Is perfect important? The killer of good ideas.

You want your work to be amazing. We all do. But if you strive to reach perfection, you're not only more likely to fail; you're missing out on the powerful side effects of releasing when it's done enough.

Perfect is the killer of good ideas

Stop and think why perfection is often cited as the killer of creativity in the design industry (and, therefore, ideas). You can probably come up with the answer yourself.

It's because you'll spend so much time and energy on that last bit of work. Pushing and prodding and reworking it until it's is just right (to you).

The amount of time wasted on perfecting work after most of the work is actually done is where good ideas fizzle.

Chris Do from thefutur has an amazing video about perfectionism in the design community you should check out.

YouTube video

What sort of perfect do you seek?

Or, in other words... what needs to be perfect? Is it the copy? The onboarding flow? The minimalism? Colors? Typography?


Identify why you want perfection; fix it

Why are you trying to obtain perfection? Do you think it is because your potential customers demand it? Or is the competition powerful? (Side note: check out your strongest competitor and ask yourself if they seem perfect to you).

Guess what. Perfect isn't obtainable; your customers don't actually demand perfect -- and you should not strive to reach an impossible goal.

Why you should not try to be perfect

You do want to finish your idea and bring your work to help people, right? Perfect is a hurdle you must learn to jump.

Complete your work faster

Although not technically working faster, but getting it "done" faster. When your work is ready, and you feel that itch to keep working on it anyway -- release it. Let it out there. Unless you're in a field where it's vital to reach a nearly perfect threshold (medical perhaps), that last 10% left undone is actually going to benefit you.

Not only will you be "done," but you're now open for business and the feedback that comes with it. Plus, you won't have to figure out ways to remain persistent

Let the market show you

Now that you have put your work out there, the market will tell you if it is perfect enough. If not, you will get feedback about the areas you need to fix.

If it is, you'll get the praise you may not have expected -- since you released it early in your mind. This leads to the question you should be asking yourself, "who's definition of perfection was I seeking?"

Who's idea of perfection?

Chances are you were seeking your own idea of perfection. You may even have fooled yourself into believing it wasn't your perfectionism but was really what your target audience wanted.

But here's the thing. Just like opinions, everyone's perfect is different -- even if similar. So who's idea of perfection are you striving for when you delay your product's release to keep making "just one more" improvement.

There is another exciting reason for not holding onto your work until you think it is perfect; proof you're human too.

Let your vulnerability show

By releasing your work when it is done enough, you'll inevitably have parts you're worried about. Things that don't execute just the way you want. Colors that aren't shaded precisely right. A certain function is only half-done.

While these expose you to criticism, they also expose you to the hearts of your target market. So long as your product/service functions well, the weaknesses are areas you're ready to improve. Your audience will help you prioritize what to do next.

Empower your fans

Speaking of prioritizing what to do next. I suggest you use the opportunity to gain some super fans. Look out for the ones who engage with you the most.

Reward them. Spoil them.

In turn, they will shout your work from the rooftops -- that is, they'll talk about you in their circles. And they'll talk good about you.

There's almost nothing better than a person who is ultra-satisfied with your work, eager, and actively engaging with your brand.

They'll help you grow your market share -- the mind share of audiences you probably wouldn't have easily reached without them.

So be ready to empower them. If you have the means, give them tools to help them. Maybe even create an affiliate program and share revenue with them. It's good business sense to nurture these relationships.

But do be careful not to become a "yes!" Person. Please don't take on their every wish. It is still your work, not theirs.

Action plan

To break away from the allure of perfect:

  • make a list of what you want to accomplish for your users
  • The moment your idea can support your users, release it
  • Follow the feedback to find what you should work to improve your work for them

That's it. Here's to your success. Now get that product/service out there!