Senin, 04 April 2016

Make a Career out of Bodybuilding

It is possible to get rich doing what you love, and bodybuilding is no different. However, there are so many people trying to make a career out of this sport and the industry is not big enough to support everybody.
(That is primarily why I started this blog, as a means to grow the bodybuilding industry in South Africa. The bigger the industry gets and the more people get involved, bigger companies are going to need people like US BODYBUILDERS to help them get in on the growing market.)

A bodybuilding career is very different to any other career for many reasons:
-          It is not (and should not be regarded as) a normal job where you get paid a monthly salary for performing a set of tasks or duties.
-          Your success depends on working with as many different companies and organisations as possible. It’s not like you simply pass one interview and you’re set on your way to success.
-          Unlike other careers, you will be discriminated against according to the way you look.
-          More so than other careers, you need to develop your personal brand (physically, and in the industry) as if you are the actual product you trying to sell.

Strategy 1: Get Obsessed!
If you’re that guy that waits for years until he finally feels like he’s big enough to compete, and then competes once a year hoping that someone is going to spot (pun intended) him and throw money at him, chances are almost definite that you arent going to make a single cent in this industry. There are thousands of people in SA hunting down companies that use brand ambassadors and you’re sitting in the locker room hoping that they will come to you?  Or waiting for a good opportunity to come by before you actually do something? Start doing things now, so that when you are ready all the prep stuff is done and you can attack the market, head on. Become A LOT more aggressive in your attempts to more than double your chances of success. Becoming obsessed means that you are prepared to sacrifice a large part of your life for this (If not, stop now and don’t waste your time thinking you’ll get anywhere). Every day that doesnt bring you closer to your goal is a day wasted. If you only do something about your dreams once a week, you will take 7X as long as it could take to get you where you want to be. You can get closer to your goal everyday by doing things that you wouldnt think you needed to do until it’s too late. For example, what skills do you need that you currently do not have? Have you practiced your poses in front of the mirror so much that its second nature, preventing disastrous slip-ups on stage? Have you practiced your facial expressions for when you get that envious magazine shoot? Have you worked on building your confidence so that your nerves don’t destroy your chances of winning? Bookmark this page and refer to it often to make sure you are constantly improving to get better and better than the next bloke.

Strategy 2: Know Key Players!
What do you want to become and who are the people that currently hold positions that you want? It is good to know their stories and how they got to where they are. If the guy that is currently doing what you dream of doing walks past you in the gym or at an event, would you even know? Knowing who the key players are helps you to direct and steer your networking attempts towards these people. You also need to know the organizers of events like bodybuilding competitions and their judges. Some top performers even research who the judges of a competition will be and change their stage costumes accordingly. How nice would it be to know that the current judges of a competition generally score higher on athletes wearing red? It sounds crazy, but it works. Do you know which companies currently sponsor bodybuilding events, which organisations sponsor athletes like you, what they look for in brand ambassadors, and who the people are that they hire to select those few lucky individuals? Having contacts in other industries that could complement your career endeavors will be of monumental help to you. Imagine knowing the journalist or editors that could cover your story in a magazine or newspaper!   

Strategy 3: Learn About the Industry!
Who are the top 5 most successful players in this industry in South Africa? How did they get there? Chances are you can’t answer those questions, and neither can the other 98% of people who won’t succeed here. Those top 5 knew the answers to questions like that before they made it big. Knowing the industry is a pre-requirement to getting through the door, and being obsessed with it helps you get further than the rest. Reading articles like this when you have nothing to do at work or because you’re bored, browsing the internet is just not good enough to get to the top (keep reading though!). People think you just grow by going to the gym and they don’t know about all the work you actually put in like training programs, research, eating plans, supplements and everything else. Similarly, people don’t train until they are big enough, walk onto a stage and become world-famous. It takes a whole lot a research and planning. How many bodybuilding competitions are there in your area? Who would sponsor you? How much do people get sponsored for? What opportunities exist in the market right now? How will you add value to this industry that people/companies/organisations would pay for? What streams of revenue are you going to earn from?  

Strategy 4: Network!
The more people you know and the more contacts you can make in the industry, the higher your chances of success. Many people overlook this strategy and think that they can just make the right contacts when they need to; they can Google who they need to know or they simply don’t need to meet more people to further their careers. The percentage of top players who got to where they are completely due to the people they knew is actually quite startling. In fact, it is almost impossible to get anywhere without knowing the right people and without the right relationships. Please notice how people on the bottom seem to know nobody, and the people at the top are well connected. Is this a coincidence? Most surely not! Start by making friendships with whoever you can, such as people who also want to make a career out of bodybuilding (chances are they know of a great opportunity that you don’t). It might sound silly to make friends with the guy who is reselling supplements on the corner, until he asks you to be the face of his brand in the shop he just took over and online with all his marketing! It is very important to prioritize networking as one of the core strategies for success.   

