top of page

Perfectionism, Procrastination and Lack of Accountability As A Small Business Owner

Updated: May 31, 2023

All these things plague us at some point and that could be you today. If so, this article is for you and you're going to read how 2 entrepreneurs combat and dare I say, beat, perfectionism. While its an almost-ever-present thought, you can do things in your business to help you deal with these issues.

Lauren Tilden is a maker, retail shop owner, podcast host, and marketing educator who self-proclaims that she deals with perfectionism all the time. Whether it's in her business or everyday life, it shows up. In this conversation she shares how it shows up for her and how she has learned to deal with it head-on.


**This was also a podcast episode (episode #192. Use the player below if you'd prefer to listen to this message.


Small Business Marketing Isn't Just Social Media

Lauren helps small business owners market their business in a way that feels good to them and we dove into how marketing can often feel like it takes up so much time and energy in our business but it doesn't have to feel this way.

One way that this often shows up is when we feel like we're on the constant hamster wheel of creating for social media.

While we might know that marketing is more than social media, think about the time you're spending and ask yourself if your marketing is mainly social media. Chances are that's the case because it's easy to slip into marketing = social media.

"It's social media but it's also email, in person stuff, customer service, customer experience. It's a-to-b, start-to-finish from when someone first learns about your business and hears about it for the first time until they become a customer and hopefully a happy customer for a long time. All of that is marketing." - Lauren Tilden

The other thing that Lauren reminded us of in this conversation is that when you love what you do (which I know you do!) that actually makes marketing much easier. When you're able to truly share what you're passionate about and show up in that way, your marketing will come easier to you and it will resonate more with your target audience too.

Perfectionism And How It Shows Up In Our Small Business Journey

Lauren and I both shared stories in this conversation about how marketing and perfectionism go hand in hand for most business owners. While we were both marketers in our corporate days and never felt this creep into our jobs, it shows up in new ways as a business owner who is also the marketer too.

Any time you are doing something out of your comfort zone, perfectionism can creep into the picture because we often want to do something perfect, the first time. And as business owners we are constantly trying new things and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones to grow our business.

"It stops me from taking action and makes me procrastinate." - Lauren Tilden

Action-stopping is the last thing you want as a business owner who is trying to grow your business so you can live the life of your dreams but it happens often. We put off things that we aren't sure we can do because they are new and we want to get it "right" immediately.

But there aren't many things, if any, that we will do perfectly on the first try. We have to practice and learn along the way before we do better at whatever we're trying to accomplish. But this is the thing that can stop you in your tracks if you're not careful to catch it.

"Honestly, if you're not putting it out there, you're holding it back from someone it could be helpful for." - Lauren Tilden

There are people who want and need to experience whatever it is that you're passionate about and are building your business around. Whether it's creating beautiful artwork that will grace the walls of someone's home, providing nutrition coaching to help someone feel better, or something completely different, you have a unique gift that someone (many people) will benefit from.

"Put yourself out there imperfectly." - Lauren Tilden

By sharing your gifts with others through imperfect marketing, you're able to learn each time you share. You'll learn what others resonate with but also how you like to show up in your marketing and in the business overall. But the key is to do it imperfectly.

Small Business: Image of a person typing on a computer

Accountability Helps With Perfectionism As A Small Business Owner

If we aren't careful the trap of perfectionism can slowly kill our business because it stops us from taking action. So it's key to recognize it and then make the necessary changes.

One of the necessary changes for most of us who fall into the perfectionism and procrastination trap is finding accountability. Whether it's paid or free, having some way of others helping to hold you accountable is often the best way to get things done.

"I like to share how my podcast comes out every Tuesday. I say this constantly so that I know people are expecting it on Tuesdays. And now sometimes if I'm slow on it, people will DM me and say they didn't see the episode. That is the best accountability ever." - Lauren Tilden

Here are just a few ways you can find accountability:

  • Tell your audience when your content comes out (email, podcast, videos)

  • Tell a friend, coach, biz bestie

  • Join a group (community, mastermind, membership, group program)

  • Go through a program/course with a biz bestie

"I've been the kind of person who felt like I started things and never finished anything and the game changer for me has been finding ways to be accountable to other people, not just myself." - Lauren Tilden

It's also important to know yourself when it comes to accountability. Do you need to tell your BFF that you know you'll hold your word to. Or would it be better for you to pay a coach to help hold you accountable? Or something in between?

The key is to recognize if you're not taking action on something you said you want to do in your business and when that happens, find the support and accountability that you need.

"Put gentle pressure on yourself." - Lauren Tilden

But be careful with what you're telling yourself when you're in the cycle of perfectionism and procrastination. There's one way you can set yourself back even further:

"One thing that can happen when you're getting perfectionistic and starting to procrastinate, we will think "I just need to learn more, let me research more" but this often just slows things down." - Lauren Tilden

This often shows up by purchasing a course or a training that's a go-at-your-own-pace style. When something is DIY it's great if you will actually go through it on your own but if you tend to procrastinate, this is often not the best option.

While courses are a great way to learn, it's important to understand your own habits and either choose another option or find a way to build in accountability for yourself.

"Find someone else who also needs to do something that they've been procrastinating on and get on zoom or in a chat room for 90're committed, you know someone else is expecting to hear you report back in 90 minutes." - Lauren Tilden

How Lauren & I Held Each Other Accountable On The Spot

During our conversation we talked about how great it is to read podcast reviews and how much it helps a podcast overall yet neither one of us do it often. So we decided to hold each other accountable to actually leave reviews for other podcasts.

We recorded the interview on a Monday and on Friday I emailed Lauren with a list of 10 podcasts I had left reviews for. This is her email response:

"AMANDA!! This is the power of accountability. I got this in my inbox and immediately went on a FLURRY of review writing." - Lauren Tilden

And here is the powerhouse list of podcasts we left reviews for:

Take Away Message / Action

This conversation was filled with so many aha moments and wise words from Lauren so I'll let her share your next step.

"I encourage people to put it out there. You will never regret putting it out there." - Lauren Tilden

While you might regret something you do in life, when it comes to trying new things in your business this is less likely. You may not succeed in everything but you will learn through all the experiences you have.

So move forward, take action and until next time give yourself permission to do things imperfectly and grace along the way. I'lll talk to you soon.

About Lauren:

Lauren is a maker, retail shop owner, podcast host, and marketing educator on a mission to help small business owners confidently market their businesses without getting overwhelmed. She is the host of Making Good, the podcast that helps small business owners do great marketing so they can make a bigger impact. She's also the founder of Making Good Happen, the membership community for small business owners who want to do better, more consistent marketing.

Lauren's Resources:

Other Resources Mentioned:

Ep. 192: Perfectionism, Procrastination & Lack of Accountability In Small Business with Lauren Tilden

"I've been the kind of person who felt like I started things and never finished anything and the game changer for me has been finding ways to be accountable to other people, not just myself."

- Lauren Tilden


Looking For More Support

If you're feeling stuck, dealing with self doubt and have realized you aren't taking action, I'd love to help you.

Check out my current coaching options available so I can support you in the way you need.


bottom of page