Recently, I saw "Confessions of a Shopaholic," in which Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) deals with her addiction to shopping and mounting credit card debt.
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The movie has a lot of funny parts, but compulsive shopping isn't a laughing matter for many folks. In fact, a Stanford University study says nearly 6% of us are shopaholics.
Overcoming the impulse to shop and dealing with the debt that comes with that addiction can be a challenge.
But there may be a silver lining to this cloud.
I've started to wonder whether recovered shopaholics don't have an advantage over their less materialistic peers.
I started thinking about this because one of the companies I work with does some elaborate screening when they hire sales reps.
Prospective hires take a few online tests that ask them all sorts of questions. One of the signs that somebody will be a good salesperson is that they covet money because they want things…they like to buy stuff.
Anybody who has hired a sales rep knows that it's tough to screen for the hustle factor. Is the new sales rep going to hustle to get new business or are they going to sit back and wait for the phone to ring? Seriously, how many times have you hired somebody you thought would pound the pavement for new business, and they ended up just being passive order takers who rarely make their quota?
Turns out that if you hire people who like to shop as sales reps, you'll find that they typically are what you were looking for: somebody who works hard to hit their numbers and earn their sales bonuses.
That got me thinking, but then I saw this same thing in action with my kids. With the desire to get a certain something that they were coveting, my daughters got very creative about earning money.
So my new hypothesis is that a mostly-in-control shopaholic has the potential to be an amazing entrepreneur. They'll go the extra mile to build their business up so they can make more money to afford the things they want in life.
Years ago, I was in a room with a few successful entrepreneurs and they talked about their Porsche collections. I thought to myself "Wow. These guys have done really well, and they are spending their money on things they've wanted."
On the one hand, it's perverse. People are starving in [Insert any country here] but these guys are buying multiple Porsches. But then I thought about all the jobs these folks had created. A non-materialist might complain about these rich entrepreneurs, but who's doing more for society, the shopaholic job creators or the politically correct but completely unambitious complainer?
It's just a theory of mine. No studies back it up as far as I know, but it might come as some consolation to those of you who have a propensity to shop.
You may be a great entrepreneur in the making. Just shop in moderation, get rid of your debt, write a business plan, and set some entrepreneurial goals for yourself.
You'll then be off to the races…and I'm betting you'll do better than the non-shopper you're competing with!