The Shiny Object Syndrome in Network Marketing

In the network marketing, home-based business, and make money online industries, we have a huge problem that I call the Shiny Object Syndrome in Network Marketing. This is when people switch from company-to-company or opportunity-to-opportunity every three to six months (or less) because they aren’t getting the results they desire in their current business.

They don’t get the results they want with one business (or with their MLM Company) so they QUIT and join a different business opportunity hoping that things will be easier and better. When they don’t achieve the success they desire in their new opportunity right out the gate, they jump ship again.

shiny object syndrome in network marketingMany home-based business business owners repeat this Shiny Object Syndrome process for YEARS. I’m guilty of doing this myself for nearly a decade, and I am embarrassed by it. Even worse, I know some distributors who have been in the industry more than 20-years and have worked with close to 100 companies!

How can you expect to achieve success in any business model when you are constantly jumping around like that?

I don’t think it’s possible. At some point, you must buckle down and commit to one company, or one opportunity! When you keep switching companies or opportunities, you lose momentum. You keep starting over. Even worse, you lose your credibility with the people you know, and rightfully so.

People simply won’t take you seriously when you are promoting a new opportunity every week. I know I wouldn’t take someone seriously if they called me every few months with something new. Would you?

The Internet Ruined Everything

I love the internet. I really do. It has changed my life and business for the better. It’s also damaged the home business industry. The major problem with the internet is information overload. There is so much false and contradicting information online. There is so much hype. People don’t know who to trust or what to do.

The Shiny Object Syndrome is alive and well on the internet.

You see ads like:

  • “Follow Our System and Make $10k Your First Month!”
  • “Get Started for $500, Do Nothing, and Watch the Money Roll In!”
  • “Work 10 Minutes a Day and Make Six Figures Your First Year!”
  • Ground Floor Opportunity! Get In Before Everyone Else and Make It Big!”
  • “Homeless Man Earned $200k in His First Month!”
  • “Sign Up Today and We Build Your Business for YOU!

I could go on and on here, but I’m sure you’ve seen tons of ads like this online. Most people receive SEVERAL emails per day with the next greatest business opportunity. The ink on their signature of their distributor agreement hasn’t even dried yet and they’re off to the next company. Have you had people on your team like this? Have you done this before? I know I have.

avoid shiny objects at all costs

I can’t speak for you, but I get pitched online at least 20 to 50 times per day by email. Combine that with how many people call me trying to recruit me and it’s even worse. Throw in Facebook and it’s a trifecta of shiny objects.

Back in the day, before the internet, people had limited access to information. This was a good and bad thing. Now, anyone can search online for five minutes and be completely bombarded with business opportunities and shiny objects.

I think the major problem with the internet is that it feeds on so many people’s desire to get something for nothing.  

That’s why Shiny Objects are so rampant online. Because people want something for nothing! People want quick, easy money without doing the work. They want it free and they want it now. God forbid you actually have to work hard to make money.

You see so many HYPE based and FEAR based ads online because they work! 

Wisdom About Business

When you study the most successful people in the network marketing industry (or any other industry), you will quickly discover that they buckled down and stuck with one company (or business model) for several years before they made it big. They made a decision that they would succeed, they persisted, and they kept moving forward UNTIL they made it. They made a ton of mistakes along the way, but they learned from each mistake. They took all out massive action and did what most people aren’t willing to do.

Building a successful business in any industry is a long-term game. It is a game of chess, not checkers.

Lessons Learned from the Shiny Object Syndrome in Network Marketing

I think there are some valuable lessons everyone can learn from the Shiny Object Syndrome in Network Marketing.

# 1: Building a profitable business of any type is not easy to do.

Most businesses fail! Statistics vary by source, but it’s common for 9 out of 10 businesses to close down within their first ten years. The home-based business industry has similar statistics. Most businesses that do make it big take several YEARS to become successful.

It requires lots of hard work and persistence to build a successful business of any kind. It also requires mental toughness. It takes a big vision to keep you going during the difficult times. The bottom line is that no business is fast, free, or easy.

# 2: You must learn to think like an entrepreneur.

Entrepreneurs think differently than employees. Employees value security. Entrepreneurs value opportunity. Employees earn a linear income and trade time for money. Entrepreneurs build an asset that continues to pay them in the years to come.

You must realize that your product or service is not your real business. Your job is to SELL the product. Your job as a business owner is to make the cash register ring. You must focus on marketing, lead generation, and sales. You must work on your business, not in it. Do not confuse busy work with being productive!

# 3: Most business take a year or two to make a profit.

No matter what type of business you start, it will probably take you a year or two to make a profit. In the beginning of any new business, you will work hard for very little money. More than likely, you will work for less than minimum wage. This is a fact. However, as you grow your business, you can eventually make a lot of money without working as hard.

# 4: The grass is greener where you water it.

While other opportunities might look amazing from a distance, you will quickly discover that no opportunity is easy or perfect. The grass is greener where you water it. Pick the opportunity you want to have your problems with and stick with it for the long haul.

