STRUGGLING TO START: TWO QUOTES THAT HELPED & HINDERED ME

Business

Have you ever felt a little lost in which direction to take or which advice to listen to? As a business owner or starter, especially for solopreneurs, choosing the right option can feel very overwhelming. What if you mess up? What if you make the wrong decision? What if you take the wrong path? It can weigh heavily on you and take a toll. Sometimes these questions can be so debilitating that you end up not even taking the chance to start or to really try. You know cause if you can say that you didn’t really try, somehow the failure doesn’t feel as bad. I know I’ve done that and made that my excuse before, but let me be honest and say it still sucks. One of my biggest hangups currently has been moving forward with launching my products and they have to do with my internal debate on these two quotes:

” you never get a second chance to make a first impression” – will rogers

vs.

“if you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late.” -reid hoffman

I was very fortunate to study business as my major and have an emphasis in entrepreneurship. My educational background made me feel as if any walls would easily be torn down because I’d know the weak spots. I never want to diminish my education because I’m very proud of it and my professors and school taught me a lot. But whether you have an education or not, the mental games don’t discriminate and can affect anyone (and frankly probably affect everyone – at least a little).

The reason I wanted to talk about these two quotes is because I don’t feel that I’m the only one out there struggling with these types of decisions – especially when you are just starting out and haven’t even felt like you’ve proven your concept or worth. We are all in some way or another battling the idea of perfection. These two quotes both praise and disarm them in a very contradictory way.

We’ve most likely all heard the quote by Will Rogers stating that, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This quote may be the reason why we look and try our best for job interviews, first dates and first days of school. It may also be the reason you may be working towards perfection before you take the leap to launch your business. Maybe your website isn’t perfect or your pictures are a little blurry or you don’t feel like you have enough ready to make that first good impression. You think that if all this isn’t right, you are going to lose customers. This product or website or blog or recipe is everything and if it isn’t good enough, it never will and no one will ever come back.

On the opposite side is the quote by Reid Hoffman, founder of Linkedin, saying, “If you’re not embarrassed by the first version of your product, you launched too late.” I heard this quote a lot in college, pretty much in every class. What I love about it, is the fact that is gives you permission to dismiss perfection and go for it. Maybe your website isn’t perfect and your product can’t do everything you want it to, yeah you might lose customers but if you never risk starting you won’t even have customers to lose. We all have to make decisions regarding our business, and it may seem like the ones made when you’re beginning can be the most instrumental, so making a decision where perfection isn’t required, when we’ve been taught to do so, can be terrifying. But, it is also the only way to grow.

My personal struggle is that I don’t want to provide a product I’m embarrassed by to a client that is meant to enhance their business. However, what I’m learning and trying to put into practice is the fact that although what I’m able to do now may not be what I will be able to do in the future, shouldn’t belittle my skills. What I know I can do now is still damn good and I will only ever provide high quality products to clients.

In regard to the quotes, I do believe they are both true. I don’t think that making a first good impression means being perfect but rather being ready. You may not say the perfect thing at an interview but you dressed the part and brought your resume – you were ready for it. The same can be transferred to relate to any business. You may not be perfect, but you may be ready.  You don’t have to be embarrassed by the best possible product you can offer right now – even if you believe it can one day be better. Because if you never get your stuff out there, you’ll never know if it’s worth continuing or get feedback and really only ever have questions.

I think it’s important to keep going, which is what I plan on doing, and as long as you feel that you are doing your best work, you should feel good about it.

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