This is becoming a very common scenario for me as an independent content marketing strategist. A highly ambitious founder approaches me to take on the role of Content Marketing Officer (CMO) of his brand new startup. He wants to be influential on the Internet and has the “big idea” that will make him millions. He is convinced that he’s landed on the next big opportunity that will create wealth and success.
We do a few strategy sessions, begin the process, and three months in, he comes into the call with a brand new idea that he now wants to implement in conjunction with the first idea that’s incubating. He is working with a very limited budget, has all kinds of romanticized ideas about how his product will sell and how he will get to travel the world (working off a laptop leveraging Click Funnels and all those other automated tools because his marketing guru said real success is working only 4 hours a week), and there you have it, my friend, a startup that is destined to crumble even before the big launch.
I don’t know if you will relate to this because you are the creative founder who keeps jumping from trend to trend in search of the shortcut that will get you on a beach fast or because you’re the kind of marketer that’s always being sucked in by the latest marketing gimmick or software. Either way, this shiny object syndrome must stop. Otherwise, you will never really build something worthwhile.
Many founders and entrepreneurs are getting stuck in an endless loop. They have an abundance of ideas, see all kinds of possibilities, and almost every week, a new breakthrough idea comes to them. Unfortunately, those ideas don’t translate into real, thriving businesses because, more often than not, they keep jumping from one idea, one project, one opportunity, one tool to the next.
If you’ve struggled with this or if you’re a CMO with clients who struggle with this, here are a few things that will help.
Develop a strong focus and sense of direction.
This one is easier said than done. Everything is always demanding our attention. Social media, cool new software, friends, family, Netflix, reality shows, business ideas, technology, and the list goes on and on.
Many experts say that our attention span has become shorter than that of a goldfish. That also implies that our ability to focus and concentrate on one thing is dwindling. In a digitally connected world where everyone is trying to showcase how easy it is to make a lot of money fast, entrepreneurs and founders are struggling to build real businesses.
They’re too busy chasing after the next best opportunity that will make them industry disruptors and jet setters traveling the world and taking selfies in exotic places. Short-term thinking is poison for your business, whether you realize it or not.
The only cure is to harness all your creativity into a few key opportunities that synergistically work well together. You need to train your mind to focus by giving it clear directions to follow and eliminating all unnecessary distractions until a significant milestone is attained.
Take up a few exercises that can help you build up your focus levels, such as meditation, or try some of the activities recommended by the art of manliness.
Double down on patience in your new business.
In other words, think long term. Too many of us set huge ambitions but struggle to master the discipline and commitment it takes to reach those goals.
For example, I had a prospect who once told me that his goal was to make two million dollars a month. I thought that was a great goal. When I asked him how long he was willing to give this new startup to reach those numbers given that he had zero audiences and no POF (proof of concept), he said 12 months.
That was my cue to end that meeting, and run away as fast as I could.
Get more practical and smart about how you work.
Remember that example I just shared of the prospect who wanted to go from zero to two million in twelve months? He lacked practicality to his ambitions because when I asked him how he’d broken down that big goal into tiny milestones to make it feasible, he was humble enough to say, “I have no idea.”
That is a problem many young founders are struggling with. Just because you hear someone else say their business is doing $10 million a month doesn’t mean you can just set up shop and get the same results even if you’re modeling that person’s funnel. There are too many variables to take into account.
For example, have you ever made millions in a month? A year? If not, there’s a learning curve that cannot be skipped over, and you must take that into account when setting the timeline for that goal. All this to say, be practical with your business and ambitions.
Work on your self-esteem and self-belief.
It seems odd at first, but if you take the time to reflect, I think you’ll soon realize that continually chasing after the new big idea or opportunity to “take advantage of” is more often than not a result of something internal that is amiss. Usually, it has to do with our self-esteem and self-belief.
My conviction at this point in time is that shiny object syndrome, whether it is demonstrated as a young entrepreneur running from trend to trend trying to get rich or a marketer running from software to software thinking it will make them the best – these are all rooted in an individual’s lack of self-belief.
It’s you not fully believing that “you alone are the determining factor of success.”
Entrepreneurs and founders are blessed beyond measure with the drive, motivation, and ability to see opportunities and take the initiative. But that alone isn’t going to be enough to create wealth and long term success.
Don’t permit the same qualities that make you strong in disrupting your industry also become your downfall. Get the focus and direction that you need, and by all means, surround yourself with people or a team to help you stay on track so you can keep your shiny object syndrome in check.
I like to say this to many of my clients, so let me share it with you in the hopes that it will put you on the right path: All the wealth and success you desire cannot and will not be found in any particular industry or marketplace. Every opportunity is the right opportunity to produce wealth if your mindset is right.