Procrastination by Perfectionism: is this Common Habit Killing Your Business?

July 31, 2017 - 19 Comments

You know you're not lazy. You're a hardworking entrenpreneur pursuing your goals. You just need to finish a few things first, before you can go live. It's just that your product is not quite ready yet...

If that's how you feel, you're not alone. Most entrepreneurs would tell you they haven't launched their product / service / website yet, because they feel like it's not complete yet. It's just not good enough.

In fact, perfectionism is probably the most common reasons among entrepreneurs for not shipping. But remember: your job is to ship.

In the latest episode of the ActiveGrowth podcast, we're discussing why perfectionism is standing in the way not just of your business but also of growing your skills.

As always, we filled this episode with practical, actionable advice that you can start following right after listening to us! 


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Episode Transcript 

Bonus Content

We have updated our companian course for this podcast series. You can now found the third lesson that includes all the action steps mentioned in the episode and some more helpful information.

If you have already signed up for the course, you can log in here. If not, take a moment to sign up here (it's free!):

In This Episode, You'll Discover:​

  • How your perfectionism can stop you from giving value to the world
  • Why procrastinating is actually more natural than becoming an entrepreneur
  • You're looking at the wrong numbers: what statistics can help you grow your business and what's just vanity metrics
  • The pottery class experiment and how to apply it to your life
  • What a qualified internet psychologist has to say about perfectionism
  • How to overcome your fear of failure
  • What the number one thing is that worked both for Hanne and Shane to get over perfectionism


What's Stopping You?

Do you ever put a project off because you're worried that the audience won't like the not-so-perfect outcome? Stop beating yourself up, you're completely normal and not alone. Join the conversation in the comments below and share your story with us! 

Want to be featured in our future podcast episodes? Leave us a quick voice message about your story and experience with the topic:

See you soon with the next episode!

About ​Alexandra Kozma

Alexandra is a traveling marketer. When she is not editing podcast episodes or writing blog posts, she's out there exploring a new city. She's the creator of the Morning Mindset daily mindfulness journal.

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  • This is a question I ask myself.. And here is the answer Yes I ll do it from inside.. Thank you.

  • cliveburns says:

    Brilliant. You are the Messiahs of internet marketing education and advice…..and I should know, I’ve followed a few :-)

    I’ve been a procrastinating perfectionist for years, a painful, unhealthy place to be and it’s comforting to learn that I haven’t been alone.

    These podcasts have really helped to give me reassurance, direction and actionable tools I’ve already started using to set goals, set KPIs and increase my productivity.

    I’m now excited to see where I’ll be 30 days from now thanks to the challenges I will be setting myself…..tick-tock, tick-tock :-)

    Keep up the great work at Active Growth and TT. Thanks very much!

    • Thank you very much, Clive!

      It’s great that you’re taking action like this and putting our advice to the test! I appreciate that very much and I’m sure it will be super valuable for you. I’d also love to hear back from you, to know how it’s working out, if there are new problems you encountered etc.

  • Lorenzo D says:

    The “who are you hurting by delaying the shipping?” is a really powerful angle. If you truly believe in what you are creating, and your intention is to benefit your customers, “who are you hurting” is an instant wake up call.

    I really enjoy this new in-depth series format. And I will sign up for the free course, as I know I will forget most of it if I don’t review it regularly. Providing a course to go with the podcasts is more than an addition, it is a value MULTIPLIER. It increases the likelihood that the lessons will actually be applied by at least 100%, probably more.

    I applaud your efforts, but I do wonder where exactly you plan to take this in terms of creating a paid product. Aren’t you violating your customer first approach by starting with loads and loads of excellent free content to generate interest and traffic in the hope that people will understand how much value you can provide (and perhaps reciprocate your good will with theirs, i.e. buying your stuff to reward your high quality)?

    But then, I suppose you already have a growing business (Thrive), so you can afford to take a little more time growing this one organically.

    • Thank you for your comment, Lorenzo!

      You’re right, this website is not a model for the customer first approach, at all. If I didn’t already have a “real” business, things would look different for sure.

      Right now, the ActiveGrowth site is two things: first, it’s a place for me to “do what I want”, create the content I want, share ideas when they come up etc. Second, it’s a place to experiment. So, we will be creating some premium products as well and we’ll be experimenting with ways to launch and sell them. But the goal isn’t so much to do the best possible thing or sell as much as possible as it is to experiment, learn and then report what we learned.

  • dustin.sedlacek says:

    How curious to know your take on how this approach would work with something that requires immense resources such as Adwords. I cannot just keep losing money in hopes for results.

