I’m working with a client who is brilliant and creative. Those are traits that most of my clients share and I consider myself fortunate to have the privilege of working with them.
This client in particular is working on developing a niche product… which is a wonderful foundation from which to develop a product. See, instead of tossing together a product that is EASY on her, instead she is developing this product with the end users in mind. The time and effort required on her part aren’t nearly as important a consideration for her as to whether or not her TARGET AUDIENCE will find this product useful. She’s magnificent and this kind of thinking is the FOUNDATION upon which successful businesses are built.
Bravo! Bravo! Bravo for my brilliant and creative client!
However, today I’m going to have to broach a delicate subject with her. Over the past two weeks, her efforts in developing this product have been literally non-existent. In her mind, she’s taking necessary steps to “perfect” her product offering… and that is the problem. She’s trying to create the “perfect” product.
So in our phone conversation today, I gently introduced her to the concept of “good enough”.
Seth Godin wondered a while back on his blog whether “good enough” might be actually become a new trend in business. Now, in response to Seth’s post, there was an outcry amongst blog authors, most of whom cite the iPod as a SHINING example of “good enough” not being nearly good enough. Even though this thread is long dead… I totally understand and defend what Seth is talking about and it comes from working with entrepreneurs who become hyper focused on creating the “perfect” product. This obsession with “perfectionism” leads many brilliantly creative people down the well worn path of the endless search for the perfection.
So today, in my conversation with my client, I gently pointed out that her idea for her product is definitely “good enough”. The “magic” will be in the marketing and promotion of the product.
I have another client who has already created multiple products and lives quite nicely from the sale of said products on the internet. The other day, she and I were talking and I was admiring her ability to avoid this “perfectionistic” trap. Her response surprised me. It went along the lines of, “Oh, I still pursue perfection. I just invest my energies into perfecting the marketing content I create. That’s the only place where the pursuit of perfection pays dividends. ”
She’s right. The second client will spend a single day creating an ebook and then spend 6 weeks fine tuning the copy on the web site to sell that particular ebook. Many, many frustrated entrepreneurs spend their time in reverse. They’ll spend 6 weeks creating the “perfect” ebook and then spend a single day setting up the marketing for said ebook.
I too struggle with perfectionism which is probably why I’m so quick to diagnose it in my clients’ dealings. In an email I wrote last week to my client in pursuit of perfection I said:
“You’re an incredibly talented and creative person. This is both a blessing and a curse.
It’s a blessing because your creativity has inspired you to create this incredibly well defined product which not only appeals to a tightly targeted niche market, but also has incredibly potential for additional products for a distribution channel that is literally STARVING for just such a product.
It’s also going to be a curse because that same creative genius is going to come up with 50,000 ways to improve upon your original idea over the course of the product development. The curse being, if you stop to incorporate each “improvement” into your product, not only will your production costs soar but you’ll also be in danger of never getting the product to market.”
When I was banging my head against this same brick wall in preparation for publishing my book Beyond the Niche… my coach uttered words of wisdom that enabled me to move forward rather than remain mired in the muck of seeking perfection. Those magical words were, “Revisions are what 2nd editions are for.” The freedom of being able to IMPROVE my book later on enabled me to get the book published… which is surprisingly much tougher than it would seem from the “outside”.
The best thing about version 1.0… is version 2.0 will be even better!