How to Find Time for Sponsorship

When working with clients, answering questions in our free sponsorship success group, fielding emails or talking to racers at events, one of the biggest barriers teams make-time-kristin-swartzlander-burberryfeel in finding sponsorship is: “I don’t have enough time.”

It’s a legit concern, but it’s a claim that we make probably every day.

Think about the conversations you’re having over the holiday season. When someone mentions what they’re up to or their goals for the next year, we’ve all said we don’t have time for things that we legitimately want to do. It might be finding sponsors for the 2017 season. It might be starting a side business or working out or cooking home-cooked meals or taking the kids to a trampoline park. (<- That’s what you do with children, right? ‘Trampolines’ seems accurate.)

We’ve never been – or felt – busier. There’s never enough time.

But here’s the hard truth: if you don’t have time to find sponsorship, you don’t have time to have marketing partners because you don’t have time to serve them. 

Sad, but true.

So, let’s not be that person. Let’s find the time to recognize partners that would be a good fit, connect with them, show them the value and then activate that partnership. Let’s find the time to invest in building our marketing programs, so we can take our racing to the next level.

Let’s find the time to pursue wins off the track, just like we do on the track.

Which leads me to my tips on how to ‘find’ or ‘make’ time, both now, during the busiest time of the year, and in the future:

1. Put it on your schedule. 

This is my number one tip, even if it doesn’t exactly find or make time. What’s important – like, ahem, your workday – gets scheduled.

If you treat marketing like a bonus activity, it’ll only happen when that magical unicorn of ‘bonus time’ shows up. If you treat it like a must-do, then it’ll be a must-do. Whatever time you find with the tips below, put it on the schedule.

2. Turn off the television. (+1 hour/day)

According to the most recent Nielson study, the average American adult watches an average of 5 hours and 4 minutes of television per day. (PER DAY!) That’s 35 1/2 hours per week – or almost a full-time job’s worth of television-watching. Can you imagine if your full-time job was pursuing sponsorship?

I’m not saying you have to stop watching TV. But imagine cutting back by even one show per day to gain 7 hours of sponsorship work per week? Would that make a difference to your program? I think it would.

Personally, we did exactly that this year. We eliminated our DirecTV package in March and decided that if we missed it, we’d re-subscribe. Guess what? We haven’t. Our friends think we’re crazy and we could not care less. Plus, we’re ahead about $1,000 on cable bills, so it’s like we sponsored ourselves…

3. Wake up an hour earlier.  (+1 hour/day)

Or stay up an hour later. Or wake up a half hour earlier and go to bed an hour later. Whatever you need to do to snag an hour of dedicated, quiet, concentrated time for your sponsorship program.

If you followed through on creating a time-and-execution plan for 2017 in our sponsorship to-do list post (read it all here), all you need to do is sit down, look at your plan and pick up where you left off. Easy-peasy.

This is one of the things I did a lot of when I was starting DirtyMouth. I got up and worked on the business before my workday started. And most days I’d work on it at night in what I think of a slush time – where you wouldn’t have anything to do but nothing got done anyway – and on the weekends before the day started. It made a huge difference for me.

4. Put down your phone. (+30 minutes/day)

I know, I know. But the same Nielson study from this year showed that the average adult is spending 1 hour and 39 minutes just consuming media on their phones. That’s not texting or calling…that’s using apps and social media websites.

I imagine that some of you are doing some of that surfing at work (hi, Carl Bowser!), when you can’t otherwise be working on sponsorship. But if you stopped scrolling Facebook on your phone for just 15-30 minutes every night, that would add up to 2-4 extra hours per week that you could spend on marketing.

5. Use your weekend. (+5-10 hours/week)

I know. That’s your time. But no one is going to pay you up-front to do this kind of work. Just like a business, you might have to put in a lot of time, effort and even some money before you get paid back for it. And there are no guarantees. But you can’t say that you don’t have time for sponsorship if you’ve got down time you’re not willing to risk working on it.

6. Get some help. (+? hours)

Is your wife a graphic designer? Do you have a friend with a beefed up Rolodex? Could you cut your time in half by learning about building your assets inventory or crafting an effective proposal with one of our sponsorship workshops or a coaching session?

Sure, you can figure out how to do most things yourself. But there are probably people in your life who are willing and able to help you.

That’s it.

You could make some huge changes and really get down to brass tacks, but I don’t think you have to do that. Even if you only make one of these change you can find a few hours in your week to devote to sponsorship searching and activation.

All it takes is a little prioritizing. And maybe an alarm clock :)


P.S. Have more ideas on how to find time for your sponsorship program? Feel free to share them in the comments below!

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About the author

Kristin Swartzlander Kristin Swartzlander is passionate about applying business sense to racing 'nonsense' in hopes of growing the sport of dirt track racing. She is a business strategist who works with entrepreneurs and small businesses to help them learn how to use public relations, marketing and social media to achieve their goals. Learn more about social media, marketing and racing sponsorship on the DirtyMouth blog.