Tell me if any of these business myths sound familiar to you:
Do what you love, and the money will follow.
If you build it, they will come.
Just coach (or create or write or do-your-thing) and people will pay you.
You’ve likely learned that those statements are generally bogus, magical fantasies designed to frustrate the heck out of entrepreneurs.
But there’s another, more subtle, myth that can be equally deadly to your progress in business.
The worst part?
It’s tough to spot because its disguised as a helpful—even smart—way of thinking.
But don’t let that fool you.
Believing this myth has kept many business owner stuck in neutral for months or years.
Has this myth fooled you?
Here’s the myth that keeps smart, dedicated business owners stuck:
“My business must be perfect, and nothing less will do (if I want to be successful).”Click to TweetHere’s the myth that keeps smart, dedicated business owners stuck: “My business must be perfect, and nothing less will do.”
There’s a false idea that every step you take in your business is always supposed to be perfect. That you should never doubt yourself. That you should feel clicked in 100% all the time.
But it’s just not true.
I know you’re smart enough to know that in life, nothing is ever perfect. You’ve figured this one out. You’ve learned that there’s always room for improvement, and things don’t always go your way. You get it.
The same is true for business. And as crazy as it sounds, it’s actually a good thing!
Something not quite right? Why it’s a good thing
One of my all-time favorite clients (I’m fortunate to have a lot of favorite clients) was feeling unsettled about her business. She thought she knew what she wanted to do, but something felt off.
As we talked through it, she saw that she was 80% clear. Not perfect but certainly good enough.
I told her to move forward.
As she did those things, she still knew something wasn’t perfect but kept moving forward anyway.
Then one day, rather unexpectedly, she stumbled upon exactly what wasn’t perfect about her business.
She saw the discrepancy more clearly than ever before. She instantly knew exactly what to change!
Had she just sat around thinking about her niche or had she thrown the towel in altogether, she wouldn’t have seen her new path.
Even though she then needed to redraft her freebie, blog to a different audience, and create new packages, it wasn’t difficult. Along the way to creating her original niche, she learned A LOT. She was easily able to apply all of that knowledge to her new direction.
The best part?
Once she changed her business direction, everything took off.
Because she felt off and kept moving forward anyway, she found the clarity she had been seeking.Click to TweetClarity comes from taking action.
I have a similar story
I haven’t always loved my business every step of the way.
In a nutshell, I quit a nice corporate job to start a career coaching business. I had clients right from the get-go, and it was going okay. At the same time, something felt off.
I couldn’t put my finger on it, so I didn’t stress about it. (That is key!) I kept doing the work to grow my business while simultaneously paying attention to how I was feeling about every aspect of my work.
At this time, I was supplementing my income by working as a virtual assistant (VA) for coaches. I also started doing project management for these clients.
And with my continued awareness of the off-ness of my career coaching, I realised that I loved the VA and project management work way more than career coaching.
Cue aha moment!
I shifted my business away from career coaching and started offering more VA services, coaching to business owners to make their ideas happen, plus project management for more experienced entrepreneurs.
As I dove into my new direction, I felt energized and excited. After all, clarity comes from taking action!
But soon after, something felt off…. Again.
As was true before, I couldn’t put my finger on the exact off-ness, but that was not a problem. I simply kept doing my work and paying close attention to what I loved and didn’t love.
And just like happened previously, the more I didn’t worry about my business being perfect and instead just followed the breadcrumbs, I saw the next shift I needed to make in my business.
Cue another aha moment!
In building that business I had learned a lot about marketing and starting and growing online businesses. I knew far more than when I first quit my corporate job (back then I knew almost nothing!). So I transitioned my business again and focus on business coaching and consulting. I found my new sweet spot!
I loved it! I was energized and excited! Clarity came from taking action!
And then… you guessed it, cue the off-ness again.
As you can guess, this kept happening in my business… and still keeps happening. I am constantly assessing what I love and don’t love and tweaking my business as I go.
It’s never perfect, and it’s never final. I’ll always be adjusting, forever and ever—and that is perfect.
I call this “following the breadcrumbs.”My Personal Recommendation for YouI Eff’d Up: The Story Behind How I Failed My Way to Success
What this means for you
Don’t let perfectionism stop you from making progress in your business.
Waiting until you “have it all figured out” won’t get you on track. Taking imperfect action will.
Find something that feels 80% right and move in that direction.
After you take a few steps forward, reevaluate. What would be 80% right at that point? Move in that direction.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Follow the breadcrumbs. Eventually, you’ll strike gold. Maybe in two days, maybe in two years. I can’t say for sure.
What I can say is that if you keep moving forward, you’ll build the dream business you’ve been dreaming of.
In the comments below, I want to hear from you! Tell me…
1. Are you still waiting for things to be perfect before you take action? How’s it going?
2. Do you have any tips for helping others find the courage to take imperfect action? Please share them below with as much detail as you can.
As always, thanks for reading. If you know someone who has bought into the “perfect business” myth, please share this article with them!
This article was originally published in October 2012 and was updated in April 2017 with new insights and learnings, as a part of my ongoing effort to provide you with the best information to support you and the growth of your business.