Let us all be honest with ourselves that it is a great privilege to be able to ride, own a horse, compete, or take any part in this sport. I am so grateful for the opportunities I’ve been granted, and if I weren’t so determined to compete at the upper-levels and take as many lessons as possible, I might could comfortably have my horse and not pinch so much. But, here I am, still balancing the last of my budget to get through the next competition, and if it weren’t for some of the small additional money saving and making habits, I’ve taken up over the past few years, I might be in more RED than I’m facing now. Right now, I can see the Red in the distance, but still getting by.
- Social Media Ads :: I’ve expanded my reach on social media over the last five years, and now spend a large portion of my day working with brands, focusing on building my own brand, and creating content. That being said, I do have a few easier third party sites that I utilize outside of just contacting brands directly with my media kit. Apps like Heartbeat, Influenster, and OpenSponsorship. The first two, do not require large social media followings at all! Heartbeat, while paying much less than my average social media post, does create a really easy process to apply for small campaigns. From snacks to skincare, brands send you free products and pay you money to post a short synopsis on your feed. Influenster is similar, but rather than social media ads, this app just requires reviews. The more reviews you write, the more often you will be sent boxes of full-size products. I receive boxes of full-size, (and expensive) skin care products monthly. I haven’t bought skincare products or shampoo in a year! Lastly, Open Sponsorship is focused more on athletes, riders, who do have a larger audience and have the experience marketing brands. The brands on OpenSponsorship want to see in-depth campaign applications and require more work. But, the payouts for these ads are much, much larger than the first two.
- Braiding :: Braiding at competitions is one of the easiest but painful methods I take part in to earn some extra cash. But, I’m so grateful to have improved my skill enough to be able to produce a tight mane in about thirty minutes. I simple post a status on my Facebook profile and local Facebook groups that I will be on the show-grounds the evening before, and have riders reach out to me. I covered my entry fee for the last competition, and while braiding ten horses in one day was a bit tough on my hands, I took care of them all in one day, so I could enjoy and focus on my horse the rest of the weekend. (As a braider, I just dedicate one evening OR morning to knock them all out.)
- Facebook MarketPlace :: Any old clothes, old furniture, my plants, go on Facebook Marketplace. It seems silly, but I’m always astonished at how quickly the items I place on Facebook marketplace are picked up. I am always careful to have the buyer meet in a public setting, or ship items after payment is received, but I try to be diligent every change of season to post items I’m not using anymore or don’t have a purpose.
- Tutoring :: I do not tutor anymore, but during college and the first years post-grad this was my largest money-making scheme. By reaching out to professors, that I was available to tutor, they provided my name and contact to students performing poorly in their class without my having to advertise. Most sessions last 45-minutes, and while 80% of the courses were classes I had performed well and knew myself, during the last stint of tutoring I began tutoring courses similar to my focus of study but had not taken. I figured out how to show my students how to flip through their text-book, read aloud the definitions from their text, and take notes in an organized way.
- Brand Collaborations :: Any time I review, create content, or receive a product from a brand I “collaborate” with them. I developed a short booklet called a media kit, of what types of services I can provide brands at competitions and on social media, a list of previous collaborations, and the amount of accounts reached on all my social media platforms. Even as an aspiring professional, I communicate to brands that I am still able to provide a worthwhile service that will provide a return. Brands want to see what service you can provide. Any time I reach out to a brand, rather than asking for a sponsorship or products, I just ask if I may send my media kit to their team. Then, I await their response and begin discussing opportunities for monetary or product remuneration. The amount of responses has increased dramatically taking this approach, than sending a long message on Instagram. A tasteful and professional media kit, will impress brands, and you can discuss what their brands goals are and how you can help the brand obtain them. Small businesses often can’t provide large monetary sponsorships but products like supplements and apparel are often worthwhile exchanges if you’re unable to purchase nice products yourself! Additionally, creating long-term relationships with these brands, working hard to help them reach THEIR goals, and providing a service does make you more likely to earn future sponsorships!