This is episode 34 of Season 2 for the OMGrowth podcast.

About a month ago, I was given reason to have a serious case of Shiny Object Syndrome that easily would have cost me a month of time and a couple thousand dollars. Since we’re about to enter the Shiniest of seasons with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up, I thought I’d share how I saved myself the grief, how you can make sure you’re making the best decisions with your purchases this season as well as a round-up of my new favorite tools are going into 2022. 

Years ago, I bought forever-ever access to ThriveCart, which is a cart processing tool I loved and recommend. It’s simple to use, it’s great for affiliate sales and upsells, and if you were selling services or one-off downloads, I feel it’s one of the best, most economical solutions out there.

My problem was that I sold courses, which meant I needed a separate course hosting platform in addition to a separate email marketing platform and landing page platform.

Which was why, back in 2020, I moved everything over to Kartra, an all-in-one platform that checked off all the boxes I needed and I couldn’t be happier and never looked back…

INSERT SHINY OBJECT HERE

UNTIL! ThriveCart’s recent announcement that they would be adding a learning platform to their cart processing. I tend to think in a more weighed, systematic way but when I heard this, I skipped all the pros and cons, and went straight into thinking how I would migrate my entire suite of offers – as well as thousands of students! – back over to ThriveCart. I assumed that with my forever-ever subscription, this would make long-term financial sense.

But when I actually slowed my roll to start doing the math, it didn’t add up.

Because in this case, here’s what the numbers told me:

  • I would need to move thousands of students and their accesses over to a completely different platform – a total communications nightmare;
  • I would have to recreate and redirect all my sales pages, which means existing projects would have to be delayed or this was a new project I would have to create space for next quarter;
  • I would need to renew my $20/month Zapier subscription so that I wouldn’t have to manually update things between platforms, because I used to have to automate a bunch of tasks before in order to roll efficiently; and finally,
  • I would also need a new email marketing service and based on the number of subscribers I have to maintain and what that would cost compared to my current service fees with Kartra, I was looking at a savings of about $40/month.

So wait… was I seriously considering the royal pain of duct-taping everything back to where it more-or-less was 2 years ago…. to save maybe $20 total per month?… when I actually wasn’t at all unhappy with my current service with Kartra?

I know that breaking down the numbers isn’t the most fun but it does simplify the holy heck out of your decision-making.

And this is important to keep in mind as we head into the peak of Shiny Object season with Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Every offer is made to feel like the one you can’t refuse – and this will be true of some of them – but it’s a good idea for you to take a moment to step back and assess what will fit into either how you’re currently operating or what you currently have planned for how you want to operate.

Opportunity cost is a real thing and when you make a choice for one opportunity, it means you’re sacrificing another.

And there’s nothing wrong with that if the sacrifice is worth it but you’re the boss, apple sauce, and you want to be intentional about identifying what your opportunity costs are in terms of time, resources, money, effort and current goals.

But for me, sticking with Kartra and honestly, being reminded about how great the platform has been for me – was definitely not something I was interested in sacrificing. It does everything for me – my email, my courses, my sales pages, my subdomains, my payment processing, my affiliates, my email subscribers, my tags, my automations – all of it set up and connected in one place.

If you’d be interested in seeing how my behind-the-scenes is set up for this, please slip into my DMs on Instagram because if there’s some demand for that, I’d be happy to put together a little workshop to show you how I use Kartra to handle just about everything for my sales delivery and operations.

NEW TOOLS I’M BRINGING INTO 2022

I did try out and invest in some new tools in 2021 that were well-worth the opportunity cost, though, and I wanted to share how and why they were worthwhile.

Hello Audio

The first is HELLO AUDIO, which is a private podcasting platform. If you’re wondering how a private podcast is different from what you’re listening to now, it really isn’t aside from the fact that it’s, well, private so you can’t search for it but instead, it’s this exclusive insider offer you use to support your course content or to deliver to a specific segment of your audience.

I used it as an extra feature for people who purchased the All-Access Pass to my event OMGrowth Live last fall. This was definitely one of the lowest opportunity costs I’ve ever experienced for a tool because all I had to do was create an account, upload all my speaker videos and ta-da! the private podcast was ready to be scheduled.

Hello Audio was goofy-simple to use as I didn’t have to register the private podcast anywhere (like I had to with getting this podcast set-up, for instance, which required all kinds of to do items), I didn’t have to do anything other than share a link with my future listeners, and it even had cool bonus features like it issued speaker transcripts for me, which actually gave me one less thing to coordinate for my event, because I was actually going to pay for that service separately anyways so it actually saved me money to use the service (the fees from the transcription service platform were actually more than what I paid to use Hello Audio for both transcriptions and private podcasting) – I love when stuff like this works out!

