To get caught up on the series, check out part 1, part 2, and part 3. Today I’ll wrap up the series on becoming a sponsored shooter, and look at the pros and cons of sponsorship in toto, and then close with some general advice.
Pro: You get stuff for free. Obviously, this is why most people want to be sponsored, because who doesn’t like free stuff? If you’re smart about selecting your sponsor, this can be awesome.
Con: There’s no such thing as a free lunch, cochise. That free stuff you’re getting isn’t free. You have to do some kind of work for it, and even worse it may be free stuff that you don’t actually like, but you have to endorse as part of your deal.
Pro: You get more trigger time. The benefit of the sponsorship generally means more time to focus on your skills. That’s a good thing.
Con: Trigger time and training time isn’t something that you do “just for fun”. Now it’s a responsibility. Some people get sponsored and suddenly realize that being sponsored is a lot like having a part time job that doesn’t pay very well.
Pro: You get a cool jersey.
Con: No one but me will actually admit it, but all of those shooting jerseys just look ridiculous. USPSA matches look like the love child of the PBA and Tour de France.
The real question of sponsorship after looking at the pros and cons, which I attempted to sum up in three simple points is whether or not it’s worth it. Is getting free ammo, or free guns, or a holster worth whatever it is you have to do in return to get that gear? The only person that can really answer that is you. The good news is that we’re in sort of a golden age of sponsorships right now; companies are spending money on shooting sports like never before. So if you’re looking for some general guidelines on getting, keeping, and maintaining a sponsorship, just take these bullet points and use them.
- Choose your sponsors wisely – After getting burned by this in the past, I won’t wear the logo of a company whose products I wouldn’t use if they weren’t paying me. Only accept sponsorships you’re willing to stake your name and reputation on.
- Get it in writing – I can’t stress this enough. A sponsorship is a business relationship, and you should have some kind of contract between you and your sponsor.
- Treat your obligations with respect – don’t halfass your obligations to your sponsor. Like I said, it’s a business relationship, and it should be treated as an obligation that you’re expected to perform.
- Don’t be a dick – should be self-explanatory
- Don’t feed the trolls, either. Also self-explanatory
- Work hard, train hard, and your sponsor will hopefully recognize that and you’ll likely be rewarded.
Ultimately, the best sponsorship is to become independently wealthy and just self finance your shooting out of the mountains of your own cash; however that’s probably not possible for most folk.