5 Things You Can Learn From Britney Spears' Conservatorship Avoid your life becoming a circus with these strategies.
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Britney Spears has had a very difficult path through life. After enjoying huge success as one of the most popular pop stars in the world throughout the late 90s and early 2000s, she found herself struggling with the demands of her fame coupled with some mental health issues. In 2008, after several nasty and unfortunately very public instances where she demonstrated these struggles, she was finally ordered into a conservatorship. While this was a sad situation for her personally, there are some takeaways that we, as entrepreneurs, can learn from it.
1. Always control your finances and understand the structure of your business
For close to 15 years now, Britney Spears' financial and business decisions have been made not by herself, but a court-ordered board of executives tasked with handling what one source calls "the business of Britney." For over a decade now she has experienced a team of lawyers (led by her father) who make any and all decisions for her.
How can we avoid some of the same mistakes? It's important to understand that any business has groups or individuals who are interested in its success, most often in the form of shareholders. Even if you operate a solo venture, by mismanaging your cash flow your company could be headed towards insolvency and a third party administrator appointed. It's important to always be a good steward over your own finances and be mindful of those with a governing interest, or else the decision may be removed.
Related: How to Better Manage Your Cash Flow
2. Be careful who you work with
You can't choose your family. This age-old saying carries a lot of wisdom and truth with it, and it's a sentiment that sometimes carries a negative connotation. Whether you have a great relationship with your own family or not, the fact remains that you can't choose who raises you or who you grow up with. Conversely, you can choose who you do business with. Such decisions should not be made lightly, and should involve careful vetting and delineation before coming to a decision. The consequences of making an unwise choice can be detrimental to our businesses. Before entering into a partnership agreement, make sure you have it documented correctly and pay for a legal professional to be involved.
3. Don't be afraid to ask for help
We all need help from time to time. As business owners, it's important that we remember that we also have plenty of resources at our disposal to utilize in our efforts to run our businesses successfully. Most often this takes the form of advisors and trusted individuals who we can count on to provide advice and wisdom. In a lot of cases you could benefit from a mentor who can show you the path forward. It's also important that we don't "reinvent the wheel", so go to someone who has paved the way previously before you. More often than not, they have faced the same hurdles that you may be experiencing and can help you to devise strategies to help you move through them.
4. Always be conscious of your own environment
The world of business is ever-changing and evolving. Just as we think we're getting comfortable in one spot, a sudden 90 degree left turn can leave us feeling stranded and overwhelmed. As a business owner, it's important to remain up to date with trends and patterns in whatever our chosen field is. If we have a more established business, this is still a good practice and one that is vital to our success. Policies and procedures must be reviewed and revitalized to ensure that we are maintaining best practices. If changes need to be made, they should be done so swiftly and decisively so as to maximize their impact. The most recent iOS update and the effect it has had on social media advertising for many e-commerce companies is a perfect example of this. Many businesses have relied heavily on one platform to bring on their revenue and when things move to another, business can suffer as a result. Avoid placing all your eggs in one basket with any income lead generation strategy.
5. Be your own biggest fan
There are certainly plenty of takeaways that we can glean from the example of Britney Spears and the difficult path that she has tread. There are even more theories and differing opinions that one can have when looking at the story as a whole. But there is a lesson that Britney herself can teach us as she's emerging as a healthier and happier individual. As part of a post on Instagram, Britney stated she wanted to "thank ME for believing in ME."
Whether in business or personal life, a healthy dose of self confidence is extremely important, and likewise a lack of it can be detrimental to one's own health and success. Whatever we do in life and in business, we must do so with the belief that even if no one else is in our corner, we still can have faith and belief in ourselves. It is for this reason that I called my PR and advertising firm Believe Advertising. Twenty years ago I started out with no clients, armed only with self-belief and cold calling from The Yellow Pages and I was able to find success despite everyone I knew thinking I was crazy for branching out on my own.
Being an entrepreneur, we are in fact in many ways, like a pop star — everyone is always quick to question and judge every movement and often you are only as successful as your last gig. The five learnings above from Britney's misfortunes will hopefully ensure that you don't end up being the talk of the town for all the wrong reasons.