Meet the compers: Rebecca Beesley
Welcome back to ‘Meet The Compers’! I’m chatting to Rebecca, who blogs at The Beesley Buzz, a great resource of family stories and advice. Rebecca’s youngest child suffers from Juvenile Arthritis, and through the blog she also shares her personal journey, raising awareness and funds for JAR (Juvenile Arthritis Research).
With us both being compers and bloggers, Rebecca and I have kept in touch often over the last six years – and Rebecca has kindly shared many of her comping successes via my own Winners Stories blog posts. This year she’s done something incredibly inspiring, and published a book all about her comping adventures! All profits from ‘Overcoming the Odds – How I won £50,000 of prizes in three years’) will go to JAR to fund research into Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
I read the book whilst in Sweden over summer, and was delighted when Rebecca asked me to write the foreword. The stories in ‘Overcoming the Odds’ are inspiring and entertaining – Rebecca has woven comping into her life seamlessly, making it an enjoyable and rewarding hobby for all the family. The book shows what’s possible with a little creativity and enthusiasm – and proves that a lack of skill or money should be no barrier to your comping adventures!
Thanks for joining me here on SuperLucky for a Q&A Rebecca! I’m hoping this will be the first in a series of interviews with blogging compers!
How and when did you start comping?
I’ve had an interest in competitions ever since I was a child – I remember seeing competitions on food packaging and upon reading the T&C’s would feel disappointed that I’d have to wait until I was 18 to enter. But I guess I REALLY got into comping in 2012 when my youngest child was born. I found I was spending a lot of time online preparing schoolwork for my boys who were homeschooled at the time, which would then lead me to finding various competitions. I was also spending time scrolling through Facebook during the nightfeeds with my baby and soon found plenty of competitions to enter there too! When I came across SuperLucky soon after that, I was hooked! Di and the comping community proved to be an incredible inspiration to me.
What’s your favourite prize, and why was it so special?
I think most compers would find this a tricky question to answer because I have different fave prizes for different reasons… for example, I love winning something I particularly need at the time. I recently won a gorgeous SMEG toaster and because I needed a new toaster, I see it as a really fabulous prize.
One of the competitions I’m most proud of winning was the ‘design a bottle of Black Tower’ competition. They made half-a-million bottles of Black Tower wine with my design on it and it felt totally surreal every time I saw it in the supermarket – There’s more about that story in my book!
And of course holiday wins are always awesome. We’ve had some brilliant holiday wins but the most fantastic to date has to be our trip to Dubai because it was all expenses paid including food and activities there.
Do you enjoy entering blogger competitions – and do you have a favourite post?
Some bloggers see their blog as a job or career and monetise their blogs in various ways (which is fantastic for them) but I’ve always seen my blog as more of a hobby as we will only do the occasional sponsored post. So when I win a blogger competition it feels really satisfying as it’s like my blog giving something back after all the hours I’ve devoted to it over the years.
The other reason I love competitions aimed at bloggers is that it seems to bring out the best in me creatively. I can spend days letting my mind mull over an idea or concept to weave into a blog post relating to a particular brand or topic and I love doing that. I try to come up with an original idea and then I go the extra mile in bringing the idea to life and that has helped me do well with blogger competitions over the years. In a world where blogging has become more and more about statistics and quantity over quality, winning a blog competition helps me know that actually there are times that quality wins over quantity where the blogpost is judged on it’s merit rather than the number of views or number of social media followers you have.
One of the winning blogposts that springs to mind as one of my favourites was the Petits Filous #MagicSquaresPlaydates. Even though it was several years ago, the reason I’m so proud of it is because of the little videos we included worked out so well with Daniel doing such a great job of making his balloon dog and Trinity was just a little superstar as she enjoyed eating the Petits Filous yogurt so much!
What made you decide to write ‘Overcoming the odds’?
Even at times when I’ve lost my comping mojo, I still love talking about comping and I especially love hearing other people’s winning stories. For example, I found that some of the posts I most enjoyed reading on Superlucky were the ones about winning stories and ‘meet the compers’. When I’m having a dry spell, I will often message one of my comping friends and ask them to tell me about their recent wins. I love sharing in their excitement and enjoyment.
