The more I read about Australia, the clearer I realized that one month is far from enough to understand this country. In dinner time, Z and I had a serious evaluation on our budget: we have CNY 250,000, USD 36,587, allocated for this trip. Put the flight tickets and visa cost aside, for one year trip, we have USD 40 per day for food, lodging and commute. This is not very bad but if we want to stay a bit longer, especially to cover more distances, this is not even enough for renting a campervan. ( I did some research on hitchhiking but it turned out to be very time-consuming. It took someone 5 months to go from Adelaide to Darwin and back. )
Are there any way to get more funding?
Right after dinner, a friend called me up just for a chat. I told her about the plan and our very tight budget. She, being a successful business woman, immediately suggested that we should look for sponsorships. Z and I have had some discussion on this but we gave the thought up, afraid that accepting sponsorship will force us to do things we don’t like. (I get this impression from the great marathon book 50/50. )
But after our phone call, Z and I decided to give it a try? If we could raise another CNY 300,000, ie USD 43,950, we’ll have $160 per day for one year or $80 for two years. That is whole lot better.
Then I gave Nancy a call to listen to her suggestions. After understanding what I’m having in mind, she, being an experienced marketing person, suggested a plan like this:
0) Brainstorm a core theme for this trip. It should be something that’s relevant to my software and entrepreneur background that could make the whole plan credible. It should be deep and serious enough that could evoke thinking and discussion. It should also be interesting enough to the people the sponsors is willing to spend their marketing dollar on.
1) Write down the plan. Be it a powerpoint or a sheet of paper. Just something that we could send to others as a way to get leads. “Treat it as an elevator pitch. An executive summary.”
2) Find a couple of media as a platform to get the messages out. The bigger, the better. The goal of working with media is not to get the money, but to have a channel into the target audiences. The wider the coverage, the more lucrative it is to the potential sponsors.
3) Contact potential sponsors. The situation has to be a win-win for all three players: us, the media and the sponsor company.
4) Once the major deal is closed, we could talk to Camera manufactures, Outdoor gadget or equipment companies to figure out other relatively small items.
This sounds quite interesting. The worst case is that we might end up with no sponsorship at all. But through this process, we should have a clear and concrete idea of what we really want to see in this trip. Plus I could gain some first-hand experience in fund-raising. Doesn’t sound like a bad choice, right?
Tomorrow: call some media and marketing friends and figure out a time to get people together for a brainstorm session.
PS. A checklist Z and I worked out to address the money shortage issue:
- Increase incomes
- Find sponsorships.
- Take some freelance work from friends or websites like Rent-A-Coder
- Find local labor works like fruit picking.
- Work for the hostels we’ll stay at in exchange of free beds and food.
- Sell photograph or travel writings online.
- Cut costs
- Stay at people’s apartment or houses to save on lodging.
- Buy fish, vegetables in wet market outside urban area and cook our own meals.
- Stay in tents in rural areas.
- Hitchhike or share cars with others.