Embrace Minimum Viable & Make Faster Progress in Your Business

Embrace Minimum Viable & Make Faster Progress in Your Business

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

P.S. I just launched my new course, the Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass.

This course equips you with practical and timeless mindset advice, along with the skills necessary to make your own way in the music business.

Right now, this course is available for just $9. But it won’t stay that way for long.

Click on the banner below to learn more NOW.

Entrepreneurial Essentials for Musicians Masterclass

How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

How to Overcome Perfectionism in Creativity

At times, I have wrestled with perfectionism.

And I know many people, even those in my inner circle, who struggle with perfectionism.

It’s okay to admit it. You’re in good company.

The question is – how can your overcome it? Can you reframe your perspective? See things from another point of view? Distinguish your fears or hang ups?

Here are three ways I’ve successfully overcome perfectionism.

Publish More

I have found one of the best ways to overcome perfectionism is to publish more.

Don’t like your voice? Record 100 podcast episodes and put them up on iTunes.

Don’t like how you look? Film 100 videos and upload them to YouTube.

Think your music sucks? Make 100 songs and distribute them through CD Baby.

I promise you will feel differently about your work if you just focus on creating and publishing for a while, without getting caught up in anything else.

I’m running a tight ship here on my blog these days, but trust me, when I was getting started, there was no form, no plan, and no intended audience. I just started writing. And my early posts are still in the archives for anyone to see.

Even though I’d had over a decade of experience building niche sites and building traffic to them, I still had to find my voice for this new undertaking.

Some will say one amazing piece of content is worth more than 100 pieces of terrible content. But what if you can’t get to that amazing piece until you’ve gone through the 100 terrible pieces first?

Trust me, all your heroes have practiced too.

If you really feel you need to create a spotless record, then publish under a pseudonym. You can always take the “greatest hits” and publish them under your real name or artist name.

One of the reasons you’re worried about perfectionism is because you haven’t published enough. Because when you publish frequently, you realize people don’t care that much anyway, and you were better off getting started yesterday to build some momentum.

One of the reasons you’re worried about perfectionism is because you haven’t published enough. Click To Tweet

Start with a Minimum Viable Product (MVP)

Lately, I’ve been working on a new website/membership platform. I’ve spoken elsewhere about this, but for whatever reason I kept putting it off even though it represented a great opportunity.

Sidebar, I’ve recognized that there’s a big difference between unfamiliar and uncomfortable. Unfamiliar is when you’re treading into unknown territory. Uncomfortable is when you don’t know how to act in a situation.

Distinguishing the two gave me access to something I didn’t have before. I started to see that I wasn’t uncomfortable building my new website. I was unfamiliar with the new platform. And I was kind of dreading having to learn new tech.

So, getting back to the point, we often feel like we should work on something until it’s perfect before the world ever sees it. It’s amazing how much this can slow you down.

Instead of trying to get everything perfect on my website, developing all the copy, getting the graphics to sit and look right, working on all the boring disclaimer pages, I just started blocking everything in.

Logo goes here. Menu goes there. This button leads to that page. And so on.

It wasn’t perfect. I knew I would need to adjust the size of the logo, swap out the typography, add more copy, flesh out the boring content pages, and more.

But I realized there was no need to put makeup on something that wasn’t even out there working for me.

I’d heard about starting with an MVP before. I just didn’t fully understand the wisdom in that until now.

If you start with the basics, you’ll be able to bring your project to market sooner, get feedback on it, and even start making money with it, if that’s your goal.

If you start with the basics, you’ll be able to bring your project to market sooner, get feedback on it, and even start making money with it, if that’s your goal. Click To Tweet

Plus, you can still make it better later. But that extra 20% of greatness probably won’t matter to most of your audience, and it probably won’t make your project that much more appealing either. Patreon CEO Jack Conte expressed similar sentiments with me regarding his musical efforts.

Remember How Good it Feels to Finish Something

Until you make the decision to get started, stay started, and remain started until something is finished, goals and to-do items are allowed to sit on your calendar indefinitely. And the longer they stay there, the more anxiety they can elicit. No wonder we begin resenting our own projects!

It has been my own experience that, over the years, I have not always been the best finisher of projects. I have started many, and many were completed. But I’m acutely aware of the books I have yet to complete, the music I have yet to release, the courses I have yet to launch, and more.

Sometimes I overestimate what I can do in a year. Other times, I just don’t prioritize well enough (remember the unfamiliar/uncomfortable distinction from earlier – it helps!).

In times like these, I try to remember how good it feels to finish something.

My biggest accomplishment in 2020 was launching my latest book, The Music Entrepreneur Code. Although I did complete other projects, the main reason I feel this was my biggest accomplishment is because though I teed up a bunch of other projects, I never finished them (hopefully, I’ve set myself up for an amazing 2021).

My second biggest accomplishment would be publishing daily since the end of July.

The point is that you can make finishing a habit. You can learn to focus on one thing at a time (recommended), and you can get in a powerful momentum cycle by doing so. Doesn’t that sound great?

You can make finishing a habit. You can learn to focus on one thing at a time, and you can get in a powerful momentum cycle by doing so. Click To Tweet

Just remember – it takes work and discipline.

Perfectionism, Final Thoughts

If there’s one thing I know about perfectionism, it’s that it can’t be overcome by sitting around and thinking about it. But it can be overcome by action.

So, the ultimate question is, what will you do next? What actions will you take today?

How have you overcome perfectionism? What has worked for you?

Let me know in the comments.

The Music Entrepreneur Code paperback

Shh… Don’t tell anyone. Only the cool kids are talking about it.

Get your copy of The Music Entrepreneur Code.