Done vs. the elusive perfectly done

by Michele on October 11, 2011

Solopreneurs love to do quality work, but perfection is not possible

Done vs. perfectly done

A few weeks ago I attended a workshop with Alicia Forest, one of my business teachers.  I’ve been sharing some of what I learned in the workshop and here’s another bit for you to enjoy.

During one of the sessions, we talked about the idea that “Done is better than perfect.”  I’ve also heard a variation on this which is “Perfect is the enemy of done.”  Both are great sentiments that can help us move ahead in business.  There’s something about using the internet for you business that just makes us want to add one more thing, to rewrite it again, to add more to the scope, etc.  It makes it really easy to get stuck on a hamster wheel of work where you are going, going, going but not getting anywhere.

The key thing to remember is that your goal is to serve your clients and customers, not to show the world how flawless your work is.  Every project you haven’t released into the world is help that people who need you are not getting.  It may also be money those people would happily pay you that you are not getting.

I’ve heard all this before and I’m sure you have too, but don’t take it for granted.  Take a few minutes to remind yourself of this important principle.  Yes, it’s important to do your best and give people what they pay for, but balance this against an endless loop of feedback and improvement that keeps the project from ever being done.  It’s a drain on your mental bandwidth and not a service to anyone.

One tip to avoid this is to clearly define the scope of the project before you start.  You might not have the exact parameters, but if you are trying to write a $7 ebook, it shouldn’t be 500 pages.  You can also change midstream if you find the original scope was too small or too big.  You can use time limits that are proportional to the price and expected use of the project – for example, you may decide that $7 ebook has to be written in 5 hours.

Take a look at your unfinished projects and see if any could be moved closer to completion by changing you standards to “What would serve my clients” from “Do this as best as I possibly can.”  You customers, clients and readers needs should be one of the biggest factors in defining any project.


  1. […] Get you unstuck?  Get you to what’s next? Last week, I shared some ideas on the value of getting things done vs. getting them perfect.  Of course, we always want to do our best, but sometimes done really is better than perfect. […]

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