How To Deal With The Fear Of Missing Out As An Entrepreneur
It's often said that those who get bored too quickly should go into entrepreneurship.
There's so much opportunity and things to choose from that it can be hard to get bored sometimes.
Whatever you think about, you can probably do in entrepreneurship.
Do you like movies? Start a Netflix-type business or start a film direction company.
Do you like to draw? Start as a freelancer creating art for others and grow.
Do you like games? Create your own games and sell them commercially.
Have you heard of Candy Crush?
It's rumored that Candy Crush generated $1.19 billion in 2020-21.
In today's day and age, anyone can make their first dollar online.
The world is full of opportunities for people of all sorts.
No matter what you like to do, you'll most likely be able to find a career that suits you.
However, this is where the trouble also comes in.
With this much choice available, it can be a bad thing.
One of the reasons in this article is 'shiny object syndrome.'
"Shiny object syndrome is the tendency to continually chase new trends, new opportunities, and new ideas without evaluating their benefit first."
See, I believe that shiny object syndrome and FOMO (fear of missing out) are closely interlinked.
I feel like the fear of missing out on something big and trendy is what causes shiny object syndrome.
Coming into entrepreneurship, I just wanted to make a ton of money.
I stumbled across e-commerce dropshipping first and this is when my shiny object syndrome first came to life.
I saw many people making millions from this somewhat simple business model and so I needed to get in too.
As entrepreneurs, we're constantly bombarded with 'the best business ideas' wherever we look, making it hard to stick to one thing.
You may be onto something, and then you hear about 'this one guy making £10,000,000 a minute from trading forex,' and so you quit what you're doing and move on to the next thing.
After failing at dropshipping, I started trading forex.
This was when it got bad.
Forex, crypto, and the trading space, in general, are driven by FOMO.
Banks and institutions that control the cashflow of the markets use techniques to make retail traders (us) think that we're missing out on massive moves.
As soon as the banks see a large influx of capital in their favor, they close their position to collect the profit from the retail traders that just fell for their big game.
You might be thinking, why keep going if you're just losing?
It's all part of the game.
Look at casinos.
Casinos are wired in a way that keeps people coming back - it's the environment and the feeling you get from it.
There's even been research done that shows how the house wins the majority of the time but people still play because 'the next time might be the time they win big.'
This FOMO, leading to shiny object syndrome plays into the dopamine rise we get from the excitement which keeps us going.
This loop of trying one thing, then another and another, is the reason why many people fail.
They don't give themselves time to see one thing through.
In this article, I'm going to be sharing a few tips I've gathered over the past year or so that has helped me keep my FOMO to a minimum.
Do something you're good at
You may usually hear 'do what you love,' even from me.
I'm sure I've said 'do what you love' a few times in my previous articles.
However, I really don't like that saying.
I think it's better to say 'do what you're good at.'
After all, if you're good at something and it's working for you, why switch, right?
Doing something you love doesn't necessarily mean you're good at that thing.
We all know how bumpy the journey of entrepreneurship is.
Doing something you love, and failing over and over will most likely make you despise that business model after.
If you love art and you're always trying to sell your art pieces but none sell for more than a few bucks, you'll start to hate drawing.
As soon as you get a whiff of failure, you start to sniff out other opportunities.
Suddenly, you see a few people making money from selling Piña coladas on Shopify so you also jump on the wagon.
Trust me, you don't want to be jumping from opportunity to opportunity because nothing will end up working.
There's a difference between FOMO or shiny object syndrome and giving up on a business strategically which I've talked about here.
When I started my marketing agency, I didn't think about other business models for a while.
It was such a simple idea - set up a site, learn marketing, pitch your services.
Little did I know, I was average at marketing, and I hated pitching.
I wasn't any good at this business model and so once small failures started to rack up, I got discouraged, depressed even, and eventually gave up.
Same with Condensr.
I had a massive vision for Condensr, and even investors were seeing it.
I was getting some good interest from investors looking to invest in Condensr but small failures started to stack and it made me give up.
I wasn't good at starting this sort of business.
As soon as I learnt about SaaS, I started to get FOMO and shiny object syndrome.
Whilst my freelancer worked on Conednsr, I was building another business, Hawk, on the side - what sort of leadership is that?!
After so much failure with the marketing agency and even as a door-to-door salesperson, I decided to start a SaaS company that helps these groups of people connect with more clients faster.
Hawk gives agencies and salespeople more information about their leads, and more ways to reach them so every outreach is as personal and powerful as possible.
