Race Drivers: Overcoming The Fear Of Marketing Yourself

Race Drivers: Overcoming The Fear Of Marketing Yourself


Fear can be a very dysfunctional and damaging thing. I have experienced it many times in my life and my career. Fear of change, fear of the unknown, fear of being made fun of or even ridiculed. Fear of failure. Fear of doing something new on your own. Fear of not doing something right. Fear of rejection.

As race drivers, you strap into a very powerful machine going at high speeds against other determined drivers with powerful machines — and at anytime can crash, flip upside down, catch on fire and possibly get injured. Those that don’t understand sometimes think you are crazy, right? But YOU can put that FEAR out of your minds each week and take to the task at hand – why? Because you LOVE to race. It’s your passion. You put the fear out of your mind because you are confident in what you do and you are determined to win.

When it comes to marketing and promotion, many race drivers tell me that 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 struggle financially to keep racing each week. Then your passion can sometimes become stressful and frustrating.

I understand where you are coming from! I know what it is like to have a passion for something and you want to keep it going or get to the next step – but you are just stuck – and afraid if you try it and fail you are going to be worse off than before. That is fear. Fear is what keeps us from success in anything we do.

With marketing and promoting yourself as a driver to fans and sponsors in an effort to attract funding for your racing – Ask yourself these questions:

Who or what is holding you back?

Not sure how to get started?

Afraid of failing?

Don’t understand how marketing works?

Why can’t I just race and sponsors find me?

Or is this you:

I only like driving and I am not interested in the marketing.

Even when I try to promote I really don’t get anywhere.

I am too busy to market and promote – maybe I can find someone to do it for me.

I am too shy and not the outgoing type. I will leave the marketing up to other people.

I don’t like to look like I am asking for a handout.

I don’t like promoting myself it makes me look conceited.

I am afraid to ask for help because I might look inept.

Marketing costs money – I need to put everything I got into my race car.

I don’t have enough faith in my abilities and nobody is going to want to sponsor me.

This is fear talking to you. Working against you. Keeping you from moving forward. You must change your mindset. Just like when you strap into that race car to go for the Victory and you put fear out of your mind – you must do the same with marketing. Approach it in the same way you do your racing.

Open your mind to learning – changing, asking for help – integrating yourself into the community and connecting more with fans – you will be surprised at how much starts to come back to you!

You cannot do what you fear, and you cannot do what you don’t know. You KNOW you need money to race. You KNOW it takes good sponsors and souvenir sales to a large fanbase. 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 strap in for a race – keep your eye on victory and don’t give up. If you have failure, fix the problem and go for it again. Once you land that first sponsor – you get the same exhilaration you would when you win a race and it will propel you to keep going for more.

2.) Educate yourself. Learn what you can about marketing and promotion, just like building a better shock or a better race car set up, get ahead of the competition, get your marketing edge!

3.) Seek out mentors – look for other drivers who have been successful with their marketing and ask for advice, just like you would from the ones who are running well at a certain track or series.

4.) Step away from the racing toolbox a few days a week and use your marketing toolbox such as the phone, email, social networks, and actual face to face networking.

5.) Dispel the negativity and old ideas about marketing, promotion and gaining sponsorship – approach it with a positive attitude. Delete the old stuff in your brain and start fresh.

6.) Just do it. Jump in with two feet – the cold water will eventually become comfortable! The more you do it the more it becomes part of you, and easier to do if you make it routine.

7.) Be creative. Throw in things that 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, set up a group trip with kids and parents or kid friendly businesses in your community to go karting or even have a big pizza party at one of your races. For female drivers you could do something with women business owners, like a charity fashion show.

8.) Get more help on 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 in vocational schools for mechanical or automotive and see if they want to be a volunteer on a race team – give them a crew shirt and pit pass, race tickets for their family. You would be surprised who will be willing to help out just for the experience!

9.) Have some fun with your marketing and you will enjoy doing it! Get your good friends involved and make it part of your social life. You will be surprised how many more friends you will make, fans you will gain and sponsors will start to seek you out if they see that it is an enjoyable experience for their customers to be around you! Before you know it you will enjoy marketing and promotion and you will 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

“Fears are educated into us, and can, if we wish, be educated out”.
– Karl Augustus Menninger

“Fear is only as deep as the mind allows”.
– Japanese Proverb

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You must do the thing which you think you cannot do”.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

“Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit 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”.
– Unknown

“It’s impossible to have Faith and Fear at the same time.” – Jackie Pegram (My mentor and Bible study 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 have been in your shoes. I have consistently conquered my fears so I could keep growing and moving forward into more success.

I will not let anything hold me back from my dreams and goals. I have had many try to hold me 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 delete all negativity from my mind. I have learned to change my mindset. I will only look forward towards my goals and not regress back because of a fear or insecurity. 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 reach their dreams and goals – helping you overcome your fears and finding success with marketing. Your success is my success. Dispel the fear, dispel the old myths, ignore any outer or inner negativity – and let’s make it happen! I am with you all the way!