One of my marketing projects this year has had several hiccups.
We took awhile to create the product...
Took too long writing the marketing material for it...
The project leader likes tells us to "Jump out of the airplane with no parachute."
In other words, it's better if we launch the product imperfectly and risk it blowing up in our face.
Finally, we had everything ready at "good enough" status.
We've learned what the project actually needs after launching it.
One of my favorite hip-hop examples of the "Incomplete Launch" in action is Kanye West.
Kanye originally released The Life of Pablo while he was still working on it.
He compared himself to an artist, Pablo Picasso, and said his music was a great work of art always in process.
I remember hearing a few tracks with vocals I thought sounded sloppy...and later, I swore that they sounded like they'd been cleaned up.
Maybe I'm making this all up in my head.
But this is a great example of putting content out there before the final cuts have even been made.
It hasn't been perfected yet, but it's good enough.
More recently, with his Jesus is King release, Kanye tweaked the music up until the very last few hours before release.
He held listening parties, added and subtracted songs from the original playlist, and wouldn't stop fiddling with the mixes.
This guy's a perfectionist, but also knows how to put his material out there both before it's ready.
Kanye has allowed thousands of people to sample the product before it was finalized.
My guess is, he applied some of the feedback from those people when he tweaked the mixes.
I bring this up because I've observed many of my artist and business friends, including myself, hesitating to simply move forward.
Just do it!
The analysis paralysis will only continue if you keep hesitating.
Most products and services can and should be tweaked as you go.
In most instances, you DON'T need all the things you think you need before launching.
So many of my friends insist on having a website...
A complete funnel...
Social media accounts...
Hosting an event...
You'd be surprised how many people I've met who made a lot of money without any of these things at the beginning.
What is your product or service?
As long as you can provide that to a consumer/customer, and you have a way to contact them, you're ready to go.
A lot of people think their product/service needs improvement before they put it on the market.
Are you able to help somebody solve a problem right now?
Don't let your beginning or intermediate skills stop you.
If you know more about a subject that anyone else in the room when you walk into a particular room, you're immediately the expert on that subject (in that room).
Package your expertise in its current form and get out there on the market.
Let's take my podcast show, Hip-Hop Daily Dose, as an example.
I know a lot of people who wouldn't have published their first show without establishing the show music or getting a tagged intro...
They also wouldn't record without a better mic.
They wouldn't publish it without cover art.
Or before submitting to iTunes.
They'd want to create unique posts for all their social media accounts
They want a SUPER OFFICIAL podcast debut.
Me: I just turned on the mic and recorded the episode.
Mastered the track.
Posted to my Soundcloud only.
No cover art for the first 15 episodes.
Only shared it on Twitter.
Got a lot of great responses.
I'm able to re-create this method almost every day.
I DID add music and a pre-recorded intro/outro between Episodes 15-20, and my makeshift cover art came along around then too.
I'll change both of those in the future.
For now, they're good enough.
As long as the core content, which is the material presented in the shows, is good enough to go...that's all that matters.
Now, a lot of people will say that's wrong...
The cover art needs to be amazing!
I should've used a better mic!
I should've re-recorded the audio that has flaws in it!
But here's the thing...
If you postpone getting good content out there because of these other aesthetic issues (that most people will ignore anyway), you're just hurting yourself and your brand.
They're all excuses...all of them.
It's way more impressive to the people who are worth impressing that you took action every single day.
Unless your quality is truly awful and distracts from the content, nobody who matters is going to care about it.
They want a proactive, action-taking person who can produce ideas and execute.
If you get interest from someone who has a decent budget, they're going to pay for the elements of quality you're lacking!
The tools are easy to pay for if you have the money...the brains, ideas, and talent behind the material...not as easy.
They'll pay for the tools, or just let you continue to produce with your current resources...
And they'll pay you to do that for them.
A lot of people with money can't even tell or don't care.
They'd rather pay you less money to produce a decent podcast than pay big bucks for a super high quality one...which, by the way, would have the exact same content.
Same content, different tools used.
If the mic is good enough and the audio flaws are minor, most people won't notice them.
If your content is compelling and valuable, why would your audience notice minor aesthetic issues anyway?
They should be focusing on the content.
If the content really sucks, that's another story.
Even then...post it.
You'll get better...if you keep doing it.
People care less about superficial quality than we think.
Just check out how many people are lined up at Walmart to buy generic cheap crap that's clearly inferior to the superior brands.
Focus on making the content and product as good as possible.
It's the most important!
I can't tell you how many songs and videos have impacted my life that would be criticized as poor quality.
I love that stuff.
I never cared.
Sometimes the lack of production quality is endearing.
It has its own unique character it wouldn't have if it were more professionally produced.
Quality is important, but you can figure it out later if you don't have all the resources right now.
