I’m a recovering perfectionist. 🙈
I remember a time when I wouldn’t even start a thing, regardless of the huge ideas in my head, because I was stuck on how perfect I wanted them to be, before launching.
For 3 years in a row I was my own biggest client while running my first business – a creative agency – rebranding and rebuilding my own website every year because my perfectionism made me think that the value perception of this stuff was all-important. 🙈
Of course, it is important but it is far from the most important thing.
Being ‘scrappy’ is what I’m now addicted to – launching things, making mistakes all the time, sometimes disappointing people along the way, growing, improving, making more happy than not, ultimately building a product, business and brand that people value. ⚡
It’s undoubtedly one of the best and biggest mindset shifts I’ve made since getting started in business and something I wish I realised right at the start, so hopefully sharing it with you now can help you skip a few years…
But how did I get from perfectionist, to my scrappy addiction that’s seen me make more progress in the past 6 months than I did in my first 3 years in business? 🤔
Here’s a list of things that helped me, that you might consider to get you moving faster…
1. Perfection isn’t real
Striving for something technically unobtainable is a pretty poor use of time. So why do it? Accepting that whatever you release will always have flaws and that you will never be able to please all of the people all of the time, is a liberating thing.
Full aknolwedgement of this, allows you to move much faster, iterate and improve. Yes, you’ll get things wrong, and fairly often too. But waiting until something is seemingly ‘perfect’ is a surefire way to never launch or do it too late, when someone happy with being scrappy has already taken your market.
I have an idea of what Yena is to be eventually but even then I know that’s not the ultimate version of what it is. We’re currently in phase 2 of 3 visible stages in our strategy but undoubtedly there are a 4th and 5th phase to be discovered as we grow and not know what that is fascinates me and drives me even more to explore and discover, than knowing the ultimate result with zero flexibility ever could.
(insert Dragon Ball Z meme about ‘not even being my final form’ that I couldn’t find… 😅)
2. What’s the worst that could happen?
Honestly, what is?
You might fail but what does real failure actually look like? Unless the company goes bankrupt or you decide to close it, there is always a way upwards and onwards. So get moving. Everything ever invented started at zero. Get comfortable with that blank canvas and get filling it. 👊
Thomas Edison reportedly tried 1,000 times before he eventually got the lightbulb right. He was clearly comfortable with failure, and he changed the world. 💡
3. The alternative is not starting at all
Picture this… You’re on your deathbed and thinking about all the things you wish you would have done in life. Imagine looking back and wondering what life would have been like if you’d done that thing you thought of in your twenties or thirties? Or maybe the idea you did eventually start but you hesitated for a period of 1, 2, 5, 10 years and just how many people you could have helped, and things you could have experienced, if you’d just started that little bit earlier.
Yena started without thinking it was ever going to be a business. I just thought that something should exist to connect people like you and I together. Fast forward 5 years and here we are. Still scrappy, still building, still making mistakes but still growing and connecting more of you than ever before all because I didn’t want to live in a world where the alternative was true – having it not exist at all. I didn’t want to get to the end of my life still frustrated and realising I took no action, where I could have helped. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?!
I am 100% committed to what Jeff Bezos calls the ‘Regret Minimisation Framework’ – ensuring that life is lived on your terms, to the max, whenever you’re able to.
Join me and Jeff and get started, right now.
4. Active feedback is the best kind
Avoid the ‘mom effect’ by actually getting a product out there.
Hyping up something you’re going to eventually launch is not only going to bug the people around you who will feel like they should support you and help you get it out there but it will also bug yourself, even more so in hindsight. I look back and cringe at my ‘old self’ who was more of a ‘wantrepreneur’ than ‘entrepreneur’ and didn’t really make a move. 🙈
Shipping a product or service out there and letting people experience it will not only garner more honest feedback but more feedback in general. Plus, you can’t iterate until there’s something out there to iterate on.
Yena’s membership product was launched before I even knew what it was. The increasing number of people attending our events asked us what we sold and I had to come up with something. It was a very messy product – it was for a long time – but people happily paid (more than it costs now!!) on the basis we would eventually deliver a product that was fantastic.
I cannot begin to list the number of ways we’ve changed since, thanks to the feedback of our customers, community and all other parties. And we continue to do so. If we stop adapting and innovating, we start dying. So we will always welcome & encourage feedback as without it, we cannot improve and with it, we can build world leading business products & services. 📈
5. Outside accountability is the biggest motivator
The best way to ensure you live up to your promise of delivering a product or service? Get someone to buy it. 💸
As someone who used to leave every piece of coursework until the last 2 days before hand-in, I can’t tell you how powerful this action is.
The fear of underdelivering for someone who has parted/is parting with their hard earned cash for it, is pressure enough to ensure you get to find product market fit and deliver a ‘5 star experience’ as fast as possible.
With people waiting on what you’ve promised, you’ve got to deliver to maintain integrity and reputation.
And the good news?
Your ‘go-getter’ attitude, transparency, active development, improvement, welcomeness to feedback will all bring way more brand advocacy than if you waited and launched a crappy product.
Hype has killed so many brands and products in the past including The Grid and the infamous game, No Man’s Sky.
Underpromise and overdeliver. A winning combo to garner raving fans. 🙌
I use this technique all the time. I need to ‘feel the fear’ to get things done so having people rely on me makes that happen. Sometimes, I don’t deliver on the promise and I let people down – that’s a sad fact of running a small startup with a tiny team doing a lot for a lot of key stakeholders. But I’ve done far more by promising people delivery than I ever did hiding it behind closed doors before it was ‘ready’.
6. Decide & do
Just bloody decide and do it. 💪
I remember being 18 years old and telling my Grandmother for the umpteenth time about how I was going to start an awesome business and do amazing things, for her to reply with words that will always stick in my head – “you always talk about this stuff, Ash, but you never do anything about it”.
I’ll always regret not starting sooner so she could see what we’ve achieved to date but her words will always motivate me in times of complacency and that means a lot to me.
I just want everyone else to realise the same thing and not live with the regret that they could have made someone (or themselves, more importantly) proud and maybe help make thousands of peoples’ lives better, more enjoyable, less stressful, etc by doing that that thing they’ve always talked about, sooner. ⏳
7. You will not end up running the business you thought you’d run.
Let’s get this straight… Whatever you start out thinking you’re going to sell, to who, and how… will not end up being the case.
Something will change. If not everything. I guarantee it.
That’s the whole point about being a little scrappy – knowing that and being ok with it, welcoming that knowledge as fast as you can and learning more about how to be more efficient, build a better product, niche, sell to a more specific audience, etc.
So based on that truth, what’s the point in waiting to get anything out there? Ship it!
The moral of the story…? 🤔
So with all of that being the case… why are you being so precious about that thing you haven’t even launched yet?
Whether it’s a new business, product/service/experience for a current business, idea at work, whatever it is. Have a read of these tips whenever you need to, drum up that courage and get going.
I’m not gonna hard-sell it because, frankly, I don’t need to – I know it’s brilliant and so do hundreds of other members already on board!
If you do decide to join though, use the code ‘joinforone‘ to get access for just £1 for the first month!
Any questions? Just ask! 😁