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NOTABLE! Perfectionism is a plague, introducing Johnny Neverstart!

Discussion in 'General Entrepreneur Discussion' started by whiz, Jan 3, 2019.

  1. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I recently finished a landing page for a martial arts school that my cousin and I attend. I'm trying to get people to sign up for a free trial, and ultimately convert to paying, monthly members.

    I showed my cousin the page and he said that my plain white background was cheesy and looked very "Yahoo 1998". He also noted that he didn't like my use of "...whatever floats your boat" to end a certain paragraph.

    Now, before you attack him - he didn't say this in a dickhead way or anything. He was just pointing out things that made him cringe. They were based on his own personal biases/preferences. It's only natural to think this way.

    The "old me" would have taken this as a blow to my self-esteem. I would have been feeling great about my page, super excited to start raking in leads, when BOOM!

    A crushing blow...

    "It looks like Yahoo 1998. My copy is garbage. I can't put this out."

    Cue 47 more revisions until I just never complete the work, and it slowly fades into the noisy background of life.

    But the 2019 me? I just turned the ad campaign on and went about my day.

    2 hours later, someone signed up for a free trial.

    Screw every minute detail. If it works, it works.

    ---

    So I suppose you're looking for some lesson, and I'm trying to find the right words.

    I guess I'd say that it is extremely important to recognize that your brain can only predict reality to a certain extent.

    You have loads of preconceived notions that are based from where you're sitting, and not necessarily the other 8 billion people on earth.

    Before you go on and say "this won't work because X" or "they'll never like this product because Y", go and test it.

    A previous version of myself would have just assumed that the landing page was shit without testing.

    This leads me into my next thought experiment:

    Allow me to invent a character named Johnny Neverstart.

    Johnny Neverstart is seen on this forum often. He usually has less than $40 rep points and no profile picture, and uses a lot of question marks. He makes a thread and here's how it usually goes:

    1. Johnny makes a post where he starts chopping his own ideas at the root and asking 748 questions of every intricate detail that he may or may not ever have to deal with.
    2. Experienced forum members take their time to help him, oftentimes being generous enough to provide entire roadmaps/checklists and spoon-feed the process to him.
    3. Mr. Neverstart proceeds to asks 345 more questions, starts a couple arguments, and says things like "that won't work for me, because xyz reason" (my country, my mom, no money, my job, the market, blahblah).
    4. Johnny decides that forum members are being dickheads and personally attacking him before leaving the forum for good.

    After reading these type of threads over and over, you realize that Johnny was never looking for help in the first place - he never wanted to start anyway. He just wanted to confirm his own biases and was prepared to fight to the death about it, whether it was logical or not.

    He has all his own theories and speculation about the world, but he was never prepared to test them.

    Because he's afraid he just might be wrong, and that would blow his mind open. Imagine what Johnny would feel if his brain found out that planning, working hard and being consistent actually yielded results?

    Then he'd have to work hard all the time! Otherwise poor Johnny would be riddled with guilt!

    "F*ck that, these forum entrepreneurs are wrong! The market just won't work, and that's because my mom has the PIN number to my card and she works until 4 PM. By 4 PM, the market is usually dried up. eComm Guru #487 told me so."

    ---

    I'm not the best writer today, and I'm finding it hard to make my point clearly, but this kind of ties in to what I'm trying to say: it doesn't have to be perfect.

    Stop picking apart everything you do and trying to find reasons why shit won't work. Put it out into the world and let reality decide.

    If you're Johnny and you have all these assumptions about reality, but you haven't tested any of them, then you really don't know shit, and you should understand that.

    Stop finding excuses to be lazy. Do shit and let your brain learn. Failure is great for the brain. So is success.

    You need more data otherwise your brain will never understand shit. If you just sit around reading and theorizing all day, you'll never understand anything.

    It's like trying to learn how to play ice hockey by reading a book.

    Get out there and test.

    Stop being Johnny.
     
  2. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    PizzaOnTheRoof 1% Better Every Day Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I swear my username needs to be changed to Johnny Neverstart, because I am always looking for perfection and validation.

