Those same companies are seeking representatives to help tell other kayak anglers about the company’s products. What this means to the community is that more team/representative/pro staff positions are available than ever before.
It sounds pretty cool, right? Being able to tell people you represent a product is a dream for a lot of folks. We grew up admiring Hank Parker, Bill Dance, Roland Marin and others who were covered in patches and endorsements. We are one step closer to being like our heroes with a patch or hat or jersey from a company who recognizes us as a representative for them. It’s a great feeling.
Unfortunately many people don’t think past that. Follow me here.
You signed up as a Team Green Jake member and they sent you a t-shirt and a code for 10% off any purchases you make with them. They require you to not use or promote any of their competitors. Additionally they need you to post on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at least once a week mentioning Team Green Jake and tagging a specific person. Ok. That’s not too bad. You’re on social media anyway so it won’t be difficult. You did save $20 on that $200 order you placed the day after you got the code. Sweetness. You also get to wear that shirt around your friends and at the tourneys. Pretty cool.
Then what? You’ve promoted Team Green Jake for six months now. Several of your friends have bought some TGJ gear because you recommended it and they wanted to be supportive. What else have you gotten? You gave Jake money, promotions, videos, advertisements and word of mouth testimonials. If all you have to show for it is a t-shirt you can’t find and that discount, you sold out for $20 and a shirt.
In your eagerness to sign up and take the first step you didn’t ask how they would help you.
If you really want to become the kayaking KVD, Ike or Alton Jones you have to do something more. You need to work on YOU. If you want to acquire good, strong industry relationships that could someday actually put money in your pocket, you need to think about it now. You probably should have thought about it six months ago but better late than never.
Develop your own name. Write, blog, photograph and video everything you can and make sure you include your logo or at least name. Choosing partner companies with an interest in helping you do that is key. Get something more than $20 and a shirt. Build an audience for your own work while developing a customer base for Jake. Make sure that the relationship is a two way street. One last thing: don’t be afraid to turn down any offer that doesn’t allow you to develop you. More will come your way if you are diligent.