The Secret Life of Squirrels

squirrelI know what you’re thinking. “Old Bob has finally lost what little mind he had left. Time for the nursing home.” Why in the world would I be writing an article about squirrels, much less their secret lives, on a website devoted to online business?

Well, don’t ship me off to the home just yet. Bear with me. I think I can tie squirrels, their secret lives, and online marketing all together in a meaningful way if you’ll hang around.

The Back Story

Lets do a little background work first so that you get the overall concept I’m going for, then we’ll define a few terms, and it will all become clear shortly.

Now at first it’s going to seem like I’m wandering even further out into the quicksand, but I need to talk about dogs before I talk about squirrels.

Country folks are going to grasp the concept immediately, city-dwellers may take a little longer. No reflection on city or country life, it’s just that there are more squirrels and dogs in the country than in the city.

What Internet Marketers Have In Common With Labrador Retrievers

My son has a Labrador Retriever. Sweet dog. Perfectly normal and calm – most of the time. That is, until she sees a squirrel, or until someone inadvertently utters the word “squirrel.”

When either one of those two things happens, this normally passive, quiet dog loses all sense of propriety and has only one thought – GET THAT SQUIRREL!

She will not be deterred. She’s going after that squirrel no matter what! I have seen many dogs exhibit similar behavior. I think it’s because squirrels run when they are chased, which triggers the dog’s primal instinct as a predator to give chase.

[Hey, I’m not a dog psychologist, but that’s what I believe.]

Let’s see, where was I? Oh yeah, dogs and squirrels and how they relate to internet marketing.

There’s a very contagious illness which spreads like a virus around the online marketing world, and there are sinister forces at work doing everything possible ensure that the illness continues to spread unabated. More on that later.

This illness is known as “Shiny Object Syndrome” (SOS) and it is often worn as a badge of honor by aspiring online marketers. It seems that it is regarded almost as a right of passage into the mysterious world of online business.

So, let’s be clear from the outset. This is not a matter to be trifled with. People joke about SOS, but I assure you it’s no joking matter. If you suffer from SOS, you truly do need to be sending out an S.O.S. distress signal. This condition can ruin your business and your life.

I don’t think I’m being too dramatic when I share my belief that SOS has ruined thousands of people’s chances of creating successful businesses, and I suspect the condition has single-handedly been responsible for the loss of millions of dollars worldwide, mostly from people who really couldn’t afford to lose the money.

For the uninitiated, Shiny Object Syndrome works like this. You are trying to start a business online. Maybe you lost your job. Maybe you just need some extra income, or maybe you hate your job and would like to create an alternate source of income so you can quit the day job. It doesn’t matter.

SOS is an equal opportunity employer. Knowing they are vulnerable, the purveyors of Shiny Objects prey on people searching for alternatives to their current situation.

The Sinister Forces

This is where the sinister forces I referred to earlier are at work. In the virtual world there are highly skilled marketers who can polish up a piece of, well, let’s just say “junk,” to look like a shiny diamond.

And they don’t stop there. Not only do they polish this junk and make it look all pretty, they use their marketing skills to make these Shiny Objects appear to have magical powers.

You’ve heard the spells cast by these marketing wizards:

  • Push button
  • Automatic
  • ATM
  • Business in a box
  • $XX,000/day system

So what’s this have to do with dogs and squirrels?

Here’s the thing. People who have been infected with SOS through the wiles of the evil marketing wizards react to new shiny objects (sometimes referred to as “products,” “courses,” “training,” etc.) in exactly the same way my son’s dog reacts to the mere mention of the word “squirrel.”

They lose all sense of judgment. They hastily abandon whatever they were doing at the moment the condition was triggered by the offer of a new shiny object (squirrel) and they will not rest until they have caught that squirrel, i.e. bought that product.

Just as in the dog’s world, chasing the squirrel (Shiny Object) might be fun for a moment, but figuring out what to do with a dead squirrel is a different matter.

Here’s where the sinister part comes in. Do you think those evil marketing wizards want anyone to be cured of SOS? Of course not. No SOS, no demand for their products. Game over!

The wizards no more want you to recover from SOS than the pharmaceutical companies want someone to discover a cure for cancer or diabetes.

I hate that I am cynical. I wish it were otherwise, but the reality is that there are too many dollars being made by the pharmaceutical companies for them to sincerely hope for a cure for cancer or diabetes, and there are too many dollars are being made selling Shiny Objects to expect marketing wizards to sincerely hope for a cure for SOS. It’s the way of the world.

So, it falls on you to educate and protect yourself, and that’s as it should be.

I have written another post discussing the “Emotional Cycle of Change” which ties in quite well with this discussion and proposes a cure for SOS. I encourage you to read that when you are finished reading my entertaining “dog and squirrel” story. It will provide, as Paul Harvey used to say, the rest of the story.

To bring this long-winded discussion to a close, let me sum it up this way. It is unlikely that you will ever succeed online as long as you are actively suffering from SOS. You will never stay focused on a project long enough to make it succeed, and that is exactly what the evil marketing wizards have planned for you.

You will remain in a never-ending loop:

  • chasing the newest shiny object
  • catching the object but losing some cash
  • trying to implement the new system
  • becoming discouraged when it doesn’t work immediately
  • seeing a new shiny object
  • abandoning the old shiny object
  • repeat indefinitely or until you run out of money.

These marketers want you to be and remain a “consumer” of their products – not a “creator” of a better product with which they would then have to compete.

A Point of Clarification

Please don’t misunderstand. I am not issuing a blanket indictment of salespeople and marketers, just the scumbags who repeatedly promote worthless products to vulnerable but sincere people trying to support their families and start a business.

There are many ethical marketers online, about whom I have no criticism whatsoever. Our whole economic system depends on commerce – on entrepreneurs who create new and valuable products and services. I hope they all get fabulously rich.

Unfortunately, commerce has a dark side too, which is never more apparent than in the world of internet marketing.

That underworld is populated by unscrupulous marketers making silk purses out of sows’ ears by polishing those Shiny Objects and convincing you and me that the objects have magical powers which when purchased will make us:

  • Rich
  • Healthy
  • Thin
  • Good looking
  • Smart

Your Choices

You can continue to allow the evil wizards of online marketing to infect you again and again with Shiny Object Syndrome, in which case you will remain a “consumer” not an “entrepreneur” or “business owner.”

If you’ve ever read any of Rich Schefren’s work, you’ll recognize the person chasing Shiny Objects as what he terms an “Opportunity Seeker” versus legitimate creators of businesses, which he labels “Strategic Entrepreneurs.”

The point is this. There are squirrels (questionable products and services) running all over the internet. They are dispatched (launched) by the hundreds every day by those sinister marketing wizards with the sole purpose of distracting you from creating a legitimate business and convincing you to believe in their creators’ magic – oh, and relieving you of some of your money in the process.

These squirrels are far worse than their real world counterparts, because when you catch these squirrels, it’s not over. Only then do you learn that they have big brothers and sisters (upsells) and little nieces and nephews (downsells) and lots of distant cousins (joint ventures).

So, like the virus that they are, they multiply and continue to multiply (think autoresponder sequences) and like the common cold, when you think you’re about over it, it starts all over again.

Please read my article on The Cure for Shiny Object Syndrome. It will help you cure yourself of this madness once and for all. Without the cure, there’s no hope of succeeding online. That’s not an exaggeration.

End of rant.