So far with this business, I haven't gotten FOMO and I'm set to launch VERY soon.
Simply put, if you end up not enjoying what you're doing and you're not seeing success in it, you're likely to switch to something else.
So limit this by doing something you know you're going to be successful with.
Limit social media usage
Social media is one of the biggest things that cause FOMO or shiny object syndrome.
Not long ago, there was this group of retail traders who started a Reddit group and wanted to flood the crypto market.
Foolishly, I decided to go against everything I've said and jump in, resulting in a loss of capital and it just gave me reassurance in my word.
That's when I realised that what I was saying was true and that I should probably practice what I preach.
Like many people reading this right now, I used to spend hours on social media.
Social media and gaming was my source of dopamine.
I spent day till midnight pretty much (1pm to 1am) gaming and going on social media.
This lasted for years and years until I started to realise how unhappy I was with my life.
Something I thought was so fulfilling turned out to be exhausting and incredibly unhealthy.
Checking my social media usage today, I spend on average 5-7 minutes per day on Instagram.
I've never felt so free in my life!
When was the last time you went on social media and got off it, feeling fulfilled or happy?
You most likely saw a post that made you feel unworthy, like you're not enough.
Social media is full of actors. Almost no one who posts on social media lives how their stories make them out to be.
It's so easy to go on social media right now and start to be the sort of person you want to truly be.
All you need to do is pretend. That's all social media is, it's a glamourised version of reality - what people really want to live like.
My Instagram bio can read 'Jeff Bezos' cousin' and people will believe me.
Not because I'm bald (which I'm not), but because the line between fantasy and reality is so blurred.
Not to sound like a hater, but when we look at platforms like TikTok, we see talentless people with 100s of millions (yes... millions) of followers.
They build these audiences just for acting stupid online.
This gives so many people the misconception that making it big is easy just to be disappointed a few weeks later.
Although this may have sounded like a mini-rant, I hope it got the point across.
Social media will make you sad. It will trigger negative self-talk.
Avoid it where possible, or limit your time on it.
This is the easiest way to avoid shiny object syndrome and FOMO.
Are you really missing out?
Sometimes the solution is as simple as asking yourself one question.
Are you really missing out on something?
Or is it just the amount of people on the trend who are triggering your FOMO?
Most of the time, it's a false gold rush.
Nothing actually comes out of it and those who participated feel like complete idiots after.
Before scrambling around like your life depends on it, think to yourself if something big is really in the making, or you're just overreacting due to the hype.
Take the trading example I shared above once more.
Other than Bitcoin, what was the one thing that saw so much hype around it and actually happened?
There most likely isn't something.
The hype that you see is all manufactured.
In trading, there's a somewhat common mantra now that says do the opposite of what everyone else is doing.
If 90% of people lose money in the markets, then clearly that 10% of winners are doing the opposite, right?
So most of the time, the hype will all be wrong.
In fact, if you're hearing about it now, you're also most likely too late.
The definitions for FOMO and shiny object syndrome clearly state doing or following something 'without evaluating their benefits first.'
Do some due diligence before jumping into something.
Even a little bit of research will help you make a more accurate decision.
There's always another time
Finally, it's always easier to live with the fact that you're not going to get to do everything.
We all have 24 hours in the day and so we can only spend our time on limited things.
Spreading ourselves too thin will simply bring back mediocre results at best.
I had to recreate this image in order to show it to you:
On the left is what it looks like when we spend all our time and energy on one thing.
We get amazing results and we're able to scale something to the Moon.
On the other hand, on the right, we see the negative impact of spreading ourselves too thin.
This is someone who has gotten FOMO 5 times and is trying to balance all 5 at the same time.
As you can see, they're not making any real progress with anything they're doing.
The next time you want to jump into something because you think you're going to miss out, think of what you're really missing out on by diverting your attention from something that can be so close to success.
There will always be another opportunity.
You must accept this and be able to move on.
You're never going to be able to do everything all at once.
Start small, build up, build a team, expand into different industries.
If this one doesn't end up working out, you haven't missed out on anything.
As long as you learnt your lessons from the failure, the next time you try, there'll be a higher chance of success.
In this article here, we cover how to effectively learn from your mistakes.
Remember Amazon - Jeff had a grand vision from the start, but started as small as selling books online.
Not long after, Amazon is one of the largest companies in the world, and yes, Jeff Bezos does everything.
It's all in your hands now.
Did you learn anything new from this article?
Let me know in the comments below.
Till next time,