Well hey there, and welcome to 2D Web Solutions Episode 10 where you ask questions we find solutions. I’m Kerry Carron, founder of Ultimate Solution, LLC.
And I am Arelthia Phillips founder of PinTop Solutions, LLC. Each episode we answer up to five different design and development business related questions from you, our visitors. So if you would like to send us your questions and have us answer them, visit our website 2DWebSolutions.com any time to submit your question. And we want to thank you for being here with us for this episode of our aspects of design and development. What’s our topic today, Kerry?
Our topic today is Shiny Objects!
Ah, shiny objects. We want to talk about how to approach these shiny objects. Ok. So first off, Kerry, what is a shiny object?
For me a shiny object is, and this is kind of a dictionary definition but, the attraction to anything that exhibits an appearance of desirability, allure or magnetism. So, anything you’re attracted to.
So you mean that, the stuff that, like the training services and stuff that – I think we end up calling it shiny object syndrome. That ultimate impulse to move on to the next big thing. Whether it’s a new opportunity, idea, service. Ah, this new tactic that everybody’s talking about, training, services or a new social media platform like Snapchat (I have no clue, uh) and you know, all this new stuff.
Yep…Absolutely! Software is a big draw. Um, tools. Business tools, oh, writing applications, products, anything, all of the above. So, we’ve identified what a shiny object is, not specific ones,but what they are in general. So, what, in your opinion, Arelthia, are some of the pitfalls that you have to be aware of when you see a shiny object?
Wow, um shiny objects. You know, those things that are coming from you every which way. You know, whether it’s somebody in a chat talk about something, “hey have you seen this? Does anybody use this? You have this?” You know, that’s a big distraction! Shiny objects can really steal time that should be spent doing the things that make you money in your business. You know? This can be a cause of loss of income or worse even unnecessary stress. You know – just like pressure and stress, because we should be doing one thing and we’re doing something else.
Shiny objects can really steal time that should be spent doing the things that make you money in your business.
Yes! And truly, the financial burden is… could… can often times be substantial because before you know it you spent so much money on so many different little tools. And maybe you don’t even use all of them. Or the ones you have purchased to put you in a financial situation that is less than desirable. But beyond any financial burden, the biggest pitfalls are definitely the loss of productivity. That taking away of time that could have been spent elsewhere on something else. And as you said Arelthia, distraction. So, again removing the focus off of the things that are potentially going to move you closer to accomplishing the things within your business plan.
So like, I think the thing that stood out to me the most on what you said Kerry, was the financial burden, and I talked about that myself as well. But how do you evaluate a shiny object from a financial standpoint?
Ah, well, within my financial, or I’m sorry, within my business plan, I try to have an available spending limit. Like a spending fund. Um, and what do I… my husband and I have a word that we use – expendable, “expendable miscellaneous income”. It’s… it’s your fun money, for lack of a better term. So, I try to have some fun money set aside for my business each month. And I also have a max amount of money that I plan to spend if I’m going to spend anything. If something is more than that maximum that I have set aside, then I am more likely to be able to put it aside. But I do want to make an important note – if there is something that I really need, I plan for it. I set a budget and I go out and look for it. So, it’s rarely presented to me in the form of a shiny object. Um so, if there’s…
If there is something that I really need, I plan for it. I set a budget and I go out and look for it. So, it’s rarely presented to me in the form of a shiny object.
That being said , Kerry, if it’s something that you’re already looking for and all of a sudden it just shows up, that’s not a shiny object. It’s what you’ve already been looking for…?
Potentially true, yes. Very potentially true. So from a financial standpoint and shiny objects, what is your approach?
Well you know, I have a set amount and I’m willing to spend on like, what I like to call, “the new”. You know, and so, if it fits within that amount then I might consider it. But then I also have to think about – you know, what’s the purpose of it? What’s the audience for it and doesn’t fit my business objectives, you know? And I try to keep it simple because I’ve fallen into that trap before. I… like, early on in my business… you know, at the end of the year you look and you spent all this money on all the shiny objects and it’s like, “oh, did I even use that? Okay, um, no, I didn’t use that, did I need it?” So, I’ve learned to put some boundaries around that.
