knew should be better but you were anxious to just "get it out there?"

      Thanks for the thread,

      Steve
      Of course you should strive to do the very best you can. I agree entirely. I would never strive for mediocrity or suggest anyone should do so.

      My point is, once you have done the best you can, you then shouldn't wait thinking 'I can do even better' or 'Oh I can improve that section', you should just do it.
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      • Profile picture of the author Steve B
        Originally Posted by 4DayWeekend View Post

        My point is, once you have done the best you can, you then shouldn't wait thinking 'I can do even better' or 'Oh I can improve that section', you should just do it.
        4Day,

        Not to belabor the point, but what you just said above, to me at least, is quite different than what I got from your original post.

        I totally agree that "once you have done the best you can" you shouldn't wait around hoping you can make something better.

        Your comments in your original post were "just put them out there" and "stop striving for perfection . . . finish the work and get it out there." From those comments it appeared to me you were suggesting that "getting it out there" was all important. That's what I was disagreeing with.

        When you add "once you have done the best you can" - as you did later - I couldn't agree with you more.

        Thanks for the thread.

        Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author feliciayapsl
    Agree with OP. We need to pay attention to details, however not to the point of having everything to be perfect before you put anything out. Some of the best-selling authors have spelling & grammar errors in their books too.
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  • Profile picture of the author Raydal
    Originally Posted by 4DayWeekend View Post

    A few years ago I read a guru ebook that was riddled with spelling and grammar errors. My first thought was 'There is no way I would've put this out'.
    I thought everyone wanted to be like Mike.

    Microsoft did this for years. Put out half done programs and
    allow the first buyers to be beta-testers. Sometimes you
    have to improve as you go along. But the real reason isn't
    wanting to be perfect, but it is really FEAR. The fear
    to launch.

    -Ray Edwards
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    • Profile picture of the author Diana Lane
      Originally Posted by Raydal View Post

      But the real reason isn't
      wanting to be perfect, but it is really FEAR. The fear
      to launch.

      -Ray Edwards
      That's exactly what I was thinking as I read the thread. I believe you should put your best work out there (you're not just short-changing the customer if you don't, you're short-changing yourself as well), but I think a lot of the people who stop short of releasing their work because they worry that it may be less than perfect aren't doing so because they care about their potential customers and their reaction to the product, but because they're afraid of them and the possibility they will react badly.

      I also think that such fears largely vanish if you're confident that you've got something to say or sell which will be genuinely useful to the audience you're aiming it at. I would never take a well-received book containing a ton of typos as a sign that I could get away with putting my work out in the same way. The product mentioned by the OP probably had enough going for it to eclipse the sloppy presentation in the eyes of the crowd who sought what was within. It's possible that they could have read plenty of other well-presented books first that came nowhere near supplying the same level of information.

      I expect the rave reviewers were lucky enough to find somebody who had just what they most needed at the time, and they needed it badly enough for the presentation not to matter. If that's a good enough reason to let your own standards slip, then a man lost in the desert who is grateful for water however it comes is a good enough reason to have us all drinking out of dirty jam jars.
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  • Profile picture of the author mosthost
    Most people would be better served by trying to be much more perfect than they are now
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  • Profile picture of the author Radium
    I'm a perfectionist and I can relate to some of the posts above.
    I know my grammar is better than that of a lot of native English speakers.
    And I acknowledge that I possess talent to a certain extent.
    Yet I don't feel it's good enough to provide anything of value.
    This is why it is hard for me to finish what I have started.

    It took me almost 20 minutes to write this post and
    now I am thinking whether I should post it or not.
    I don't think this post has enough value to be worth of posting.
    Maybe a bit exaggerated, but you get the point.

    It can be a blessing, but also a curse. You need to be able to control it.

    And yes, I made a ton of edits before posting this.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steve B
      Originally Posted by Radium View Post

      It took me almost 20 minutes to write this post and now I am thinking whether I should post it or not. I don't think this post has enough value to be worth of posting.

      Radium,

      Just keep posting. Every time you do, it will get easier and easier. Forums are for opinions and everyone has them. Yours are just as valid as anyone's.

      There is a difference between posting on a forum and putting everything you've got into a product that you are expecting to sell.

      The best to you,

      Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author mediamarket
    Its hard to satisfy perfect in anyones mind
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  • Profile picture of the author DeanJames
    Having high standards is good. Needing everything to be 'perfect', though, well that's a success killer. There's a big difference!

    Here's an example:

    Someone I know of a few years ago - he built his website and he made it as perfect as he could. The website was fantastic but he spent so long on it and it drained so much of his emotional resources that by the time he came to drive traffic to it he was already 'done'. I mean, the guy was spent. Something that should have taken 1-2 weeks took him months. The net result of that was this particular guy got really angry because he wasn't seeing any results. He had a great website that nobody knew about because he spent so long getting everything right, by which stage he then had to drive traffic to it, but he flaked out right at the time he should have been capitalizing on his previous efforts. He spent too long trying to be perfect instead of taking imperfect action. This guy then convinced himself there was no money in IM and started trolling the forum. It was quite sad to watch really because he sabotaged himself.

