When people describe themselves as ‘perfectionists’ they often do so proudly. After all, being someone who makes perfect things and who won’t stop until they’ve created the perfect piece of work or made something look completely idea means that you will of course have a lot of good output and that people will want to work with you and buy things from you in theory. However while being a perfectionist who creates perfect things might sound like a great trait, it can actually some times inhibit you and be a weakness – particularly when you’re working online. Here we will look at why that’s the case and what you can do about it.
And Now an Anecdote…
The first time I thought this was when I was about to leave Uni and both my friend and I had an idea for a business we were going to launch. However, while I was a young undergraduate who liked to rush into things, my friend was just finishing a doctorate and had a much more careful and meticulous attitude to business and to life in general. While I quickly released my site then and monetized it on the fly, he took plenty of time perfecting every last element – making sure that it ran perfectly on every computer monitor, buying legal advisors and investing tons of money in hosting packages and the like. Unfortunately he went broke a few weeks later – simply because he started too big and didn’t earn enough to pay off his start-up costs.
The Iteration Cycle
Meanwhile during this time my site went from strength to strength. Sure it didn’t turn any heads when it was first released – because it was butt ugly. However what did happen was that I listened to feedback and watched my statistics like a hawk. In other words I learned from my early failures and the site grew and improved. Over time it became a perfect site, and more perfect than it could have become had I not released it and got that crucial real world feedback. I later learned in the Personal MBA that this is how businesses are supposed to operate and you’re actually meant to release products before they’re finished and then go through the feedback look. And the web is perfectly suited to this kind of strategy.
Learning and Daring
At the same time though, by simply releasing my site before he did, I was already learning from experience and earning money while he wasn’t. I’ve released lots of sites since and each one has been better because I’ve had a learning experience. Meanwhile I know plenty of other people who have great ideas for websites and even begun programming them, but who have never even gotten around to releasing them either out of fear or because they never think they’re ready. Eventually this becomes stalling and it’s not good for business, in fact it’s perilously bad for it.
Perfection is in the Eye of the Beholder
And finally, it’s worth noting that there is no real such thing as perfection. Perfection when it comes to something like web design is a completely subjective concept and if you are creating what ‘you’ think is a perfect website then you aren’t really creating it for the audience you want to impress. So get it out there and then let your market decide when it’s perfect.
- License: Creative Commons image source