    My mom asked me to design her a blog site for extra income (she's a teacher). I spent literally 5 days designing this damn site which I am sure nothing will ever come of it.

    Meanwhile, the 10 biggest teaching blogs online look like absolute crap...

    From now on I am going to try to live by the motto: "Perfection through iteration", which I think sums up my take away from this post pretty well.
     
  3. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Just put the site up and try to market it and you might be surprised

    I have a motto:

    "Make something shitty and then just keep making it less shitty"

    Just be ok with making garbage, as long as you're prepared to put in the work to increase the average quality of your output.

    When I first started doing music production years ago, I had a hard time making more than 10 seconds of music because I would criticize it and get stuck over every detail.

    I realized you have to be ok with making bullshit until you made "ok shit"
    Then you make "ok shit" until you make "good shit"
    Then you make "good shit" until you make "great shit"

    There are no shortcuts

    Reality knows exactly how much effort you put into something and rewards you accordingly

    You will respect yourself far more for trying + no results

    vs. not trying + no results

    At least you'll have insights as far as why shit didn't work, etc.

    If you never try, you really gain nothing. You just further push yourself into typical habits of mental slavery
     
  4. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Even if you make the site and it gets 0 visitors, at least you probably got better at web design, copy, marketing, consulting, etc

    People don't ever realize how much all this "failure" adds up

    For every success I have, I have 10 more failures behind it

    I just take the lessons from those 10 failures and combine them to achieve success
     
  5. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    PizzaOnTheRoof 1% Better Every Day Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    You’re exactly right. Thanks!
     
  6. Andy Black
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    Andy Black Any colour, as long as it's red. Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR

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    Perfectionism and Procrastination are close cousins. One delays finishing, the other delays starting. Both caused by fear of shipping.

    The way round it is to have an attitude of helping people, and of testing.

    You don't help your martial artist friend by moving pixels around on a page that isn't live yet. Put the page live and "test" if. Find out what the visitor-to-enquiry-rate is, then try and improve it.

    Haha. Johnny Neverstart. We should create an avatar for him.
     
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  7. NeatStranger
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    NeatStranger Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    This resonates with me so much. I just struggle with the part where you keep making it less shitty.
     
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  8. VIVEKSINGHJADONS
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    VIVEKSINGHJADONS VSJ Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    You are absolutely correct. There are a lot of examples in the real world where we can easily see that the average person becomes successful just because they started something. They launch themselves in market irrespective of there shortcomings while some more intelligent and resourceful people sit idle there whole life waiting for the perfect moment.
     
  9. ZCP
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    @MJ DeMarco can we have a 'johnny neverstart' badge?
    when someone puts the forum through the process @whiz detailed in the OP, they get the badge until they do something......

    Just F*cking get started! MVP! Put it out there! Get feedback. Ask her out. Make the offer. Ask for the sale. Put one foot in front of the other and move forward. Pull the trigger. Just do it. How do you know until you try / ask / do / fail? Pick up the phone. Send the email. Quit dicking around and do something productive for this world. Change someone's life. Make an impact. Stop reading this post and go get something done!!
     
  10. superb
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    superb Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    The irony is perfectionism is often anti-perfection! What is perfect to the target market is often different than perfect to the perfectionist.
     
  11. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Never analyzed them like that but they are really almost the same exact thing. They definitely come from the same place - some type of insecurity and aversion to failure.

    The perfectionist is afraid that his precious, meticulous creation won't live up to his own unrealistically grandiose expectations.

    The procrastinator is afraid that he himself won't live up to his own expectations. Or he's afraid of failure so he auto-fails because failure hurts less when there is less invested. He didn't spend hours and hours to find out that he writes bullshit copy, doesn't know any marketing, and sucks at pitching value.

    He didn't have to go through that painful failure and realizing that he has thousands of more hours ahead of him.

    It's not his fault. It's the market. "Kids just ain't buying toys anymore man."

    Baby steps. There's always something you can improve. Recently I've been trying to stay away from using adverbs in my copy because they oftentimes come across as fluff.

    The only effort this takes me is to skim through everything and delete any "-ly" words that are tremendously, amazingly fluffy.

