Raking it in without
breaking your soul

Quality Control

Have you ever used Frontline? It’s that flea and tick medication you put on Crackers or Captain.

Did you know that the US Food and Drug Administration can show up to the Frontline factory at any time, completely unannounced, for a surprise inspection?

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Thank goodness, right? I want that level of quality control over something that impacts the health of my pets.

Quality control means there’s an internal set of standards plus an expectation that the standards are consistently met.

Do you have an internal set of standards for your work?

You might think your natural perfectionistic tendencies will ensure that your work is high quality. I promise, they will not save you here. You can’t just rely on some gut instinct about what good looks like.

Because as much as you might have perfection, you also have whims. Wild hairs.

And a fallible memory.

Plus, being a perfectionist sucks.

And don’t forget what happens when you start to hire some subcontractors.

Document what a minimum standard of care would look like. You can leave room for whims or deviations to cater to the client, if you want.

What elements are required such that you’d still be proud to put your name on it? Write that down.

Do you have a way to check that your standards are consistently met?

It isn’t enough to have thought through your standards and communicated them. That’s like writing down the driving laws and giving them to a 16 year old with the keys to a car. No, you’ve gotta teach and train and check in.

This might mean you have a subcontractor shadow you for a while until they’re independent. And then you check their work. You pop in on a workshop or rerun some of their stats or drop a paragraph into a plagiarism checker.

You don’t have to jump out of the bushes like the FDA. You should tell your team how you’ll monitor quality.

But quality control has to occur even if you don’t have subcontractors or employees.

This could look like having an editor read through your blog posts (I don’t have this, as you can probably tell ha!)

Quality control could be having an agreement with a trusted colleague to be the second set of eyes for each other’s reports.

Feedback surveys will never be a sufficient quality control measure. While they’re valuable, your clients don’t know what your internal standards look like. Feedback surveys can only tell you how it was, not how it was compared to what you planned for it to be.

Consistent high-quality work is a result of quality control measures. What do yours look like? Tell me.

Hello My Fellow Perfectionist

This is the life hack that allowed me to complete monumental projects, like launching a business, finishing a dissertation, publishing books, giving birth. You know, the stuff that’s really freakin hard. Emotionally, mentally, even physically. The stuff that shifts the course of your life, if you can just actually see it through.

The life hack is:

Done is better than perfect.

Perfectionism often comes from growing up in a culture where your flaws got a lot more attention than your triumphs.

This doesn’t even have to be something that happened within your household. Just existing as a woman in the United States exposes you to the circumstances that can lead to perfectionistic tendencies. White culture, especially, values flawlessness – as if it’s possible.

If you’re told on repeat that you’ve fallen short in some way, you course correct. You raise your standards (because obviously they were previously way too low or you wouldn’t have had a flaw) and you become a hypervigilant monitor of yourself.

You’ll catch those flaws before anyone else notices them.

As a recovering perfectionist, I’m not gonna lie to you. Character traits like high standards and attention to detail have both prevented mistakes (like marrying that one guy who my friends hated) and driven many successes (like having a baby while finishing grad school).

But when you don’t reign it in, perfectionism actually keeps you stuck in a standstill.

During dissertation days, Done Is Better Than Perfect played continually in my head. Because my perfectionism would have me thinking, “I bet there’s one more journal article out there that would really take my literature review all the way to the top. If I don’t fill this gap in my chapter, my committee will notice and I won’t pass, journal reviewers will reject me, and all this work will have been for nothing. Let’s head back to the library and dig for a few more hours.”

Those thought and behavior patterns are fine once or twice. But when you’re doing that on the daily – that’s how you never finish your dissertation.

Too afraid my weakness will be exposed, so stay in “development mode.”

If I don’t move, nobody will see me. Yet that’s the problem – nobody will see you!

To make great things for this healing world, you have to be seen.

You have to risk that there’s a typo somewhere in the manuscript you haven’t caught.

Indeed, after I wrote my first book, I got emails from eagle-eyed readers who said “on this page you said x but on that page you said y,” or “on page 50, you wrote it’s when you should have used its.”

A perfectionist’s worst nightmares, come true.

And that’s after I read every word. Multiple times. As did my editor. And a copyeditor.

So it goes.

Those tiny errors don’t take away from the book’s impact. In fact, every email about a tiny error also said things like “I love this book so much, I’m absorbing every single word. This is changing my life.”

The thing is: Your perfectionistic cultural upbringing means you won’t put crap out there in the world. Your high standards will always prevent you from doing so. It’s going to be good. You produce quality. Even if there’s a typo.

So just focus on getting it done. Of course, give your work one thorough review (how could you not). Then hit Publish. Send the email. Launch the reel. Just go.

The world is waiting.