So a couple of years ago, I had a thought… if I love hearing about other people’s comping habits and prize wins, perhaps others may enjoy hearing about mine. I would meet people who were amazed upon hearing of my hobby and they’d often ask about what I’ve won and how I win prizes. So the idea of writing it in a book began. But I sat on that idea and did nothing for a whole year. Then the following year I knew I had to make a start – even if it was just to keep for myself rather than publish it, I knew it was a project I wanted to do.
So the book very slowly started to take shape in snatched moments of time here and there. The final motivation to get it finished came whilst I was recovering from my hip replacement operation earlier this year. I needed the hip replacement despite being a (relatively) young age due to Juvenile arthritis damage to my hip when I was 10 years old. It was a horrendous experience to go through and I really really don’t want my daughter (who also has Juvenile Arthritis) to have to go through anything like it.
So with friends and family telling me that they would love to read a book about my comping experiences and me wanting to make a difference to children with JIA (juvenile idiopathic arthritis) I decided to finally get the book finished and out there with the proceeds going to Juvenile Arthritis Research. I ended up having to limit it to my first three years of comping as I would struggle to get it finished if I’d tried to include the many more amazing prizes and experiences since then. I have rough plans for a second book but who knows if I will ever find the time to write that! As a good friend of mine pointed out… some people jump out of planes for good causes, some will shave their heads, I’ve written a book instead!
What feedback have you had from people who’ve read the book?
It’s only recently been published but so far early feedback has been good. There’s one particular chapter in the book that was very difficult to write. But to give a full and honest picture of things, I knew it needed to be in there. Thankfully there has been a gradual shift in being able to talk more openly about mental health in recent years and I knew that if I kept quiet about the struggles that I would be adding to the stigma that can, even now, sometimes be attached to issues surrounding mental health.
At the end of the day even if it helps one person in some aspect of their life, then it’s been worth doing.
What advice do you have for parents who would like to encourage their kids to enter competitions?
Never ever force them to enter a competition. Try to keep it lighthearted and fun. In the early days we had some very stressed weekends trying to film entries for video competitions where the kids just weren’t in the best mood. Nowadays I will give them details of any relevant competitions and sometimes gentle reminders to enter but then I leave it up to them if they actually want to take part or not. Reminding them of any prizes they have won in the past or telling them of what the prize is in a competition that they may like to enter can be a good motivation too!
I don’t ever dwell on any they’ve entered but not won. Oh and I’ve also learnt to send in their entries even if I don’t think they’ve turned out that well. There was one comp that one of my children entered (I’m not going to say which child or which comp) but I didn’t think their entry was particularly strong but they went on to win.
What type of prize promotion do you personally enjoy most?
Definitely creative competitions by far! I’m having to be far more selective about what I do enter purely due to lack of time but if I can ringfence the time to put together a good entry for a creative comp then I’m at my happiest! Having said that, there are times when I’m too tired to put my thinking cap on for anything creative and instead I enjoy a good session of sitting at the computer going through random draw entries like those featured on the SuperLucky blog comp linky. I get satisfaction from knowing that my ‘name’s in the hat’ and so there is a chance of a win even at times when the odds are lower.
What do you think the future holds for comping?
What I would like to see are plenty of good quality promotions offering good quality prizes – it doesn’t matter the value of the prizes per se but I don’t particularly like winning promotional tat of low quality. I know with the amazing work you do, Di, that promoters are improving the fairness of their competitions. I’d also like to see winners announced properly as there are still a few too many (including big name brands) where it can be a struggle to find out who has won.
Oh and I’d love to see more ‘win a car’ competitions – there seemed to be so many more of them in the old days when I was a child (and too young to enter!) but they seem to be few and far between these days.
Finally, what would be your top comping tip or piece of advice?
To ‘have a go’ at entering even if you don’t think you stand a chance of winning because you never know!
Thanks so much Rebecca – there’s some super advice there! I wish you all the best with the book!
You can buy a copy of Overcoming the Odds on Amazon, or why not add to your Christmas list – it would make an amazing gift for a comper!