    Yeah, more often than not.

    But I'd argue that they're not average because they have one of the most important factors in success: the ability to take risk.

    Maybe you're saying average intelligence, socioeconomic status, etc - I feel you. But it's all about the ability to take calculated risks.

    And they'll get ahead because they're getting that real education. Grappling with reality will give you live feedback in a way that a book or a web page could never give you.

    Also, intelligent and resourceful people are oftentimes too intelligent and too resourceful for their own good. They over-analyze and scrutinize over every little detail... often ones that don't even matter.

    Focus on the Pareto Principle...

    Before you go ahead and agonize over whether your Checkout Button should be Sunset Orange or Sundown Orange, how about you worry about more important shit like "Do I know my marketing strategy?"

    Exactly. A lot of people like to act like they know everything. They think that makes you intelligent.

    The most intelligent people on this earth understand that they don't know shit!

    This is why we allow reality to do the heavy thinking for is.

    It is impossible for me to compute the future.

    But life can do it for me, in real time.

    That's why I do shit and then analyze it after life chewed it up a bit.

    Yes... it's just silly and arrogant to assume that you have somehow cracked the code and have determined what baseline reality is for 8 billion other people.

    Everybody is different and everybody will perceive your creations in a new way.

    That being said, marketing has been around long enough for us to understand 80% of what works and what doesn't, but the magic happens in the other 20% where you test shit out and gain some interesting insights.

    You just really can't understand shit by sitting at a desk thinking about it. You have to do it.
     
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  12. Wolfman
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    Wolfman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Hi, You're not a bad writer at all. You could distill your thoughts better and be more succinct. You actually mentioned a point that you need to keep in mind. Know your audience.
    Even if it is a young crowd on this forum, it's not really classy to use the word "sh*t" in every other paragraph.
    But to end on a positive note, your points are good and your informal engagement of the reader works. Practice.
    Greg
     
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  13. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    Thank you for an incredibly well-thought-out response.

    I'll make sure to avoid using the word "shit" so I don't offend you when I'm writing shit to help people.

    Sorry for my lack of class. I'll purchase a suit and tie and pose in front of large columns for my profile picture tomorrow.

    -whiz
     
  14. Arrived2015
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    Arrived2015 Contributor

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    Please say that since Thu (date you posted) your mum's blog is now uploaded?;)
     
  15. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    PizzaOnTheRoof 1% Better Every Day Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Lol yeah it's a Wordpress site that I was designing live. It's been up but she hasn't done anything with it...smh
     
  16. Wolfman
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    Wolfman Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Hey whiz, My bad. That post of mine came off sounding pompous and arrogant. You are right...the main point is that you are writing to help people. I'll be more careful going forward. Greg
     
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  17. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    No need to apologize - I was just being a dick for a second because I got frustrated that your post was more 'meta' than about the content

    But it is probably better to challenge myself find more descriptive vocabulary than "shit".

    I just tend to write a lot on here in "stream of consciousness" format because I know the crowd doesn't need squeaky-clean content - they just want to make sense of things

    I meticulously proofread anything that goes out to "the public" though

    I know "shit" is a filler word but I sometimes enjoy the informal tone here, I don't know...

    It helps people feel like they're just talking to some dude at the bar or something

    Dunno.

    My bad about messing with you about the suit and pillars lol
     
  18. Wolfman
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    Whiz, Thanks for that. Amazingly there are still crotchety, grumpy old terds like me around. Anyhow, the gist of your thread resonated with me. I struggle w/ perfectionism and it is a big time waster. I'm slowly learning to write that email even before I know everything. Then I can say to my supplier something like this: "Thanks for mailing the samples in a timely manner. I tested for waterproofness and I still haven't decided which is best for printing my logo on."
    It's so hard for me to just say, "I don't know yet." But I'm learning that it is better than saying nothing at all. I've also learned that sometimes it is good to just ask the manufacturer, "Which do you recommend and why?". Greg
     
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  19. MJ DeMarco
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    Admin Post
    Awesome post, marked NOTABLE, rep++

    Resonates with me strongly.