When I read about my favorite brands and companies, many of the early versions of their products were inferior to later ones.
You have to start somewhere.
The only way to get to the other side with high quality is to start where you are right now!
Maybe you can relate to this religious/spiritual metaphor...
I grew up in church, where I was told that God will "take you as you are."
He takes you in the broken and current state of sin you're in, and improves you...over time.
It's not an instantaneous change necessarily, because you're still a creature of your old habits.
Over time, your heart and soul are molded and shaped into a high quality individual who commits fewer sins...
(I think that's the goal, at least.)
So think of your projects as your prodigal sons...you're waiting for your chance to mold and shape them into a more perfect state.
But for now, you take them as they are and love them where they're at.
The "sins" of your aesthetic flaws will be smoothed out over time, don't worry :)
Just go for it!
You hurt yourself more by waiting on minor things than by publishing something you can take down or tweak later.
Again, I'll repeat that it's way more impressive to put out quality ideas on a consistent basis with "good enough" production value...
...than to publish less frequently with an amazing production value.
It establishes you as someone who takes action quickly.
Someone who has an overflow of great ideas.
Someone who doesn't get stuck on all the little details and can see the big picture.
To all my people still stuck on quality:
Kanye West is known to record songs on his patio.
Sure, he's using nice expensive mics (I assume), but I was surprised to hear he records vocals on his patio.
I'd think that'd be a no-no for a huge recording artist...
The vocal environment and acoustics of a multi-millionaire professional studio are usually deemed pretty important.
Kanye is willing to make the most of his resources.
He understands what's most important to his projects...GETTING THEM DONE.
So do what you can with what's available to you.
Make it as simple as possible.
No, you don't need a website. You don't need a logo. You don't need cover art. You don't need the long laundry list of excuses you used to avoid putting yourself out there.
Most of the people who ask for your website aren't actually interested.
Most of them are the "Let me think about it" people...
They almost never buy!
Sure, websites can be an important part of a brand identity...eventually.
But when no one knows who you are, you're probably just building a website as a hub for people who aren't even interested.
The majority of disinterested people won't even make it to your website.
If someone is truly interested in your product or service, they've been waiting for it to come along.
They don't need a website to be convinced.
They will sign up very quickly.
Let's unpack why most people who visit your website are the "let me think about it" people who don't buy:
You haven't yet provided enough value over time.
Most of these people are unaware of you and unaware of the problem you can help them solve.
They'll need a lot of time and repeated exposure to convert over to a fan/customer.
And how exactly do you make that happen?
Providing consistent, valuable content.
Contacting them directly.
Following up with them.
This content will likely need to be free, because...they're not a customer.
You haven't won them over yet.
They have to pay bills, they want to go to the movies, and save for their kid's college education just like everybody else.
Why should they buy from you?
People wildly underestimate how long this can take, and how much content it takes to make this happen.
There's also the gap in understanding exactly WHAT content you should be creating, and then adjusting (tweaking) your material.
How are you going to provide consistent content to your audience while you're working on your website, logo, saving money to upgrade your production equipment before you can record, etc etc.
The list could go on forever if you let it.
You could spend forever saying you need a better XYZ before you "go live" with your brand.
If you're starting out or still in the early stages (which might be for quite awhile), you don't really have a brand yet.
Why worry about your "branding" materials such as the website, logo, etc when you don't even have a brand?
A brand is developed over time based on your reputation...
Which is based on what you consistently do.
Just launch, my friend.
Move past the cringy feelings that your stuff isn't ready, that it needs to be better.
And just go with no reservations.
In Hip-Hop Daily Dose #15, I talked about "The One Thing You Must Do Every Day" to move the needle forward for your brand/career.
It's worth listening to for the sake of clarity.
If you can nail down the ONE most important thing that'll help you with your goals, you know what to focus on.
You'll identify what else you should do consistently as well.
If a specific piece of content or product/service will do the most for your business or career, then identify what that is and do it every day.
As I mentioned in that show, I've chosen a daily audio show (podcast) as the one thing I should do every day.
I believe this gives me the best shot as building the long-term value of my brand.
I'd like to write a long-form post (such as the one you're reading right now) for every show.
That may not be possible every day, but long-form written content is very valuable.
It's a good secondary goal to have along with the daily show.
Will I fall behind? Slip up? Have to focus on other tasks in the future?
Definitely possible, even probable.
But the most important thing is letting yesterday be yesterday.
Be here now, and do as much as you can today.
Then put it out there and let the market decide what it wants.
Sooner or later, you'll hit the nail on the head and give people exactly what they want.
You'll only know what the right chemistry is...what the right potion is for your niche...if you show up every day and put the work in to find out.
I believe in the future of your brand.
I believe in you.
Just do it.
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