At the end of the day, I was wrong.
I knew better.
Recently, I’ve been reflecting on some of my own shortcomings as a writer, editor, and small business owner. In nearly all cases, I made mistakes even though I completely knew better.
For example, I recently gave several Zoom presentations about various topics. I had typos in two of my slideshows. Why? Haha, because I didn’t take the time to proofread my work.
As another example, just check out my digital marketing. I haven’t written a blog in more than two months, and my social media content has been far from consistent.
Why do I do these things? I know the value of presenting a strong professional image and delivering consistent marketing. I do this for my clients all the time. Yet, I can’t seem to make my own business a priority.
On the surface, it’s easy to say, “I’ve been focusing on client work. I don’t have time for my own marketing.” However, if I’m really being honest with myself, that is just an excuse.
As I dive a little deeper, I realize there is something far greater at stake: the idea that I have to be perfect.
As an editor, writer, and writing coach, I have created this image in my head that I shouldn’t publish anything if it’s not absolutely perfect. I know all of the rules, and if I don’t follow them to the “T,” I consider the work a failure.
I’ve been thinking about this concept all day, and at the end of the day, it finally dawned on me that I was wrong.
Tyler J. McCall says it beautifully, “People want to do business with people . . . not brands.” People want to connect with people.
As I reflected on this concept, I began to realize that imperfection opens the door for connection. Now, I’m not saying that we shouldn’t proofread our work and put our best foot forward. That is absolutely important. After all, there is a difference between giving grace for imperfections and just being lazy.
BUT . . . we also need to be willing to give what we have, even if it is less than perfect. It’s so easy to look at the “big box brands” and think that they are setting the standard for content creation. Their videos, social posts, and blogs are curated and “perfect” every single time. Yet, there is something very impersonal about their efforts.
I’ll be honest . . . I don’t follow many of my favorite brands on social media, nor do I subscribe to their newsletters. Why? Their content is BORING. I see tons of perfect photos and info about upcoming sales, but I learn nothing about the company. I don’t feel like I’m a part of someone’s life. I don’t get to hear their story. I just see one ad after another.
As small to medium size businesses, we need to let go of this idea that everything we produce is meant to be perfect. Instead, everything we produce needs to tell our story. We need to let our readers know that we care about them, and we need to be willing to be a little bit vulnerable.
Maybe our blogs won’t always be 1000-word primary source documents that engage thousands of readers. Maybe our social media posts will be a bit quirky. You know what? That’s okay. In the end, people will be far more likely to value our brand for what it is rather than what it is not.
I love this quote from Pat Parelli:
“It’s better to be first with room to improve than to wait until everything is perfect and be last.”
Believe it or not, there is beauty in imperfection. People appreciate imperfection because they can relate to it.
If we want to build brands that leave an impact on the world around us, we need to start focusing on creating deeper connections rather than creating perfect content. Only then will we connect with people and change the world.
After all, isn’t that the reason we went into business in the first place?
Laura Christine Ritz is The Durango Wordsmith. As Durango’s premier content writer, editor, and writing coach, she can help you write words that attract customers and grow your business.