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Ep. 87 The Power of Imperfect Action – How to Start Anything

by | Smart AF Show

imperfect action

The Power of Imperfect Action – How to Start Anything

Are you scared to start something new because you might fail or might not do well at first? The truth is we all start as a beginner. We all start shitty. Michael Jordan wasn’t the GOAT when he started. Warren Buffet didn’t start a finance genius. Gary Vaynerchuk went through years of Wine TV being shitty before anyone ever watched him. They all rose to the very top BUT only after taking imperfect action.

In this episode, Torie Mathis and her cohost Sean talk about how to push through the ugly, uncomfortable, awkward phase and why you cannot and should not skip it. Get ready to take action and embrace starting shitty. Whether you’re a graphic design, digital marketing, or social media beginner or you’re just afraid of starting something new this video is for you. It’s time to stop letting the fear of starting hold you back.

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SAF 87

Torie: [00:00:00] My first logo is my first business cards. They were crappy and now I’ve got some skills 

Sean: [00:00:07] Guaranteed to be less crappy than it used to be.

Torie: [00:00:19] Hey guys, welcome to this show its Torie Mathis your host, and I’m here with the one and only Sean Mathis, founder of Miles Through Time Automotive Museum. 

Sean: [00:00:28] Hey, how’s it going? 

Torie: [00:00:29] When I was in college for advertising, it’s really funny to think, like I was supposed to be learning how to make ads, like about a lot of the stuff that we did was like campaigns for magazines.

That kind of advertisements, billboards, things like that, like big campaigns for big companies, we never talked about small business. It was always really big. And so I had to design these campaigns all the way through college and they did not look great. Everybody’s work was shitty. It wasn’t just mine.

We looked like beginners. Like we look like we didn’t have a lot of experience behind us. Why? Because we didn’t. And so everything that I designed, it was starting to get a little bit better, but it took a while. And then one day I was like, holy shit. This looks real. Somebody really designed this.

Like I actually finally got to a point where yeah. It didn’t look like some kid did, but if I would’ve went, been in school or even when I would have got out of school, I had that mentality that like, my stuff still looks like a beginner. So maybe I shouldn’t do that. I could have quit and I think some people quit, who I can tell you would quit.

My damn kids, these kids, they really they’re good at something like they’ve got some natural talent with some things. And so I think that’s actually been bad for them because they’ve been good at some things right away when they have things that are challenging, they don’t want to do. They’re like, no, I’ll just do this other stuff.

I’m already good at it. 

Sean: [00:02:02] Makes me wonder if that’s just our kids or is that the kids mentality these days. 

Torie: [00:02:08] We, maybe we were like that too. Who knows? But it could be, I don’t know our other people’s kids like that. It’s possible, 

Sean: [00:02:15] it’s gotta be hard when shit’s hard, as a kid, did I get.

If it doesn’t come naturally easy to you, then why would you? 

Torie: [00:02:27] Yeah, but you like every, all of us learned to ride a bike and nobody like hopped on the bike. The first time we were like, Ooh, we all had to struggle through. And I think everybody can remember that. So everybody’s gone through that kind of thing that like, that was a little bit hard like that wasn’t the easiest thing.

Don’t understand why these things have, like you have whatever it is. Like you have to start shitty. And just because you’re not great at something, or just because it doesn’t, you don’t catch on quick. Let’s even like social media with all of these business owners. If you’re a business owner, local business owner, especially like you have to be, your business needs to be on social media.

Maybe you’re not good at it. Maybe it’s hard for you. Maybe you’re not technical. You know what.  Stuff’s not going to be easy when you first start, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t do it. 

Sean: [00:03:15] A shitty Facebook page is better than no Facebook page for your business. Absolutely. Like you have to you’re not going to just get better right away.

Torie: [00:03:24] Good example. I tried to make videos forever. I knew I needed to make videos for my business and I made a couple of videos and they were shitty. And you know what I did. I stopped making videos and then I’d be like, I need to make videos and I’d make a couple of videos and you know what? They were shitty.

You know what I did, I stopped making videos, and then a couple of more years would pass. Like I need to make videos.

You know what we decided to just start. And I started just to do I stopped that quitting, cause it wasn’t good and that they were shitty and I just actually put out shitty videos and I said, we’re going to do this and we’re going to do one a day. And we did. I volunteered Sean. I’m like, it’s going to be easier if I talk to you rather than if I just sit here and talk, I think that it would go quicker because I finally realized, I don’t know why it took me this long.

