By Mike Garrison
A Moment with Mike is a weekly opinion column where LiveRC’s Mike Garrison gives his take on hot-button issues, general topics, and conversations within the RC industry. The views and opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of LiveRC.
Tis’ the season for sponsorship. Perhaps the busiest inboxes in the industry this time of year are those of team managers. One of the most commonly asked questions in racing is “How do I get sponsored?”. Each team manager and brand has their own list of criteria they are looking for in a sponsored driver, but after years of experience as a racer, working as a team manager in the industry myself, and having close relationships with many of the existing team managers, I have decided to share a few tips towards reaching your goal of being a sponsored driver that I have learned over the years.
When you submit a resume to apply for a sponsorship, this is no different than submitting a job application. How important the sponsorship and/or job is to you shows in the appearance, grammar, spelling, and cleanliness of your resume.
First and foremost, if you are sending multiple resumes to multiple companies, make sure you have the correct company name for the company that you are sending it to. Next make sure that the company name, and especially your name, is spelled correctly. If you have doubts, look it up! Spelling and grammar is not everyone’s forte, and that’s okay, but almost every computer and mobile device now offers a “spellcheck” function – USE IT. If you still have doubts, give your resume to a friend or family member to proofread before sending it.
Don’t oversell yourself and be truthful. If your goal is to be the next World Champion it is okay to say that is your goal, but don’t say, “I AM the next world champion” or “I’m faster than your existing team drivers.” Companies are looking for friendly, approachable, and well-respected racers to represent their brand – NOT someone with a big headed, cocky, and over-inflated ego.
Social media presence is very important in today’s time. This doesn’t mean you have to make daily posts with your R/C cars and thanking your sponsors, but positive representation of your sponsors online is important. When submitting your resume include links to your social media pages. Keep in mind your “online personality” is often considered in sponsorships as well, and if you are the ultimate troll, keyboard warrior, or online $h*t starter let it be known that won’t help your cause any when applying for a sponsorship.
The idea behind a sponsorship is for you help the company grow in your area. Explain how you can benefit the company in your area and help grow the product and sales. Results are important, but results don’t always automatically mean sales. Being a positive representative off the race track and being someone that other drivers and hobby shops can rely on for support, look up to, and take positive notice of is equally as important (if not more in some cases) than just your results on the track.
When you are applying for a sponsorship – FOLLOW THE DIRECTIONS. Each company has their own system of how they handle the hundreds of sponsorship resumes they receive, and its important to follow their directions when applying. If they want it emailed to a certain person or place – email it. If they want a form filled out online – fill it out. If they want it sent by carrier pidgeon – strap it to a bird. Regardless if you are Facebook friends with the team manager, be professional, and do as you are told. Don’t copy/paste your resume in a Facebook message or Instagram DM in hopes to bypass the others.
Last, but not least, remember that NO ONE IS ENTITLED TO A SPONSORSHIP. Never assume or expect to receive a sponsorship. A sponsorship is a job, and as a racer you are the “employee”. You are not entitled to a sponsorship (or a job) with the discount (or paycheck) of your choice without working for it – and working HARD for it. No one starts at the top, and you must earn your way up the ranks through positive representation, results, loyalty, and by showing you are a benefit to the brand.
If you do receive a sponsorship it’s important to remember your role, and that a sponsoring company doesn’t owe you anything. You are working for them, they are NOT working for you. The company survived long before they sponsored you and will easily survive without you – therefore treat them with respect, represent them well, be loyal, work to achieve good results, and do YOUR job if you want to see the rewards.
Sponsorship has become far more common than it was 10-15 years ago, however, despite the increasing number of racers receiving sponsorships, they are still important and should be taken seriously. If you aren’t willing to do the work, don’t apply for the job.