Don’t Let Shiny-Object-itis Kill Your Real Estate Investing Career


I’m recovering from Shiny-Object-itis.

Not familiar with this disease that tends to ravage many entrepreneurs? You may be suffering from it yourself, and it’s holding you back from achieving your full potential with real estate investing.

Shiny-Object-itis is a “grass is always greener” mentality. You’re never satisfied with anything, you’re always starting, but never finishing things, you’re easily distracted, and your interest in new things is intense. You don’t have a problem with taking action — your problem is that you’re always saying “YES.”

When I first got started with real estate investing there were so many options on the menu: wholesaling, rehabbing, lease options, probates, landlording, buying notes — and they all looked so…shiny!

Related: Overwhelmed? A Step By Step Guide on How to Focus and Complete Many Tasks Quickly

I finally picked rehabbing, but after a couple of deals, I got bored and wanted to do a lease option. Oh, and then there was also commercial real estate, apartments mainly, but self-storage looked sooooo good, too.

I love learning and starting new things, but I was never really achieving any level of success.

I’ve learned that there are a few problems with Shiny-Object-itis that if you don’t address will stifle your success as a real estate investor.

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3 Problems With Shiny-Object-itis

1. You Never Get Good at Anything

This is the fundamental problem with Shiny-Object-itis. You start a bunch of stuff, but you never give it time to really succeed.

2. You Can’t Build a Platform That You Can Build On

What I’m looking for in my businesses is a PLATFORM. A “platform” is a core business that is stable, covers your living expenses and produces excess income that you can reinvest in the business to grow it.

If you’re rehabbing 10 houses per year on your own, what could you do with an assistant or construction supervisor? How would that let you grow your rehabbing business? In order to afford help, the business you’re building will need to produce excess income. And in order to do that, you would need to stick with it long enough to get there.

Apartment buildings can be a platform, especially if you develop the skill for raising money (that I write about so frequently). If you can raise money to buy 20 units, you can leverage that into 100 units — or 500 units — or even more.

Related: Five Steps to Finding Focus in Your Real Estate Business

Shiny-Object-itis prevents you from building that platform.

3. There Are Only So Many Hours in a Day

A side effect of Shiny-Object-itis is that you never feel like you’re finishing something, so you’re constantly working harder and harder to get a sense of accomplishment. Shiny-Object-itis, while mainly a mental affliction, can also lead to physical issues, as your sleep suffers, and your stress level rises.

And it may create problems with your family and friends who you can’t spend time with anymore. Shiny-Object-itis tempts us to neglect our health and work/life balance that is so critical if we’re going to make it in the long term.


Before committing to a particular real estate investing strategy, you need to carefully consider your path, and maybe try different ones, to find the one that works for you. Once you find one that feels right, you learn the ropes and make some mistakes.

But after a while, you get better at it, and you can repeat the success more frequently until you’ve got it figured out. Instead of moving on to the next shiny object, stick with it and use your entrepreneurial spirit to GROW what you’ve built. If you’re growing in this way, you keep it exciting and you’re still learning new things.

The difference is that you’ve built a solid business platform that you can grow as big as you want (while maintaining your work/life balance!).

Do you suffer from Shiny-Object-itis?

Leave a comment below so I know I’m not alone!

About Author

Michael Blank

Michael Blank’s passion is being an entrepreneur and helping others become (better) entrepreneurs. His focus is buying apartment buildings by raising money from private individuals. He’s been investing in residential and multifamily real estate since 2005. He is the creator of the Syndicated Deal Analyzer and the eBook "The Secret to Raising Money to Buy Your First Apartment Building".


  1. I love shiny objects! They are exciting and oh so fun! It is so easy to get swept away and forget what’s important. This past weekend, I wanted to work around the clock. Thank goodness my husband was there to remind me the importance of friends and family. I stopped and took time to make plans to have dinner with several couples. These are the same friends that would drop everything to help, if we ever needed. The work still got done, and with a much better attitude! Thanks for the fantastic post!

  2. Hi Michael – thanks for sharing. This is so fundamental. It is something I heard for years, but just feel like I am really grasping now. Like you, I tend to love the start of projects more than the follow through years later. (and my varied career history shows it). I finally am finally grasping the impact of learning to become great at one niche, versus a jack of all trades. Also, I think consistency in one area is the way that momentum is really created.

  3. Michael, you’re not alone! I’m glad you wrote that article because I’m struggling with that right now. I have so many interests and the beginning stages of something are always so exciting and full of promise.

    I know for me personally, some of this shiny object chasing relates to my fear of failing. Half completed projects at least have the potential to one day succeed. Whereas completed projects might end up being embarrassing flops!

    Anyways, as I’ve gotten older (and hopefully wiser), I’m less concerned with looking foolish and more concerned with taking action and hopefully succeeding.. or if not, at least learning from my mistakes.

    My own personal way of attacking this problem has been to try and systematize all my workflows more – now whenever a shiny new object enters my field of view, instead of blindly chasing it like Odyssey chasing the sirens (resulting often in: eventually getting tired of it, hitting a roadblock and quitting, getting busy and forgetting it, or another shiny object capturing my interest), I’ll go through a series of steps starting with evaluating the idea on different metrics – I have my own, but I think the most important concepts are: How Scalable? How Profitable? How Personally Interesting? How difficult to do? How possible will it be to succeed? Then I create a simple market report – size of the market, competition, opportunities. Looking it all over, I then think:

    (for example, if the “shiny object” I was researching was flipping a house)
    What’s one thing I can do to most increase my chances of success at “flipping one house in 6 months”? (specific goal to help focus me)

    In the case of flipping a house, for me that would probably involve finding a mentor or someone to partner with. If I could do that, I know my chances of succeeding would be higher. So then I at least know what I need to do to chase this object and then I can figure out if I have the time in my schedule to do it.

    So at least hypothetically, I have a way to turn my shiny object desire into 2-3 hours of research and one tangible action. (I say hypothetically because I only just started it LOL!! But it’s worked so far!)

    Anyways, wish me luck in finding my focus. Thanks for the timely article.

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