I have always been a planner. I like to have goals in mind, and plans in place so I’m not walking into something blind. You sort, kind of, can’t do that in business. You can plan all day long, but things still may not fall neatly into place.
My freelance writing business made me money, but because I wasn’t always writing about things I cared about, I waited until the last minute to complete my projects. You do not want to operate under that kind of pressure, I can assure you.
What about my web development business? Same thing. I wasn’t selective about my clients, so I had people who were paying me, but who were not a good match for me. What did I do? Procrastinate on working on their projects.
Procrastination is a learned behavior. We’ve all done it. Whether it was waiting until the night before a paper was due to start working on it, finishing your taxes on April 14th, or booking last minute travel. While you may get by during these instances, procrastinating in your business doesn’t yield you anything.
Yesterday, I launched an online boutique called Good Tees Mad City. It’s been something on my mind for the last month or so, and Saturday, I almost scrapped the idea altogether because the self-sabotager in me was saying “you can’t do this”. Had I waited, I wouldn’t have launched. Had I waited, I would’ve had yet another “what if” to add to the table.
Part of the reason we procrastinate, especially when it comes to launching something in our business, is fear. Fear and anxiety will immobilize you if you let it. You’re scared no one will visit. You’re scared no one will be. You’re scared no one will come. So why face even the idea of that kind of failure? Just let it sit on the shelf, right?
Even through all of the mistakes I’ve made, personally and professionally, I’ve come out with lessons for the next thing. My previous businesses weren’t necessarily failures; I had clients and I made money. But waiting until the last minute to work on the projects told me I needed to be more selective of the projects I was choosing.
When you’re tempted to procrastinate, you have to ask yourself “what are you avoiding”? Are you not as passionate about the project as you’d hoped? Are you overwhelmed with the work required? Are you scared to fail? Are you scared of being a breakout success?
We can’t wait until it’s perfect all the time. There is always room for improvement. Your business should be in constant beta, working to get better over time. But in order to improve on something, you need to have your first iteration. Think of the first iPhone compared to the iPhone 6. Apple set a date and launched, and left other improvements for the next versions. As a business, you should be doing the same.
Today, I want you to do something. I want you to find that thing (you know the one) that you’ve been sitting on, waiting for either the perfect time, or waiting to make “a few more tweaks”. And I want you to launch it. Not silently, either. I want you to tell folks. Write a blog post, share on Facebook, send some emails. Don’t tell them it’s not finished. You can launch it and get right back in the lab. The point is to not procrastinate any longer.