I hear it every day. “I tried sponsorship and it didn’t work”. When I dig a little deeper, it becomes clear why. The very first thing most people think about is the big corporate sponsorships. As a non-celebrity speaker or artist who is just getting started, could you get a big corporate sponsor like Coca Cola or Red Bull to sponsor you? Sure. It’s just not very likely. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t go after the big guys. You should. But learn how to work with smaller sponsors first.

Speakers and artists sponsorship

I often hear artists say that they only want to be a film or TV star, and aren’t interested in bit parts. Or they only want to pursue the big corporate sponsors. There are only so many spaces at the top, but tons of opportunities if you’re willing to go off the beaten path.

I hear speakers say they only want to go after the high-paying speaking jobs and nothing else. Well, those jobs are great, but there is a ton of speaking work that isn’t in that category.

For every actor or model who is making millions, there are tens of thousands of them that make a decent living at it. And for every speaker making 20 grand, there are speakers everywhere who make a living doing it. Sponsorship is kind of like that. Just because you’re not making big money in the big league doesn’t mean you can’t do very well.

Here are some reasons speakers and artists give up too quickly and how you can change that:


The average corporate sponsorship can take between a year to two years to finalize. It takes a huge amount of patience to wait that long. Micro-sponsorship ™ , or small business sponsorship can take less time, but still takes several months. I’ve found that even working with small mom and pop companies, they want as much time as possible to promote the event. Even if they’re only spending a few hundred dollars, they still want to maximize that investment. It’s actually good for you too, because you both can stretch out the promotion exposure.

Wrong opportunity

I believe that there is a buyer out there for every seller. That said, you can’t please everybody. I’ve seen speakers and artists who had the most amazing sponsorship opportunities who had a hard time getting a sponsor, and ones who had much weaker opportunities who secured more than one sponsor easily. I could never figure it out. The only thing to do is to make sure you’re consistently in the game. It only takes a few sponsors who believe in you and make money with you to make a good living as a speaker or artist.

Return on investment

If you make money for your sponsors, there’s no reason they won’t keep sponsoring you. This is why you really need to learn how to work with them to give them the most exposure possible. Now is when you take off your creative hat and put on your business hat. Look at every single thing you do from a sponsor’s perspective. If you were a brand and were going to invest hard-earned money in a sponsorship, would you sponsor you? What do you have to offer that will make a sponsor more money? Can you expose their brand to the audience they want to get in front of?

Sponsorship of speakers and artists is one of the best marketing tools out there for small businesses. When the right partnerships come together it can be magic for both parties.

There are dozens of ways speakers and artists can find more sponsors, and work more effectively with them to create better ROI. Schedule a sponsorship coaching session to learn the inside secrets for getting more sponsorships. (For speakers and artists)