How to Invest in Your Racing Program in 2016

Invest in yourself.

It might sound oversimplified, but I think it’s true.IMG_5098

When you invest in yourself  you’ll reap dividends in many areas of your racing program. At first you might not see a clear result for your action or investment, but over time the benefits will compound exponentially.

Think it’s all about investing money? Think again. I believe pretty strongly that we will get better results when we have skin in the game and that’s why I spend a healthy five figures each year on education and training that I pass along to you, but time and effort are often just as valuable an investment as cold, hard cash.

Would you run a car with dirty fuel and expect it to perform at its best over the long run? It’s the same as running your body and mind with junk food. How about running a chassis 200 races, day after day – will it flex out in the way that your body and brain do after months, or years, with no time off? I say, probably yes.

When you invest in yourself, your racing program will improve – sometimes immediately, and sometimes over the long run. I believe, with the ‘investments’ I’m detailing below, your racing program can benefit on the track with better performance from you as a driver and better performing equipment, and off the track with better funding,

Here are a few ways that you might consider investing in yourself in 2016 and beyond:

Learn new things. 

Read a book on any area of your program you want to improve, whether that’s on improving your own mindset, building a fan base, understanding shock dynamics, becoming a better leader within your team, etc. Here’s a racing reading and resources list that I’m constantly adding to if you need somewhere to start. Download a podcast or an e-book. Join a public-speaking group.

Take a class – you can find them at your local community college, online (check out iTunes University – you can take classes on just about anything from real colleges like my alma mater, Columbia University, Stanford, MIT and many more!), through racing-focused businesses like mine (here’s our most recent workshop on Creating the Perfect Sponsorship Offerings), at your chamber of commerce, at your favorite speed shop, and many other places.

The possibilities are nearly endless.

Improve your health.

This might sound like it should be lower on the list – everyone needs to do it, but are there that many racing payoffs? YES. Improve your diet, and you’ll improve the way your body functions, from how focused your brain can be under stress (think: on the race track) to your energy levels. Lose some weight? Your race car (and your wallet, if you’re already buying titanium) will thank you. Improve your workouts, and you’ll likely increase your strength and stamina, which is great for outperforming your competition at the end of the race when they’re tired and you’re just getting started. Good sleep improves your mood (think: better crew relations) and can help you recover from each race faster.

There are endless benefits on and off the track to investing in your health.

Upgrade your safety equipment.

I’m sorry to break it to you, but ‘it will never happen to me’ isn’t the mindset of champions. You don’t finish every race without being prepared for the parts failures and more in your racing program, and you don’t survive and thrive after a wreck without good safety equipment. If you’re only spending one dollar on your racing program for next year, make it on safety.

Whether it’s saving your life or just giving you peace of mind, you need to be investing time, effort and money into improving your safety program – it’ll pay off in the long run for obvious reasons. Don’t know where to start? Check out Motorsports Safety Education Foundation for fantastic courses (even narrated by Dave Argabright!) that align with various sanctioning bodies.

Find like-minded people.

I can’t emphasize this enough. Surrounding yourself with people who have the same goals as you do – or at least the same mindset, even if they’re in a different industry – will help you leaps and bounds. You’ll find inspiration and motivation, as well as get practical advice and new ideas from inspiring, like-minded folks.

You can do this in person – look at your local chamber of commerce or other professional organizations/associations or search MeetUp.com if you don’t have these types of people at your fingertips. Or, you can go online. Many web-based consultants and coaches have their own ‘mastermind’ groups, which can help keep you accountable and moving forward towards your goals in addition to providing a support network, or join a Facebook group that’s within your focus. There are lots of general or regional racing groups out there, and if sponsorship is your focus, you’re welcome to request an invite to our free Sponsorship Success Community, where we talk all about how to find, acquire and keep marketing partners.

Seminars, conferences and workshops.

There is so much value in taking part of group learning experiences, and not just because of the knowledge or skills that you’ll gain.

Today, we’re in Indianapolis at the Performance Racing Industry show, where we’re meeting new people, connecting with old friends, learning about new products and technology and so much more. Yesterday, I spoke at the RPM Promoter’s conference at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, where I did more of the same. You never know where you’re going to meet someone who’s been doing exactly what you want to do, and what you’ll pick up from them. Even one sentence can be a huge a-ha moment for many of us. Even if you can’t do them all or attend every year, find an event that you can attend, racing-related or not, in which you might be able to meet someone or pick up some new piece of knowledge.

Get involved in your community. 

Whether it’s the racing community or your local area, you never know what opportunities will come your way from attending functions in the places where you live, do business or race. Help out at a non-profit, attend a church, patronize local businesses, show up to your kids school events, or support causes that are important to you. You’ll likely meet some of those like-minded people along the way, and build a network that will pay off down the road in spades.

Get a mentor or coach. 

It’s not always easy to find someone to push you along the right path – and it’s not always easy to be the duckling, either. But finding a mentor can help you bypass some of the growing pains most of us run into, identify great opportunities or next steps and keep you inspired and motivated on your journey. It can be as simple as asking a racer you admire for advice or as involved as hiring a coach or consultant. Think the right person for you is out of reach? You don’t have to be personally involved with your mentor – if you admire someone’s path, you can always follow them on social media, read articles about them, watch interviews and more.

You might think – I have a race car or track to pay for, I can’t afford to invest in myself!

Can you really afford not to? Putting in a little extra time, effort and/or money now can reap you much larger benefits down the road than just getting by with what you ‘need’.

Hope that inspires you to take some action and make an investment in yourself in 2016 and beyond.

xo.
Kristin

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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.