Shiny Object Syndrome

By Citizen Affiliate | Affiliate Marketing

May 19
shiny object syndrome

This article will explain what Shiny Object Syndrome is, where it comes from, and how to avoid it!

What is Shiny Object Syndrome?

Shiny Object Syndrome is a nasty affliction suffered by internet marketers (and sometimes all sorts of people), where you bounce from one shiny toy or product or tool to another, continually looking for an easy win, and achieving nothing.

It often starts when someone spends a fair bit of money or time (or both) on a product and doesn’t get results from it. They become frustrated and go looking for something that promises more results with even less effort.

Of course, this means that they go chasing an even shinier object that is even less likely to provide real value.

This leads to more frustration and disappointment, and before long the junky is chasing their next “quick fix”, which spirals into Shiny Object Syndrome.

The dangers of Shiny Object Syndrome

If you find yourself suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome (SOS), you will find yourself faced with some common problems and pitfalls.

Not finishing projects

The classic hallmark of someone suffering from SOS is unfinished projects. The website with a “Hello!” article and nothing else published. The year-old “weekly” podcast with one episode released. The adwords campaigns with one ad group, put on hold indefinitely. You will never achieve serious results in online marketing with dedication and focus.

Jack of all trades

Another problem faced by people suffering from SOS is that they end up being a “jack of all trades, master of none”. Because they are jumping from one thing to the next, they never have time to really master a skill. Getting good at something takes time. The first few weeks learning a system is often just getting your head around the concepts and terminology. If by that time you’re moving on to the next thing, you’ll end up not getting good at anything.

Cash flow problems

Purchasing tools, memberships and courses costs money. I’m not saying you shouldn’t buy anything. I am a firm believe that you are your own best investment and that you need to be keeping on top of things and spending money on yourself and your business. But if you buy anything you come across and don’t even get results from it, you’re spinning wheels and burning cash and going nowhere.

No clear vision

Chasing after shiny objects will mean you will struggle to build a clear vision of yourself, your business and the value that you can offer your audience. And this is hugely important in building trust and reputation with people.

Things to look out for

shiny object cat

“Shiny! My shiny thing!”. Copyright holder: British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) (BBC North West), Grant Naylor Productions, Paul Jackson Productions

I would beware of any products that promise they can make money with very little or no effort. This is usually an exaggeration, if not an outright lie.

Think about it – if someone invented a system that just created money out of nowhere, with no effort, would they really sell it online? For $12.95? They would keep it for themselves – or sell it to a select few for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I am particularly sceptical of anything that claims you can effortlessly get to the #1 position in the Google search rankings. If thousands of people all buy this thing and think they will get to #1 for a common keyword, who will get to be #1? It doesn’t even make sense.

Also be very, very wary of membership sites that offer a membership for only $20 or so and promise that you can earn thousands of dollars in commissions. These schemes are specifically targeting people suffering from Shiny Object Syndrome.

They will usually quickly sell you up to a “premium” tier which costs thousands of dollars and “unlocks” the products that can (theoretically) earn you the big commissions. And this spiral continues as the victim becomes more desperate to earn back the money they have put down.

Some of these sites are fine but some of them are dangerous scams (like My Online Business Empire and Digital Altitude), and every year or so one of them gets shut down in a big fireball of despair and lawsuits.

How to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome

Here are some simple rules to avoid Shiny Object Syndrome.

Rule #1: One product at a time

This is a simple rule that I have applied recently and had great results from. It really helped me to get my Shiny Object Syndrome under control. The rule is to just only use one product at a time. Do not start or buy or even look at another product until you have finished the one you are currently one.

shiny object syndrome

Shiny Objects can be tempting but dangerous

And that means not just going through the training, installing the software, reading the book or whatever. It also means applying it, properly. Putting in the work (see below). Having a proper try at getting results from it. Or deciding that it simply is not for you, in which case you just bin it and move on.

Rule #2: Research thoroughly

Make sure to research a product thoroughly before investing in it, especially membership sites. Get a few opinions from a few people.

Rule #3: Put in the work

Most importantly, put in the damn work! Make sure that most (80% or more) of your time is spent on actual productive work – writing and promoting content. Products should be a small thing on the side. And make sure that they work you put in is real productive work. Writing content, promoting content, building relationships, researching and testing products, creating and testing campaigns, and so on.

Trying out three hundred different colors for your logo doesn’t count as real work. That is just a classic case of procrastination!

Rule #4: Take a break

It’s important to take a breather every now and then. Take your head out of the marketing space, go for a walk, spend some time with your family. Don’t use your downtime on new products, that’s not downtime. You need to recharge your batteries. And then get back into hustling!


I hope you found this article interesting – let me know if you have had experiences with Shiny Object Syndrome in the comments below! Or if you have any other tips or advice that I haven’t though of.

If you find yourself becoming distracted by shiny objects, I would recommend choosing one simple system for making money and focusing on it until you get results. My best pick for that is probably Instant Buyer Traffic (check out my review here or check the best price here) or The Lost Code (I wrote a review here or you can have a look at the latest price here).