“I can accept failure, everyone fails at something. But I can’t accept not trying.”
– Michael Jordan
Sometimes you get the strangest questions that you haven’t really stopped to think about. I find it really exciting to do question and answer sessions where different disciplines come together.
There’s so much we can learn from each other especially when we’re confronted with thoughts & ideas we wouldn’t have come across otherwise.
So, a guy who wants to become a professional video game player asked me about sponsorship.
You know when you get that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when you think you’re about to make a complete ass of yourself in front of people?
Yeah, I felt it.
He went on to explain that there was one specific, big, company he wanted to get. I paused because my first instinct was to tell him to hit up every company he could think of and not limit himself to just one company.
That would’ve been a cop out and if I didn’t have another answer I should’ve just said so. Luckily, a thought occurred to me that lead me somewhere I hadn’t thought of going before.
Somebody at the company might be so awestruck by your audacity to ask for sponsorship that they’ll just go: “Sure, why not!”. Probably in the hopes that you’ll tell all your friends exactly how cool the company is and that it’ll make for some good publicity.
If you don’t ask you won’t know.
On the other hand, if you want to increase your chances for that to happen you’ll need to provide something of value to them. Preferably for free. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll succeed but you’ll atleast increase your chances.
Some people will frown on this since they don’t think that you should work for free. Mostly because creative work has traditionally been thought of as cheap and not worth paying a lot of money for. Most of us are familiar with the excuse “You’ll get good exposure if you do this for free!”.
We all need to make that decision for ourselves as individuals and take into account whether or not it actually diminishes the value of creative work for everybody or if it’s something we need to do right now for a shot at getting ahead.
Now, the question is how can you provide value to a company?
Do you have a YouTube channel? Do you review video games? Do you blog? Do you have a considerable amount of users/customers/viewers? If not, do you have a tight-knit community of people who look to you for advice/reviews/informatio
If you’ve got none of the above let’s start here:
1) What’s your passion/what do you love to do?
2) What are you really good at?
3) Where does your passion and what you’re good at meet?
“I love videogames and I’m really good at writing”, then start a blog about video games.
“I love *insert company* and I’m good at talking”, start a podcast about all things involving the company.
And so on.
4) Start hanging out with people who share your interests and join their conversations. Either “IRL” or look them up on or in Facebook groups etc.
5) Present it to the company like this:
“Hey I’m really passionate about *insert company* and I’ve got this blog/podcast/YouTube with this amount of visitors/listeners/viewer
And you stop there. Don’t ask for anything at this point. Then it’s up to you to bring some value to them.
Repeat this several times and they’ll either get sick of your generosity or really love you for it.
Then when you feel you’ve provided them with enough “free value” you go in for “the ask” and say something like:
* Note: By this time you’ll probably want to know the person by name.
“Look, I’m loving our relationship and I’ve enjoyed playing your games so much.
However, I feel like I’m not really giving the best possible experience because my computer is so crappy. I’d love to provide my community and you with more high quality content.
I really hate to ask but right now I’m not making enough money from this to buy a high-end computer and was wondering if you’d consider sponsoring me?
I’ll still love you either way!
Have a wonderful day and talk to you soon.
Again, this isn’t guaranteed to work either but now you’ve atleast increased your chances and can feel good about building up a rapport which is what a lot of people forget to do.
You never know. Just because they don’t give you sponsorship right now doesn’t mean that somewhere down the line you won’t have value of having done this.
The point is this, many times we’re so focused on getting what we want that we don’t even consider the fact that maybe the other person needs something that we can give them.
If we only take, take, take then we’ll probably get some things sometimes. But what if we give, give, give? Maybe then we’ll be in a better position to receive.
Do you have a sponsorship story to share? Let me know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter, I’d love to know.
Have a beautiful & ₢eative day!