What is Professional Perfectionism?
Professional perfectionism is still perfectionism in the same sense. But I want to address it specifically in the professional sector of life. Professional perfectionism may hold you back from going forward with your ideas and goals because everything is not quite in place. This can be exceptionally true for new entrepreneurs, in my experience.
Professional Perfectionism Obstacles
When experiencing this in relation to your job or venture, it may be hard to actually start a project. The majority of your time may be spent planning and brainstorming instead of executing. Execution is the action needed so all things can come to existence. Not to say planning isn’t important. But when you’re spending months planning with little actually coming from it, there might be an issue there.
Perfectionism in general isn’t a particularly easy aspect to completely forgo. This biggest fallout is unfinished projects or projects that are never started at all. Hours may be spend sketching out steps from beginning to end but the steps are never taken.
My Professional Perfectionism Experience
I deal with perfectionism in general. Perfectionism spans my academic and professional life. Specifically in my professional life it has hindered my ventures and my personal development as a developer. I’ve had grand plans that ultimately amounted to nothing for a long time until I was able to find a way to execute. At other times the odds were in my favor and I was pushed to start.
My web development freelance was a push project. I had thought about it. A domain was purchased and a basic resume site was built. But I did not seek out any work. I did not feel ready, I didn’t have enough projects in my portfolio, I worried if I had enough time in general. This went on for about a year. In January of 2017 I had a nerve wracking push.
A previous roommate had contacted me about doing some web design work for her boss and instructed me to send a resume if I was interested. The project was to use a site builder so I wasn’t as intimidated as I could of been. I scrambled to refine and update my resume site that had sat there for months, untouched and sent off my newly created resume.
Almost simultaneously my sister had recommended me to her boss to redesign their company website. This one would be WordPress. I figured if I didn’t get the first offer, I’d probably get this one. They were looking for an updated feel with the same basic content structure.
In the end I got both and that really kick started me in developing my personal brand through social media, my blog, and my website.
This venture is a classic example of too much planning not enough doing. It started with origami stars that hold affirmations. I sat around created the blog and affirmation after affirmation. But still the store was not open. I bought different paper and jars to hold them in. I setup all the social media and email. But still the store was not open. I gave testers to friends and family. I tested shipping practices. I created more sayings. I bought patterned paper. But still the store was not open. I made stars ahead of time in preparation for orders. But still, the store was not open.
When the store did open, the origami stars were not even the main product because things change. It ended up being pinback buttons. I hemmed and hawed about what designs to make. But I recognized myself about to be in the same exact path. I didn’t want to waste another 7 months with no results. So I put up 6 different individual buttons. The pictures were not perfect. The prices weren’t perfect. But it was done. And some sold! And through execution I was able to refine my process and my products.
Execution Makes Perfection, Not Planning
Here is what I can offer from observing other and through experiences of my own. Planning is good. Do not forgo solid useful planning. I find I often have feelings of grandeur. If I launch and get 5 clients right away what will I do? Am I ready? If I stock 5 products and someone wants more options or a custom order, what will I do? Am I ready?
But the truth is, handle those on a case by case basis. Do not make an exception a rule. Start small and handle what comes along. You may need to reject a client or prolong a custom order. But at lease you’re executing. And when you’re executing you’re learning and improving. You tend to learn very little strictly with planning (and no research).
Being able to practice your methods and processes will allow you to improve them over time.
Throughout the year that I’ve had my freelance and Etsy store I’ve been able to refine the following items through practice. As I operate currently I make note of what is not efficient or what could be improved and do so for the next client / product.
- Scope Documents
- Additional Information Documents
- Social Media
- Ticketing System
- Product Photography
- Photoshop templates and patterns
- Product Packaging
- Sales / Coupons
- Social Media
- Product Creation
And there’s still more I know needs to be accomplished!
If nothing else, I encourage you to put what you do out there. Learning by trial can be one of the best ways to obtain and refine processes within your company or your life. That’s not to say your perfectionist nature won’t rear it’s head. But once you’re over that initial hump and you start to improve upon yourself, it will become much easier to deal with.
If you have any questions or comments, don’t be afraid to reach out! Post your comment below or contact me!