Our biggest struggle during the start-up phase of The CoCo was the fact that we are both perfectionists. While in many aspects we compliment each other like yin-yang (as we like to joke), perfectionism is one thing we have in common. We can imagine that a lot of entrepreneurs who are just starting out, experience the same challenge. You’re probably building your first-ever business, and want to do everything absolutely perfect. Recognisable? Below we share our tips on how we deal with perfectionism.
When the idea for The Conscious Content was born we started with writing our business plan. Before launching, we wanted to have all our ducks in a row. We wanted to have a perfect website, high end products to sell, amazing branding, a plan for the future, a few blogs ready to post, a flawless social feed, and the list goes on and on. The urge to create ‘The Perfect Business’ slowed us down in the launch process. We were so hyper-focused on creating the perfect business plan, that we almost forgot that we had to execute it at some point as well. We could go over the smallest details for hours, while forgetting to look at the bigger picture.
From the moment we realized this, we became fully aware almost any time we found ourselves in the perfectionist trap. We tried to remind ourselves of the fact that it will never be 100% perfect and also that it doesn’t need to be perfect. Our business is a living work of art, always in progress and evolving with us as we go. We realized that we can refine and develop along the way and that we are learning by doing. We took a lot of small steps to let go of our perfectionism – and it still isn’t completely gone – but we’re doing better everyday!
Our tips to deal with perfectionism:
- Zoom out and look at the bigger picture.
We often get caught up in the smallest details. Sometimes details that others won’t even notice and to be honest: that others don’t even care about. Looking at details is great and necessary but don’t let it slow you down too much.
- Ask yourself if what you’re doing/working on is really making your product or service thát much better.
Does the amount of time you spent on this specific task justify the outcome? How can you use this time and energy to really make a difference for your company and for your customer?
- Allow yourself a certain amount of time to work on a specific task.
This creates focus and prevents you from working hours and hours on something that you are actually able to do much quicker. See this as an internal deadline and stick to it.
- Educate yourself on the topic. If you are struggling with it, chances are that you are not alone. Listen to podcasts or read about perfectionism. Here are some recommendations that helped us (some are in Dutch):
– Book: ‘De optimalist’ by Tal Ben-Shahar
– Podcast show: ‘De perfectionisme Podcast’ by Evelien Bijl (many interesting episodes, not just business related)
– Book: ‘Hoezo perfect?’ by Sharon Martin
– Podcast show: ‘Understanding Perfectionism and how it affects your business’ by Kristy Pask
– Short YouTube video by The School of Life on ‘The Perfectionist Trap’
– Podcast episode: Let’s talk about…Perfectionism by Jeremy Godwin
- Create positive affirmations around perfectionism.
This might sound a little too spiritual for some, but for us this really works and it’s actually super down-to-earth. It could be as simple as repeating a helpful sentence a couple of times per day. For example: ‘done is better than perfect.’ You could also write it on a post-it and hang it in your workspace. It works as a helpful reminder and repeating these affirmations/mantras helps to reprogram your brain.
- Allow yourself to launch your business in phases.
We had so many different ideas and we wanted to do it all. At some point we made the decision to launch in phases. Looking back, this was a great decision. We started with launching our Brand Bundles and blog, and 3 months later we launched our icons packs, and for the future we plan on launching a stock library, website templates and so much more. Just a gentle reminder that you don’t have to do it all at once.
- Check-in with an ‘outsider’ every once in a while.
We often get this tunnel vision when it comes to our own creations, and after a while we only see ‘flaws’ and details. An outsider (for example a family member, friend, colleague) has a neutral vision and can tell you whether something is missing / needs adjustment or that your creation/product/idea is good to go. This allows you to step out of that perfectionist-mode.
- Last but not least: Let it go and you’ll grow.
Perfectionism slows your creative process down. When you’re so focused on the ‘perfect’ picture, you stick to certain standards and you color between the lines because you are afraid to make mistakes. Such a shame! By making mistakes, thinking outside of the box and trying something new you develop yourself and you’ll grow. If you make mistakes it has nothing to do with you as a person, try to see this separately. Learn that it’s okay to make mistakes, this triggers your brain to be more creative and move in a new direction.
We hope these tips help you with letting go of perfectionism a little bit. We’re curious: what is or was your biggest struggle during the start-up phase of your brand? And how do you deal with perfectionism? Let us know in the comments of our IG post!