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Celebrity Branding You™ – The 8th Deadly Sin: ThoughtSourcing

This year has flown by, but I’m happy to say that I accomplished many of my goals; and I hope you have too. I’ve met many of the greatest minds in business, and I’m very optimistic about what the future holds for all of us -- based on the solutions for our personal and business lives that many of these great people are bringing to the market.

But, as always, when you see a lot of business ideas, and work with many types of people, the most obvious errors and mistakes that people can make also become glaringly obvious. The one I’m going to tell you about today is one that has been around forever, but you probably didn’t make the connection to how it applied to you.

Let me start with an example. We’ve all heard the sob story of a famous actor, musician, athlete, artist, etc., who has had blockbuster success, sold millions of something, and then ended up flat broke and can’t understand why. They often even go so far as to start suing those around them in hopes of uncovering some scandal and recouping some of their lost funds. Well, if it is scandal, then the victim is only partially to blame, but they still usually deserve some of the blame. If there is no scandal, then the victim is really only a victim of their own folly. They are most likely guilty of ThoughtSourcing.

What is ThoughtSourcing? It’s the function of outsourcing everything that crosses your path that requires some good old-fashioned thought; and possibly even some management of time and effort to execute on the decisions that you make based on that thought.

For example, what usually happens when the aforementioned artist/athlete/actor begins the ascent to stardom? As soon as they start making any money, they start changing everything they were doing. They stop practicing as hard, they stop handling their own business, and they start hiring people to handle every function that they don’t want to deal with. They start pushing off all business, financial and other important decisions, so that they can “just focus on the ______________” (insert the word music, game or art in the blank and you can complete the sentence for yourself).

Every rock star wants to just show up and play to thousands of screaming fans, get paid millions to do it, and then go back to crafting great songs.

Every artist wants to spend all of their time in the studio painting as inspiration hits them; and then for someone to run into the studio and offer them lots of money to take the artwork off their hands before someone else does.

Every athlete wants to focus on what it will feel like to win the big game.

The list goes on and on … and on. Then, at some point, the aforementioned “tortured soul” loses one or more sources of their income, along with those who were posing as their friends because they could latch on and party for free, and winds up in a catastrophic financial position, seemingly overnight. The problem? They were ThoughtSourcing.

What these people often fail to realize is that at some point things are going to change, and if the person who is most affected by the decisions made doesn’t stay actively involved in working to build a better, stronger, faster business on the back of their talent, then at some point the odds are that the well will run dry. It does take some thought and some strategy to stay at the top of your business, no matter if it’s an artistic or athletic endeavor, or a financial one.

I know, I know. But you’re not a ______________ (insert artist, athlete or rock star here). But most small business owners make the same mistakes. They build a successful business, “bootstrapping” their way to profitability and doing everything themselves. Then, when things start going great, they start hiring people or outsourcing most of their work. They start changing the formula that got them to profitability. Eventually, they start letting a little bit of customer service slide, they don’t keep their costs under control, and they realize how much “better” life would be if they had someone else running the operational portion of their business (because after all, operations are no fun anyway, right?), etc., etc., etc. And POOF! The tortured soul once again ends up stranded by themselves, and so broke that they can’t even afford their $10 mocha-choca-latte-grande-milkshake anymore.

I’m certainly not advocating that you do everything yourself and not to surround yourself with others who can help take some of the burden off of your back so you can be more productive at doing what you do best. No, I’m not saying that at all. All I’m saying is that you shouldn’t let it get to the point where you aren’t the one in control and making well thought out decisions anymore, because you’ve gotten a bit lazy. Don’t be a victim of outsourcing your thought. Don’t be the next victim of ThoughtSourcing.

Take a few minutes to think about what you can do to take control of the important areas in your business that affect your bottom line; make sure you’re the one taking the time to think about how you want them to be handled, and then execute accordingly. Take the time to do this, and I’m confident that 2009 will be a breakout year for you.