    • My thinking on this is pretty simple: don’t spend resources you don’t have. For Thrive Themes, we spend a considerable amount on advertising, but we started using marketing channels that cost only time, not money. Time is something I could spend, but starting with ads would have burned through my budget too quickly.

      • Lorenzo D says:

        You know, there’s nothing that would be more useful to me right now than a series or episode about “marketing channels that cost time, not money”. This is the exact problem I have. I am creating an infoproduct which I’ll probably price in the range of 100-200$, and I’ll launch it as an MVP beta version for 50$ to start gaining some traction, getting feedback, testimonials etc asap. If I use PPC, a good landing page, and a free mini course that leads into the paid beta, it’s going to cost at the very least 1€ per lead, probably more. So 1000 leads, for say 1500€: I would need to convert at 3% just to break even. Not a risk you want to take when you don’t have another steady source of income.

        But how do I put the word out? It’s not something where individual coaching sessions would make sense. The value of the product is PRECISELY that it is a universally applicable method. Think of a training regimen like Convict Conditioning, or Enter the Kettlebell.

        So what do I do, that I can pay in time instead of money? I’d love to get an episode about that. Or two, or three. I suspect I’m not alone in that! :)

      • That’s an interesting suggestion, Lorenzo! I like this idea and will start writing down some notes about it.

      • Lorenzo D says:

        Thank you, looking forward to hearing more about it!

  • mccamy.karen says:

    Once again this was an incredibly helpful “lesson!”

    My “aha!” moment — of all the concepts you presented — was the “Shift Your Focus.” While it was being presented, I thought to myself, “It’s not about me!” ;-)

    It clicked more than any of the other concepts in this series have! Then and there I realized it was the ego, trying for perfection, getting in the way and stopping me from “shipping” (which in my case is finishing **anything** ! )

    It’s a true game-changer (for me, anyway) to shift my self-centered focus to those I am helping!

    Seems so obvious when someone else points this out! LoL!

    Thank you for this great lesson!

    [btw…if I could be a little nit-picky: both your website and the courses are not rendering properly on my iPhone 6; even the website is a little weird on my iPad Air. Just thought you might want to know, since so many people access things on mobile. I usually access on my full-size laptop, but when I’m on-the-go & have a few minutes to kill, I do like to review your podcast articles and courses. Thanks for listening! :-) ]

    • Thank you, Karen, I’m happy to hear that!

      Thanks for the note about stuff no looking right on your iphone and ipad. I’ll see if I can replicate the issue and fix it. :)

  • Great material. Super inspirational. Well researched. Love your honesty. Thanks for making this.

  • MichaelKatzmann says:

    Shane and Hanne you are amazing!

    Compared to all the other marketing podcast, they give actinable steps. And I underline STEPS, cause most podcasts are overwhelming you with the latest sh*t and I had the feeling of always beeing behind something.

    This here is different. From the first episode on, I followed the steps and aquired my first paying coaching client. Only one, but this feels amazing and it brings a) Money and b)extremly valuebale information on how to create my next online course and my contant marketing.

    My next step is to make public speaking (thanks Hanna) and will talk about something everybody gave me feedback (on my blog and while helping people for free). I took the next steps, opened an event bride event wrote to a couple of cowering spaces (and got onto there huge mailing lists) and in October I got my fist speaking gig. Yeahhh :).

    This podcast is a must listen to everybody who wanna get things done and get out of the “you gonna be rich with traffic on youtube, Blogging, adsense … and so on.

    About the free online course. I think it is great and a big help + an USP compared to all the other podcasts.

    It indeed helps me, to not re listen all episodes and give me the most important steps on one platform. Great work!

    However, I am asking myself why everybody is doing podcasting and what your overall goal is in doing that…

    But this is secondary. I can t wait for the next episode

    Thanks Shane and Hanna!

    • Thank you very much, Michael! That’s super encouraging to hear! And congrats on getting your first coaching client. And double congrats on the speaking gig. :)

      Looks like you’re really running with these ideas and that means a lot to us.

      Why everyone is doing podcasting: I have a theory about this. I think there are two things that make podcasting very attractive. The first is that podcasts are easy to create, especially the kinds of podcasts that are being mass produced. Like, the type of “interview an expert every week and ask the exact same questions” podcast. You barely have to be conscious to create content like that. The second is that podcasts are consumed in large amounts, passively. As a result, the vanity metrics of a podcast easily look really good. It’s much easier to create a podcast that gets 100 downloads a day than a website that gets 100 visitors a day.

      Of course, those 100 downloads a day may be worthless, but vanity metrics are always alluring.

  • Dennis Ostberg says:

    Thanks for a great podcast, Shane!

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