The Grass is always greener on the other side, right?
No, it’s not.
It’s the same grass five feet away.
Any joker who can string a sentence together and click a mouse button can start a blog.
But not everyone will get the results they want. There are many reasons an aspiring blogger doesn’t get the results they want.
One common pitfall is “shiny object syndrome“.
Table of Contents
- What is Shiny Object Syndrome?
- How do you avoid Shiny Object Syndrome?
- 1. Can what you’re working on become passive income?
- 2. Set micro-goals
- 3. Hit your micro goal
- 4. Have realistic expectations
- 5. Have a vision
- 6. No online model is easy
- 7. Play to your strengths and interests
- 8. Restrict your reading list
- 8. The excitement of yet a new blog is TEMPORARY
- 10. Like what you do
What is Shiny Object Syndrome?
Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS) is when you bounce from project to project to project always believing that something else will be better, faster and/or more lucrative than what you’re currently pursuing.
An example is starting one niche site only to stop working on that to start yet another niche site in a different niche believing that it’ll be better.
Another example is starting a blog that starts to gain a little momentum, only to stop and shift gears entirely by launching an ecommerce store believing it to be better.
Essentially, Shiny Object Syndrome affliction is never following through and instead quitting projects that haven’t matured and starting something new.
This affliction is particularly acute with online businesses such as blogs, niche sites, ecommerce stores, email marketing and like because it’s so easy to start something new. There are pretty much no barriers to entry and the cost is ridiculously low. Compare this to investing in and starting a brick and mortar business which is costly and in some cases is subject to regulations and/or professional qualifications. One is much less likely to quit practicing law than bail on a blogging project because there’s far more time and money investment in becoming a lawyer and setting up a law firm than there is to start a blog.
While sometimes it makes sense to stop a project because it was a bad idea from inception, in many cases, Shiny Object Syndrome, especially when recurring, is a reason some people never make any real progress with an online business because they are forever in startup mode.
I’ve been afflicted with this syndrome on many occassions. It’s easy to fall prey to because it takes a long time to see results when starting an online business. As time goes on without results, doubt creeps in. Then one day you read about how easy and fast it is to make money doing XYZ. Before you know it, you’ve bought a course, registered a domain, spent hundreds or thousands on new software all geared toward yet another endeavor leaving something with promise to whither and die.
How do you avoid Shiny Object Syndrome?
Shiny object syndrome is bailing on a promising project for something else that seems easier, more lucrative, faster etc. Falling prey to it once isn’t so bad. It becomes a problem when you jump from project to project to project without anything ever progressing.
In reality, pretty much any online business is not easy or fast. Lucrative? Yes, but that takes time. Shiny object syndrome hinders getting to the lucrative part.
Don’t fall prey to shiny object syndrome.
The sad news is you probably will. I have. Most of us online have. The key is to nip it in the bud when it happens and to certainly avoid it becoming a recurring problem.
Having been around the blogging block a few times with a few successful blogs in place despite falling for shiny object syndrome many times, let me give you my 2 cents’ worth on how to avoid shiny object syndrome.
1. Can what you’re working on become passive income?
While there is no magic solution to dealing with BSOS, here’s my two cents’ on dealing with.
Actually, it’s how I deal with it these days.
Every single project I set out to work on is intended to eventually run on its own (i.e. handled by other people). If this cannot be achieved, I don’t pursue that project.
This approach does two things.
First, it motivates me to focus to get the project to the point to where I can hand it off.
Second, it filters out a lot of projects aka distractions. If I can’t see something ultimately being profitable without me being involved, I’m not interested.
I have a few exceptions such as Fat Stacks videos and emails but I will only do that stuff for as long as it’s fun. I could easily turn FS into a passive income machine by focusing on SEO content and automated email sequences. I have hired a writer to write a ton more SEO content, but for now I enjoy writing emails and doing the other media here and there.
This is why I like publishing niche sites. They are so easily outsourced. While I keep daily tabs on them, the amount of time they require is not much with a trained team.
So, pick the one thing you’re working on right now that you believe can bootstrap into a passive business. Focus on only that until it is running without you. Then jump into the next thing.
