The too-fast entrepreneur
The too-fast entrepreneur is like a kid in a candy shop. They blog, send emails, hire SEO for their website, start an affiliate program, are writing an e-book and crafting an e-course. They’ve tried advertising; they intend to hire a PR consultant. They are busy busy busy to get it all done yesterday.
The too-fast entrepreneur doesn’t slow down enough to give any one thing a fair go. The too-fast entrepreneur doesn’t collect data, measure any of their marketing efforts or analyse results. They are busy building a tribe of people but this too is done in fits and starts so their tribe is a bit confused and doesn’t really take them seriously.
Scarcity and fear
The too-fast entrepreneur is often motivated by scarcity and fear. They are in a rush because they fear there is a limited number of clients who are just this moment frequenting their competitors’ businesses.
We all suffer from fear of scarcity from time to time. But letting this fear motivate you in business will result in furious activity, constant changes in your direction and a whole lot of effort for few results.
The too-slow entrepreneur
The too-slow entrepreneur doesn’t like to call themselves an entrepreneur. They read a lot of business books and articles, take heaps of courses and have extensive training. They are planning, planning, planning, and waiting for the moment to be right.
The too-slow entrepreneur is keen to craft a perfect marketing plan with which to create the just-right impression. Problem is, they’re stuck in ‘analysis paralysis’. Too much thinking has rendered them immobile.
The cult of perfect
The too-slow entrepreneur is in the grips of the cult of perfect. They know they need to:
a) Wake at 5am
b) Meditate for an hour
c) Visualise their goals
d) Stay steadfast to their vision
e) Etc, etc….
But what’s a normal person to do? You know, someone who likes to sleep in, intends to lose the last five kilos (just as soon as the Easter chocolate is all finished), and make $100,000 a year in their own business (just as soon as they make $50,000 for the first time)?
Let’s smash the cult of perfect, please.
We are imperfect, we have limited hours in the day. Saving your greatness until the planets align and everything is perfect does nobody any good – not your clients waiting for you to step up to your talents, not you, whose esteem shrinks the more you think needs doing before you can launch, and not the potential people whose lives would be transformed, if only you would launch.
Becoming a professor
The moral to this story is the wisdom of the middle path. But you knew that already, didn’t you?
The too-fast entrepreneur slows down enough to properly implement, be consistent, review and analyse, tweak and improve. The too-slow entrepreneur makes peace with their imperfections and finally launches.
The middle path is the path of the professor, who dons her white coat, plucks out her magnifying glass and buys a plot in experimentation city.
All businesses have professors. Yes, big business too. Products get recalled every day of the year; services are folded into something better; brands are sold, or re-vitalised and re-launched.
To err is human
Part of experimentation is the possibility of failure. As Coleman Hawkins puts it, “If you don’t make mistakes, you aren’t really trying.” Experimentation carries the risk of making mistakes, but these mistakes are minimal. Mistakes are part of life, and therefore, part of business. What the professor seeks to do is ‘fail fast’ so that they may correct course, and start over.
We want to be useful to the world and we want to give something of value. So we must experiment with our products, our pricing and our positioning.
But experimenting does not give you permission to be haphazard or thoughtless. Experimenting in business is being obsessive over being of service to our ideal clients. When we are stuck in our heads, we cannot be of service because we’re seeing through our eyes only. Even as we tie ourselves in knots trying to anticipate or empathise with our target audience, it is not until we launch that we get real-time, real-life feedback. There is no other way.