Points of Leverage


Selling Your Creative Ideas


Lesson Info

Points of Leverage

So what we're going to talk about from here on out is really, well a couple things, but we're going to start with how you're giving back to your audience. To the people who are supporting you. We've talked about who they are a lot, and we've talked a lot about what the expression of your idea is gonna give back to them, but like how are you going to thank them? The best. How are you really going to give back and create this circularity. So, here's what I mean by that. Those of you who have ever contributed to any Kickstarter campaign, or a GoFundMe or any of those other online funding type things where you have been the sponsor of somebody else's ideas. I hope you've had this experience. If not, please go try it. Especially if you're trying to get people to sponsor your idea, you should feel what it's like to be on the other side. And even if you don't have a friend who is using one of these platforms, you could actually just go to the website and look through other people's projects. ...

A lot of people don't think of that, but it's kind of fun and rewarding when you're having a bad day, or it's rainy outside, to go and like support some kid's project. It's really fulfilling, so try that. If you've done this, you'll know that typically these projects are set up with thank you's built-in. So if you give $50, you get a copy of our new CD, and a poster signed by the band, you know? (laughs) So you've seen this format. Long before these things existed though, this was already just part of professional courtesy. You should already be thinking about, not just little gifts like a signed CD, but you should be thinking about how you are going to engage your supporters. How are they directly benefiting from your idea? Because remember, your idea isn't for them. Right? So this is a subtle point. We had a slide that I showed you early on, if you didn't see the beginning part of this course, I simply said, "You know the people that this idea is for "are different than the people who are supporting it." If the idea is for children, it is being supported by adults, for example, right? So these are two different groups of people, but the people who are supporting it still kind of want to have some benefit of their own. So be thinking a lot about that, that's what we're going to address next, about creating that system. The reason the slide says "Points of Leverage," though, we're going to talk about what that means. If you're familiar with the idea of leverage in negotiations, so you're negotiating with somebody when you're selling. You're trying to create, if we're going to get really heady on this, you're trying to create a fair exchange of value. Right? So, points of leverage just means what are the points, what have you got to offer in return? You're offering some kind of value, right? You're creating a really cool circus, right? You're creating a flea circus. And that's awesome, and only you can do it. So you do have something to offer. What, you know what they have to offer, it's probably money, right, or it might be something else. So you want to think about what you have to offer on a lot of different levels that makes this whole thing a healthy, cyclical process that benefits everyone, okay, it's not just about benefiting you. It's about benefiting them. (slide whirs) So, what do I mean by a circular system? Your idea, or the expression of your idea, or your project, however we want to talk about it, it means something to someone. So, if it means something to people out there, and particularly the people who are seriously considering becoming your sponsor, then you need to know what that is, and you need to know how to really give it to them and maybe even give them beyond their wildest expectations. Try to find every possible way to give back to them, every possible way to thank them, all along the way. I'm going to give you an example. So, I am a roller derby skater. (laughs) Even though I may not look like one, and I skate for a league in Milwaukee, and it is a skater-run league. And, so it's a non-profit, and the only way we can run the league is by paying dues, and selling tickets. But more specifically, we need corporate sponsors. So we actually have to go out into the community as skaters, and find sponsorships. One of the perfect examples of a cyclical relationship that I can demonstrate to you, "What do we really "have to offer as a bunch of roller derby skaters?" Other than entertainment, I guess we could give free tickets, which we do. But you want to think beyond that obvious point. So, let me give you an example of one of our top sponsors is a physical therapy chain. So, they provide trainers to our skaters, and actually at every one of our proactices, we have a trainer sitting there for safety reasons. And we don't have to pay for that because they are providing that to us for free, you guys. So that helps to support the league. We, our skaters are safe, we have medical care. We have a whole medical room, and so on, that's all been donated in exchange for what exactly? They don't need this from us, you would think. I mean, you'd think like, well these guys are actually losing money having staff come and sit at these roller derby practices. You know, having to come up with, you know, equipment and materials to, you know, wrap ankles, and things like that. What do they get in return, you have to think about this. In return, they get to advertise at all of our bouts, which, you know, people think of roller derby as being this incredibly violent thing, where people are breaking bones all the time. (whispers) It's actually not as bad as it sounds. But it's a great ad. It is a great, great, great ad for their physical training. "If these guys can train these roller derby girls, "and keep them all in such great, top physical condition, "they can out there are tear each other apart "on the track, and survive it, they must be "a really great physical therapy." So it's basically one big advertisement, but it also you know, leads them, they can use some of their younger trainers, and they can get training, a different sense of the word "training," they can learn how to deal with athletes, semi-professional athletes, they can learn work on the job, on-the-job training. So there's a lot of different ways, we are actually benefiting that physical training facility, in ways beyond, 'oh they get free tickets to our matches.' Do you see what I mean? So think about that circularity when you get a sponsor. The sponsor might not just provide money. They also might provide services. They also might provide materials, and they also might provide advice, professional advice. You also are probably providing that as well, to create this circularity, where you are providing you know, maybe some fame and advertising. Maybe you're providing them some on-the-job training for some of their younger workers. Those kinds of things, think through that, for your own particular situation. Don't forget, so coming back to this list, when we think about you being bashful asking for help, don't forget that people like helping. They really do. People like to be in on something. And