How To Stop Perfectionism From Ruining Your Business

You know the rush of adrenaline. A new service that you’re going to sell. A book you want to write that is going to answer exactly the struggles that you’ve faced in starting a business.

It’s the book you wish you had for yourself when you were starting out.

Wait! You are starting out. And you don’t have that book. You don’t have the answers. And you know it.

So then the doubts creep in. No, they rush in.

“So, you’re the expert, are you?”

“What right do you have to set yourself up as an expert?”

“You haven’t even managed this yourself, and there you go, teaching others!”

Or maybe you think: “that book has already been written. It must be out there already.”

So you start. Then you stop. Then you get a new idea.

An article. Yes. Let’s not go for the whole book just yet. Let’s try a short piece first.

But as soon as you hit the keyboard, the doubts set in again.

The two sides of perfectionism

Being a perfectionist is a gift and a curse. It’s especially hard if your job is to get something out the door: to ship something.

If you’re getting advice like: “Don’t overthink it!” or “Fake it till you make it”, then it’s probably not helping. Your business, your “perfect” product or service, are not selling on impulse. They matter. They matter, because you care.

So, too, if someone tells you: “Just do it!”, then chances are that’s only going to work if you act quickly. Because deep down, those doubts are still there.

So, how about a different approach?

What if, instead of examining yourself to see whether you have made the perfect product or service for the world to see, what if you were to take the focus off yourself.


Actually, it’s quite easy.

You’re sensitive to what people will think. So, instead of thinking like that, what if you were to think this: “I am serving someone.”

That means that instead of them judging you for a product that—let’s face—has room for improvement, what if you think about how you are helping them?

Here’s how I look at it. You’re on the beach and someone is out there in the water, struggling. You can swim, and you can save them. You can’t stay on the beach, thinking: “but my swim stroke isn’t perfect!”

Who said “perfect”?

What you do is work out a good way that is going to help. You’re in this to serve, and for them also to pay you handsomely.

You don’t need to wait till it’s perfect. It never will be. So, ask yourself: “what’s the minimum I can do to get the very first service or product across the line?”

It may not be perfect. It won’t be perfect. But you’re helping someone, and very likely that’s someone who will be surprised and delighted with what you have to offer.

You’re a perfectionist, and what you’re putting out is not perfect. You shouldn’t do a sloppy job or take shortcuts, of course. But you do have a capacity to serve up something that may not be perfect.

Anthony English is a business coach in Sydney, Australia. He helps service professionals package their expertise, so that they can can make it easier for their buyers to buy. If you’re curious about Anthony’s offerings, go to his website.

Author: Anthony English

There is no magic wand for starting a business and being successful. This is the risk that can make starting a venture intimidating and risk can stop someone from progressing or even starting. By breaking down the process of starting and growing a business into simple steps, I give first timers the direction in which to go, so they don't get overwhelmed.

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