That’s a great keyword, boundaries, definitely.
Definitely yeah. And you know, it’s funny because when we don’t set those boundaries, we tend to run into distraction. So, do you ever find that shiny objects present a distraction for you, Kerry?
Oh definitely! It certainly can be a distraction. And I, I try to remind myself of my process to evaluate and use my process to ultimately make that educated and financially sound decision regarding making any purchases of new things. Um, and I like I said, I also try to limit myself to no more than one thing a month. But I do have that… that… there is that… if there’s something that costs, say, less than ten dollars… less than ten dollars and it’s a one-time purchase, I do have to say I’m more apt, if there is the potential of possibly using it, I might just go ahead and do that. But yeah, they do cause a distraction. And then I put it, you know, I try to… try not to focus on it immediately, but at the same time, I don’t want to lose track of it, so… I may just focus that attention and it takes me away from everything I’m doing, and I’m focusing on putting this new thing together, and it can definitely interfere. How about you?
It’s interesting because you know, I find that when I have more free time, I tend to see more shiny objects. But I do set a limit on the amount of time I’m willing to spend on learning and implement new things. So if I absolutely know I don’t have time to learn something new, or to do something new, or implement a new product or idea, that’s an easy way for me to help stop that distraction. Because already know I don’t have time for it. But you know it’s like, as an entrepreneur, you know… and we have this problem where we’re always looking for new opportunities and ways to do things better. But we have to make sure that we don’t let that become a distraction for us. So, that’s why I had to like, set that time limit. You know, when I get to try new things for a certain period of time. Like, every week I have time set in there where, okay I get… today I get to experiment. I have things on my list of “ok maybe”. Okay, I can go to my “maybe” list and pull something down and look at it. So, sometimes those shiny objects fit into that. But I try to, you know, limit that to stay within that time frame.
Now, what if you come across a shiny object that has, like, a time limit? “Get this now, it’s going away fast!”
Oh, those two are easy for me. Those are easy for me to say, “no” to. I’m sorry. That’s is so easy for me.
Sometimes it’s true and I’ll tell you the ones, uh… the ones that do say that and have a lifetime attached to them… I admit I will stop and take a second look at. And… and then I really dive deep into my evaluation process to determine… is this really a need and how useful will this be for my business in the future. And if it is a lifetime, and if it does meet that need, and if it does fit within to my financial investment capability, I may purchase it and set it aside, just knowing that it is lifetime and it will become useful. And nine times out of ten I will eventually get back to it and build it right into the business, and have it make me quite a bit of money. So there’s a fine line. But that brings us to the question number 5. If the goal is only to purchase items that present immediate value to you, or your business, or potentially your clients, how do you get yourself and your business to that point? Like what’s your process when it comes to evaluating shiny objects?
Um you know, it’s… it’s interesting because I look at it like this… when everything that comes across my desk, I don’t have to assess. Sometimes I just have to say, “no” you know, I have to stick to my lifetime and financial resources for “the new” things – the shiny objects. With shiny objects, you know, they’re coming from all these different directions. I tend to walk away. When I say walk away, I mean like close the email, save the sales letter of the website, and then if I do go back to that item, then evaluate the new item based on my level of available to time and money, ok? So, I look at – does it fit my purpose and audience, ok? Is it right for my customers or is it right for what trying to accomplish? Will help me meet my business objectives? But then it’s like, “okay, so hold on.” This new thing, what am I using now to do this? Am I already doing this? What am I using? Because I don’t want to abandon something that is working for me for something that is untested. You know, just because somebody else says, “oh yeah, this is the new great thing. Have you seen this? That does not mean I need to drop everything and do that. If I’m already doing something that’s working, I want to do that. If it’s within my amount of time I have available for testing or trying new things, then I’ll put it in there and test and try new things, but if it does not work, I’m going to drop it. So, I just have to make sure I’m clear. And I think we had… ah, we did an episode on being intentional with the things you do in your business and I think this is one of the ways that we have to be intentional about the things we do in our business and the way we spend money on our business. So, what… how do you evaluate… how do you make sure you evaluate the shiny objects and not just move forward, just to wrap up Kerry?