your idea, if it is intoxicating and exciting and inspiring to you, it is probably inspiring to them too. So let people help, let them in. Find all sorts of ways to get them helping. You know, don't be shy to ask them to pick up weeds, pick weeds, or pick up garbage, or sweep the floor, or whatever. Those are hard things to do, and often we don't want to outsource some of the dirty parts of the job, because we think, "No, no, no, no, I really need their help. "I really need them, you know, to write a check." You might be surprised. They might really like to have an employee volunteer day, where they come out, and they pick all the weeds at the site where you are going to be doing a garden. Or they clean up all the garbage in your alley, or whatever, you know, dirty work that needs to be done. People like helping. So involve them. Think about the kinds of things that will keep them engaged, and give them a sense of pride. Because, what are you trying to do? You want to let people in, you want to build bridges, and you want to make them feel that they're really a part of it. So even if you're just asking for five dollars, or asking them to gather trash, or anything really. Think of all those things they can do that truly is helpful, but that is also making them feel special. Before I go on the Documenting, I want to tell another little story because I think it is illuminating, but I promised I would I tell this earlier. This is the one where I said, when we first went to get corporate sponsorships, what do I even mean by corporate sponsorships? Some of you may not even know what I'm talking about. You can actually go to a large company, you can make an appointment with them, and say, "I have a non-profit, "or charitable thing that I'm doing," you have to describe it in your own way. A community art project, whatever it is. "And I'm seeking support from your foundation, who would I meet with?" You can literally just call the main number. Set up a meeting, and if you're lucky you get one. And then you go in, and you do your little dog-and-pony show. You come in with maybe a brochure, that you've printed maybe from your own inkjet printer, doesn't matter. You come in with a PowerPoint presentation if you can, and spend maybe five minutes to 30 minutes, it's up to you, your comfort level, presenting to a group of executives that are in charge of the foundation for their company, and they, like for the one I talked to you about, that wants to try to keep tech knowledge in the Midwest, instead of going to the coast. Try and find out what their objectives are. So in this case, when we were during the Black Cat mural alley, we wanted, one of the things we identified we would need for the artists are snacks. Like, we're going to need water bottles and snacks. And we had that in the budget, and we thought, "Well, let's just get someone to donate that?" We shouldn't have to go and buy all these water bottles and stuff, let's try and find a donor who could donate. So there's a major grocery store chain that is headquartered in our city. So we thought, "Well, we'll go to them, and we will ask them "to donate 'x' number of water bottles for the whole week of installation, and maybe energy bars and apples and bananas, just some basic snacks." That was my pitch, because I am so short-sighted and stupid. So I went in and I'm like "Can we have water bottles "and apples?" And the guy is like, "Do you have different levels of sponsorship?" This is like a vice president in this company, you know, he's very polished, very, you know, professional guy, very corporate guy. "Do you have different levels of sponsorship?" Well, thank goodness someone had advised me that it is a good idea to have levels of sponsorship already defined. So, I was like, "Yes sir," you know. And I showed him this little thing I had made on my computer that said the top level of sponsorship is $10,000. And we called that the, I don't know, The Platinum Membership, we came up with a name for it, right? I mean, it seems silly when you're looking behind the curtain, but that is what people want to see. There was a $10,000, there was a $5,000. There was a $2000, a $1000, a $500, and a $200. And I was like, "Oh yes, sir." And I slid the paper across the table, and he just kind of did one of these, with his finger on the $10, sponsorship, he's like, "We'll do this one." So like, I didn't even go there asking for $10,000. I went there asking for apples, okay? (laughter) I wanted apples, bananas, some snack bars. And I got $10,000. Wow. So, sometimes that humility is good. Mine was super-genuine, because I was just too, I just didn't have the nerve to ask for $10,000. But this is, the reason I bring this up when we're talking about points of level is, what was that grocery store chain looking for that little old me was selling? They were looking to demonstrate their commitment to the community. They had already started an ad campaign, all about Wisconsin, that's where I'm living. You know they had started this whole campaign about Wisconsin, and about Wisconsin this, and locally grown food because we, you know, our state is known for dairy, but it's also known for other artisanal farms. So they had really been promoting how they support Wisconsin farmers, how they support Wisconsin communities with local foods. So if we're doing a community are project that is 80% local artists, they wanted to bring out all this beautiful, healthy food, have their name written all over everything, so that they could claim a certain amount of ownership to what we were doing. And say "This is sponsored by so-and-so. "We want to see this kind of thing in our communities." And you know, if I had really seen that walking into that meeting, I would have been so much stronger, but he saw it, and so I got lucky. And that's what I'd like for you to see, is what are your points of leverage, when you walk into a meeting like that, try and guess what they might want from you, and how you might benefit them with the beauty that is in your project.

Class Description

Ideas are the natural realm of creative people, but sometimes the toughest part is selling a new concept to the world at large. How do you convince potential supporters to get behind your idea? Learn to recognizing the importance of community and audience–Your idea has an audience, it has potential. In Selling Your Creative Ideas, with Stacey Williams-Ng, you’ll learn to find and connect to the right audience that can help make your dream project a reality, and get paid for it.

In this class you’ll learn.

  • Networking Strategies
  • Matching your Ideas to the Right People
  • Researching Potential Supporters
  • Going from Idea to Project to Profit
  • How to Define Success

Stacey Williams-Ng, the mastermind behind Black Cat Alley, an outdoor art gallery, will take you through the entire process of getting paid to create your art project.

In Selling Your Creative Ideas, Stacey will help all creatives get organized, and package their ideas to make them appealing to potential supporters. 



I really liked Stacey's way of speaking, her voice and energy! Thank you and congratulations making your projects real and good luck with your future ones!