Starting a Business

Do Shopaholics Make Good Entrepreneurs?

It's just a theory but we believe shopaholics, people who need to shop in a somewhat compulsive manner, have the potential to be great entrepreneurs. Do you agree that they've got a leg up on others or do you think we've got it all wrong?

Recently, I saw "Confessions of a Shopaholic," in which Rebecca Bloomwood (Isla Fisher) deals with her addiction to shopping and mounting credit card debt.

Do Shopaholics Make Good Entrepreneurs

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!

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Conversation Board

Do you think shopaholics have the potential to be great entrepreneurs? Or is this a crazy, silly theory? We would love to hear what you think. Comments, tips, suggestions or advice are always appreciated.

  • Lisa posted on 4/8/2009
    Interesting idea. I have a business in Los Angeles. While I don't consider myself a shopaholic I do enjoy nice things and yes I work very hard in my business so I can afford whatever I want. My view on your concept is...maybe.
  • Alecia Chrin, CEO, Ancient Asia Nutritional Products LLC posted on 4/12/2009
    Alecia Chrin, CEO, Ancient Asia Nutritional Products LLC
    Thank you for this article so much. I really didn't understand why I was so good for so many years, and why no one understood I was number 1, because I shop. Shopaholic entrepreneurs literally pay bills with deals, so it kinda goes like this: I decide I need to spend 40K this month.(Always ends up double that). That is a total of 20 deals. So I aim for 30 deals to make sure it is done. I usually get 35 deals for the month. I am 5 deals short for my shopping addiction. I do 70 next month. It's not the best, but it works. Always continued growth. Now, I have my thrify brother manage my money, so therefore, I don't overspend. Yet, it works out great! Yet, showing this for loans and such, really not gonna work out well. But well, at the end of the day, 40-70K a month still isn't bad, is it? Sincerely, Alecia Chrin CEO Ancient Asia Nutritional Products LLC

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