Shiny object syndrome showed its teeth last month when I had some extra time available and decided to invest a few days and some money trying to create new income sources.

For that, I tried to find something simple in the internet marketing area that, with a push of a button (I can dream, right?) or with a small-time investment could generate new sources of passive income for me.

I started looking into some internet marketing and affiliate products that were being advertised in some shiny emails I was receiving from several “internet marketing gurus”.

I realize now that was the moment I underestimated the power of their marketing skills and strategies. The emails were so appealing and the landing pages of the products promised that everything would be so simple and immediate that I believe it. I was delighted by promises like “you just need to do these small things” and “all is required is the push of a button” or “just in three simple steps” — and buying is always the first step, right?

I quickly bought the first product and even faster discovered it was not what I was expecting — it would require many more steps, efforts, and work time than I anticipated.

I did the same error, over and over

Instead of trying to use that first product I bought, I did my first error. I thought that if that product was not so simple as I expected, then I should continue looking for another product that was exactly what I wanted, what I imagined, right? Wrong…

That led me to follow this logic several times, digging fast into more and more products, buying them, being more or less disappointed with what I found, and moving on to what seemed to be the next big thing that I was imagining.

I believe that in those moments I was dominated by the Shiny Object Syndrome. This syndrome identifies the state when one is always chasing for the shiniest things, starting several things at the same time, and never finish anything. The term is inspired by the small child behavior that is always chasing after shiny objects or toys and that quickly gets bored with it and wants the next one.

In total, in nearly 7 days I ended up buying 7 internet marketing products. For most of them, all I did was just to I took a quick look at it, watched some video tutorials, got some ideas, but… did not move forward with any of the software or marketing tutorials that I bought.

I lost time and money

At the end of that week, all the products were just standing on my desktop folders, the members’ area was open on my browser pages, but nothing happened.

I felt disappointed, with my behavior and with the products.

Tring to get something good from this (bad) experience, I tried to identify some simple rules that I can use to prevent being caught in these situations.

Here are some hard lessons I learned from this experience, that I hope can help me to not fall again into the Shiny Object Syndrome trap.

Lesson 1 — Don’t project my desires

The main lesson I learned is that I should not try to find in the product what I am looking for, I must try to evaluate it for what it is.

Sometimes I wanted so much to find what I imagined, that I kept trying to find in the product sales pages all the minimal things that may be related or any way similar to what I wanted.

Tring to find that “match” will be the wrong attitude because it stops me from seeing exactly what is being offered, what that product is. Plus, the landing sales pages tend to be very general and don’t reveal much of the details of the products, which also makes this task even harder.

To avoid this, I should look for detailed information about how the product works. And not only on the sales page but also on external sources also. Read reviews and look for tutorial videos that show the inside areas or detailed components that are included in the products. This process, this more broad search will allow me to find detailed valuable information to increases my chances to do the correct buy.

This search will also help me move from an enthusiastic approach to a more objective analysis. I will become more conscious, more prepared to take an informed decision about buying, or not, that product.

Lesson 2 — Buy only 1 product each time

If I choose to buy products, I must start just with one, and don’t buy any more until I explore it until the end.

And by exploring I don’t mean to just start with it (as I did) but to use it until the end (as I should have done). If the end product is a campaign, start and finish that campaign, if it is a video promotion, build it until the end and publish it.

Don’t drop it when a new email marketing message about some other magical product arrives at my inbox and try to grab my attention. If I can, I must avoid looking into any other email promotion while I am working on using the first product I bought, on taking from it all the value it contains.

Don’t leave it half done, don’t stop what I already started, keep going until the end. I have no guarantee that what I build will be a success, but I can guarantee I will have a finalized product (and probably learn new skills in the process).

Only when I finished working with it I should consider buying another product. And, even at that moment, I must take into consideration that the first product may still require my attention and time for a while. Probably I will need to continue to follow it for some time to evaluate it properly, to improve the way I use it, to discover all in can do (or cannot).

Lesson 3 — Use the refund option

Most of the internet marketing products that arrive at my email offer some kind of Money Back period, many even with a “no questions asked” guarantee.

I can’t hesitate to use that option, ask for a refund if I feel I got the wrong product, or if it may be a good product but is not what I need right now. I used the refund option several times and was able to get a refund in many situations.

Send an email to the seller requesting a refund and do a follow up until I get it. Many times I will be offered another product if I redraw the refund request. I may look into the offer but I must be careful to avoid being caught by the Shiny Object Syndrome again (probably it will be also something that I do not need or will not use…).

If I insist, I will get a refund in most of the situations. And to have this backup plan, each time I buy a product I must look at the refund period, it can be 30 days, 180 days, or even one year — maybe it’s not too late yet to ask for a refund of the one I bought last month?…

In resume, the fundamental rule to avoid the Shiny Object Syndrome is: I must finish what I start.

Whatever the result maybe (if I go all the way) I will gain something, even if it’s just better working habits or a more persistent mind — and that will surely benefit me in the future.