PP 015: Shiny Object Syndrome

As business owners it’s easy to get caught up in the programs and tools we see our acquaintances using as they achieve success. Listen as I discuss methods to avoid shiny object syndrome.

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Resources Mentioned

Frederick West from Look Faith First
The Dave Ramsey Show

Episode Transcription

Welcome back to another episode of Positive Productivity. This is your host, Kim Sutton, and today I want to talk to you about shiny object syndrome.

Depending on what entrepreneurial communities you are hanging out in, whether they be in LinkedIn, Facebook, Google Plus, you could be exposed to a lot of talk about different programs – software, apps – that other entrepreneurs are using and subscribing to to grow their businesses.

I have personally been caught up in a lot of this talk, and have signed up for programs, and subscribed to software, that I really wasn’t ready for, or wasn’t educated about, and therefore made unwise spending decisions. To combat shiny object syndrome, I think it’s really important that we have a clear understanding of what our business goals are before we make any purchases. And probably most important is that we have made the investment into our company of having a coach, or coaches, to help guide us as we’re making these decisions.

I personally know that my business coach – and my business coach is Frederick West from Look Faith First – The money that I spend with him on a monthly basis is the most important. And it’s from the discussions with him that I really get clarity on where any additional money should be going. For example he’s helped me see that me spending time on the activities that I am truly passionate about, and need to be the one doing those activities, that has been key in growing my business.

So after him, another important investment was not signing up for a course. It was not upgrading my subscription to any of the software that I was using. It was not buying another book or another magazine subscription. It was actually outsourcing the work that I did not want to be doing, or maybe wasn’t the most skilled at doing, to team members who could do it better for me.

Without a clear understanding of what your business objectives are, and also who your ideal client is, you really can’t make wise spending decisions when it comes to your business. Just because you see that somebody else has had immense success after purchasing product A, B or C, doesn’t mean that you’re going to have that same success as well.

Now this isn’t to say that I don’t want you to have success. I want each and every listener of the Positive Productivity podcast to have immense success in the activities which they are most passionate about. Allowing yourself to get swept in to shiny object syndrome, however, is not going to be conducive to achieving your optimal lifestyle.

If you’re a listener who is not a small business owner or an entrepreneur, I want to compare this to buying the latest and greatest coffee maker, the souped up car that has every feature that you’ve always wanted, and now your friends are driving it, or a house in the neighborhood that means you’ve made it.

Now, do these material possessions actually mean that you’ve made it? No! Only you, in your head, will know that you’ve made it.

Purchasing items that you don’t need, that you haven’t done research on, and really aren’t in line in your budget are not going to help you achieve that next level of success. In fact, what making unwise spending decisions is actually going to do, is help you build debt, and that is the last thing that I want to see any of you do.

I’ve actually been listening quite a bit to Dave Ramsey’s radio show, which you can also find on iTunes in podcast form, and that’s the Dave Ramsey Show, and one of the pieces of advice that he gives the most often is: Do not buy on credit. If you do not have the money ready for that purchase, and if you are not debt free, then you need to think about what you’re spending. He even goes so far as to talk about people who are buying cars with car loans.

If you listen to any one of his episodes, he will, on any given day most likely recommend that somebody sell their car that they used a loan to purchase, and take any profit that they make after the sale of that car and buy a used car. This will in turn allow them to save money and they can more wisely invest that money into something else, and maybe that’s paying off debt that they already have.

And with that point, I want to ask you: What if you stalled a little bit on that object that you’ve been looking at? What if you use that money to pay off some of your existing debt? How much better would you feel then with a $0 on that credit card balance, or even with that $2000 or $4000 still in your account?

I know how I would feel, but I don’t want to put words into your mouth.

So the next time you are eyeing a big purchase, or an upgrade, or anything of the sort, think about whether it really is the best spending decision for you. Is this just shiny object syndrome and you’re purchasing it because everybody else is? Or is this really in line with your core values, and your passion and your purpose?

Think about it.