Update: How Shiny Object Syndrome Almost Cost Me My 6-Figure Business

Published: February 3rd, 2023
Eduard Stinga
Founder, VideoPlasty
from Arad, Romania
started January 2017
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Want more updates on VideoPlasty? Check out these stories:

Hello again! Remind us who you are and what business you started.

Hi again! This is Eduard Stinga, founder of VideoPlasty.com - an online stock platform where creative people from all over the world can license pre-animated items like stock animation and stock GIFs to use in their creative media projects.

You can read my original starter story here. This is the 1 year-later update.

Our platform was on a great trajectory for future growth, the idea was validated, people loved it and there’s still no competitor in sight. I have no doubt it’s easily a 7-figure a year company. However, I’m nowhere near where I should be because I get easily distracted and tried to grow another company in the meantime and do a few side projects. Shiny object syndrome.

In the process, I almost lost 6 figures a year company because of a lack of focus and clarity.

Tell us about what you’ve been up to. Has the business been growing?

The thing with business is that, unlike a snowball, you need to keep applying constant input. Even if it reaches some sort of critical mass, once you stop pushing it or growing it, it will slowly start declining.

Focus on just one business, one idea - and build and scale that before you ever do anything else.

In 2022 I got distracted. By a different business. My first one that I started over 10 years ago. An animated explainer studio called The Explainer Company - where we help startups and tech companies from all over the world tell their story through engaging high-converting animated explainer videos.

New branding, new website, new marketing, expand the team, revamp our entire workflow and systems. Got a little bit carried away. Even spoke at the Marketing Summit UK in London earlier in 2022 on how to write killer explainer video scripts:

Was exciting to be back on stage after the pandemic!

All of this is nice and cool, but how does it help VideoPlasty?

Exactly, it doesn’t! I got distracted by shiny objects. It was great for The Explainer Company. But after 10 years of working on it and as you’ll discover next, I decided I need a new challenge and to focus on only one thing in all of 2023.

What have been your biggest challenges in the last year?

By far the biggest challenge of 2022 has been the focus.

I have witnessed and experienced firsthand what it means to try and build too many things and not achieve your goals with either. It’s clear to anyone that starting and growing one business is a hard thing in and of itself and not many are brave enough to do it. And from those that attempt it, so many fail.

Now, if you try to grow two businesses at the same time and run a few extra side projects too, it gets very messy and your attention gets distracted very easily. One business alone being successful is already low probability. Two businesses at the same time get close to impossible.

When you dedicate 50% of your efforts to one and 50% to the other, there will always be a competitor who has 100% of their attention on one single thing only and they will easily outcompete you. That’s just how the world works.

There might be exceptions like Elon Musk doing Tesla, SpaceX, and Twitter at the same time, but that’s not the norm, nor should we aim for the same thing. It might a tough one to swallow, but you’re most likely not that special. Besides, the work-life balance in such situations is nothing short of a complete nightmare.

Doing one single business the right way should be more than enough to achieve your financial goals.

What have been your biggest lessons learned in the last year?

This year I learned a few important things.

FOCUS - First big lesson was described above - focus on just one business, one idea - and build and scale that before you ever do anything else. 100% of your effort and go all in. If you don’t, someone else will. The game is only getting more and more competitive.

INFLUENCER STATUS - I used to hate the word “influencer” and make fun of people vlogging all day long (I still think it’s stupid), but like it or not we live in the era of digital influencers. This year I’ve experienced firsthand how having a significant number of followers in your niche (±50k subscribers on my YouTube channel) gives you a lot of status in specific circles and opens many doors that otherwise would have stayed closed. Many even reached out to me, instead of the other way around. This has easily allowed me access to a few key partners that will help propel VideoPlasty to new levels.

LEVERAGE - and the last important lesson for this year is leverage. Where and how can I apply a specific amount of input effort and get a disproportionate level of output results for VideoPlasty? In our case, the key was in partnering up with a few key video editing software companies and selling our stock animation on their platforms through an API system. This means we only have to work on convincing the software company to partner up to get access to many new users, hundreds if not thousands, that are already bought into their ecosystem.

What’s in the plans for the upcoming year, and the next 5 years?

In 2023 I decided to focus 100% of my attention on a single project. I’ve found a promising partner for my other animation business who will take it over completely, I’m closing down my other small projects and will focus everything that I have a day in and day out on continuing to build VideoPlasty to new levels. If you don’t live and breathe this, someone else will.

I think for me, the best way to grow VideoPlasty is actually through the power of a personal brand in my niche, which ties in well with my next 5 years. I’m a big believer in YouTube and I will continue to make relevant videos in our niche and expand further.

We live in the attention economy, so the goal is to get newer people to watch our videos, while not having any sponsors at all on the channel, as I believe it takes away from the integrity of your content and the audience can easily smell if you sell your soul just to promote another useless product (see all the pump and dump YouTubers out there). Plus, it’s easier just to promote your brand in your videos and be very authentic about it, I don’t know why more people don’t do this.

We’ll see how well this ages, but 5 years from now in 2028 I want to have 1M subscribers on YouTube. I think it’s doable earlier than that.

What’s the best thing you read in the last year?

I read an incredible Tweet earlier today and I’m paraphrasing here: “Put in such an incredible amount of effort and high volume of work that you make talent a variable that’s not important and it will be impossible not to get results and succeed.”

As for the best book I read in 2022, it’s G Edward Griffin - The Creature of Jekyll Island. Ever wondered what money is? If you want to understand that, how it’s made, who makes it, why it’s made, and how the Federal Reserve and the central banks work or what fractional reserve banking is, this book is an absolute must-read.

Warning! The more you read about it, the more frustrating it gets. It took me forever to finish the book because I was so, so angry with how the world works. You won’t look at money the same way ever again, because money isn’t real. Literally.

Advice for other entrepreneurs who might be struggling to grow their business?

You could probably write a dozen books with advice for other entrepreneurs. One thing that stands out to me more and more is this. You’d be surprised how little of business actually is about talent and how much of it is actually about hard work and execution.

Of course, talent is a variable, no question. But I think highly talented people are at a disadvantage because they usually get away with things based on talent alone and just nailing things as they move along. And when the going gets tough, they’re not used to handling that. Meanwhile, the less talented, but hard-working people are just plowing through challenges, tasks, and projects the hard way, never relying on getting lucky or doing the smart move.

The second thing that stands out more and more is the speed of execution is way more important than having the absolute best idea. I see so many friends or people that I know who have an idea or want to start a business. I get excited, I talk to them and guide them in the right direction, happy that I’ll have another close friend on this lonely road.

Then I meet them again weeks or months later and they still haven’t done ANYTHING yet. Realistically, they never will. I always admired a few of my successful friends who when they have a new idea, a new angle, a new landing page, etc. it’s up and running in 24h. Impressive!

Key takeaway: think less, do more!

Are you looking to hire for certain positions right now?

As a company that works with animation, you’d expect us to be covered in terms of video editing too. A lot of it overlaps, but they’re two very distinct things.

If you’re a great video editor and have experience with Final Cut Pro, we’re looking for a great partner to help with our long-form YouTube content and short-form reels and shorts. Reach out to me on social media and let’s talk (Instagram is best).

Where can we go to learn more?

You can find our websites below. You can also text me or follow me on my social media where I post a lot of cool video marketing and entrepreneurial content: