Episode 005: Personal Branding: How to stand out in the busy racing world, build connections, and look appealing to potential sponsors.

personal branding In this episode you’ll learn:

  • That the sponsorship program is open for applications!
  • Why personal branding is CRITICAL to your success
  • How to stand out in the crowded world of racing
  • That the #1 component of your personal brand is your first impression capitol.
  • How to appear appealing to potential sponsors
  • Why your online presence is so important




My (very humble) Soundcloud page with original music.

The Sponsorship Program

Instagram: @RacersHQ

The fitness page. My personal fitness levels. Why fitness is so important.


Matt: What’s up everybody? Matt Covert here again from HowtoBecomeaRaceCarDriver.com with episode number five of this podcast.

I can’t believe I’m on Episode five already. This is just a really fun project for me. I’m really shocked that so many people are downloading this podcast and listening too with their free time.

If you’ve been listening to five seconds or if you’ve been listening to all five of the first episodes, I thank you so much for doing that. That was really cool to have you all along to this Podcast. I absolutely love it.

By the way, you don’t know this but I’m going to tell you anyway. Do you know that the music that is in the intro and the outro of this podcast? I totally wrote and recorded that music myself.

I was researching commercial1 music, royalty free music that you can use for commercial projects like this podcast and one in your business stuff. But it’s so expensive. I was like heck with it, I’m not paying any money for that. I’ll just write and record my own stuff.

Actually, that’s one of the reasons I actually decided to do this podcast because I used to play and record a lot of music. I actually have the whole of these audio equipments sitting around collecting dust. I kind of work it out really well.

Yes, I used to write music. You know what? I’m going to give you a link here. If you want to hear some of my music scratch track, you can. You can find those on sound clouds. I’ll just put them in the show so you can just check them out just for some fun.

And the show notes are going to be at howtobecomearacecardriver.com/podcast5, episode five.

You’ll see a little bit trivia about me there. I have a feeling this episode is going to come out after August first. If that’s the case then the sponsorship program is open for new applications.

I know I’ve been mentioning this a lot lately, if you’re an amateur autocross racer grassroots autocross racer and you want some driver support, I’m talking about money for autocross, real financial sponsorship, then you’ll definitely want to go and check that out.

My program offers money to racers for auto crossing. I think I’m the only company doing that which is very exciting.

In fact, I’m on my laptop right now. I’m going to double check, going to Google, right now and typing in autocross sponsorship. Let’s see here. I am, I am on the first page. I think I’m result number five, nope number four.

I’m on the first page of Google for auto cross sponsorship. So, just really awesome because I mean it seems like a really cool accolade to be internationally showing up on the first page of Google results for autocross sponsorship. That’s really cool. It’s actually bringing a lot of people to the website.

So, go check that out. If you’re interested getting real driver support, man, I think, it was yesterday that I revealed it would be opening at August first on all my various social media. I got so many emails almost immediately because obviously people are interested in getting help doing what they love.

So, go there, check that out at howtobecomearacecardriver.com/sponsorship. Alright, got that out of the way.

Today, I wrote a whole different episode for today. I was going to write or record an episode about some kind of technical things like weight transfer and slipping, some really basic concepts that you need to understand to be fast in a race car.

But at the last second, about half an hour ago, I said, “No, I want to tell about something else because this has been on my mind a lot lately and I think that this will come out really well.”

This is what we’re going to talk about today. Today’ we’re talking about how to start out in motor sport business. A lot of people want to get in the industry, they want to be drivers, they want to have teams, and they want to make relationships happen. They just want to be someone in the racing community that everyone looks up to and all those other stuff.

We’re going to be talking about it today. We’re going to be talking about how to start building your personal business in the motorsport world. These are things that I’ve done and learned and things that are working for me really well because I get to connect and network with a bunch of people. Hope that I can share with you some of these great things that are working really well for me right now.

Let’s just hop right into it. I’m really excited about this episode. Let me see here.

