I created this blog to be more than simply a recap from my various tournaments. I wanted it to be a place where I could share my thoughts, but more importantly a place where others could get info and learn (esp from my mistakes). When the season is in full swing, I admit things like my blog take a backseat, but I am going to TRY to do a better job at updating it more than I have, especially with stuff besides tournaments. Before archery, I used to do a Products I Love feature, and I am planning to bring that back, in addition to What I’ve Learned (a new series covering any topic you can think of). This will be the first one of its kind, and I hope you can take something from it.
I’ve had some time over the past few weeks to really reflect on my season and what I want out of the sport. When I first started getting “good” in archery, my goal was to make it as a professional, with dreams of quitting my job permanently. With that in mind, I wanted to find ways to make money vs trying to find the best possible equipment. I’ve since changed, and I’d like to share why.
I know a lot of people think top archers switch between companies just for the money, and while this may be true of some (and I don’t blame them) that is not the case in my situation. More than once this year I have switched products and that switch has cost me money vs making me more. I realize for some archery IS their job and they need to treat it as such, but it isn’t for me. I still have a career outside of the sport, so the sport is just that for me, a sport/hobby.
Would I love for it to be my job, most of the time? Yes, but as my husband likes to remind me, I didn’t get into archery to make money. I got in to the sport because it was fun, it was a great stress reliever from my old job, and it was something we could easily do together as a couple, no matter how good either of us was (we knew we could always stand next to each other on the line and shoot arrows).
So because archery is not my regular income source, I have the flexibility to choose to shoot for and represent companies I personally believe in, both from a product stand point and from a company side of things. That means even if a company is willing to pay me, if I don’t trust their products 100%, I will move to a company that doesn’t pay me (or pays me less) for the peace of mind alone.
A prime example of this is Flex Fletch. I am not paid anything, including contingency to shoot their products. However, after having some serious vane problems this past Spring, I made the switch to them. Over the course of the season this may have “cost” me in dollar terms, but knowing I wouldn’t lose a vane while shooting in a tournament was well worth it. I never want to be in a position where I could lose a tournament bc of my equipment.
Along with the money, another trap I’ve seen many fall into (myself included) is feeling like they have to attend every single tournament on the schedule. As someone I really respect said recently, why? We get caught up in thinking we HAVE to go to this tournament or that tournament because everyone else is. For many of us going to a tournament because we feel we have to just ups our yearly travel costs, keeps us away from our friends and family, and can actually have a negative effect for you at another tournament. I’m not saying don’t go to any tournament you don’t enjoy for one reason or another, but I encourage you to think about whether it helps you reach your goals, whether it provides any real benefit in terms of your happiness, and if the benefits don’t outweigh the “costs”, then I say skip it.
So what’s my advice for you? I think everyone has to sit down and really decide what’s most important to them (I can’t make this decision for you). Do you honestly see archery as your job? If so, then you need to treat it as such. I’m not saying sacrifice quality for $, but I am saying you need to handle yourself and your negotiations in the same way you would a “real” job. Similarly, if archery is your job, then yes, you do need to be attending every tournament possible. Much like people have to go into the office on days they really don’t want to, you need to attend tournaments, even if you really don’t want to. If, however, archery isn’t your primary way to make money, then I suggest you take a step back and remember why you started in archery in the first place. If I had to guess it wasn’t for the money…