The Law of Distraction aka Ohhhh Shiny

Yesterday we covered the #1 listed obstacle to business growth, which was overwhelm. Go back and read that first if you haven't yet.

Today, we're covering Obstacle 2 – The Law of Distraction, also known as Bright Shiny Object Syndrome

“You cannot chase more than one rabbit at a time and catch either one of them.”

Mary Kay Ash, cosmetics mogul


A big mistake I see in business-builders is that you try this idea, that idea, that website, this website, and we’re going to try all of these at the same time and see what works.  (Rarely will any ONE of them really take off.)

But Carrie, you have multiple businesses. Yes, I do, but I built them one business at a time.

Let me use this illustration in case the rabbit illustration does not help. If you’re working 3 jobs, how likely are you to get promoted at any of those 3 into an executive position? It's very hard to give your ALL to one business, one career, one focus if you are spread too thin.

You only have so much energy and so much brain space.

In my experience, it is best if you focus on one model at a time. When I started my publishing company, UnitNews (which has since been sold),  I developed templated newsletters for one segment of the direct sales industry. More specifically, Mary Kay Independent Sales Directors and National Sales Directors.

There were only 8,000 Directors at that point in the USA and Canada with about 5,000 of that total being English speakers in the USA. I chose to focus on USA only and considering that about 2,000 of them are brand new at any given time, etc., I had a very small market to deal with.

It was a service based business and I could only serve so many people and here is what started immediately happening.

  • Would you do this in Spanish?
  • Would you also do my website?
  • Could you print, copy, and mail these?
  • Would you do these for BeautiControl?
  • Hey, can you help us do this for Home Interiors?
  • We’d love to have you do these for Premier Jewelry, etc.


Now you might be thinking “Holy Smokes. You were sitting on a gold mine.” Look at all the ways she could’ve developed that business. But here’s what I said to every one of those questions: No. No. No. Here’s why. I do a Mary Kay management newsletter in English for a USA clientele. I do the Master electronic copy. It’s up to you whether you want to print them, put them on your website, or email them. Period. That's what I specialize in.

As a result I was able to serve up to 1,400 clients at a time because what I did was scalable. Now please tell me how many clients I would’ve been able to serve if I also did Spanish, websites, printing, copying, mailings. Tell me how I would’ve figured my profit margin or how I could’ve predicted my resources or my staffing or any of those things if I’d been chasing all those rabbits? How would I have been seen as the newsletter service for Mary Kay independent contractors if I was also doing BeautiControl? (I promise you once the Mary Kay people found out I was doing that for BeautiControl then they would’ve started using somebody else.)

You don’t want your baby delivered by the Dentist. You want a specialist. I could not have chased all those rabbits and done as well as I did.

As a result we did 5 million dollars in newsletters for that one specific model within the one specific market. Please listen and trust me. Focus on one model.

Be careful of chasing rabbits even within your one business model.  For instance let’s say you are a VA, virtual assistant, and you’re chasing rabbits by trying to specialize in the legal field,  the financial field, the information marketing field as well as the direct sales field. That’s chasing too many rabbits.

You need to be the baby doctor or the dentist! It's really difficult to be both.

Here’s what I know. When I buckle down and focus, not only do I allow myself some time to be successful and have a better sense of accomplishment and profitability, but then sometimes I go back and look at those other ideas and say  “Ummmm. No, I want to keep refining this one. I want to keep making this one more profitable. What was I thinking?”

But Carrie, what do I work on first? I'm excited about all of these ideas! Prioritize them in order of profitability. Let’s get them to ridiculous cash before we move onto another ‘hunt.'

What are some ways you feel like you're distracted? What other ‘rabbits' are you chasing? How does this help you see that you can refine your ‘chase' down a little further? Post below

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