As an athlete, you're focused on how to better your performance, what you should be eating, and when the next race is going to be.
Have you ever taken a moment to think about what happens once you reach the elite level? How do you build a brand for yourself? How do you keep sponsors coming? It's an important aspect of being an elite triathlete, and yet it's rarely discussed.
It's expensive to be a pro triathlete. Before you launch your pro triathlete career, make a plan. What equipment do you need and how much is it going to cost? How much will your travel arrangements cost? Make a budget of everything and create a plan to help finance your racing career.
CREATE A FOLLOWING
Map out how you will brand your name to gain sponsorship. Brands have loyal fans and you'll want to begin building a public presence to attract your own supporters. Use social media, start a blog or build a website that documents your successes and training.
Potential sponsors want to see that you have some influence within the racing community. Building a public presence online will show them how many people will see their name. They're interested in numbers such as Twitter followers or Facebook friends.
Be active with your fans, listen to them, interact with them and people will follow you. A top five finish might get you noticed, but you'll generate a fan base by how you race. How you act before, during and after the race can be just as important as your finishing time.
BE YOUR OWN AGENT
You have to book your own travel, make race arrangements, repair equipment and deal with media and sponsors. This requires a degree of organization.
When you're focused on training, it can be easy to forget to book travel arrangements or return an email to a sponsor. Make sure to set aside time to look up flights, make hotel reservations, research bike transportation, visit race expos, work on brand promotion, and update your blog and social media pages.
Carve out time each day to write to followers about your training that day. A series of short write-ups or posts on Facebook, a blog or website, documenting your progress will generate interest and excitement in your next race.
INTERACT WITH PEOPLE
You have a product to sell when you're out and about. Make sure you plan time before and after any race to promote your products.
Keep track of any photo shoots and interviews you have scheduled. If you're scheduled for a photo shoot in a cycling magazine, you'll want to notify your bike sponsor. Determine if there is an opportunity to promote one of your sponsor's product. Remember, you're a brand ambassador.
When you're starting out, getting a sponsor is very exciting. Make sure it's a brand you can be loyal to. If there's a company conducts animal testing and you don't support that activity, don't accept their sponsorship.
If you don't like the product, how can you talk positively about it?
BRAND BUILDING CHECKLIST
Keep these 10 things in mind to build your business as an elite triathlete: