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As creatives and creators, we often give way to perfectionism.
And perfectionism, in a word, is “fear.” Mostly the fear of looking bad.
This fear can easily prolong the process of creation and have us neglecting the important work of publishing.
The Important Work of Publishing
Publishing is where the rubber meets the road. It’s what validates our existence as creators, more so than even projects.Publishing is where the rubber meets the road. Click To Tweet
Here’s the thing about publishing. Hitting that “publish” button for the first time can be scary. And the second time can still be quite scary. But the more we do it, the less scary it becomes.
Oftentimes, the reason a creator fears publishing is because they are not in that momentum.
Making Your Minimum Viable Product
Although this reframe is important, what I’m asking here still isn’t easy and I know that.
A Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is a lo-fi, basement demo, homespun version of your work. It’s the 80% that matters, versus the extra 20% of polish that would make you feel better but might not make the slightest bit of difference for your audience.
The 20% is where creators end up wasting a lot of time. Making a better logo. Optimizing a landing page. Choosing the right fonts and colors. Versus putting lo-fi elements into place until there’s a need for something better (and many times you will discover there is no need for something better!).
Examples of MVPs
I have several examples of MVPs that, to my surprise, ended up doing quite well:
- Fire Your God. Out of all my musical releases, this is the one that gets the biggest reaction, and it was the most amateurish. It started out as a project called Demos 2010, if that gives you any idea.
- The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship. I turned a long-form free guide into a book by editing and adding a little bit of content to it. I received no backlash whatsoever, and in fact, people ended up loving the book.
- The Essential Guide to Creative Entrepreneurship. I wrote most of the manuscript for this book in two months. Like The Essential Guide to Music Entrepreneurship, it’s basically a handbook, but it still ended up becoming a best-seller.
Downsides to MVPs
Am I saying there are no downsides to MVPs? No.
For instance, if you create an infoproduct, and your first customers come back to you and say, “I paid too much for this,” or “I know all this already,” you might not feel all that good about the situation.
By the way, this happened to me.
But what matters is how you deal with a situation like that. My customers didn’t end up demanding a refund because I was willing to interact with them and share some of the reasons why the product had turned out the way it did. Customer support for the win!
Upsides of MVPs
The great thing about an MVP is that you can launch it to your audience, gather some feedback, and then make some improvements. In some cases, you will find that you receive little to no feedback, and therefore do not need to make any improvements!
Basically, you can begin making an independent income, and more importantly, an impact, sooner.
And if your product just isn’t compelling, isn’t the right fit, or wasn’t destined for massive success, you’d also know sooner. And that means you can go back to the drawing board sooner, too.
There will always be the temptation to approach your business like an artist. I’m not saying that’s wrong. But when it comes to the important work of making an income, you might need to set the artist hat down, even if just temporarily, so you can put your business hat on and approach product development from a different angle. After all, no money, no mission.
Try minimum viable for yourself and see how it feels. Real-world experience is important. Likely you will see that you can get things done much faster when you don’t obsess about the small details that may not even matter, and which you can improve later anyway.
What’s holding you back from embracing minimum viable?
Let me know in the comments.
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