Stop. Breathe. Take Stock. Repeat As Necessary.

My 30th birthday was one of the best days of my life. It also turned out to be a pivotal moment.

My 30th birthday cake - the first one!

My (first) 30th birthday cake from my fellow staff working an event. Made my day!

Between going for a morning run, having my Facebook page and phone inundated with well wishes, working an event for my employer, blowing out candles on two cakes, enjoying a quick massage, dining outside by candlelight, being serenaded with Happy Birthday twice and hanging out with industry friends (some of the coolest people I’ve ever met) deep into the next morning, I took stock of my life and didn’t necessarily like what I saw.

Don’t get me wrong; the day itself was amazing. But after pausing a moment, I finally admitted to myself that I wasn’t happy. That can be one of the hardest things to admit, especially to yourself. In the past few years, I had become a workaholic and had little time for family and friends, some that I had known for years.

Only a rat can win the rat race

Makes sense, doesn’t it?
Credit: denniseagles

While some people excel in the corporate rat race, I was suffocating. I missed the nature I had grown up in despite living minutes from a beautiful series of metro parks. I was trying to cram working out and somewhat healthy meals into what little time I had outside of the office and my commute. I love to cook but had no desire to do so at 9 or 10pm after coming home from the office. I knew I needed a change.

After much planning and thinking, I decided to open my own business. It wasn’t an easy decision, but ultimately, I knew it would allow me to align my personal priorities with making a living. It certainly hasn’t been easy (and it’s still early), but it’s the best decision I’ve ever made. I’m excited about the future and building my business while enjoying nature, making time for those important to me and having a more flexible schedule.

Poolside in Scottsdale

Capturing some brief pool time and utilizing our fabulous branded towels at an event in Scottsdale.

Similar to your personal life, it’s also helpful to stop and take stock of your business or career as well. It can be easy to veer off course and start heading down a path you don’t like. Perhaps you’ve moved away from your sweet spot, have some clients who drag you down or you don’t even recognize your marketing anymore. Whatever it is, remember to stop and take a deep breath every now and then. It can really help you stay on track, whatever your track to a happy life is.

I would love to hear about your moments of taking stock of your personal life or business. How did you discover that you weren’t where you were supposed to be? What made you decide to take a risk to correct course? [And if you’re looking for any marketing or branding assistance, I’d love to help!]

Cheers (and keep smiling),
Jaime

Sponsorship: Your Name Here

I was sitting at an Akron Aeros (AA affiliate of the Cleveland Indians) baseball game the other night when a hitter broke his bat. Shortly after he was thrown out at first (and the pitcher danced out of the way of the jagged bat head), the PA announcer said, “That broken bat was brought to you by MDF Bats. For major league quality bats…” Seriously.

Your Name Here!

Sponsorship opportunities are virtually limitless.

Sponsorship opportunities abound around nearly every turn, from sports to events and beyond. Some companies will do anything to see their name in lights while others question the ROI (return on investment) of such a commitment. Does your company utilize sponsorships as part of your marketing mix? How do you gauge success?

My association with sponsorships started young although I didn’t realize it at the time. No, my parents didn’t sell my forehead space to a company for $XXX. As most t-ball and little league players, my team was sponsored by a local company (which basically meant paying for the shirts. If they splurged for ice cream once in awhile after a game, that was a bonus). Of course, I didn’t think of the company as a sponsor; it was just a name on the front of my shirt (which was usually covered in enough mud or dirt to wipe out any exposure on my end). Hey, I was a catcher.

In high school, I became seriously interested in racing, especially NASCAR. Anyone familiar with the popular racing series knows that sponsors are essential to the sport today. That led to seeking sponsors for charity and/or non-profit events which eventually spilled into my marketing and event planning position where finalizing sponsors for our events was vital.

Can you measure the ROI of sponsorship?

Companies measure the ROI (return on investment) of sponsorships in different ways and some don’t measure them at all.

So maybe I’m biased, but I believe that sponsorships can really pay off if they’re a good fit and are marketed correctly, preferably on both sides. Speaking of the Aeros, I became familiar with my current HVAC company, Blind & Sons, due to their sponsorship of the team. Also, I recognized at some point that I patronized sponsors of NASCAR drivers I liked without even realizing it. Apparently most NASCAR fans do… According to studies, NASCAR fans buy over $3 billion of licensed products annually and are 3 times as likely to try and purchase sponsors’ products and services. In fact, NASCAR fans are considered the most brand loyal in all of sports. [Source: Race Day Sponsor]

As someone who solicited sponsors, I always tried to ensure the companies I worked with received as much value and exposure as possible. I also tried to target companies who were a good fit for a particular opportunity and would market the sponsorship on their end as well. To me, those were the sponsorships that made everyone happy.

So, have you worked with a company you noticed through sponsorship? If so, what were the results? (As the saying goes… you can have the best marketing in the world, but if the product or service doesn’t live up to expectations, ultimately it doesn’t matter.) I have worked with companies found via sponsorship and sold companies successful sponsorships, so I’m a believer in the process, if handled correctly. Besides, who can resist their name in lights?

I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences on sponsorships as a buyer or sponsor.

Cheers,
Jaime