Like I have to just push through the shitty and you know what, in five years, when I look back, I’m going to look at this video and go damn Torie. That shit was shitty. Good job for keeping on, but you know what? These ones are less shitty than the ones that I did five months ago. And that’s going to keep happening just like the designs that I did. My first logos, my first business cards, they were crappy and now I’m pretty good. That’s some skills 

Sean: [00:04:40] Guaranteed to be less crappy than they used to be. 

Torie: [00:04:43] So no matter what it is that you need to do like you just do it shitty. It’s okay. And nobody’s going to judge the shittiness really, because everybody knows that you got to go through that and it’s okay to be a beginner.

It is fine. 

Sean: [00:05:00] There is a budget, 

Torie: [00:05:01] there is a place for that. Like I had beginner budget clients when I was at that point. And that is okay. There’s yeah, I think that’s a great way to put it. It’s that? There’s definitely a place for that. Like the kids go to karate. There’s a reason there’s a beginner karate class.

That’s three months long. And then the next one is nine months long. Then you go to there’s a recent you have to be the beginner first. Like you can’t just like practice at home and then come out once. You’re good. No, you have to start at the shitty class. 

Sean: [00:05:31] And there’s a level of commitment that you have to be willing to make, to stop being shitty. Otherwise, you will always be shitty. There’s just, there’s no way around it because you don’t have any experience, so even if you’re naturally good at whatever it is, you will be better if you do it more often. And when you compare something you’ve done 10,000 times versus the first couple, there’s going to be a huge difference.

Whether, playing an instrument or making videos, or even making pizzas, you’re a pizza guy. Your first pizzas aren’t going to be great, but after a while they’re going to be fantastic. Even the tweaking recipes, you’re making everything from scratch, how they are at the beginning may not necessarily be how they are after you’ve done it for a few years and tweaked and made it more efficient and whatever the case may be.

And I think a lot of people, they wound up getting caught up in comparing themselves to other people, other businesses. Similar differences don’t really matter at a different level. They’ve gone through the same thing. Like you, you have to put in the time and like our kids, they want to jump to the expert level without putting in the effort to get there.

And it doesn’t work that way. You have to do it. 

Torie: [00:06:53] We had a, and I’ve talked about this before, during Christmas I was wrapping presents. I love trap presence. I have wrapped a lot of presents. I very much enjoy it. And so the kids we take that we each take them out and so they get to get presents for the other kid and the other parents.

And then we come together. I help, I make them wrap them themselves. I helped them out and we wrap and Riley was so excited. And he, when he got stuff for me and he ran upstairs and he wrapped it by himself and he brought it down and it was like wrapped around and he’s being taped, like packing tape.

It was crazy. He wrapped it and Bella made fun of him. She’s a jerk. She like. She’s a little judgy with him. And he didn’t care. He was like can you show me how you do it? I was like, absolutely. And so we sat there and I showed him like a couple of my things. And so he wrapped some. And so when Bella came and it was her turn to wrap stuff, I’m like, do you want me to help you?

And she’s no, I’m going to do the labels and the bows. And you do that part. I’m like, why don’t you just Try it out, man. And so she was being a butt and she wouldn’t wrap. I’m not gonna push her into it. She still helped, she didn’t want to do that part. When Riley came with the next ones, he did it.

And he was like, looking at me like I’m getting better like he got so much better. Can I tell you how much better Bella got Bella didn’t get better because Bella didn’t do it. And you’re, he’s one, he’s usually one of the worst ones for it. And she’s usually the one that’s good for it. But in this one, like he was willing to try and he was willing to just put himself out there to do it.

And he didn’t care what she said, any started shitty and, next year is going to come and maybe he’ll be a little bit better. And I wish he would have that attitude about more stuff. But yeah they definitely want to go straight to that expert level. 

Sean: [00:08:37] Yeah. And when you’re talking about your business and what you charge, like you’re going to start at a certain level, whatever that may be and the price you charge is going to be dependent on what your skill level is for that.

Torie: [00:08:52] And this makes me think about. Graphic designers for this are the worst, right? 

Sean: [00:08:58] The station attendants. 

Torie: [00:09:00] Gosh. So when I was still in college, this girl that lived across the street, her daughter was a graphic designer and she actually pulled out her portfolio. She had graduated already. She pulled out her whole big portfolio thing, her work.

It was really nice. But she was told in school that when she got out, she would make some crazy amount of money. And so she went out for a couple of jobs. She was a beginner yes, she had nice work, but she didn’t have the experience to back any of that work. Like it’s different when you’re in a real situation, she didn’t have that experience to back it up.

But she wanted to start at this expert level because somebody at the school told her that’s where she would be. And so she refused the jobs where she could have worked up and got experience. And she got a job at the gas station down the street. I was like, what the hell is going on? And her mom said, she tried to talk to her and everything, but she had the so ingrained that she deserved this certain amount.