# 5: You will go through a learning curve.

Whenever you start a new business or job, you must go through a learning curve. You must learn the specialized skills of that business. This will not happen overnight. Depending on the business model, it might take you a few years to master your skills. It’s important to be a student of your business.

Every successful network marketer was terrible when they first got started. Think about the first time you tried to ride a bike. You fell down over and over and over, but you kept getting back on your bike, and you eventually figured it out. Then you started taking jumps and popping wheelies. You could even ride your bike with no hands. That’s how this business works! First you’re the student, then you’re the teacher, and then you’re the master! Stick with it.

# 6: Just get started and keep learning.

One of my most important lessons is to get started and don’t quit. You will never have all the answers or know everything you need to know BEFORE you succeed in a business. Make it a point to keep learning and improve daily. Do that and the Slight Edge concept will kick in. Before you know it, within a few short years, you will be amazing at what you do.

Video Overview

My Hope for You

My hope for you is that starting today, you will make the decision to build a profitable network marketing business or online business with your current opportunity. If you aren’t happy with your current opportunity, by all means find a new one. Pick an opportunity you are willing to have your problems with and stick with it. No company is perfect.

pick one business and make a two year commitmentOnce you’re in a company you love, make it a point to stick with that one company at least two to five years before you even consider looking at another company or business opportunity. Put on your blinders and never look back. Remember, it takes time to build a successful business of any kind, normally three to five years. Focus is key. Rome wasn’t built in a day!

Keep your vision in front of you at all times. Realize you will have ups and downs. Success is never a straight line. Things never go exactly as planned. Be flexible, make minor adjustments along the way, but stay the course!

And remember, your success is up to you, not someone else. Man up or woman up and take 100% responsibility for your business. The grass is greener where you water it!

What are your thoughts about the Shiny Object Syndrome in Network Marketing? Leave a comment below to tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing from you.

Suggested Reading:
  1. The Internet Isn’t a System For Your MLM Business
  2. Four Ways the Internet Has Changed the MLM Industry
  3. MLM Destroys Families
  4. MLM Deception
  5. MLM Success Tips
chuck holmes


Chuck Holmes
Network Marketing Professional (since 2002)
Author, Blogger, & Entrepreneur

Suggested Resources:
  • The # 1 Home Business for 2024 & Beyond! Weekly Pay. Free websites and marketing system. Free to join. 15 ways to earn. Turnkey online business.  Learn more.
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31 thoughts on “The Shiny Object Syndrome in Network Marketing”

  1. I have this issue and it really does hinder work. We all need to accept what we have and be thankful for it and focus on one thing at a time so we know where we are heading. I get too distracted to easily and this is a problem I am not alone with here! Great post!

  2. I was so discouraged this week and almost switched teams. But my friend encouraged me to act like a Leader and stay. His argument made lots of sense…lots of people are ‘leading selfishly’, that is why I felt like I didn’t belong to a team. He challenged me to use all the lessons I have learnt and begin to lead people under me selflessly. He told me, as a leader, I would lose my credibility with the people under me. And also that ‘just before down is the darkest peach of darkness….So, I decided to stay and pull through to success.

    1. My thoughts are that it doesn’t matter what your leader or upline does. It’s your business. Be the leader and you will attract leaders. Most successful leaders have very little upline support. The grass is not greener on the other side. It’s greener where you water it. No business (of any kind) is fast or easy!

  3. I believe that anyone and everyone who is honest with themselves go through the shiny object syndrome stage sometime in their lives. Some come out of it quickly and others just never discover that it doesn’t work. I know I have found myself in that stage at different points. I believe if a person can stick through the storm in their business, they will see great things. Most people jump ship before or during the storm.

  4. I think the Shiny Object Syndrome is alive and well. I have a big team with my MLM Company and I get 5-10 calls a week from people in my downline who are about to jump ship to the latest and greatest thing. They think the opportunity is the answer to all their troubles so they keep switching companies. Personally, I’ve never met anyone who achieved success who didn’t pick a company and stick with it for the long haul.

  5. I think this is the American Way. People want things and they want it now. They like the idea of getting rich quick or getting something for nothing. That’s why you see all these FB ads talking about making $10k a month in 90 days or less with a home business. How likely is that to happen? Not likely. But it sure does sound good.

  6. I’ve had the “Shiny Object Syndrome” for many years. I’ve probably done 30 different businesses in my lifetime. I don’t think it’s a bad thing though. I ended up as an insurance salesman and I make a very nice living doing that. Sometimes you have to try out a bunch of things until you can find something that is right for you.

    1. You’re right, Stuart. Sometimes you do have to try out different things. But there comes a point in time if you’re just trying new things out every few months for a long period of time, you won’t accomplish much. Just my two cents.

  7. Oh the “Shiny Object Syndrome” Chuck. I can tell you that it is alive and well! I’ve only promoted three different MLM Companies during the past 20 years, but I can’t tell you how many people in my team during that time would leave our company within the first few months to go and chase the latest and greatest thing! It’s hard to make money when you do that. People think the grass is greener on the other side, but it’s not. All businesses are hard! And you need certain skills to succeed. Until you do the work and develop those skills, you will keep failing! I try to tell people that, but they never want to hear it.

