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  • Writer's pictureSarah Davis

Are you standing in your own way by being a perfectionist?

As small business owners, we are committed to creating, maintaining and growing a successful

business. However, perfectionism and making unhelpful comparisons, can hold us back from achieving our goals and potential.

For many of us, these feelings are particularly common when it comes to marketing and being visible in our business, causing stress and anxiety. So, why do these feelings occur and how can we get past them?

stressed woman

What is perfectionism?

Perfectionism is the aim or desire to make sure that everything is perfect, all of the time - but is being a perfectionist holding you back in your business?

'While setting high standards and aiming for success can help us deliver on our goals and improve performance, perfectionism can drive us toward impossible expectations’ (Thomson, 2019)'

Most of us have been brought up with the expectation to try our best, but some of us have taken that a step further. Whether it's as a result of pressure from parents or teachers, or a desire to match up with others in all areas of our lives, we have started to strive for standards that are unrealistic and unhealthy.

'Perfectionism is a complex characteristic that according to experts, can be adaptive (healthy, positive, functional) or maladaptive (unhealthy, negative, dysfunctional) (Stoeber, 2018, p. 22.)'

Striving to achieve perfection all of the time, is likely to have a negative impact on our mental and physical health, which ultimately is not good for us personally, or for our business.

What increases our desire to achieve perfection in our business?

Many factors can come into play here. They may include wanting to achieve the best for our clients or customers, struggling to pay our bills or the fear of failure if our business is not successful.

In more recent years, with the increase of social media posting and strategists talking about the importance of having an online presence and consistent visibility, it's natural to feel an element of pressure, as a business owner.

Add to this, the seemingly 'flawless' images, the meticulously edited videos and other examples of carefully crafted marketing that we are presented with online, it's no wonder that we may start to question whether we can match up.

Are the comparisons that we are making helpful and realistic?

Consider the bigger picture.

If we are solo business owners, does it make sense to compare our marketing with companies that have a team of hair and make-up artists, digital experts and marketing specialists?

While it’s important to be aware of our direct competitors, staying focused on our own business, being clear with our message, listening to and serving our ideal clients and having a plan for growth and development, are much bigger factors in ensuring that our business is a success.

Are our potential clients looking for perfection, or for human and relatable service and product providers, that will deliver what they've promised, with a personal and caring touch?

In reality, showing up as our authentic selves, perfectly imperfect, will help us to stand out from the crowd and help our ideal clients to find us.

How confident are you at showing up as yourself?

Many of the clients that I work with as a copywriter and a copy coach, struggle with their message clarity or confidence and how to reach their ideal clients.

I help them to strip away those barriers, so that their story can be told in a way that their ideal clients can relate to - natural, authentic and real.

If you’d like to know more about how I can help you to share your story, in a way that your ideal clients will relate to, see my website for more information.


What Is Perfectionism According to Psychology? 7 Examples

24 Sep 2021 by Jeremy Sutton, Ph.D. Scientifically reviewed by Jo Nash, Ph.D.


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