    Perfectionism is why it takes me years to write a book. And even then, what is put out there still has errors/problems.

    Ha Ha, I like the idea but don't think alienating new users would help forum engagement.
     
  20. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    I think this is how every artist feels about the work they care about.

    I often wonder what made an painter decide that THAT brush stroke was the last one. In a painting of thousands of strokes, why did he end it on that one - it could have been another, or one less, or several more/several less

    But it wasn't. It was set in stone at that last stroke

    I'm sure some have checklists, others just "feel it", some get so frustrated that they just say "F*ck it"

    It's just so interesting that every song COULD have had another note

    Every painting COULD have had another stroke

    Every movie COULD have had another minute

    But they didn't

    I wonder how many artists release their work and then regret it because of a single brush stroke or word in a movie, etc

    Especially if you're constantly getting better at your craft. Your previous works will make you cringe sometimes
     
  21. rogue synthetic
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    rogue synthetic * Not actually Rutger Hauer Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    My daughters got a new telescope for Christmas. I was looking around for how to keep the optics clean when I came across this little anecdote (paraphrasing from memory):

    A pro-am astronomer goes to a convention. There, he meets a legend in the community. Mr. Astronomer is all excited to learn how the Master will use extra-special wool imported from a Himalayan yak that can only be collected at high noon on the summer solstice every 4th leap year to clean his lenses and mirrors, which are so delicate that anything less will scratch them beyond hope.

    He hands over the 'scope. About five minutes later, the Master comes out of the back with a piece of cheesecloth and a bottle of Windex.

    "You guys worry too much about this stuff," he says, finishing up the job.

    Hey, we can all relate right? Every activity has nerds. What nerds expect, and what will actually get the job done, are never the same thing.

    If your ugly 1997 Geocities page with animated gifs and typos is selling, then let it sell, brother.
     
  22. PizzaOnTheRoof
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    THIS I need to learn...
     
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    Surf16 Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER

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    Great Post Whiz! I can totally relate. I have put a lot of time and energy in making my websites look just the way I want them in the past.
    After tons of research on the right words to use and the right images.
    Feeling hesitate to put it out to the world I would always get the advise from my friends and family. They did not read the "How to gain viewers" blogs or the "right way to to attract customers" books that I had.
    They were just looking at it through the SLOWLANE perspective and picked them apart.
    Like you said I would get mad and take it personal.
    Now I take things with a grain of salt.
    Why take advice from somebody who has never created a website? Tried to sell something online or even in person? Why listen to someone who sits in a cubicle all day hating everything about everything!
    Keep up the hard work and also if you want to give me the page I would love to check it out.
    I have been in Mixed Martial Arts for most of my life (Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Muay Thai & Krav Maga). Could help you our where I can.

    Great Post!
     
  24. redplant
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    redplant Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED

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    Basically, we shouldn't make assumptions about what will or will not work without testing. Claude Hopkins made the same point a hundred years ago. It still applies even now.

    I guess human nature never really change that much.
     
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  25. whiz
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    whiz Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane Speedway Pass

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    On the flipside, I think advice from "laymen" is some of the best advice you can get.

    They aren't caught up in all the intricacies of the craft

    They don't see the little details - only the big picture

    When I was making music I would spend hours trying to get the exact drum tone I wanted

    Then I would make sure the guitar had justtttt the right amount of reverb

    Then make sure the bass had the perfect tone

    Then after spending alllll these hours on my song, I'd show someone, thinking they'd be impressed with the intricacy

    They usually are just like "its a good song" or "eh its not really good"

    It's like how a painter will obsess over a painting for 10 years, and someone in a museum will walk past it without giving it a second thought

    People don't see your work how YOU see your work

    Take time to step back and just be a layman - try to view it from an average persons perspective - be realistic

    Don't get caught up in the craft to the point where you miss the big picture

    Changing your CTA button from "brick red" to "clay red" is probably less important than "does my copy convince the prospect?"

    Worrying about Helvetica vs Proxima Nova font is probably less important than "did I address all the pain points?"

    So yeah I've grown to actually really enjoy "layman" opinion - it's usually more accurate than someone immersed in the craft
     
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