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Shiny Object Syndrome

Income PlanningDo you or someone you know suffer from shiny object syndrome? Interestingly, to those who are starting a business online, it can be the single biggest cause for downfall (and frustration) and yet for the rest of the internet marketing industry, it is a boon. What’s up with that?

Shiny object syndrome: chasing the next “big thing”, the current fad or the easy button, the chasing of which causes so many distractions that primary business objectives are not (and can not be) met.

The sales pitches are fierce, promising cash at the push of a few buttons and for only $27. Of course, you hope that it’s true, you want it to be true. You hope that this one additional thing will be the piece you’ve been missing, that it will present you with what you need to at last break through and start making money.

Logic says that if someone had the easy button, it wouldn’t be sold for a mere $27 but your hopes, dreams and perhaps a bit of desperation, pushes your doubt aside and you think that for $27, you can afford to give it a try…

The internet marketing industry relies on you to give that new thing a try. You are no doubt fully aware of the multitude of offers in your inbox and you’ve likely only scratched the surface of those available. In that respect, we can be our own worst enemies.

Your mindset is at the root of the issue. Your mindset can be the difference between success and failure. The internet industry is counting on you being the consumer and not the business owner. As soon as you make the mindset shift from “consumer” to “business owner”, you’ll care very much about the $27 dollars and unless and until you have the income to cover it, you’ll think twice about spending it. You’ll care about the ROI and whether or not the investment is one that makes sense. As long as you remain in “consumer” mode, you’ll continue to chase the ever elusive easy button.

How do you go about doing that? One sure way is by running your business as a business. At minimum, you should be tracking your monthly income and expenses. If the income doesn’t support additional expenditures, hold off on them. Better yet, you should have a plan that details your annual production and projected income. Does that make you yawn?

Another great tip that I’ve picked up is to stick with the basics until you have mastered them. In other words, focus on building your site and pick at most 2-3 tactics to try, then work on those until you master them. Only after your have mastered them should you consider adding to your arsenal. This tip applies to overcoming overwhelm as well but I think it has value here in avoiding the shiny object until you are ready for the next new thing.

Focus on the basics first. Prove to yourself that you have selected a great niche, that you can build a list and that you can sell something to that list. Until you do that, don’t even think of expanding.

It might not sound sexy or like fun to you but any way you slice it, unless and until you look at your business as a business, it is nothing more than a hobby… and an expensive hobby at that.

What do you think of shiny object syndrome? Do you have or have you used other tips/techniques to either avoid or get out of shiny object syndrome? Please leave a comment and let us know about your experiences.

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68 Responses to Shiny Object Syndrome

  1. Linnea September 18, 2011 at 7:17 pm #

    Hi Emma,

    Agreed! The wrong mindset will surely sink you before you even get started. It’s fine to pursue it as a hobby if that was the intent however, if you want to create a business out of your work online, then you owe it to yourself to take it seriously as a business. Thanks for your comment, Emma.

  2. Linnea September 18, 2011 at 7:18 pm #

    Hi Kevin,

    The good news is that you aren’t alone! Most everyone falls into that trap at one time or another.
    You are most welcome for the reminder….stay strong :)

  3. Linnea September 18, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    Hi John,

    Patience is key…you are so right and you make a great point about people wanting instant results. It does indeed take time and usually much more time than we think. It’s even tougher when you hear the stories about people who made it “overnight” which is almost never the case.
    Interesting tip you offer to stay away from the gurus. I get that they specialize in squeezing every cent and yet I do think that there are a few that fall into your category of “someone you can trust”. Unless and until you know the players however, your advice is quite sound. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts.

  4. Pj Zafra September 30, 2011 at 8:15 am #

    Hey Linnea,

    Great post here! There are indeed a lot of people who get distracted so easily that they end up abandoning or delaying what they’re actually supposed to do. Like you mentioned, it’s definitely very very important to have the right strong mindset. Thanks for sharing this post! Keep it up! 😀
    Pj Zafra recently posted..Get…That…Dirt Off Your ShouldersMy Profile

  5. Linnea October 20, 2011 at 7:52 am #

    Hi David,

    Turning a blind eye is indeed the best thing you can do although for some, the discipline is hard to come by.
    Great email tip. I too, use email filters and a great big giant “bulk” folder and then I try not to check it too often throughout the day. That helps a lot with productivity as well. Great job keeping the distractions at bay! Keep up the great focus!