The first thing we need to talk about is personal branding. Personal branding really defines who you are in a motorsport industry. For example, my personal brand is how to become a race car driver. We all know that that’s where people can go to get free tips and concepts and theories and all kinds of information about being a better race car driver in motor sport culture and all those sort of really cool stuff.

At the same time, my personal brand is also Matt Covert. When someone thinks of me I’m automatically associated with the website. That’s my personal brand. I should be really careful about what I do in my personal life because it will all reflect back to the business.

For example, Jeff Gordon is a personal brand. When you think of Jeff Gordon you think of Axalta or Dupont depending on what vintage NASCAR you are a fan of.

We’re talking about Tony Hawk. Tony Hawk is a brand. The person Tony Hawk is a brand because of h is clothing line. That being said, even if you don’t have a company that goes along with your name, your name, it can be your brand.

When we talk about Puff Lyn or Peter Cook, I think Peter Peter Cook is a better example of that.

Peter Cook is the brand of entrepreneur lifestyle and personal achievement. That’s what he’s going on. That’s what he’s got going on. We don’t have an actual business that’s making business transactions or marketing or anything like that.

Your personal brand is your business. We’re not going to be talking about any type of technical stuff that’s related to driving or anything like that today. We’re just going to be talking about how your personal brand can help give you a huge advantage in the motorsport world which is great because the motorsport world, the market, the community it’s completely flooded with people who wants to become someone amazing in the industry.

We’re really talking about the stuff that can give you an advantage to try and make yourself stand out from everyone else. I think that’s really important.

As auto crosses or amateur racers or grass root drivers, or however you define yourself, you spend very little time at the track. We pretty much all have day jobs at this point. I think that’s okay because I read a lot of biographies and I study a lot of successful people, I’m always talking about Mark Donohue. I’m such a huge Mark Donohue fan.

He’s back in the 60’s when he was getting involved with Roger Penske and making a lot of money as a driver while he was still a full time engineer somewhere. He still had a regular job.

A lot of people think that being a successful racing driver is getting paid to drive exclusively. Well, that can happen and there’s nothing wrong with that. That’s awesome. That’ll be ultimately what you want.

But if you’re still working somewhere, who cares? That’s completely separate from your racing world and it’s just how you get from here to there.

So, if you’re still working full time somewhere, working part time, it doesn’t matter. That’s not big deal.

But what we’re going to be talking about, what can you be doing away from the track to give yourself that advantage. I think this is going to be extremely valuable. I’m still pumped about this.

We’re talking about how you brand your business. Your personal business is your business. Your personal brand is absolutely everywhere.

Imagine you’re going to an interview somewhere. You have a great interview. You shake everybody’s hands. You think you’re doing well and then you leave. What do you think is the first thing they do when you leave the room? They go to Google and they type in your name.

They might have to type in the location depending but okay in just a few seconds time they will know absolutely everything there is to know about you, about your brand. Your brand is what you are presenting to people.

For example, let’s say, you’re on Instagram. Your name is your handle. They search your screen name on Goggle and they find your Instagram account. If you have a bunch of pictures of you like partying and just being ridiculous… by the way here’s a good example.

I have a lot of entrepreneur friends. On Instagram, when you’re in your account or in your business account or whatever and you’re liking pictures or posting or whatever, other people can see what you’re doing. They can see what you like. They can see what’ you’re posting.

This one guy I know who is using his entrepreneur account, his business account, that’s going and liking pictures, lewd photos of women and posting things, that should absolutely have no business, no place in the business world. I unfriend him immediately because I don’t want to be associated with that kind of thing at all.

That kind of thing reflected poorly on his brand. I mean, that’s just no getting around. That was a bad decision on his part.

If you have pictures out there of you partying or doing a bunch of ridiculous stuff or like that, you know, feel free to be yourself but use your best judgment. People are going to see that. People judge people. That’s just the way it is. You have to get over it. That’s just the way it is.

So if you have crap out there in the internet you need to make that go away if you are trying to make your— if you want to be somebody in the motorsport industry you need to present yourself as if that’s what you really want to accomplish.

If your web presence is messy you need to clean that up right away.

Let’s talk about…. what are we going with next? Let’s talk about a couple of strategies that will help you get ahead of everyone else in the industry.

