Ever feel like you can’t go live because you need to get the right camera/software/setup?
Maybe you don’t want to take pictures because you don’t have the right lights?
Sometimes you don’t want to book a popup because you haven’t gotten your signs yet.
There’s always just that one next thing, and then you can get started. The problem is, there’s always one more thing. Sometimes you just need to stop preparing, stop waiting for everything to be perfect, and just do it.
The Trials & Tribulations of a Small Business
I mean of course, there are some circumstances under which it may be inappropriate to try something out before everything is perfect – like experimental drugs, and medical devices. You don’t want to be just pushing out that kind of thing without having gone through some serious testing – those creations need to be absolutely perfect before pushing them out to the public. I think we can all agree on that.
The good news is that we aren’t in the business of medical devices or experimental medication – we sell clothes, and all our trial and error will be in the form of our marketing and presentation to the world.
This came up because yesterday while I was recording my podcast I had an epiphany about incremental improvements over time, how it’s a universal concept that applies to just about all products of the human mind.
We are not unique as retailers in our quest to figure out a way to get better, do it better, be better.
I’m going to tell you about this Podcast journey of mine. It’s a great example of how it doesn’t matter what business you’re in, what endeavor you’re participating in – your products, your creations, are never going to be perfect when you first start out. In fact, chances are, they’ll be terrible. You’ll try, try, try, try, try again and find yourself incrementally getting better and better until finally you have a product you can be proud of.
I started my podcast about 2 months ago and I’ve been lucky, I created a bank of podcasts up there already so there’s content out there for people to listen to, but let me tell you what roadblocks I ran into as I put this thing together. And this is legit only in the last 2 months.
In chronological order:
- Finding the right software, microphone, title for the podcast, mechanisms, figuring out how to upload to iTunes and Android platforms.
- I got everything, found that the software was creating some feedback that I could not seem to fix in post-production.
- I wrote 3 podcasts, and recorded the first one about 4 times, and no matter WHAT I did, it sounded like there was noise over it.
- Finally gave up, and just recorded what I could, uploaded it, and hoped for the best.
- My microphone broke when I took it to leadership, so now I had no way of recording new podcasts, so I got a new microphone.
- New Microphone arrives, and the feedback is even worse than it was before, even though the mic is top of the line. Talked to support for the software, and they were useless. Finally decide to switch to new software.
BUT had to record one more podcast that I could record on my way to Europe so I could edit and upload on the plane.
- Recorded it, but the entire file was corrupt, so I couldn’t edit it on the plane, lost 2 weeks.
- Switched to Audacity, simple interface, but almost too simple – doesn’t have some basic tools that I feel I need. Immediately feel anxiety about making the change.
- Go on the cruise and to Europe for 2 weeks, so unable to record additional podcasts, spent time writing. Then the Facebook Algorithm changed, so had to switch topics to be timely.
- Recorded Podcast 6, sounds like I’m underwater. Am VERY cranky about this. Having a lot of general technology issues these days. Consider breaking computer, microphone, and the internet and moving to Tibet to become a monk.
- Decide not to become a monk, and my friend CJ messages me and says he can help me.
- WHAT? Help! YES! Tomorrow we meet so he can fix whatever’s wrong with my recording.
Everything I listed up above was so frustrating when I was going through it, I wanted everything to be perfect for you guys! But the truth is, it’s fine – it is totally fine! You guys don’t care – you’ve said so! These things happen! But it’s still frustrating.
The thing is, I know what the podcast should sound like. Mine doesn’t sound like that. It doesn’t sound pro, it sounds like someone made it in their basement! Which is not what I’m going for.
But I need to give myself grace. Because this is something new to me, and I’m learning.
The same thing applies to you. Whatever business you’re in: running your own business is hard, direct sales is hard, and with technology and Facebook, the business is ever changing. It’s not like you get to join a company, and everything remains the same for a year. Things change on a dime, super-fast, especially in social media, and we need to keep up. But we also need to give ourselves grace to make the mistakes we need to as we learn.
So, don’t be so hard on yourself.
Because you know what, this is a technical issue! To resolve it, all I need is to understand the exact issue with the production, and make incremental changes as I record, and eventually, I’ll have professional sounding podcasts. I’ll sound the way I know I can.
The same thing applies to you.
I could have not published any of my podcasts in the last 2 months, and just waited until I got it perfect. If you had asked me 2 months ago how long it would take me to get everything sounding right, I wouldn’t have thought it would take 2 months. I’d have said, “Oh, a few days!” Which is exactly what most of us think about any of the issues we have with our business.
When we talk about going live, we say that we will when we have everything ready – because in our minds, we’ll be ready in a few days. But the truth is, it’s never a few days because there’s always something else.
I know the podcast helped a lot of retailers out there. You’ve told me it’s helped you. And I’ll tell you, that makes the lack of high production quality worth it for me. I’m still going to continue to try to get better and better because I want you to have the best sounding podcast I can give you, but I’m not going to waste time waiting until its perfect to give you content that you’ve asked for.
You should do the same for your customers. Think about the value that you do or could bring to your customers. If you don’t start now, start today, then you’re robbing them of the opportunity to have you impact their lives while you’re busy making everything “perfect.”
In 2 months I would have been here anyway. February 25th was going to be here one way or another. The question is, what will have happened in those last 2 months? I could have still been trying to figure it out, waiting to record and release my first podcast? Or I could be where I am now, with 6 under my belt.
What about you? Where will you be in 2 months if you started now?
Let’s take a chance today. Pick something you’ve been putting off – doesn’t have to be business related (but please make sure it’s not designing and implementing an experimental drug or medical device!), it can be with your business, could be personal, it could be anything. The only stipulation is that you must have it already planned, but keep waiting to pull the trigger because of just one more piece, one more item of information, one more (insert relevant word here). Just one more.
NOT TODAY MY FRIENDS!
Today you go out there – and you do it.
If it’s a spin class, DO IT. If you want to learn how to lift weights but have been waiting till you can afford that nifty new weight set, forget it, grab a couple of heavy books and start lifting.
Whatever it is, refuse to be held hostage to the misguided perspective that it needs to be perfect. It will never be perfect. But if you start now, it will be actualized.
And then ask yourself… if you start right now, today – and you do it consistently, whatever it is for you, where will you be in 2 months?
Come back and tell me!