Well, I think it was you who said a while back, I don’t know if you said it earlier in this episode or another episode or even a private conversation, but you mentioned, “I’m putting shades on for shiny objects.” And… and um, I love that term. And it really puts up a visual in your mind as to what happens. So for me… the standard way of me being introduced to a shining object is through my day to day work while I’m online. Typically, I’ll either be on a webinar – and webinars are notorious for at the end of the webinar, you’ll have this big sales pitch. I never… okay I don’t want to use the word never – I rarely, very rarely, will go to a webinar with the intention of making a purchase. My reason for going to the webinar is to evaluate the product and to see how it can be used and how I’m going to implement it into my business. Another way that I evaluate, is receiving information through email. So, when I get, I get a ton of email every day, I think we all are inundated with too many emails. So when I first see that the subject line and a little bit about the product, I will look at it, I’ll glance at it and I will very quickly evaluate – is this a need, a want, or a kind of a cool thing? If it’s… if it’s a need, I’ve already identified the thing I’m looking for… so if it comes across my desk and there it is – I will potentially look at it more deeply. For the most part, when things come in, if it’s just a want or kind of a cool new thing that I want to take a look at, I will put my shades on set it aside.
I won’t delete that email because that will be my reminder later to go back and look for it. Um… and I do typically try to empty out my inbox every single day. Now, that doesn’t mean it happens every single day but I find if there’s something in my mailbox for more than a week, then it’s a “no.” It’s, I mean, if I looked at two or three times and haven’t made the time, or found the time to evaluate it, it’s gone. I don’t have time, obviously, to learn a new product so that’s an easy “no.” Then, I sometimes will come back and I.. and then I have to go through my financial aspect of it. Am I… is this a prudent purchase at a time? Is it… how am I going to make it fit into the business? And if it is something that needs a substantial investment, then additionally finding out how it’s going to work in my business, I need to find out how am I going to be able to afford to purchase this in order to make it work, and then, I make it work – if it’s something that my business really needs.
And that, you know… the interesting thing Kerry is um… I said that sometimes… have you ever… have you found yourself sometimes like, that shiny object comes across your desk or wherever it comes across and you’re like, “hey I know this is perfect for Kerry, this is perfect for this client or that client” and you just have found sometimes that helps a lot because I might be like, “oh yeah, I think this is perfect for such and such,” so you just type off that little email, “hey, I saw this and I thought about you. You might want to check it out.”
Um yeah! I have!
And so you know, shiny objects are not necessarily… we’re not saying that they’re evil, we’re not saying that they’re bad, we’re just saying that we need to know – we need to be intentional, continue to be intentional about why we do what we do. And you know, we have to always know the why we’re doing it. So Kerry… um, what’s our tip for tweet today’s tip?
Today’s tip is: Don’t allow shiny objects to distract you from your business objectives. are perfect so before you go we want to hear from you on how do you deal with shiny objects.Don't allow shiny objects to distract you from your business objectives. Click To Tweet
Ah, perfect. So before you go we want to hear from you. How do you deal with shiny objects? We just encourage you to leave us your comments on our website at 2DWebSolutions.com so that we can continue this conversation over there and remember when you ask questions, we find solutions!
So, while you’re over leaving comments on our website feel free to submit your design and development questions as well, so we can address them in a future episode. So, next time we meet we are going to talk about the hierarchy of design and development needs… Some of these shiny objects that you absolutely must have, or at least some of the shiny objects that work in our business that aren’t shiny objects and are simply just our needs.
And if you’re ready to take action toward building yourself a successful design and development business be sure to subscribe to our YouTube channel or podcast which are currently available through iTunes, Android, RSS, Stitcher, and email and we’ll see you on the next 2D aspects of design and development episode.
So long folks!