Cross all projects off your list that you don’t think you can turn into a passive income machine. I suspect you have a few such things on your list.
I’m not saying you can’t jump into new projects. I’m just saying put them on the backburner when you’ve cleared your plate by handing off current projects to a team… but don’t do this until it’s profitable.
2. Set micro-goals
A $10,000 per month goal when registering your domain is not exactly imminent. By all means, think big, but to get those little pops of motivation, set micro-goals.
Examples of micro-goals when starting out are:
- Publish 25 epic articles
- Hit 30 visitors per day
- Earn $1 per day
These are all goals you can realize in one to three months. While they aren’t life-changing, they will motivate you.
If you can make a $1 a day. You can make $10 a day and so on.
If you can publish 25 articles in 3 months, you can publish 100 articles in a year.
You get the point.
3. Hit your micro goal
Don’t stop until you hit your micro goals.
Note, there are two types of goals. They are:
Goals over which you have total control; and
Goals over which you have little control.
Both are fine.
A goal over which you have total control is publishing 25 articles.
A goal over which you have no control is hitting $1 per day.
If you like certainty in your life, choose a goal over which you have total control.
4. Have realistic expectations
If you’re going the blogging route, be prepared to stick it out two to five years to see big results, and that’s still a big maybe. You may blog your guts out for five years and have nothing to show for it.
On the flip side, you may blog for 12 months and hit $15K per month.
Chances are if you’re a decent writer and work hard, you’ll land somewhere in between.
5. Have a vision
This is one of those willy-nilly sounding tips that I usually roll my eyes over, but there’s a grain of truth to it.
If you can develop a vision for your blog, that can be very motivating. Your desired creation supersedes revenue. You’re not out just to make money but instead set out to create something magnificent. It’s a purpose-driven project. This can be highly motivating and sustain you through the lean times.
6. No online model is easy
In fact, no business is easy. When something is easy, it is quickly made difficult as the onslaught of competition enters the fray. Thus is the nature of free enterprise. Capitalism is like rushing water – it flows the way of least resistance.
In fact, blogging is easy in the sense that anyone who can string a sentence to gether and click a mouse can start one. Beyond that it’s survival of the fittest.
7. Play to your strengths and interests
If you can’t write, think twice about blogging unless you happen to have money to hire good writers.
If you can’t manage people, don’t start an agency (it’s a human resources nightmare for those of us who can’t manage).
If you’re hopelessly unorganized, don’t do SEO for other people.
Know your strengths. If you’re not sure whether you’re a good writer, by all means give it a shot or perhaps join a writing agency, pen some articles and get some feedback. If clients like your work, you probably have what it takes. If you get nothing but revision requests and removed from projects, perhaps writing isn’t your strong suit.
That’s not to say you can’t hire good writers – you just need to get hold of some cash.
8. Restrict your reading list
Avoid email lists and blogs that aren’t aligned with what you’re doing. Fat Stacks is the exception of course 🙂 . No, seriously, if you aren’t exposed to bright shiny objects, you won’t chase them.
I only read blogs and buy courses that are tightly aligned with what I’m doing. For me it’s online publishing which entails quite a bit such as SEO, writing and affiliate marketing. I avoid anything that focuses on ecommerce, agency building, video creation, freelancing, etc.
The reason I restrict my exposure is that it’s so easy to go on a frolic trying something new which ends up being a massive money and time suck. I’m easily suckered into things. I know this about myself so I’m best off avoiding any potential distraction.
8. The excitement of yet a new blog is TEMPORARY
Drill this into your brain.
A new niche site is like a new car. It’s exciting for a month. After that it’s no different than your old car or other blog. A new car transports you from A to B just like the old car. Your new blog will require the same tasks, effort, commitment and offer the same frustrations and challenges as your old blog.
10. Like what you do
If you don’t like this stuff, stop doing it. You’re better off reading a John Grisham novel or planting a new garden or doing whatever you actually like doing.
The collateral benefits of blogging are many but they are not sufficient to propel you to success.
I get the appeal of an online business. The thing is, there are so many different types of online businesses; choose one you enjoy.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.