This kind of bumps me up that I’m talking about this because you’ll find out why in a second.

If you want to be somebody and promote your brand and start relationships and get into strategic workings with companies and stuff like that, symbiotic relationships is the best way to say it, if you want to do that, there’s a couple of things  you absolutely, 100% have to be doing. The first one is just be honest.

Be totally transparent about what you’re doing. If you’re just getting started in racing, there’s nothing wrong with that. But I promise you if you go out and make up a bunch of stuff that you’ve done or places you’ve raced or people you’ve networked or stuff like that and you’re not being honest, people will find out.

We’re talking about the sponsorship program earlier. If someone goes and applies to my sponsorship program, you know what the first thing I do is? I absolutely vet that applicant.

I’m going on Google. I’m searching for them and their hometown. I am searching the club results for the last few years to see how they’re actually doing compared to actually how they told me they were doing. I do a lot of vetting of my applicants because it’s extremely important to me to enter business relationships with people who are as serious as I am.

I don’t want my brand associated with someone like the guy in Instagram who is liking lewd photos of women or whatever. I don’t want to be associated with that.

If you’re not being honest or not being transparent that is an immediate red flag and I have actually no interest. It doesn’t matter if you’re actually winning everything there is to win you’ve ever entered. I don’t want to be associated with that.

You really need to be honest and transparent. If two people applied to my program, one of them is new, didn’t have a lot of experience, and one of them was winning everything but I mean he was just being dishonest whatever the case may be. I would absolutely be more interested in the less experienced driver.

I think that app is across the board for everyone.

I’ve mentioned this a couple of times before. I’m from the stunt world, stunt driving world in the film and television. That is a small community. It’s the same with race driving especially if the region where everyone knows everything what’s going on. It’s really easy to find out who is legit, who’s being honest, who’s stressing the truth.

You don’t want to be like—- always be honest about what you’ve got going on. It’s the best long term plan you can have in your brand.

Moving on from that. The other thing that I want to talk about is you have to do what you say you’re going to do.

Like I said earlier the industry is flooded with people who want to be paid racing drivers. Everybody wants that. You have to do what you say you’re going to do.

This is what bumps me out. It bumps me out that I’m standing up here in my office recording this podcast and making sure people know that they have to do what they say they’re going to do.

I feel that that should just be a natural thing that everyone does. But, unfortunately, for some reason, it’s somewhat okay in society to go back on your word or not follow through with what you said you’re going to do. 

For example, when someone tells me that they’re going to email me something that I need by a certain time and it doesn’t happen, boom. Instantly, I’m like, okay, that is knock against the guy whoever did that. I don’t like that.

There are a lot of people who really want my help and a lot of people who I want to help. If someone is coming along and wasting my time and just not following through what they say they’re going to do that’s a huge red mark against that person. Just for my personal experience.

Even in my personal life. If someone says, hey let’s meet at eight o’clock at this place and they don’t show up until 8:15 I feel like they wasted my time. I’m not okay with that.

I am so busy with this website project, and getting into the racing and everything I’ve got going on. My time is ridiculously valuable to me. If you’re wasting my time, man, that’s just a red mark.

It’s even amplified way more in the business world. If you want to have great relationships with someone then all you have to do is do what you say you’re going to do.

If you don’t think you can accomplish something, don’t say you’re going to do it It’s so much better to, what’s the phrase? The phrase is underselling an overdeliver.

If you think you need an extra time, give yourself two extra days then when you send it a day earlier than you said you would, you’re a hero. But you have to do what you say you’re going to do.

I’m really bouncing up that I have to say that because man I tell you just for the sponsorship program and all of these other stuff dealing with other people around the country or whatever, there are a lot of people that will let you down.

I don’t want to do it with these people because there are so many people out there who are excited to get help at the grassroots level and I want to be dealing with them.

I’m very serious about all these and I want everyone else to be as serious as I am. That will really help differentiate yourself from everyone else who is trying to be somebody.

Another you need to be doing for your personal brand is you need to be giving more than you’re taking.

