The Winning Attitude to Sweepstakes - Part 1
by Craig McDaniel, President of Sweepstakes Today LLC
The first part of my story is about how I got started in the hobby of entering contests and sweepstakes. I take you through my early years as a kid where winning things was more compared to finding pirate’s treasure to over 50 years later. The one thing I will share upfront is a winning attitude never ends because you grow older. This is where my story begins.
I have won likely over $100,000 but I keep a dollar less so when I get my next big win, then there will be no question about the amount. After this I get into my thoughts why I have won and about my philosophies in winning. This one dollar to me, represents the time, energy and hard work it has taken. But on the flip side I can say if I didn’t put the time and effort in, then I wouldn’t have won. There are a several parities I talk about
You may or may not agree with my opinions and I fully understand. I try to focus on equally from what I learned from entering the sweeps myself and many others who taken up “sweeping” as a hobby and their thoughts. However, there are several traits I have found that is in all winners. This is my description.
Going back 30 plus years prior to this when I was a kid, I looked for pop bottle caps with prizes imprinted under the plastic liners. Back in the mid 1960's glass pop bottles could be sold back to the stores for cash. Being 8 years old or so, this was my first job. Then we found that you could nearly make more money from winning prizes from the caps. I was too young and maybe too naïve about thinking looking for bottle caps and prize hunting could be a hobby. As a kid, it was fun to win. My attitude was totally thinking I was going to win. I was too young and dumb to know the difference. In looking back in my early years, we grew up in a time where it was ok to be competitive in sports while in Elementary and Junior High School. Today, there is still competition but it is not sports like baseball or softball or basketball. It has changed to electronic and computer games.
As I got into my teen years and I really forgot about the pop bottle caps wins. I did play poker when I was going to college part time and working full time. I still was as competitive as ever and playing the lunch time poker games turned into something bigger. I started to playing with the big boys a couple of times in the backroom of the local pool hall. When I say big boys, one gentleman, Mr. Bobby Baldwin, turned out to be a world champion in poker. I held my own and won money. I quit playing poker not because it was fun to win cash but I never thought about playing the game for a living. While I was still working at a plant, I won in a drawing a trip to the Indy 500 in 1976. This was a bus trip with 40 other employees, 40 cases of beer and booze. I honestly don't remember the trip final 500 miles of the 650-mile trip to Indy. I do remember Johnny Rutherford winning the race after it was rained out. To say the least, this was worth the memories to this day.
|Johnny Rutherford 1976 Winning Indy Car
When I reach 30, I had to have back surgery. Learning to compete with pain was a whole new form of competition I hope no one has to deal with. In one sense you cannot beat physical battle of pain. However, you can win the war with the right attitude. for rehab I walked every day. the more I walked the better I felt. I made walking a competition mainly to stay positive and I wasn't going to let this back rehab beat me. At the same time, there was several call-in sports trivia television shows each week. One was on the local cable channel and the show was call Sports Scene. Well sports trivia was something I was, to put it mildly, I was better than good, to the point that Sports Scene had to change the rules three times in about 5 months because I was winning so much. I also won on a national TV sport trivia show but it was difficult to call in being nationwide.
In August 1991, I did something I wasn’t sure I could do. That was to quit smoking. Not just quitting, but it was the full cold turkey method and I had not smoked a cigarette since. Considering the number of years, quitting smoking might be one of my greatest wins. People ask me how I did it; the answer is simple. It begins with believing you can. I am currently working on a video and another blog about quitting smoking.
As if fate had a clock, I had my second back surgery 10 years later. I had taken to be a real gym rat and pumping iron. Well I got competitive in this as well. I use to workout with world champion fighter, Mikey Burnett and former New York Jet, Jimbo Elrod with many others. I wasn’t a professional athlete but I did earn respect for being competitive and trying to improve myself. Then on New Year’s Eve, one too many reps in a back muscle workout did me in. Ouch again. I knew the drill after surgery and started rehab really before surgery to help what was to come afterwards. At the time, I did play golf and weight lift but had to give that up. I did have a IBM floppy drive computer and a very slow call up internet connection.
After finding the first sweepstakes banner I started to search for more sweeps online. There was one website back in 1996 and 1997 and I started to enter a lot. This was my new hobby even after going back to work. Actually I wasn't even thinking about entering sweepstakes and was looking at other websites at the time. I saw an online banner about a sweepstakes to enter and that was beginning of my online hobby.
Winning didn't happen quick and honestly, doubts started to creep in. Maybe I was too dumb to quit but I still kept on entering the sweeps. Then the prizes started to come in. Most were smaller prizes in value but over time, they got bigger. I won a signed poster by U2, a Sony digital camera and then a beautiful Movado ladies watch that went to mom for Christmas.
Toward the end of 1999, I won my first sweepstakes that required an affidavit (commonly referred to as an Affy) prize. This was for a Hyundai Santa Fe SUV from Cars.com and Hyundai. Did I believe it? No but I remembered entering this sweepstakes. I got the affidavit and rules page mailed to me and mailed all the documents and notarized. I got a call back from the sweepstakes administrator, Promotions.com telling me I was the official winner. Receiving the SUV was a problem however. There was a workers strike in Korea where the SUV was being made. The strike started before the first SUV was off the assembly line. It took 9 months then the local dealer wanted the Santa Fe so Hyundai ended up giving me a check for over $22,000. The wait was a downer but was forgotten after a check was sent. I mention this because some people give up this hobby for this minor setback. I didn't.
|(The above picture was taken by the Tulsa World Newspaper showing the Hyundai check, the Sony Camera and 61 inch RCA TV I had won.)
My first rule about having a winning attitude: If you enter, expect to win even if the odds are enormously against you. Picture yourself winning the prize you have entered for. What would it mean to own that prize? How would that prize help you and your family? Do these two questions arouse your imagination? That is the point of expecting to win and to see this wish can come true.
In 2004 when I started Sweepstakestoday.com online, it was a struggle to build because I didn’t just want a good website, I wanted a great website. I personal had years of experience of entering sweeps since 1996. However, I was unhappy with existing sweepstakes websites. It wasn’t that the other websites were all bad, all missed some features that was missing or the quality that meet my standards. This is when I heard from many their attitude about taking the time to enter sweepstakes was different from mine own.