Saturday, March 8, 2014

You Never Know What The Answer Will Be, Until You Ask!

A few weeks ago it snowed in Portland Oregon.  While snow is not necessarily a rarity, it happens so infrequently that the city and towns are not prepared with plows and salt and the end result is that everyone pretty much just stays home until it melts.  (or they gather the courage to drive in it or borrow a neighbor’s 4X4.)

It was during this particular snowed-in scenario that I downloaded Andrew Odom's book, "Your Message Here", and DEVOURED it in just a couple of hours.  (partially because that’s what you do when you've been indoors for 4 days with 2 kids and are sick of watching TV and the house is already clean, and partially because it was the EXACT book I needed but hadn't yet formally started my search)
                                                           But I digress……..
The concept of getting sponsors for my project was something I was considering but I had not yet really wrapped my head around exactly HOW to go about doing it and WHAT I could offer my sponsors in exchange for their generosity.  Andrew’s book gave me the exact answers to those questions and he did so in such a succinct and easy-to-comprehend manner I put his suggestions to work within hours of finishing the last page!

So far, I already have 5 companies who have agreed to donate the exact materials I requested, in exchange for only a Thank You and link to their website on facebook. ( Really? Yep.  I can do that!)  I also have 2 national level sponsors who are positively enthusiastic about my supporting my project, and are currently pushing my sponsorship request through the authorization channels.   (Incidentally, none of them have heard of, or even seen, a Tiny House.) 

So, how did I do it?
In a nutshell, I used the suggestions in Andrew’s book and put my own little Let’s-Get-This-Done spin on it:

Step 1 – Had my 17 year old computer whiz kid son create my project (aka My Empty Nest) logo in Photoshop.  Ordered business cards immediately with said logo on them.

Step 2- Brainstormed a list of potential sponsors that would align with the materials I needed. Researched said sponsors to determine their marketing strategy and if their corporate goals and values aligned with My Empty Nest’s goals and values.  (Sustainability, minimalism, social responsibility, use of reclaimed materials, and a creative approach to solving problems)

Step 3 – Wrote up a template for a sponsorship request email and developed My Empty Nest’s sponsorship “outline” which clearly and easily defining what my sponsors would receive in exchange.  (Thank you, again, Andrew for making this soooo easy!!) Also, I developed a Tiny House Overview sheet with web links to ease with their research and build excitement for the Tiny House movement in general.

Steps 1 thru 3 took just a few hours!
Step 4 – Started making phone calls to sponsors, asking who their marketing manager was and their email address .  Started sending emails and logging the information I had gathered into an Excel spreadsheet so I knew who was who, and when and how I had contacted them. 

Step 5 – Followed up via phone call if I did not hear back from them within 7 days.

Step 6 – Noted their response on my spreadsheet and immediately sent out thank you cards to anyone I had talked to, thanking them for their time, regardless of their response.

That’s it!   Six Easy Steps to Make Andrew’s Book Work for You!
I have to admit.  I am amazed at the generosity, enthusiasm, and overall support I have received from everyone I have talked to.  Even if they could not sponsor me, for whatever reason (Did you know there is a shortage of reclaimed barn wood in the Northwest right now?) they were encouraging and gave me great advice.  I did reach out to a few people with whom I already had a relationship with but most of them were just cold calls / emails and I have been, so far, impressed with the professionalism with which they have responded.

Thank You, Andrew, for writing such a useful book. 
Thank You for your dedication to the Tiny House movement.

Thank You for your tireless tenacity on behalf of all of those who come after you.
Finally, Thank You for teaching me that “You’ll never know what the answer will be, until you ASK!” 


  1. GET OUT!!!! You are such a mover and a shaker.....I gotta hang with you more!!

  2. Well snow must start your brain waves because look at what you got done.Way to go girl!I am also an empty nester..

    1. It looks like the transition into My Empty Nest will be a bit of a challenge, but I'm optimistic that it'll be awesome in the end!

  3. Hi Michelle, Darren here, the guy behind "Tiny Houses Australia" over on Facebook.

    I would love to connect with you. Are you on Facebook ? if you are, I would love to hear from you and perhaps arrange a time to have a chat.

    If you are open to connecting, feel free to send me a message over at or via email at

    I look forward to hopefully hearing from you.

    Kindest Regards
    Darren Hughes
    Melbourne, Australia