And she wouldn’t budge on it. 

Sean: [00:10:00] That’s probably why everyone in their mom is a graphic designer. Nephew’s a graphic designer. Everybody’s a graphic designer. I know nobody actually works. They just do graphic design. 

Torie: [00:10:11] She was good too. Like it was very disappointing. So sorry to interrupt you with the, like, when you start, you charge a certain amount.

Sean: [00:10:19] Yeah. And then eventually you’re going to be a lot better than what you were initially. You’re going to charge more because you’re worse, more in your clients are going to want that skill level that you’ve acquired proved, and they’re going to pay for it where, you get this newbie that comes in there and Torie charges, $5,000 for a website.

I’m going to do it as well, but they don’t even know what they’re doing. And they build something in Wix and it breaks and it’s ugly, but they charged five grand. Like they’re not going to get anywhere because those clients of theirs, aren’t going to be happy with them. If they would have charged, 800 bucks and they built something in Wix for our client, and it doesn’t really have a whole lot of features, but it’s better than what they could do.

And they had, minimal budget. Everybody was helping everybody, one’s getting experienced the other, one’s getting a cheap website like it’s a win-win, but you got to stay in your lane on that. And then as they progress and get better and better, which is what Torie did.

All right. All of a sudden, like you’re gonna, you’re gonna get premium stuff because you’ve got years of experience of doing it and you can do it efficiently. Yeah. And that’s a whole nother thing is people get caught up on how much time it takes for certain things. What it used to take to do something shouldn’t take that long to do after you’ve done it so many times, it just it’s natural.

Torie: [00:11:36] I hate when people are like, what is your hourly rate? Why do you know how long it takes me to have any, like I do everything is project based and it is a completion rate. It’s like for the whole thing, I do not work by the hour. That’s if I can do something quickly and it is amazing, like why should I be penalized for that?

I refuse to do hourly 

Sean: [00:11:58] By the hour for everything. Cause to me, that’s the easiest way to nickel and dime. Whoever’s paying. There’s no sense of urgency, which is already a pet peeve of mine is not that you have to get things done super fast. It’s that if I can tell. You’re not even trying it pisses me off, especially when I’ve got to pay for that.

He say I wanted a, a car built or something. I don’t want to pay you hourly to do it. 

Torie: [00:12:24] Pay you for the final product I want. 

Sean: [00:12:27] I’m going to base what you’re worth. For example, I’ll see this car and this, and you built all these. You should know how long it took you to build the build those.

Tell me how much it costs so that I can have something just like that. Don’t tell me, you’re going to charge me $125 an hour. And it’s going to take somewhere between a hundred and a thousand hours. Like you gotta be kidding me. I don’t want to do that. How efficiently can you get me this finished project?

Websites. If we charge people hourly for a website. It would be ridiculous. Like we wouldn’t do it as fast. It’s just it’s natural to do that. 

Torie: [00:13:05] And I always thought that I was like if I was having an off day or some days, like I’m not as fast as others, some days I am fucking on it.

I don’t think that you should have to pay more because for whatever reason like I’m not a hundred percent. And so I  from the very beginning, when I started working like this hourly, comes up all the time. And yeah I just, I think it’s bad, and cars with design with any of those types of things.

I think it’s you pay for a final product. You don’t pay for my time. 

Sean: [00:13:38] Yeah. It’s the business owner’s job. To calculate the hourly rate, could you imagine your lawn guy that moves your lawn charges you hourly to do it versus just giving you a flat rate because they know how long it should take to mow.

But if they’re going to tell you it’s an hourly rate, I guarantee you it’s going to take them longer to get that lawn mowed than if they would’ve just told you it’s X amount of dollars, because now they need to get it done as quickly as possible. You see the roofing guys if you live in a neighborhood and you see all these people up on the roof, doing.

It rips, they’ll rip the entire roof off and put a whole new roof on it. 

Torie: [00:14:16] They man, and they just, all of them get up there and they’re just working so quickly. 

Sean: [00:14:20] Because it’s important to be efficient. It super profitable when they do that, if it took them a week to do it with weather delays and just not really having any sense of urgency, that profit margin that they made gone.

Yeah. Cause they’ve got to pay all those people all those hours and the homeowner’s inconvenience for a week versus just. It’s X amount of dollars. We’ll have it up for you in a day done. That’s what I want to pay for. And I’m assuming most other people are the same way, maybe when they in the thing is like even that roofer, they started it, the owner of the company, they started as just one of the people, ripping the roof off and learning everything and started shitty not knowing what they were doing and got better and better.

