Competing on a Budget
I just recently retired after 10 years and 25 shows.
During this time I always found a way to compete on a budget...
For the past 8 years I have always found a way to compete on a budget. It dawned on me right from the start that this is my hobby and a very expensive one at that. There were expenses that I could justify and expenses that I just couldn't..... for instance food is a must (gotta eat regardless) but flying my favorite makeup artist to Canada; not so much..... and although I sought out sponsors, during a floundering economy and free exposure through social media sponsorship opportunities became sparse. This is when I realized that if I wanted longevity in this industry I needed to come up with a strategy to compete on a budget.....
Competing on a Budget - Priorities (in this order)
1. Hire a Coach
2. Pay Your Entry Fees
3. Pay Travel ( Do not travel unless you can afford to)
4. Pay for Stage Photos
5. Pay for Hair, Makeup, Tanning
6. Pay for a Bikini/Trunks/Costume
7. Pay for Accessories, like shoes and jewelry
1. Hire a Coach
When learning to compete on a budget the very first thing you learn is that there are healthy ways to do things and unhealthy ways to do things. So first and foremost I learned after my 3rd show I needed a coach. I could find an affordable one but that was something I had to budget for...... When I first started I tried the "my friend is a coach approach" and she made me fat.... then I tried the "get advice on the internet approach" and although my body looked great for my show I looked HORRIBLE for 3 months after.....
So, first and foremost you MUST hire a reputable and safe coach. This person does not need to be the most expensive they just have to care!!! Also, very affordable coaches can be found all over the world. With skype and the internet coaching can easily be done online and you don't need to see this person live. For me they need to specialize in women, show me a track record of helping women stay fit and healthy for MANY years (not just one season) and be accessible on a weekly basis. By the way, I justify the coach in my household budget and not my competition budget because for me this person is going to be a part of life. This person gives me health and wellness advice for my life as well as competitions. In my case I use Nathan Harewood at Domin8 based in Calgary.
2. Pay Your Entry Fees
The second thing you need to do to compete on a budget is understand that there will be entry fees..... Investigate the federations and find which one best fits you. This one may not be the cheapest competition. Again in my case it never was. Most of the cheapest competitions give you least amount of time on stage with poorest quality judging and lighting. With this said you should try a couple of different federations and find which one is best for you.....
I find that these are the 2 most important aspects of competing on a budget and then after that there are lots of different angles that you can take to save money or spend money. I am going to put these in my order of priority. Your order might be quite different.
3. Pay For Travel
This of course is optional there are lots of local shows, but if you do decide to travel pay those bills right away. You do not want to find yourself without a way to get to your show if some additional expenses creap up on you.
4. Stage Photos
In my opinion stage photos are not optional. In many cases you can not afford to take your coach with you to shows. This is going to be an honest and unbiased representation of how you REALLY looked. Of course they are also a VERY important keep sake.
5. Services (Tanning, Hair and Makeup)
A flawless spray tan. Always use the official tanning people because then your tan will match the tans of the rest of the competitors. This is very important. If you are darker or lighter than the other competitors you will stand out but not in a good way.
Makeup and Hair..... again just use the official hair and makeup people BUT make sure you come prepared. Do your homework. Bring pictures of what you want to look like. Don't make them guess what you mean.
OK, so I find that these 5 things are the most important things to budget for and now here is a list of all of the incidentals.
Bikini - Now bikini's are very very expensive. As unsanitary as this might sound rent or borrow first and as often as possible. You can also share the cost of a bikini with another competitor that you are friends with. She wears it at one show and you wear it at the next. Bikinis can range from $100 to $5000. If they are more expensive make sure they have REAL swarovski crystals.
Gowns - Use Rent the Runway or again your can borrow.
Accessories - Shoes $40, Rhinestone Jewelry $40,
You can find these things on amazon.com and incredibly low prices. So do your homework and of course you can still borrow.
So if you tune into my Competitor Corner at www.sharonpolsky.com I am always posting more ideas and good luck with your journey. Make it about you and life the journey no matter what.