The Shiny Object Syndrome

Are coaching programs really necessary for the new freelancer?

You’ve decided to take that scary leap of faith.

You’ve decided to leave your full-time job, and try to make it as a freelancer working from home.

It can be due to any reason. Your kids seeing less of you. Your superior micro-managing everything you do. The commute. The stress of leaving your kids at the daycare.

Enough is enough, and you tell yourself that you will do this now, or you’ll never do it.

This decision gives you a heady feeling of self-control and joy at leaving your workplace, but at the same time, in the corner of your heart, there lurks a fear of failure. An uncertain future looms.

You have to make it, you think, no matter what it takes. What better way than to find a really good coaching program and sign up for it? It will be the ultimate investment. You shall hustle your way to a victorious end (being financially independent and being there for your family).

In your mind, the coach is someone who will guide you step by step. Someone who will take you by the hand and tell you what to do next, and next. Someone who will reply to your questions in minutes.

In short, you’re thinking about someone who will guarantee your success in the next six months (give or take a few).

Freelancing from home and being careful of the shiny object syndrome
A lady working on her laptop on her bed

You come across a really inviting sales page and you jump right in — money is no object at the moment. However, you fall flat. Things aren’t shaping out the way they should be — in short, what you envisioned getting and what you’re actually getting are poles apart.

Never mind, at least you’ve learned something here. Onward and upward! You see another promising sales page, and invest. And another. And another. Before you know it, you’ve invested in 5 different coaches, and none of them are giving you exactly what you want. You have 5 different courses or programs completed halfway. Money is running low, and you have not earned anything back yet from these investments.

This is a very real scenario that a lot of freelancers face. This is also a very real fear that they experience.

The good news is, you’re not alone.

The Shiny Object Syndrome

This is the shiny object syndrome, and no one is completely immune to it. Even the best entrepreneurs would have spent over $50,000 on coaching programs before finally finding their way, or eventually landing a coach that knows exactly how to help them.

Even the very act of paying and signing up for a course will trigger your brain to mark or check it as something that has been done, never mind the fact that you have not actually done anything in the course or coaching program aside from paying for it. You feel accomplished.

This is the ‘momentary high’ that a lot of entrepreneurs and freelancers look for – something that makes them feel better about themselves, because they have taken a specific action that addresses (temporarily) their current pain point, whatever it may be.

Back to the question — are coaching programs really necessary when you start out freelancing?

Yes, they are. You will need to tap on someone else’s skills, experience and knowledge in order to avoid making the same mistakes and climbing up that steep learning curve to master the world of freelancing online.

The trick is to know which one to invest in — not an easy task for the total rookie, for sure.

But here are 7 ways you can invest (more) correctly and avoid burning cash you can’t afford to burn.

When signing up for a course or a program (that is high ticket — think $997 onwards) or a group coaching program (think $5k onwards) — these are the most basic things you should be looking at.

Freelancing and the shiny object syndrome, paying for numerous coaching programs
A man working on his laptop
  • These programs should offer regular coaching calls. It can be once weekly or once a fortnight. Anything lesser than that probably isn’t going to help you much in terms of getting your urgent questions answered. You will lose interest in asking them after a while due to the long wait. You will stop relying on them because you’ve found the answers to your questions yourself somewhere along the way.
Zoom meeting on laptop
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  • There should be a Q&A form for you to fill out prior to each call so you can craft your questions carefully and in detail. Try to attend live in case the coach needs to ask you more questions. If attending live is difficult, it is recommended you look elsewhere — sometimes it may seem that this course or coaching program is the best solution right now, but there are many others that will solve the same pain you’re in at a lower rate and with friendlier call hours.

If you’ve been through any of the points above and have felt the same regret, again, you’re not alone. In fact, you’re absolutely amazing for making decisions that will further you along in your freelancing career. If you’re not exactly sure whether freelancing is for you, this article will help put things in perspective for you.

And if you prefer to avoid coaching programs and still get yourself seen as a freelancer, here are 7 ways you can get yourself seen on social media.

Always tell yourself that there are better options out there, and give yourself time and grace to think things through before investing in yet another coaching program. Usually sleeping on it overnight will sober you up very effectively!

Want to read more on the Shiny Object Syndrome? Read this article from Entrepreneur!