I get asked by a lot of first time political candidates what are the first things they should do once they decide to run for office. You’re probably wondering that too.
Here’s seven things you should definitely do even before you go public with your candidacy.
1. Get Your Spouse on Board
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: if your husband or wife is not completely in support of your candidacy, you should not be running for office.
Political campaigns are a tough venture. In the words of Lloyd Bentsen, “Politics is a full contact sport.”
It’s not impossible to win an election on your own. It’s just not easy.
If you’re married, you must have your spouse 100% behind you.
If that’s not the case, you really shouldn’t run. You’ll be miserable.
You’ll be fighting on the campaign trail and on the home front.
That’s a horrible situation to be in, and if your family is important to you (which I hope it is!) it’s best not to run for office if your spouse isn’t absolutely in support of the idea.
2. Hire a Professional Treasurer
The easiest way for candidates to get into trouble is with money.
And no I’m not talking about taking bribes and other illegal practices like that.
I’m talking about keeping track of legal donations you receive and properly reporting them as the law requires.
Political disclosure rules and regulations vary from state to state as well as from local jurisdiction to local jurisdiction.
On top of that, the laws and their supporting regulations are constantly being changed these days.
The best way to keep yourself out of hot water is by hiring a professional treasurer who knows the ins and outs of political campaign finance fundraising and reporting in your area.
For more information, I recommend reading this interview I did with Carla Bailey on this subject.
3. Open a Bank Account
You can’t raise money for your campaign if your campaign does not have a bank account.
And yes your campaign needs to have its own bank account.
You should not be co-mingling your campaign funds with money in your personal or business accounts.
You shouldn’t even be thinking about doing that.
Now if you hired a professional campaign treasurer, they’ll know what you need to do to open a campaign bank account.
Have them do it as one of the first tasks they do for you and your campaign.
4. Print Endorsement Cards
Now that you’re running, or at least seriously looking to run, for office, it’s time to gather early support.
That’s why you need to go get endorsements cards printed.
Print at least 100 (250 to 500 is better so you don’t have to make multiple orders) endorsement cards.
Your local printer should be able to design them for you.
They don’t need to be fancy. They simply need to be legible with enough room for people to fill them out.
Every person who says they support your candidacy should be given an endorsement card.
Once they’ve filled out the card you can put them on your official endorsement list.
But don’t put anyone on the list who doesn’t fill out a card.
Some people forget that they told you that you could use their name. Others change their mind.
With a signed endorsement card your credibility will remain intact should an opponent question any names you publicly listed as endorsing you.
5. Buy Your Website Domain
This is simple, but too many candidates forget or put this off.
You never want your opponent to own the website domain that goes with your name or your campaign.
That’s why you need to buy your campaign domain as early as possible.
If you don’t you could wind up in a situation where someone else owns the best domain for your campaign and is putting up derogatory information about you on it.
Figure out the best name for your campaign website by reading this article.
The hope on over to GoDaddy.com and purchase it.
6.Take Control of Your Schedule
Time is the most precious asset of any political candidate.
You cannot squander your time. You must squeeze the most out of it every day.
That means you must first cut out everything that is non-essential.
What’s non-essential? Anything not related to winning the upcoming election.
The three exceptions are going to work, getting sleep, and taking care of your health.
Everything else is non-essential, which reinforces why you need to have your spouse’s support to run.
Winning candidates spend every free minute of their waking day doing the tasks necessary to win.
That only happens if the schedule is tamed.
If you don’t take control of your schedule, you’re stacking the odds against you in your race.
7. Create a Morning Routine
As part of taking control of your schedule you should set aside time in the morning just for you.
I am a huge fan of having a morning routine and some of the most successful people in history have them.
My morning routine consists of prayer, Bible reading, meditation, affirmations, envisioning, and exercise.
Since I’ve instituted this routine, I am more focused as I launch my day.
As a candidate, part of your morning routine should also be reading the three relevant news sources that are explained in this article.
What routine works for you, I’m not sure, but I think you will find them very helpful, especially in the hectic environment of a political campaign.