I’ll tell you what. If you applied to my sponsorship program will absolutely vet you like I said earlier. But I’ll also follow as well. It’s not only you apply and then I say okay this guys is either legit or not legit and then I make my decision. I follow you for probably a couple of months and then I’ll see what you got going, I’m on your social media accounts and all of those other stuff.

I can tell how you’re going to treat my business if I decided to take you on as a sponsor.

For example, I’m on Instagram also, I’ll use that again for our example. Someone also has a really small sponsor or works to the shop or is getting small discounts for somewhere.

If they’re on Instagram promoting that business all the time in all their posts and stuff like that, then, yes, that’s a really good sign for me because they’re giving back to the company who’s helping them.

Just say the guy goes like a local speed shop and gets some 10% discount on something. If he puts that up on social media, that’s awesome because he’s using his circle of influence to promote that company who helped him out.

You need to be giving more than your taking. Nobody wants to sponsor someone, give them money, give them help, and then never hear from there again. That is an awesome way to shut doors not only for the season in that particular brand but people who have the authority to offer sponsorships they talk to everyone else who has the ability to sponsorships because  people like networking. It’s a very small community.

If you’re making mistakes somewhere, there’s probably a good chance that other companies are going to hear about you and it’s not a good PR for you. It’s bad for your brand. You really need to take care of your personal brand.

I mean, yes, I’ll guess I’ll say it quick that that guy in Instagram who’s going and promoting the shop that’s helping him, that guys gets a sweet checkmark in my decision making process.

First thing, I know this guy will promote my brand well because he’s already doing it to other brands. He’s exhibiting really great behavior as a potential sponsor that I’d like to get involved with. That’s really important to understand as well.

When you’re asking me for help, there’s money on the line, because I give money. I don’t give discounts. I don’t give products. I give money for people to drive from my team because I want to help them. That’s part of my marketing strategy which is another entire podcast. We won’t go into that right now.

That guy gets a big A plus in my book. That is a huge advantage.

I keep going back to Instagram but there’s a lot to say about it. You can tell a lot about someone just by their Instagram.

Like I said, you can tell by the type of content they’re putting on like I mentioned earlier who like the nude photos and all that kind of stuff.

You can either tell if someone is motivated or inspired by what they’re posting. If they’re posting such as negative, that kind of sucks. I don’t want to be associated with that.

If you go on my Instagram, what you can find @catchmattcovert, I’ll put that in the show notes, howtobecomearacecardriver.com/podcast5, you can see that pretty much my entire Instagram account is just inspirational stuff and motivational stuff and it’s all positive.

I think that’s really important. We don’t need to have negativity in our lives. I don’t want to be associated with someone who is going to be complaining about stuff all the time.

The type of content you put on your Instagram or Facebook or whatever else is really important because I’m going to see it if you apply to my program. So, juts be aware of that. I will find it because I want to see what kind of person you are.

Let’s talk about first impressions as far as your brand goes. This is probably the most important thing about the branding topic. You only get one first impression with every single person or business that you run into.

Let’s start with a couple of basic things real quick. I don’t care if you like raunchy death metal or whatever, that’s your business. Listen to it whatever you want. But if you’re in a physical community or place where racing is happening or motorsport is happening and you think you might connect your network with somebody new, leave your raunchy death metal t-shirt home. Nobody wants to see that.

Like i said earlier, people judge others as part of life get over it and use it to your advantage. If they see that, what do you think they’re going to think? I don’t think that needs extra explaining.

You don’t have to show up in a suit and tie obviously but you dress nice maybe with some as a bit more neutral than like the Deaf metal t-shirt or whatever. I get this sometimes I say stuff like that. I’m very opinionated and I never sway in my opinion because I believe that they’re true.

When someone says, “No, that’s who I am. People should know who I am. I’m not going to sell out and be in a corporate button up shirt wearing guy.” No, that’s not how it works.

If you want to be seen as professional and as a legitimate option for someone to give you money to do something that you want, yes, you have to p lay by the rules. If you want something from someone, if you want something from someone, you have to play by their rules. I’m not going to play by your rules. That’s just how it works.