    So, yes, imperfect action all the way!
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  • Profile picture of the author Karen Parker
    The best thing to do is keep it simple and don't over extend yourself. I try to keep my focus very narrow. You get more done that way.
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  • Profile picture of the author arkina
    Excellent point. Perfectionism is our worst enemy!
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  • Profile picture of the author WillR
    Here is the motto to live by...

    "Concentrate on progress not perfection..."

    Perfect things never make a dime if the public never gets to see them. I learnt this the hard way. You are much better off getting things out there as they can always be improved later. Besides, nothing is ever going to be 100% perfect so if you always wait for that perfection you will never get your ideas out to the public.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mark Singletary
    I see this all the time in action:

    1. Someone searches for weeks to find just the perfect theme. In 99% of cases the theme won't make or break the site but the lack of content and traffic will. Since on day one (unless you are going to do a massive PPC campaign) you aren't going to have any traffic, why not focus on the content, quickly choose a theme, and start bringing in traffic WHILE you continue searching for the perfect theme.

    2. An ebook has 5 spelling errors (not found by a spell checker such as there/their). Once the 5 errors are found paranoia sets in and another complete review is done. This time a grammar error pops up. Mortified the writer reviews again looking for more grammar errors. In the process they find 6 places where an added story would add so much value to the ebook so they add the stories. Adding the stories introduces another grammar error or two and another spelling mistake. Fearing that their ebook is total garbage now, they hire a proofreader. In two days the proof reader comes back with 17 minor suggestions (not errors but where things could be tightened up). Changes are made and resubmitted for review. Then it's discovered that one of the tightened up spots now doesn't make sense since making the other 16 changes. To get a second opinion, the writer gets his sister to review the book and she's not even sure what it's about since she doesn't understand hamster farming. So you figure you need to find someone who can do a review that understands hamsters so you go to your favorite hamster forums and post a request for review. No one responds for 3 days so you start to question the entire project. If people on a hamster forum don't want to read it then maybe it's all junk. So you take another 2-3 days to go back through it and to polish up your review request and post it again. This time you get a bite but the reviewer won't be able to get to it until after the weekend. Meantime you find another spot where the table is a little misaligned. So you fire up Word to get the table back in its rightful position. In the process you discover that because of all the pictures the ebook is 2 MB big and you wonder if that's too much for someone to download. So you come to the WF to ask about typical download sizes. It does no good to publish the book if everyone's internet connection chokes under the load. So you try to figure out how to reduce the picture sizes but someone said you needed a special software. You search for the software but can't find it...

    That's exactly how it's happened to me in the past and many others. The ebook NEVER gets published because of 5 minor typos.

    I'm not condoning typos or junk. I'm saying to not obsess over this stuff, get it out there, and then make sure you fix any errors that pop up. You do know that most ebooks, websites, software, etc. can be easily updated, right?

    Mark
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  • Profile picture of the author Gordon Mak
    A great thread and thanks for sharing. I totally understand as I deemed myself a perfectionist which by definition: is that you continually look for flaws in your work even though the work itself does the job. I agree & relate to most of the comments and I have been told "produce the product first then perfect it later" - it doesn't mean producing poor quality items (as mentioned); it means producing your ebook/product/service delivering it to the consumer and they will naturally give you feedback - and this is when one can tweak & improve on it to make it as better. You can only do the best you can do (with the skills & knowledge you have at that time) - it's been said: "the worst critic of one's work is usually oneself".
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  • Profile picture of the author karlos1968
    Yes, Action before Perfection....

    I used to be a perfectionist and some time ago I realized all the time that I wasted trying to do all perfect before finalizing my works....


    I am careful not to confuse excellence with perfection. Excellence I can reach for; perfection is God's business.
    Michael J. Fox
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  • Profile picture of the author clever7
    I’m a perfectionist too, but I learned to always finish what I start, otherwise my work and my time beginning something will be lost. Many times I spend a lot of time until I will finally finish a project, but I will surely finish it.

    I like to feel that my work is perfect (according to my opinion at least). I’m a slow creator because of this reason. I believe that the only way I can surpass my competitors is by being better than them.





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  • Profile picture of the author JasonBennet
    Taking massive action is still the main key to getting results. I always think it is better to take action first and then just improve it or make it better along the way. This is more practical as being perfectionist means that no concrete work is being done.
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  • Profile picture of the author flovin
    First and foremost, there is no such thing called PERFECTION. So stop wasting time and move time.
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