Ideas are instantaneous. Businesses are built over time.
We all have dreams and these dreams are utter perfection. But dreams do not become reality overnight. The process of making a dream a reality is littered with missteps and sideways detours, revisions and false starts. It’s filled with dirty brushes and taxes and ticket sales and craft services. It takes a long time for the reality to measure up to that dream in your head. And this fact stops many of us in our tracks.
What if done is better than perfect? The hope of attaining perfection is at the heart of my personal procrastination. It is responsible for the death of many ideas that could have been made into art or businesses that could have changed the way we look at the world. We are misled by glossy images and stories of overnight success. The overnight success is the aberration. Most cases of overnight success are really just cases of overnight discovery.
Learning how to build a business around your art or idea is a process. It’s not much different from how you came to be an artist or an idea-maker. When you first learned to draw or dance or act or program or design, your skills were pretty raw. Think of all the awkward home videos from your youth or the tales of the icons of technology spending hours tinkering in their garages. Yet we assume that we should be born knowing how to manifest our ideas. The truth is that by the time that successful artist, entrepreneur or business comes to widespread public recognition, their products, their promotional materials, their business models have gone through an overwhelming number of revisions. If there was video available of those first years of bringing these ideas to reality, it would look a lot like those awkward home videos from your youth.
It really is okay to begin at the beginning, to start at the start, to pre-launch without all the pieces settled or to try out your ideas publicly. It is okay to let people see your process when you are just beginning to formulate your art or business rather than hiding your work until you feel you have it perfected, or worse, not ever showing your work to anyone. The key is to begin. One foot in front of the other, learning as you go.
You may feel like you are just beginning for a long time. Then one day you will find that you have built something real. Then if you are really lucky you, too, will be discovered and given the title of “overnight success.” When that happens, remind yourself of the journey and congratulate yourself for having the courage to show your unfinished work to the world.
There. I’ve said my piece. I apologize if it’s a little rough. But done is better than perfect.