Are You Suffering from “Entrepreneurial Perfectionism Syndrome”?

With all the serious blog posts about resumes and interviewing tips lately, today I decided to share a personal story. I have a feeling many young entrepreneurs have experienced something similar.

I had a bit of an emotional melt-down this week. It was one of those weird mid-twenties moments where you feel the need to evaluate your life from every aspect.  Your career.  Your relationship. Your financial situation. Not sure where the hell this came from, but it came and hit me hard.

So I called my two most influential personal advisers: my parents.  And I made them take me out to dinner because it is way cheaper than therapy. 

My parents are very successful entrepreneurs.  They’ve worked together as a couple their whole career.  Somehow they are still very happily married after 27 years.  They are the masters at “making shit happen.” 

My Dad provided me one very clear takeaway which was so simple, yet so huge:

Stop getting so caught up in all the details.

Huh? !

So then I’m like, “Yeah whatever Dad.  Anyways, here’s an idea I want to put into play in my business…(enter detail, after detail, after detail).” And he kept interrupting. And I was annoyed.  And then after interruption 179, I started to see what he meant.

He broke everything down into SIMPLE action steps.  He’d say, “Write this down!” and tell me 3 things to do this week, instead of the 50 on my list.

My Dad was lucky enough to graduate high school.  Yet I’d bet money that he is a better business man than most MBA’s out there.  Why?  Because he keeps it simple.  Now I see why they say that people who get C’s rule the world.  They don’t overthink everything. 

His advice?

  • Not sure how much to charge for a product or service?  Pick a number and adjust from there.
  • Want to start making freelance income?  Then do it, don’t just read about it.
  • Not sure about all the details of what your clients might need?  Ask the 100’s people that email you every week-  they’re right in front of you! Then start taking on clients and adjust from there.
  • You are already in business but you’re too busy thinking about it to notice it.

Perfectionism is an entrepreneur’s death sentence. 

Shit.  This must be why I’ve started several projects but rarely finish them because I always find something to improve, analyze or change.  Um hello- have you ever heard of version 1?  You can always make version 2, 3 and 4 of your product or service later. 

My “entrepreneurial perfectionism syndrome” theory is seconded in this awesome post about perfectionsim on Zen Habits.

What do you think?

  • Are psychological barriers holding you back from your entrepreneurial aspirations? 
  • Is it really a lack of education or is it a lack of simplicity? 
  • Are you trying to re-invent the wheel rather than trying something simple and seeing how it goes?
  • One of my trusted advisors (@mattchevy) recently taught me, “start small, think big.”  What order are you thinking in? Big or small first?

Nicole Emerick

Nicole Emerick founded Ms. Career Girl in 2008 to help other ambitious young professional women thrive in a career they love. Ironically, growing MsCareerGirl helped Nicole transition her own career from commercial banker to digital marketer. Today Nicole leads the social media team at a large advertising agency in Chicago. Nicole also served as an adjunct professor at DePaul University where she helped develop the careers of PR, Advertising and Communications students. Tweet with Nicole @_NicoleEmerick.

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