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Race Drivers: Overcoming The Fear Of Marketing Yourself
Fear can be a very dysfunctional and harmful thing. I have experienced this many times in my life and career. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of being laughed at or even ridiculed. Fear of failure. Fear of doing something new on your own. Fear of not doing something right. Fear of rejection.
As racers, you strap into a very powerful machine going at high speed against other determined drivers with powerful machines—and can crash, flip upside down, catch fire and possibly get hurt at any time. Those who don’t understand sometimes think you’re crazy, right? But YOU can remove that FEAR from your mind each week and tackle the task – why? Because you LOVE to race. It’s your passion. You put the fear out of your mind because you are sure of what you are doing and you are determined to win.
When it comes to marketing and promotion, many racers tell me they don’t want to do it because they just get turned down and rejected by potential sponsors, so they give up. Or they have hired people to do this for them with little or no results. Or they just don’t know how. This leads to the constant financial struggle to keep running each week. Then your passion can sometimes become stressful and frustrating.
I understand where you are coming from! I know what it’s like to have a passion for something and you want to keep it going or get to the next step – but you’re just stuck – and afraid if you try and fail, you’ll feel worse than before . It is fear. Fear is what keeps us from success in anything we do.
With marketing and promoting yourself racing to fans and sponsors in an attempt to attract funding for your race – Ask yourself these questions:
Who or what is holding you back?
Not sure how to get started?
Afraid to fail?
Don’t understand how marketing works?
Why can’t I just run and sponsors find me?
Or is it you:
I just like driving and I’m not interested in the marketing.
Even when I try to promote I really get nowhere.
I’m too busy to market and promote – maybe I can find someone to do it for me.
I’m too shy and not the outgoing type. I will leave the marketing to other people.
I don’t like looking like I’m asking for a handout.
I don’t like to promote myself, it makes me look conceited.
I’m afraid to ask for help because I might look incompetent.
Marketing costs money – I have to put everything I got into my race car.
I don’t have enough faith in my abilities and no one wants to sponsor me.
It is fear that speaks to you. Works against you. Keeps you from moving forward. You need to change your mindset. Just like when you strap into that race car to go for the win and you put the fear out of your mind – you need to do the same with marketing. Approach it the same way you run your race.
Open your mind to learning – to change, ask for help – integrate yourself into the community and connect more with fans – you’ll be surprised how much starts to come back to you!
You cannot do what you fear and you cannot do what you do not know. You KNOW you need money to run. You KNOW it takes good sponsors and souvenir sales for a large fan base. But how do you get it? How do you get started and go after it?
1.) Change your mindset – approach marketing like you do when you’re gearing up for a race – keep your eye on the win and don’t give up. If you have errors, fix the problem and go for it again. Once you land the first sponsor – you get the same elation you would when you win a race and it will keep you going for more.
2.) Educate yourself. Learn what you can about marketing and promotion, like building a better shock or a better race car setup, get ahead of the competition, get your marketing edge!
3.) Seek out mentors – look for other drivers who have been successful in their marketing and ask for advice just as you would from those who drive well at a particular track or series.
4.) Step away from the racing toolbox a few days a week and use your marketing toolbox, such as phone, email, social networking and actual face to face networking.
5.) Dispel the negativity and old ideas about marketing, promotion and obtaining sponsorships – go at it with a positive attitude. Delete the old stuff in your brain and start fresh.
6.) Just do it. Jump in with both feet – the cold water eventually becomes comfortable! The more you do it, the more it becomes a part of you, and easier to do if you make it a routine.
7.) Be creative. Throw in things you know you enjoy as part of your marketing. Organize a charity golf game with local business owners or a hunting trip. For young racers, arrange a group trip with kids and parents or kid-friendly businesses in your community to go karting or even throw a big pizza party at one of your races. For female drivers, you could do something with female business owners, like a charity fashion show.
8.) Get more help with your race car, so you can open up more time to market and promote yourself and your race team. Find local mechanics or high school students at mechanical or automotive trade schools and see if they want to volunteer on a race team – give them a crew jersey and pit pass, race tickets for their family. You’d be surprised who will be willing to help just for the experience!
9.) Have fun with your marketing and you will enjoy doing it! Get your good friends along and make it a part of your social life. You’ll be surprised how many more friends you’ll make, fans you’ll make, and sponsors will start seeking you out if they see that being around you is an enjoyable experience for their customers! Before you know it, you’ll be enjoying marketing and promotion, and you’ll find it rewarding and fun!
10.) Fear? What fear. Race drivers are fearless. Go for it! You can do it!
Some of my favorite quotes about fear:
“The only thing to fear is fear itself” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
“Fear is bred in us, and can, if we wish, be bred”.
– Karl Augustus Menninger
“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”.
– Japanese proverb
“You gain strength, courage and confidence from every experience where you really stop to look fear in the face. You have to do what you think you can’t do”.
– Eleanor Roosevelt
“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to overcome fear, don’t sit at home and think about it. Go out and get busy”.
– Dale Carnegie
“Never be afraid to try something new. Remember, amateurs built the ark, professionals built the Titanic”.
“It is impossible to have faith and fear at the same time.” – Jackie Pegram (my mentor and Bible teacher)
I had my own fears to face in my PR and marketing career. When I was new to the NASCAR scene in the early 90’s – I found it best to seek out mentors and learn from the best you can find who are willing to help you learn the ropes. This gave me the confidence I needed to do a good job for my drivers, sponsors and team.
I am here to tell you that I have overcome many fears. I’ve been in your shoes. I have consistently overcome my fears so that I could continue to grow and move forward to more success.
I will not let anything hold me back from my dreams and goals. I have had many attempts to hold back, try to push me down. I have also experienced heartbreak, failure, sadness and rejection many times over the years in my career. I move past them and erase all negativity from my mind. I have learned to change my thinking. I will only look forward to my goals and not back down due to fear or uncertainty. My goal is to share my knowledge, life and career lessons, my successes, my experience and passion for marketing with all of you. I am dedicated to helping racers achieve their dreams and goals – helping you overcome your fears and find marketing success. Your success is my success. Dispel the fear, kill the old myths, ignore any external or internal negativity – and let’s make it happen! I’m with you all the way!
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