Sponsorship Proposal Training - RobertoCandelaria.com - How to Get Spnosored

Amateur vs. Beginner – 3 Major Differences

Amateur vs. Beginner – 3 Major Differences

Y’all, Olivia Pope is back.

I don’t know about you, but after spending 24 weeks of each year the past 6 years looking after them, Pope and Associates are basically family to me.

I’ve already gone into full detail of how cool Olivia’s approach to her clients’ messes is a great inspiration for anyone in business.

But, as the stakes get higher and Olivia goes on her third presidential race, it strikes me how this character, with so many wins and experience under her (always stylish) belt, still approaches every situation with full attention to detail, asking questions and renewing her awareness of reality every step of the way.

This is what some refer to as a “Beginner’s mindset”.

At Pope and Associates, every new case is carefully assessed.



Even if Olivia has known a client for years, new connections and experiences are always taken into consideration. Every detail matters.

They’re not scared of asking simple questions, considering  possibilities over and over, and failing, in a full display of how a clear and open mind can leave you feeling vulnerable.

It’s very common amongst people that are starting up or even considering their sponsorship plan to experience fear that their work might be perceived as amateur, inexperienced, or unfitting. These are three deadly adjectives that our inner self-critic likes to toss around, sometimes way too often.

So let me say this: There’s everything to be gained if you are just getting started. Everyone has been at the starting point, but it is your mindset that can and will make the greatest difference between flaky success, long lasting business relationships, or failure.

Here are some core differences between having an amateur vs. a beginner’s mindset.

An amateur’s mindset will have you covering up or over-dressing simple things to seem experienced.

If you stay focused on covering up the ways any potential sponsor can catch your lack of experience, you will spend a considerable amount of energy looking out for industry “trends”, buzzwords, and styles to jam up into to your sponsorship proposal.

Even worse than that, you’ll lose perspective of the steps needed to create real value for your audience and sponsors, and instead invest yourself in making your proposal “outshine” others.

Remember the name of the guy who’s always trying to mimic Olivia’s strategies with her opponents? Yeah, neither do I.

A beginner’s mindset will keep you focused on being thorough with every essential detail to make your sponsorship proposal solid.

So here you are, day one, page one of your sponsorship proposal. You might know a little or a lot about sponsorship, but this is day one.

Having a beginner’s approach will encourage you to look at some case studies, devote enough time to know your market, and reach for help in setting up your plan. No judgement. You’re ready to get back to basics and get the most out of every step in your project.


An amateur’s mindset will leave you feeling insecure about competition.

As you start to get a feel of how many business opportunities your sponsors have to connect with your audience, thinking like an amateur can make you feel overwhelmed, wondering if what you have is enough to drive attention and money.

Yes, it can feel like trying to outsmart a super-secret terrorist organization in a negotiation while you’re kidnapped in a staged foreign country, am I right?

This feeling can lead you to isolate yourself. You stop talking about your plans with those that can help you polish an idea and enjoying the pleasure of sharing your journey with people just like you that are striving towards success.


A beginner’s mindset will let you enjoy meeting and collaborating with others just like you.

I love the way Olivia’s gladiators get into “drill” mode, asking each other questions until someone gets inspired to propose the next step.

Being completely open to starting afresh turns classrooms, conferences, and seminars into great spaces to hang out. Asking questions, listening to other’s experiences, and soaking up the collaboration vibe a live event brings, gets beginners moving forward, fighting together the perils of fear, and overwhelm that everyone needs to shake off from time to time. Yes, even I get scared sometimes. I’m human, just like you!


An amateur’s mindset will fog your creativity.

By now you get that an amateur’s mindset is deeply grounded in insecurities and fear. Thinking that you or your ideas are not enough could leave you trapped in a vicious circle –  trying to follow tried-and-true recipes and templates that may not actually fit your business or sponsorship goals.


A beginner’s mindset will get you considering all possibilities with an open mind.

Approaching every possibility as a cue for a new business or sponsorship relationship can help you figure out ways to offer value to potential sponsors in new ways you’ve never thought of. Sponsorship can cover a great deal of activities and products, and to get you inspired I’ve compiled over “100 Things You Can Get Sponsored” as you start or continue your sponsorship journey.

Shake off your fears around starting fresh. A true gladiator is never scared to learn something new and try a different angle!

If you’re just starting out with Sponsorship and making your first sponsorship proposal, Sponsor 101: A Free 5-Day E-Course might be the perfect fit for you: 5 days to get your sponsorship proposal up and running!

For anything else, I’m always at the other end of the “Post” button.

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