One of the speakers at OMGrowth Live, Raphie Wagner, actually was the one to turn me onto not only how easy this could be, but also how versatile a private podcast can be in your business plan. For instance, it never dawned on me how useful a private podcast would be for managing a remote team instead of sending emails to your team about project updates, things you’re celebrating, or what’s coming down the pipeline. It’s genius – and so much more personal! – to be in your team’s earholes for 5 minutes instead of spending an hour writing an email that will only add to the inbox clutter.

If you have any use for meeting people where their best learning styles are, you may want to consider checking out Hello Audio as an added option to your course or content delivery.

Google Meet

Now, while everyone and your grandmother were discovering Zoom during the pandemic and we all were becoming tutors of the platform – “you’re muted. No, no, ma – I can’t hear you, you have to unmute yourself… it’s the button… oh she hung up”.

We were all familiar with Zoom but when a friend of mine suggested we get back into our book club, he scheduled everything through Google Meet.

I already essentially pay for Google Meet by having Google Workspace, but not once had I ever used it in an online business context and I’m not sure why because the platform is great.

It’s actually especially great for me because fun fact about yours truly: I’m beginning to struggle with hearing issues. I don’t know if Zoom has changed this, but certainly when the pandemic started, they did not have Closed Captioning as a feature the way Google Meet does. Any mastermind type conversation where there are more than 2 or 3 people on a call is an auditory nightmare for me and I can’t actually make out what people are saying, and even though the Google Meet closed captioning isn’t perfect – for instance, there is no “Lanie” on a Google Meet call but there is a “Larry”! – it’s been a huge benefit to me.

Plus it’s a service I’m already paying for, essentially, so I cancelled my Zoom subscription and schedule all my meetings through the more accessible option of Google Meet.

Tangible products

Another investment I made was in physical deliverables, namely branded stickers and cards.

I sent these out to All-Access Pass holders as a thank you, but have decided to continue the practice for anyone who buys anything from me moving forward. 

Because – and I’ve had conversations about this so I know it definitely is not “just me” but – there’s a bit of a “cold world” vibe to interactions in the online world and I’d like to inject a little more “I see you!” humanity into it.

So I’ve integrated hand-written cards and some on-brand stickers into my sales process.

I had the stickers made with StickerApp and I’m beyond pleased with the quality. If this is something you’ve been considering, they probably do have a Black Friday type sale you may be able to take advantage of.

As for the cards, I had initially ordered them through Vistaprint – along with a stack of workbooks I was having printed – but ended up switching my order to Staples because their delivery times were faster and their price was less expensive. Again, I was really impressed with the quality and service, especially for the workbooks and would definitely recommend using Staples for your printing requirements.

WHAT YOUR INVESTMENTS SAY

So now, when I do a round-up like this, it becomes incredibly evident that there’s a common theme or thread to the investments that have felt most worthwhile for me this year: 

My priority is to make damned sure that the people who show up for me know and feel that I am showing up for them.

Want to know what your actions are saying about your priorities? That’s your mission: bullet-point the investments you made this yearwith your time, your energy, your resources, your money – and see what the common theme and thread is.

Do you like what that says about you? Do you like the path it’s taking you on? What would you change? And what would you like to keep the same?

While you’re at it, channel your inner 6-year old and write a wish list like a letter to Santa Claus except really, it’s to yourself – about the things you want to invest in, how they integrate or relate to the things you already have, and what path that puts you on. 

Shiny Objects tend to lose their lustre when you can’t come up with a place to put them.

Having said that, I would like to put some stickers and a thank you card into YOUR hand! So here’s the deal: there’s a super-special link in the show notes that if you sign up to it before Cyber Monday, I’ll send you some good old-fashioned love in the mail.

I appreciate so much that you’re here – and this pandemic has had a huge impact on how I see and appreciate, like, human beings as real lives that exist behind the monitors and the earphones – and it’s definitely a value I’m putting at the head of my pack.

Next week, we’re getting all up in the human experience of running an online business with our very first podcast guest and I’m not going to spoil anything about the topic or who it is, but I will say that we are sharing a conversation that most of us have in hushed closed-door environments and not enough of us talk about so be sure to subscribe, tell your biz besties and we will talk soon – baiieeee!