This Characteristic is Keeping You from Achieving Your Best (And it’s Not Fear!)

Updated: Jul 21, 2020

The real reason you haven’t gone full time with your side hustle - or even started it

Doing anything new or something that strays from the conventional path of life can be scary, but fear isn't the greatest saboteur when it comes to starting your side hustle; it's actually perfectionism.

Some people consider perfectionism a positive trait. It sounds good, but the truth is that perfectionism is an idea and an impossible standard to live up to. “Perfect” is fragile; one wrong step, one little crack and the whole facade comes down. We all want to be great at what we do - I want to be help others create a career and life that lights them up - but how many times do we get bogged down with the details that nothing happens?

I'll be the first person to raise my hand and say that I suffer from this! I've been so afraid to launch an imperfect product like a rebranded It's Me Kimber site that I've put that project on hold for over a year, waiting until I had enough time to get it just right. Well, wake up call for anyone who needs to hear this: there's NEVER going to be a right time.

Did anyone predict that 2020 would be the quarantined mess that it is? Nope! Did I find myself wishing that I'd focused on my online content before? Yep!

Even one month into the pandemic, I felt that I'd already "missed the boat" to capitalize on online sales, cheap Facebook ads and list building. Major facepalm! Instead of focusing on creating valuable content for my community - a community which I've completely abandoned on Instagram because - yeah you guessed it - I was trying to put out only perfect content and that's a HUGE time suck.

And hey this isn't the first - or last - time that I've hindered myself with my perfectionism. If you have any sort of side hustle or solopreneur business, I can see you nodding along. What have you been procrastinating on because it's not perfect yet? Leave me a comment below.

Luckily, it's not all doom and gloom for us perfectionists. I'm writing this post from my bed in Mexico City in the 4th month of COVID aka I could see this as "wow Kimber, you're still late to the game" or "wow Kimber, you're sharing a relatable story of encouragement." I'm seeing this as the latter.

Perfectionism will be a timeless struggle for us all, but it starts with a mindset change. Whether you are waiting on the perfect business idea, the perfect time or the perfect situation to start, realize that perfection is an unattainable standard, and it's holding you back! Instead of perfect, aim for progress. (Hello to any of my Marie Forleo fans!) And in order to progress, you have to do what? Start! I know, I know, easier said than done, so here are my 3 tips for kicking perfection's cute booty to the curb.

focus on baby steps

Small actions can get the momentum going. Take the initiative and complete one task on your to-do list. Maybe that first task is to create a to-do list! Whatever it is, any accomplishment, big or small, will bolster your commitment to your own success.

Going back to the It's Me Kimber rebrand, I broke that project down into chunks - hire a brand designer, create a master list of blogs I wanted to write, edit the backlog of photos I have, etc. This way I won't get overwhelmed and am moving toward getting a product together.

TIP: There's nothing like hiring someone aka paying someone who isn't you out of your pocket to light a fire under your ass to get things started.

identify frequent stumbling blocks

Maybe you have a problem area that catches you and discourages you from diving in 100%. Identify those stumbling blocks which are usually the weakest parts of your business along with your strengths. Write these things down into two columns, so you can see them side by side. Now get brainstorming. How can your strengths offset your perfectionism problems? How can they work with each other to create a cohesive solution? You are more than equipped to come up with creative solutions to any “imperfect” areas. You are an entrepreneur after all, this is what you do!

Real life example time. My biggest stumbling block is time. If it comes down to writing social media calendars for a paying client or for myself, the client is always going to win. My solution? Make myself a paying client too! I pay myself a retainer which goes toward a fun goal - buying beachfront property in Mexico - if I hit all my deliverables for that month.

keep yourself accountable

Find inspiration to kick your perfection habit by joining a groups of like-minded entrepreneurs. Link up with an online or IRL group in your industry. Make goals and tell them all about it for extra accountability. These groups are filled with people who have grappled with the same problems you are facing right now and made it to the other side. Don’t be shy in asking for advice or ideas.

For me, I'm a member of a female Mexico City expat group led by my friend Claire Sellers that meets weekly for personal and professional discussions.

Tip: Search Facebook for private groups that offer supportive communities. Shameless plug, The Expat Entrepreneur is a great place to start.

In the end, an perfectly imperfect entrepreneur takes their stumbling blocks - including perfectionism - and builds a better, stronger end result. They aren’t slowed down by less than ideal circumstances but are energized with the opportunity to innovate. My personal journey with It's Me Kimber has shown me that the wait for “perfect” is an endless one.

Instead of setting yourself up for the perfect failure, take the leap! Trust yourself, make constant progress and embrace your beautiful imperfection.

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I'm Kimber:
Former digital nomad now expat entrepreneur living in Mexico City
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