And then they’re like, Hey, I can do this. And now all of a sudden they’re getting it knocked out in an hour. And I see it all the time. Like I know all kinds of people that, they start and they start learning and then they started on that and they start the business on their own. And then, they’re killing it, somebody that doesn’t know, they’re like, oh, this is a brand new business.

So it just open and look how much money they’re making. The person put in some time to get to that skill level, the business may be new, but the experience is not it’s earned. 

Torie: [00:15:33] Yeah. And I think about it because you’re a newer entrepreneur, you’re still going through a lot of those, like growing pains, figuring things out and because your business is so different than my business, like my business has always been from my laptop.

I can work from wherever I need to be yours. Not the same way. Like you can do some stuff remotely, but for the most part, like you’re a brick and mortar business. So some of these things like I’m like, I don’t know, like I can’t help you with this kind of stuff. You’re going to have to figure it out, but you know what?

I didn’t know either. And that’s okay. Like you’re not gonna know everything. Like you’re not expected to know everything. You will never know everything. Always going to have stuff that you don’t know. You’re always going to be bad at whatever it is you start off with. And that’s fine as long as you’re moving forward.

And as long as you’re like you putting yourself out there and getting better at all of these things. And like Sean said, like the experience that’s what gets you to that next level and you got to put in the time you can’t pay someone else to do your pushups. 

Sean: [00:16:28] Miles Through  Time was not much of a museum when we started, I had no experience. Didn’t know what I was doing. And only had the one car and yet we started a museum and we had, we didn’t have a signs like Torie went and bought me just a few, like reproduction automotive signs so we had something on the wall because we literally had nothing even the website’s been redone a couple of times because initially the logo’s been.

Torie: [00:16:58] Then I think that’s okay. We’ve talked about that before with websites like these people that want to start a business and start with this $10,000 website that has all of these magical things. Man, just start a shitty website, make it good enough and allow for yourself to grow rather than trying to make stuff so perfect that you feel stifled and that you can’t grow. If Miles Through Time would have been like what a different, whole animal that would have been, if you would’ve tried too hard to get things too perfect. Like it just wouldn’t have worked, probably would have quit. 

Sean: [00:17:28] It wouldn’t have happened because it would have taken this long to have what we have. Like right now I can say it’s. Where’s the legitimate full-blown museum right now, but that took four years to get to that level. 

Torie: [00:17:40] And it’s crazy go on the Miles Through Time, Google my business page or the Instagram page or wherever you can find photos and look at the pictures. Like from the very big, bare walls, just a couple of cars.

Like it’s crazy to see how far it’s come in four years. And it definitely didn’t look like a museum when Sean started. 

Sean: [00:18:01] No. 

Torie: [00:18:02] And it definitely does now. It’s a legitimate museum, 

Sean: [00:18:06] But if I would have done nothing because you were afraid of starting shitty, or, and, took this long to accumulate everything and get it all organized and ready to then present it. I, would’ve never made it this far instead. And I like the organic feel of it, of, we’re just. Yeah, sometimes I wish it could be faster, but overall we’re slowly just, making improvements and adding and tweaking things and, it’s it’s constantly evolving and that makes it extremely interesting for me.

Because of a lot of stuff I still don’t know. More than what I currently know, so I can go on Saturday and I may learn something completely new and be able to change something and tweak something to make it that much better. But I don’t know it right now. I’ve done everything that I can do. But I know there’s more to do.

Torie: [00:19:00] I think that’s why it’s always important to whatever it is that you’re doing. Hopefully you have some type of passion for it, so you can start to learn more and always want to learn more. Cause it’s just those little things and honing things in and yeah. Figuring more stuff, being in design, I can always, get inspiration from other different things or learn more about colors or about persuasion with words or with imagery.

There’s so many different directions that I could go with all these different things. And man, I could talk about those things all day. I could read about those things all day. So being able to know that, like this, isn’t it, like I know everything I need to know. I’m good. I think that would be the worst way to be in order to get better.

And I actually, some of the things I do today, it’s still shitty and, tomorrow it’ll be a little bit better. And it’s just, that’s the way that it has to be. And if I can get these kids to do that and enjoy the journey I’m not really sure how to pull that out of them.

And maybe it’s just cause they are still young. But maybe seeing us, going through some of this stuff and being honest that, we don’t know everything. We are not these like perfect entrepreneurs that know exactly what’s going on. Do you know what I mean? Like we got to work it out.

