Are you a perfectionist by nature? I certainly am, and for much of my life, that’s served me very well. My wife is also a perfectionist. If someone did a study of all entrepreneurs, I think that study would so the majority of them have perfectionist tendencies.
Perfectionism is that little thing inside of you that strives to do a better job. That goes for school, work, and life in general. Certainly it can be a tool for good. If you are or know a perfectionist, you know exactly what I mean.
But in working with my wife with her small business, I’ve definitely noticed there definitely is a dark side to perfectionism.
Perfectionism Is Your Enemy
1. Perfectionism feeds your self-criticism.
A degree of self-criticism can be a good thing, of course. Often it is. But in many cases, people will criticize their work to a degree that it becomes a deterrent to completing the work. Whether it is a new idea to try for your direct sales business (or your wife’s) or an idea for a new business entirely. This type of hyper-criticism is discouraging. The whole thing can snowball and get out of hand. Keep this dark side of perfectionism in check intentionally. Seek wise counsel in a trusted friend to get perspective on whether the criticism is warranted. Most of the time it’s not. So push through. Be careful about “stepping back” from the project because often this will kill your momentum.
2. Perfectionism keeps you from “shipping.”
The most successful ideas and products are ones that actually “ship.” You can have the greatest idea in the world for your small business, but if it never makes it to market, then all it will ever be is equal to all the other ideas that never came to fruition. I used to have an issue with this. I would start something and then tweak it and tweak it ad nauseum until finally, I’d just drop it. For me it tended to be artistic endeavors. Blogging could easily fall into that sinkhole if I let it.
Don’t let some idea that the final product has to be “perfect” keep you from releasing your idea, art, business, etc. out into the wild. Often the only way you’re going to know how to make the idea truly better is to put it into action in the first place.
3. Perfectionism keeps you from even starting!
After a few experiences with numbers 1 & 2 above, how often do perfectionists decide to interrupt the process and nix an idea early “just because.” Maybe there’s an initial effort, but then the project, idea, or whatever never makes it past the “idea book” because the perfectionist just doesn’t think they can get it done. It’s pretty sad if you think about it.
How does this fit in with direct sales?
Every direct sales business and consultant runs things differently, of course. But with my wife’s direct sales business involvement, I most often see this on the creative side of the business. Holley has great ideas for increasing her personal sales, bookings, and recruiting. Even in team leadership activities. But I often see her talk herself out of great ideas. Or take it to a certain point and then let it languish.
How can the direct sales husband help?
This is a specific area that I can see an active, engaged direct sales husband being a huge benefit to his wife and her business. Counteract the self-criticism with encouragement and praise. Encourage her to release her idea out into the world, even if it’s still a little bit “raw.” Step in and help when it looks like things might be getting bogged-down.