Strategy 5: Get Involved!
If doing bodybuilding competitions is just a fun hobby of yours that you do every now and then, there is nothing wrong with that. But if you want to make an actual career out of it, you are going to need to do a lot more. You need to get extremely involved in the industry by going to competitions even when you are not competing, by going to the finalist events even if you didnt make it and by attending all events associated with this trade. Here you will learn a lot of valuable information, meet with important people, make surprisingly helpful contacts, find out about great opportunities, discover other ways to achieve your goals and reinforce the burning fire that you need to push your way upwards. Ive met some great contacts in events I didnt even take part in, for example I met a journo who does stories on up and coming stars in the industry. Imagine getting a significant interview that will help your career, at an event you werent even competing in! You hear about success stories about people who got lucky by meeting the right person at the right time that jump-started their path to success. What you don’t hear is that they were so obsessed that they were constantly at events like these. You’re not going to meet anyone worthwhile when watching TV at home.

Strategy 6: Get a Relevant Job!
You might want to be the next Arnold Schwarzenegger, but you are going to need to start right at the bottom. Getting a job in the same trade is not essential, but will definitely help a lot in many ways. Many people who compete are personal trainers, and you will especially do better with your personal training job as you increase your ranks in competitions. Plenty people who are relatively successful on stage use their success to exponentially increase their earnings with their personal training jobs. Their pro-status means that they can charge tonnes more for personal training sessions and even coach other people on how to compete in the same competitions. Try to get whatever job you can in the industry, so that you have a steady stream of income until you cash in the mega bucks. Staying in the industry on a 9-5 basis gives you a better competitive edge than the people who spend most of each day NOT in the industry. That means your chances of making great contacts, learning about current opportunities, getting sponsored etc. are much, much higher.

Strategy 7: Enter as Many Bodybuilding Competitions as Possible
This should be obvious, but you want as much exposure as possible. You can enter as many competitions as you want, until you do well in one of them and you get a pro card. When you become a pro at a competition, they will issue you with a pro card. This pro card is coveted by many competitors. You cannot enter bodybuilding competitions by other organisations once you have a pro card. You are then restricted to only entering into that specific competition.
It is a good idea to enter these competitions even when you don’t feel like you are at your best or ready yet. This is because the more competitions you do the better you will be at it. See the competitions that you don’t feel too confident about as practice for the future. Having a few competitions under your belt and attending them regularly to keep in the swing of things will add to your overall performance and placement in the long run. Do not limit yourself to bodybuilding competitions; try some modelling competitions as well. These might open new doors and opportunities for you.

Here a list of bodybuilding competitions in South Africa

Strategy 8: Attack the Media!
Try to get into the media whenever you can. You can definitely use this coverage as good leverage later on to further your success. Make friends with journalists and editors from different forms of media like TV, radio, newspapers, and magazines. The media is often very open to doing articles on new athletes who are entering into competitions. This exposure might lead to greater exposure or even land you that sponsor that you need. A judge who reads your article in the newspaper will more likely notice you on stage above the others. Self-promotion is essential to building and establishing your brand above the rest and should be done from the very start. Your wins look a lot bigger if your journey has been in the eye of the media from the start. It is too late to try to attract extra media attention if you only start AFTER doing well in a competition.

Strategy 9: Build a portfolio!
In the beginning there won’t be anybody promoting you. Nobody who you want to reach will know you. It is YOUR job to change that. Build a portfolio with your information, pictures and past successes. This portfolio is basically an advert with the goal of persuading the reader to buy into the product you are selling (you are that product). Keep copies of this on hand and take it with you wherever you go. Try to get this in front of as many people as possible. It is your job to somehow get the right people to see your portfolio, and you better make sure that it is so good that after seeing it they can’t resist not paying you to promote them!
Self-promote yourself as much as you can and wherever you can! Make a Facebook and Twitter page and get as many followers as possible. You want to try and build your name into an authority that people want to copy. You need to build yourself into the person that others want to become. As soon as you do this, sponsors will start looking for you!

Strategy 10: Contact as Many Companies and people as Possible!
Single out the companies that you would like to be sponsored by and get in their faces! They should be forced to see your portfolio just to shut you up. If somebody sees your portfolio and rejects it, found out why. If you can find out what is wrong or missing, you can make the right changes to increase your chances of success the next time. People tend to send their portfolio to one company they like through an email and stop there, ‘waiting for a reply’. Don’t fall into this trap. Getting accepted is more of a numbers game. You can have your favorite companies that you would like to work with, but you are going to need to submit your portfolio to as many companies as possible. Chasing your dream should be seen as a full time job, and that means putting some serious effort into contacting as many companies as possible. Try many avenues to get your foot in the door. Keep your eye on these companies; and see whether and when they have competitions with sponsorships as prizes. Offering to volunteer with events these companies hold is another sure way to get you noticed above the masses of other people trying to grab their attention.

Try to establish good working relationships with photographers. When building their own portfolios, photographers often ask for models to pose for free. This is a good idea because you can also use these professionally taken photos for your own portfolio, and you will appear in the photographers’ portfolios when they show it to their clients. Volunteering as a model is also very good experience for posing in photo shoots. Rather mess up in front of an amateur than right in the middle of your dream shoot! Contact many photographers, it is better to work with a number of them than just one!



Please share any other ideas or strategies you might have in the comments below!

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