  6. Linnea October 20, 2011 at 7:56 am #

    Hi Rob,

    That’s an interesting tip…putting it on a list. So many offerings are made on a limited basis due to the scarcity principle that they will in fact be gone. I suppose that works both for and against folks. The scarcity makes you think you may need to get it while it is available while at the same time, if you cool your heels for a bit, it may save you from yourself. You are so very right that if it is something of value, it will be around, even if you have to wait a bit for the next time it is offered.

  7. Linnea October 20, 2011 at 7:58 am #

    Hi Kyle,

    Great job in learning a very important principle.
    Keep up the great work, stay focused and you will succeed!

  8. Linnea October 20, 2011 at 8:02 am #

    Hi Nelson,

    Boy, do I hear that!
    This is a particularly acute issue for anyone on a fixed income! It sounds like you have found the ideal partner to help keep you grounded. Congratulations. That’s a great strategy, too! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Linnea October 20, 2011 at 8:06 am #

    Hi Pj,

    You are very welcome. I just hate to see folks who can’t move forward because they are so busy chasing their tails, all the while spending money and going deeper into debt. It’s really a shame and it’s all in the mindset. Thanks for your comment!

  10. Hamish November 23, 2011 at 8:17 am #

    Hello Linnea,

    Great post. I am fairly hard bitten and cynical – but I have definitely been there and done that. I do try to be positive and have at least one takeaway from any ebook or course that I read (even if it’s only not to buy any more $ 27 ebooks).

    I like your distinction about changing your view from “consumer” to “business owner”. I will definitely think of that the next time that I feel myself yielding to temptation.
    Hamish recently posted..Kindle 4 – Is It Amazon’s Ace In The Hole?My Profile

  11. Pettina November 29, 2011 at 8:46 am #

    When I was younger during my high school and college days, I am always caught by these shinny objects. Always ask my mom I like this and that but only realized that I don’t really need it later. Now that I am mature enough, I can just ignore them. Before the purchase, I would ask myself, I like it or I need it? Thank you for sharing this wonderful article.
    Pettina recently posted..Anxiety Attack PresentationMy Profile

  12. Hamish December 5, 2011 at 12:58 pm #

    Hello Linnea,

    I think that everybody has suffered from that syndrome at some point.

    It’s only $27, as you say – and you would so like it to be true.

    You might almost consider it to be part of your online marketing education.
    Hamish recently posted..Amazon’s Kindle DX Deal – Too Good To Be True?My Profile

  13. Linnea February 29, 2012 at 3:54 pm #

    Hi Hamish,
    I’m so glad you enjoyed my post. I too, try to get at least one thing from most of the reading and/or training that I do. I feel that makes it worth if if I do get a great takeaway. It is true that mindset is everything, isn’t it?

  14. Linnea February 29, 2012 at 3:56 pm #

    Hi Pettina,

    I’m glad that you’ve found your way through and can now make those decisions for yourself. It’s all too easy for young people to get behind in a world of debt by chasing too many shiny objects. Thanks for stopping by.

  15. Sheila March 7, 2012 at 1:27 am #

    It is most likely to be commonly put as “double vision” or an affliction called cross eye, cockeye or a squint or crooked eye but can be corrected with a prescribed pair of specticles. or a minor sugery.
    Sheila recently posted..Copywriting Services DevonMy Profile

  16. Mirana March 8, 2012 at 7:13 am #

    One common issue new people starting out online is distraction by “shiny objects”. Just like a real shiny object distracts the mind of a child off the task at hand, the Internet marketing “shiny object” distracts the would be entrepreneur from proper business foundations.
    Mirana recently posted..ChamonixMy Profile

  17. Akos Fintor March 26, 2012 at 8:11 am #

    Shiny objects are somewhat in similar basket as the information overload.
    Distraction is everywhere. New MLM companies are popping out each and every day and it is easy to get carried away.
    Focus is a real scarcity these days.

    thanks for the share Lennea!

  18. Linnea March 27, 2012 at 3:49 pm #

    Hi Akos,

    I couldn’t agree with you more about focus being scarce, especially in this day and age of information overload, and instant access. You are most welcome. Thanks for stopping by and sharing as well.

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