  8. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve fallen prey to the next greatest thing. I probably had this disease for nearly 10 years. It wasn’t until I finally said “enough is enough” and stuck with one thing for a period of time that I achieved success. If you fall prey to the “Shiny Object Syndrome” it will poison your future. Don’t do it.


    1. This happens to most of us at some point or another. Fortunately, many people learn from their mistakes and discover they need to stick with one thing if they want to succeed.

  9. The truth is, most people are lazy and are looking for an EASY way to get rich without having to do much work. When you are honest with people and tell them it’s hard work to succeed in a business (of any kind) and there’s a high chance they will fail (in any business) it isn’t too sexy. So when people say crazy things like make six figures in 90 days people want to believe it. That’s why I think the Shiny Object Syndrome will be around for a long time.

    1. You are so spot on Andre. I still think it makes sense to keep it real with people and be honest with them. Treat people well and never lie. That goes a long way, even if you lose some prospects along the way.

  10. I think the “Shiny Object” Syndrome holds true in just about everything in life. People always think the grass is greener on the other side. Sometimes it is, but in most cases the grass on the other side of the fence is the same grass as the stuff on your side of the fence.

    1. I guess you could argue that “shiny objects” happen in the forms of new jobs, spouses, diet plans, and many other things. Commitment is something a lot of folks struggle with.

  11. I’ve been tempted by the Shiny Object Syndrome many, many times. Fortunately, I never gave in. I’ve been with the same company (Shaklee) for 12 years now and now earn a very substantial income. The first five years were a bit tough, but I finally figured things out and built a large team. I can only imagine what my life would be like right now had I chased every shiny object that was presented to me.


  12. I think this problem affects just about everyone in America. It applies to diets, marriage, relationships, businesses, financial planning and just about everything else in life. Most Americans want it now and don’t have the patience or discipline to finish what they start.


    1. Good points, Bobby. The Shiny Object Syndrome definitely affects most people. You are right when you say that most people don’t have the discipline or persistence to finish what they start.


  13. My grandfather always told me that when you are on the verge of the most greatness that is when you are going to experience the most turmoil. I find this point to be so true. I cannot count how many times things got unbelievably rough for me and I was tempted to give up. Yet, by holding on I was able to walk into a new realm of success that was totally worth all of the blood, sweat, and tears.

    1. Before your greatest victory is your darkest hour. You have to be able to ignore the Shiny Object Syndrome and focus on what you are currently doing. Eliminate all distractions and stay on track with what you are currently doing. If you switch business models, or start a new business, you lose your momentum and some of your credibility.


  14. I agree Chuck…been guilty of this syndrome as well. But I am starting to learn to focus and plan goals a lot better. And I agree Shiny Object Syndrome happens in a lot of areas, especially in the make money online arena with a ton of products out there. Thanks for sharing the truth!


    1. You’re welcome, Todd.

      I’m guilty of having the Shiny Object Syndrome too, especially in my early years in the industry. I’m much better now. The sad thing with the Internet is that we get bombarded with messages daily about new opportunities. Sometimes it’s hard to tune them out and stay focused. However, I’ve found that if you want to make it big you have to stick with one program and FOCUS for a period of a few years. That’s what all the successful people do.


  15. The Shiny Object Syndrome you describe is not exclusive to MLM marketers alone. People are always looking for the next rung they can use to climb further upward and many will reach for whatever is within reach, taking what they perceive to be the easiest way. An attitude adjustment could really help some marketers.

    1. There is no easy way to success. The Shiny Object Syndrome is alive and well in our industry, and many other industries. When people realize that building a business takes sacrifice, hard work, discipline and normally several years before you make any type of profit, they tuck their tail between their legs and run back to their “job.” There’s nothing wrong with that. It takes a special person to build a profitable, successful business.


    2. I think this is a trap many who are just starting out, whether it is in MLM or other small business ventures, are snared by. The internet alone entices us with shiny objects every day, tailored to snag us and send us of on a completely different road. I recently read a post by Kathryn Greenstreet called “Eeek! Shiny Object Syndrome!” that talked about getting distracted even while staying within the business you started with. I can relate totally with this, for I have tons of ideas and a list a mile long of things I want to do RIGHT NOW, but I’ve only just started out myself, and I have had to be disciplined about taking on a few things at a time. As Chuck’s article states, I’ve had to “Maverick” up and focus on doing a few things well while using my business plan to determine when I can take on more activities. I’ve set clear, specific goals, to keep the “Shiny Object Syndrome” in check.

      1. The Shiny Object Syndrome is tough. Many companies and businesses have very effective marketing that is extremely persuasive. Their products, services, or opportunity look incredible, especially when your current business isn’t getting the results you really desire. However, every time you switch business models you lose momentum and credibility. Ultimately, you have to pick something and stick with it for many years. As most of us have learned through life experience anyway, the grass is not always greener on the other side.


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