Thursday, April 11, 2013

When It Rains, It Pours: A step by step guide on how to start winning things

You know that feeling of suspense after you enter a contest, when the winner’s just about to be revealed?  Sitting anxiously, hands a little jittery in suspense for the moment of truth….praying they pull those sweet syllables of your first and last name…
-_- And then some other guy wins. That's the pits.
You know what doesn’t suck? When you win stuff.
Recently, I’ve won a series of 3 contests. Pull up a chair, here's a few lessons from my chamber of secrets. 
Step 1: Have No HumilitySince developing a sincere devotion to entering contests, I’ve decided to leave my humility at the door. Take for instance, this CultureMap contest that my sister discovered me entering. Thanks for the mini-feed update to all of my friends, Facebook. 
Unfortunately I didn’t win the Paul McCartney tickets that day. But what an A for effort I made. It was this winning spirit that led me to victory many contests later.
Step 2: Enter As Many Obscure Contests As You CanSimple game of statistics here people. The more you enter, the more you can win. Since I really do love a good CultureMap contest, I gladly add comments to compete with my fellow Houstonians. Sometimes when I really don’t even understand the prize. 
Like when I won tickets to a pre-screening of the movie, Argo.
At the time I wasn’t actually sure what the movie was even about, but they had me at “free tickets”.  Figured it was some weird shoot-em-up war movie. But then it ended up being pretty sweet because Ben Affleck starred and directed it, and he’s a pretty big deal.  So by the associative property that makes me a pretty big deal for winning tix to see his show, right? Maybe? Ok.  
Step 3: Make Mental Notes For Competitive AdvantageOne fine day I got an email forwarded from the boss man about a holiday raffle for the office building.  There were a few cool prizes, but the big red flag was that you had to actually stop at the front desk on the first floor to enter. 
After sizing up my building mates in the elevator, it didn’t take me long to realize that a large majority of the tenants didn’t enjoy exercise as a past time. Most people would probably decide it wasn’t worth the effort or forget about it all together. Not I.
I made a mental note to stop at the desk the next day.  I strolled in and like clockwork my contest alarm signaled me to the raffle zone. Entered my name into a little basket with about 20 other mini slips of paper in it (not bad odds for a 22 floor building). A few days later I get a call from the building management, and that’s how I won a Keurig.
Step 4: When in Doubt, Phone a FriendSometimes you’ll stumble upon a contest and not exactly know what to submit as the best answer.  Like when I saw that Startup Houston posted a contest for 2 free tickets to the Crowdfund Texas conference in Austin. I read through the other contenders' answers and decided to consult my man about a good Crowdfunding project. He suggested the Hurricane Sandy Project.
But then I wrote the wrong hurricane name….YIKES!
Good thing I made a quick recovery for the win.
 Step 5: Reflect and Repeat (if you want)On my way home from the Crowdfund conference in Austin yesterday, my coworker and I were driving through a pretty torrential storm.
Despite being more or less scared for my life, I reflected on all the contests I had won recently.  A good winner is a grateful winner. Even if I don’t win any more contests, I’d say I had a pretty good run.  But I guess that’s how it goes, when it rains it really does pour. 
Best of luck to you and yours, "you're all winners in my heart" said every 1st grade teacher in America

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