Let’s talk about the Beatles for a second. By the way, I love the Beatles. What’s my favorite Beatles song? It’s probably For You Blue on Let It Be. I love the Beatles, very cool.

Back when the Beatles we’re getting started, what was their first label? I think it was EMI. Before they signed with EMI the Beatles wore bad asses. They wore leather jackets, they were rebels, they were totally opposites and the Beatles everyone knows and loves because they went to EMI and EMI liked their music but they’re like guys, you need to change your image.

You could call them sell outs if you want but you know the Beatles is having those classic kind of shaggy haircuts and suits and ties. That’s the way the Beatles were presented to the world. I think there’s no way to argue it worked.

People want to be seen a certain way. They want you to look at certain way because that’s what resonates with a majority of people. That’s what marketing is. Marketing doesn’t necessarily care about all the little niches. This is a niche specific market.

But when a company is potential thinking about getting tied up with you, you’re going to be the representative of their company if they choose you. They want you to be professional. Leave your metal t-shirt home. It’s not about who you think you need to be or whatever. You can do whatever you want in your free time. But when you’re representing a company, you need to be on point.

Let’s talk about the single most important thing about first impressions. Do you have any idea what that is? It is your fitness. People hate talking about fitness and nutrition because it’s uncomfortable. But there’s a lot of people don’t have anything to do with it.

Whenever I post something about getting fit or nutrition or whatever on my Instagram or Facebook it gets almost no attention, a very few likes because ti makes people uncomfortable. It means they have to do a lot amount of work.

Guess what? If you do that huge amount of work, man, you’re going to stand out from everyone else. I just don’t just preach it man, I live by it.

I’ve been through all kinds of fitness programs that have been amazing. I like the plyometric stuff like the beach body workout, I’ve done T25, I did the original Insanity, I’m doing Insanity max30 right now. I have done Jim Stoppani’s, shortcut to size, shortcut to shred, shortcut to strength, I’ve done Alex Savva’s freak mode, Schwarzenegger’s blueprint to size, or blueprint to mass whichever it is. I’ve done a lot of them.

Boy, if you want more information, we’re just going to touch the surface of fitness right now, but if you want more information about motorsport fitness there’s an awesome page on the website which details all the benefits, mental and physical benefits of being fit from motorsports physically.

We’re just talking about the first impression aspect of it right now. But if you want to read about it and see pictures of me and how I’ve progressed through my fitness and what I’ve accomplished you can check that all out at howtobecomearacecardriver.com/fitness. That will you take you right through it. There’s a lot of information that I highly recommend. You go check that out. That page is entirely free to go and learn from.

Let’s talk about a couple famous racing drivers. Let’s start with Tony Stewart. You probably know Tony Stewart from NASCAR. By the way I can’t stand NASCAR anymore but I’m going to use it as an example because everybody knows who he is.

Tony Stewart is overweight. He’s kind of slugging. It doesn’t; matter now because he’s famous and he’s a great driver. Yes, he’s a great driver. It doesn’t matter.

I wonder how much better he’d be if he was actually had the right nutrients of him to let his mind work at an optimal level. I often wonder that.

But anyway, it doesn’t matter now because he’s famous. But if he was just starting out and he was overweight and sluggish and he walked up to me and say, “Hey, I’m really interested in your sponsorship program.”

My first thought because I judge people, that’s human nature, it’s okay. This is what happens. I’m going to instantly think, “Man, is this man serious? He’s not taking care of himself. Why would he take care of my brand if I sponsored him?” That’s how I think.

Let’s talk about Mark Martin for a second. I think he’s – is also a NASCAR driver. Having his last full season was like, I don’t know, it was a while ago probably ’06 or ’07 I’m not sure. I might know it can be close that. But I think he got second overall.

This guy did it when he was 55 and he is the most fit55 real person I’ve ever met. Ripped as heck. Six pack, all over the place. The guy is ripped, healthy, trimmed, and his mind is sharp.

