June 24, 2014
Posted by: Monica Selby
I have a dirty little secret.
I’m a perfectionist.
I like things done just right, and I want to know from the outset that they’re going to turn out, well, perfectly.
Even if they won’t admit it, most entrepreneurs are the same way. We want to know what’s coming and how we’re going to succeed before we even get started. Even though there are ways to mitigate the risk, entrepreneurship is risky. It’s human nature to want to control every variable.
Here’s another secret, though: that’s the best way to kill any project (or career) before it starts.
Death by Details
I had a cofounder once who would spend hooouurrss on email newsletters. Days, even. He wanted everything just right, from the length to the color of the CTA button to the positioning of the logo.
As a fellow perfectionist, I loved his attention to these details. But, it often meant that we missed other things while we argued obsessed over each and every newsletter. And that was just a newsletter.
To our credit, we already had a product. When first time founders with no product pour the same amount of obsession into launching, it can paralyze everything.
Of course founders care about their baby, and of course the little things matter. But there comes a point when the obsession has to stop and you have to just get something done.
It’s not just shipping products. Often when we’re at the beginning of a venture, we spend time trying to control for every variable and guarantee that nothing goes wrong.
Make Like Nike
And just do it.
I have a lot of friends and family who like to talk to me about business ideas. They want me to know all the ins and outs and intricate details of their plans, down to how they’ll spend their millions in 3.5 years.
After their excited pitch, I always ask the same questions.
“Who’s going to buy this? And, how do you know?”
All of the details that go into building a business are overwhelming. Yet, when asked to start with one small piece, most entrepreneurs balk. It can’t be that simple, they think.
And they’re right, in a way. Building a business isn’t that simple. But the next (or first) step almost always is.
Whether it’s a product, a service, or a career, the best way to never start is to get bogged down and overwhelmed with details. You don’t need a whole road map; just get started.
Or, in startup jargon: F**k it. Ship it.