Perfectionism will kill your business. The goal that you have as a solo professional is to provide a service that solves the problem your customer has. If you do that, you’ll succeed. Notice that I don’t say you have to PERFECTLY solve your customer’s problem. In fact, if you push for a perfect solution you run the risk of putting your customer off, because you will begin to nit pick at tiny little things you are offering, and you’ll lose focus on the big picture.
This thing about perfectionism is controversial to talk about. We are taught to find the “perfect solution” to our customers’ problems. But here’s the thing, and it’s important to remember. Life changes for that customer almost daily. The customer herself can’t really articulate a “perfect” solution. She may think she can, but once her “perfect solution” is in place, things will change and she’ll find that she needs to tweak it a little bit over time.
The big truth is that there IS no ongoing, perfect solution for your own business or for your customer’s business, either. You plan a resolution to an issue and execute it, and after that you see what worked and what didn’t work. You change it around the edges a little bit and go again. Finding what works for yourself or for a customer is not a straight line. It’s a curving line, sometimes curling back on itself, sometimes meandering where you never dreamed it will go. To hold that as true and faithfully watch when changes are needed is the best practice for a solo professional. It’s the best practice for larger businesses, too, but they often become too inflexible and stodgy to execute in that way.
Here are two big problems I see with solo professionals who are trying to establish a business that makes enough money to be viable.
1. Fear of making mistakes, which manifests as failure to take timely action.
2. Trying to decide everything by logic rather than feeling into what might be best for their business or their customer’s business.
I’d much rather see a solo professional try something and fail, and then learn from what went wrong, than to be paralyzed from the fear of failure. Almost all successful business owners have made mistakes, and there’s no sin it in. The sin is in burying the mistake and failing to look at it closely so that one learns. I literally have to re-train a good portion of the clients I work with to actually tell me when something goes wrong! We get into this practice of trying to hide our mistakes, which doesn’t help us in the end.
Additionally, there is a great benefit to using your feeling sense to help make decisions for yourself and your customers. You might also think of this as using your intuitive sense of things rather than depending solely on logic. You can ask yourself a question, close your eyes, and get a gut feel or sense of the best answer. The more you practice this, the better you will get. It is a great addition (and sometimes a replacement) for deciding only by logic alone. In fact, most of the millionaire entrepreneurs I’ve interviewed over the past years tell me that when the chips are down and it’s decision-making time, they trust their gut. Not the figures, but the gut. That’s a great confirmation of using your feeling sense to help you made decisions. Sometimes things will not seem logical at all, but you have a strong sense it is the right path to take.
The truth is that there IS no perfection in this life, so trying to run our businesses from that place will never work. That is the wisdom that successful solo professionals have come to know. the next time you feel yourself fearful over making a business decision, take a breath, check your gut, and move forward. You’ll find that you will do better in the end than waiting for perfection to come.