His out there whipping up all these other young guys and he’s mid-50s. That’s incredible. I truly believe that a large part of that is his fitness level and the fact that his body has all the nutrients that it needs to operate at the maximum level.

He’s doing things like calculating all of his macro nutrients down to the ground. I do that too. I would never go back any other way. I think that’s the only way to achieve what you want.

I’m going off on fitness tangent right now. So, come along. Here we go.

Let’s talk about more sport nutrition for a just a second or any type of nutrition that goes to fitness.

Going to the gym and lifting weights is very easy. Anyone can go to the gym and do that. I think that 90% of being fit is how you eat though because it’s much harder. You have to eat a certain amount of a certain type of food combination for things to work. If you don’t know what exactly what you need by calculating out those macronutrients, macronutrients are carbohydrates, proteins and fats.

If you don’t calculate that out down to the gram, you’re just guessing. I’ve said several times all over my websites, guessing as the same thing as hoping. What you’re doing is you’re hoping to get fit. You haven’t made a plan if you’re just going to the gym and you haven’t taken up the food side of it.

Mark Martin has that’s why he’s ripped and fit and healthy. He’s 55, he’s better on all kinds of people. If you’re not doing that, you need to. I feel completely strong about that.

If Mark Martin walked up to me and Tony Stewart walked up to me at the same time, instant credibility goes to Mark Martin because he’s extremely healthy and I know that he takes himself seriously which means to me he can take my brand seriously.

Does that make sense to you?

I’m really adamant about motorsport fitness. Again, howtobecomearacecardriver.com/fitness. Extremely important not only for motor sports but for general life.

I’ll tell you what, if you are not working on your personal brand like if you want to be a hobby driver forever, I guess it basically amounts to nothing, okay.

But if you want to become someone, and gets sponsors out of someone like me, what you need to do is maximize your leverage. When you approach me with a sponsorship application, go the extra mile. Put it in a PDF file. Go and add some pictures of yourself and add your fitness levels, what are you capable of? Go the extra mile, if you really stand out.

Last year, after some money and some vitals to a guy who was very inexperienced but his application was impressive, I was like, I want to help this guy. So, I gave him a little bit of money to go and I gave him the vinyls.

It’s the kind of thing. His application stood out more than anyone else. He presented his brand to me in such a great way. I can tell he was serious about wanting to get my help.

I got a lot of applications last year that I mean I had— it will be different this year but last year I had several boxes in lines, the whole application you had to fill out. Some people don’t want to put a few words for each one. Why? Obviously that looks like you’re not very serious about it.

Spend some time a on the application if you really want help. People can tell if you’re going to be serious and represent their brand or if you’re just there to get the money out of them.

It’s very easy to figure out which one is which.

And, I think that’s all I wanted to say about your personal brand. If you’re not doing it, I really think you really need to be considering that.

By the way if you have something else you want to add to this or you have some strategies that you’re using, it’s a push your personal brand to the next level or something that you’re doing that I’m not talking about which you think is viable, leave in the comments. There’s always a comments section at the bottom of each podcast episode.

This one again is howtobecomearacecardriver.com/podcast5.

I love to see what you’re doing if you have something that I’m not talking about. I think that’s going to wrap it up for me.

The next episode should be amazing. I’m having my first guest on the podcast. He’s a relatively new amateur racer. We’re going to be talking about sponsorship. This goes really well with my sponsorship program.

He has several sponsors. He is on point. His strategies have turned himself from the amateur racer to the pro racer. Amazing. I think he’s well on his way. He’s going to be on.

I’m not going to tell you who it is. I want you to come back and find that out next time.

So, that’s all I’ve got for this episode. Go and leave a comment. I want to know what’s going on in your personal branding strategies.

If you’re racing this weekend, good luck to you. I am not. I have a whole weekend off that hasn’t happened to me in weeks. If you are, good luck and I will talk to you again next week.

Have a great week everybody.

Speaker 1: Thanks for listening to howtobecomearacecardriver.com’s podcast. For more free information about improving driver technique, understanding vehicle dynamics and the winning motorsport lifestyle, visit howtobecomearacecardriver.com

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