Sean: [00:20:08] The thing is nobody is. So if they’re portraying themselves, as these know all is crossed out, don’t believe them and people can know a lot, but nobody knows everything. Especially when you start talking about individual circumstances, We can be complete geniuses for what works for us, because we know us.

But that doesn’t necessarily translate to you. Like we don’t know what you’re going through, what your experiences are, what your dreams and passions are. So everything that, we could potentially be saying, suggests you do won’t apply. But we don’t know. So that’s for you to make that decision, 

Torie: [00:20:48] But the only way that you’ll ever to figure that out is to actually try stuff and take some action and be okay to go through the ugly stage.

Cause it’s oh, wait, you have to go through the ugly stage. You have to make shitty videos. You have to start with an empty museum. You have to like, you have to go through these times to get to work. 

Sean: [00:21:06] I think that the best thing to do is to turn it into a game instead of focusing on. Yep. Potentially going through some really crappy things and not being good at stuff. And feeling down about yourself because it’s not up to your expectation. Think of it this way. You’re documenting shitty times, much like Facebook memories looking back on photos through of the museum on Google or whatever the case may be.

The looking back on this stuff. Is absolutely amazing. It may suck in the moment, but if you get the opportunity to go back and see where you’ve come from, it’s huge. And the minute you realize that it’s absolutely life changing. So don’t worry about what you’re putting out now, put it out, do it, and then look back on it and focus on the future.

Knowing that. You’re eventually going to look back on this and laugh or just rejoice, whatever the case may be. You’re going to look back on it and be glad that you did it. And that’s all that matters. 

Torie: [00:22:16] Riley got a unicycle for Christmas and the weather, Christmas and he’s got a birthday in November. So it, he ends up getting gifts that sometimes he can’t really use outside for a little while. And this past weekend, He finally got that thing pulled out. We made some arrangements on our patio that just like the stars aligned for the unicycle this past weekend. And I told him, I’m like, I’ll do it with you.

We’ll figure this thing out. Cause they say it’s not easy to do, but you just ha you have to put in the time. And so we watched a lot of videos over the winter getting ready for this. And I don’t remember what it said, you got to put in, a good 10 hours or whatever it is like, it’s something like, it’s not, it’s nothing like a hundred hours until you get it.

Like you have to put in the time, and then just you get it. Possibly riding a bike. That was just so long ago. I know you have to put in some amount of time, but I took a video of him the very first one. And so every, little while I’ve been taking little videos of him, so that I have that like to look back on and even just over through the weekend, like he is so proud of, being able to make that little bit more and that little bit more.

And I’ve been pretty proud of him, like for the whole, like he was mentally prepared that it was going to be difficult and there was probably going to be sore and that he was going to have to get through that. I was really proud that he was Yeah, he was down to do it. He wasn’t getting discouraged.

He knew when he had to take a break and I did too. Holy cow, apparently you got a grip bond seat. Pretty good. My legs are all bruised. My legs were sore. It, it hurt a little bit. Like we, he knew he needed to take a break so that he could be come back fresh and everything. And I was pretty proud that he was giving it his all, and he was shitty.

So was i bad, luckily you’re not too far from the ground. And when you fall, like you fall on your feet for the most part. So yeah, we were pretty crappy and we still are. I’ll let you know when we get better, it’s going to be a few more hours.

So don’t be afraid to start shitty. The point is you just got to start. Action is the only way to get through. So we hope that you like this episode and we hope that maybe you share this with somebody that needs to hear it. Maybe your kids need to hear this. And you need to talk to them about this.

Maybe your kids don’t need to hear me say the word shitty this many times. My kids hear the word shitty all the time and it’s okay. So we’ll see you on the next one. Thanks.

You want to get smart tools to build your business, go to getsmartaf.com.

About Digital Marketing Expert Torie Mathis

Torie Mathis helps entrepreneurs, like you, use digital marketing to grow your business without wasting time, money, or your sanity.  She is a best-selling author, Army veteran, speaker + trainer, and your digital marketing coach. You don't need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. In fact, you don't even need a lot of time. What you need is to be SMART.

Torie hosts SMART AF, a show for non-techy entrepreneurs looking to grow their business, with her husband Sean and is the creator of SMART AF Magazine. Learn from Torie at the Smart Arsenal and on her channel.

hi im torie
I help entrepreneurs  learn digital marketing.
And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.

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Find out here.

Hi! I'm Torie!

Torie Mathis HeadshotI help entrepreneurs (like you) use digital marketing to get more clients + to make more money. And I make it easy! 

You don’t need crazy tech skills, buckets of cash, or dedicated staff to market your business. You don’t even need a lot of time.

What you need is to be SMART.


from your Digital Marketing Coach Torie Mathis!

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