Makers: Stop Perfecting, Start Shipping

Dear maker, developer, bootstrapper or entrepreneur: I urge you to stop perfecting your product.

Chances are, that if you’re reading this, that you are working on some (digital) product or service.

You’re writing, coding, defining or putting together your product with the intention for it to create enough value for its users so that they want to pay you for it, right?

Let me tell you something right now, right from the bat: as long as you’re building your product, and not shipping it, you’re not earning a single dime. The longer it takes for you to ship, the less you’re going to gain from your product.

Here Come The Buts

But I’m still finishing it.
But I’m figuring out the right name and logo.
But I want to just add feature X or Y before shipping.
But I’m refining the looks a little bit so it will be cleaner before it goes live.
But I don’t have the “forgot your password” function included yet.

The list goes on and on.

Buts don’t earn you revenue.
Stop perfecting. Stop the but this, but that. Butts don't sell squad.
Buts won’t get you revenue. 🙅🏻‍♂️ 
(image: Cards Against Humanity from Noun Project)

As long as you’re not putting your product out there you’re not earning money.

And since time keeps on passing, and other makers, companies and future competitors keep on going forward as well, the chances of you earning your buck is getting slimmer with each day, week or month that you’re holding out on shipping your product.

I Get That Urge To Perfect

As a maker myself, I get the urge you’re experiencing to make your product just that little bit better or only this much smoother.

I mean, you’ve been working on it, hard.

Like many evenings and weekends not enjoying yourself hard.

You’ve said “no” to family, friends and even the Devils own tool Netflix just to get where you are today.

In the end, there is no product validation like real user validation.

And it’s YOUR product we’re talking about, right? It’s your name that is going to be associated with it, once it’s going to be thrown into the deep end, featured on websites or launched with all your guns blazing on Product Hunt or Hacker News.

In your mind, you’re already thinking about all those internet trolls that are preparing their vile diminishing words.

Sharpening their critiques in the hellfire that they are living in, just to throw them at you and your product as soon as its bytes hit the ground.

Stop worrying about your name. Stop thinking about what negativity might come upon you.

Stop perfecting. Internet trolls will find a reason to pick on you anyway. Just focus on the people that gain value from your product.
Internet trolls ready to namecall.
(image: Justin Blake from Noun Project)

Focus on the important thing, stop perfecting, and go for the value that your product will bring to its users by shipping.

It’s An Utopia

Just like perfection itself, that imaginary scenario of how your product is going to be embraced, perceived or even used is not real. It’s an image inside your head that is never going to happen.

You’ll miss your aim if you keep getting distracted.
(image: Dan Hetteix from Noun Project)

And while you’re working on trying to reach that imaginary state of perfection, you’re losing time. Dearly.

All that time you’re spending on refining your product could have been generating user feedback, insights and lessons. Lessons that you couldn’t have possibly found out by working from your laptop till three AM in the morning.

Because in the end, there is no product validation like real user validation.

There Are Many Ways To Not Ship Product

As I’ve talked about in a previous post of, I’ve experienced the struggle for myself.

It takes a fool to know one is what comes to my mind when I’m thinking about that. And yes, I’m admitting that I was a fool to prevent myself from shipping.
Some things are hard when you’re going through life as a maker, a product developer, or simply an entrepreneur that is trying to create viable products. But excepting that I was hiding behind the process was perhaps one of the hardest things to do.

Stop Perfecting. Procrastination is deadly for product creation
Stop Perfecting; it is deadly for product creation
(image: corpus delicti from Noun Project)

Once I got my head around this, It set me free. I finally see now, that in order to make sure that you provide true value for your users, your target audience, and your customers.

Stop perfecting and start shipping is just one of those mindset creating rules, that have been etched into my mind now. And every time I’m

Eating My Own Dog Food

I could have easily put out a vlog version where I’d be talking about this that looks a lot better than the one that is accompanying this post.

But I decided not to go for that. Because it would cost me time and wouldn’t help me towards finding out if it provides you with value.

I decided not to refine my vlog post, and show you the original version that was shot at the beginning of the Winter of 2018.

As long as you’re building your product, and not shipping it, you’re not earning a single dime. The longer it takes for you to ship, the less you’re going to earn on it

It was the most real thing to do, and practicing what you preach is what will make real from my side of the table.

Now take a drink from the fridge or set that mighty cup of coffee and start working towards shipping your product.

Don’t make it scalable. Leave the CSS files as they are (they’re fine for version 0.9!). Stop perfecting your product into something that will never meet your expectations.

If nothing else, I hope by now, you’ll at least know the motivation behind this site’s credo:

Code Hard, Ship Harder

Originally published at Shipharder.