By Athena Constantinou, Managing Director, APC Sports Consulting, Nicosia, Cyprus
Generally speaking, an athlete’s sporting career is a short one – if not cut short by injury - and the question, therefore, arises of what to do afterwards.
One post sports career option is entrepreneurship which is chosen by a number of retired athletes.
Entrepreneurship is seen by many of them as an exciting challenge with lucrative wealth-generating prospects; and so it is. But, to succeed, you must be someone who is a risk taker; likes to create things; loves to work; and does not mind being constantly out of their comfort zones.
The interesting truth is that the qualities athletes develop throughout their athletic careers are similar to those required when setting up a new business venture.
In addition, athletes usually have the added advantage of a large network or following, which may very well serve as a ready-made target market for their prospective business venture.
But, the decision to pursue entrepreneurship should not be taken lightly.
Entrepreneurship is not at all ‘a bed of roses’. Yes, it does offer flexibility, excitement, prospects of earning big, but, at the same time, it is risky, requiring many skills, discipline, courage, patience and persistence.
When planning any entrepreneurial endeavours, one should be prepared to go through periods of struggle which, hopefully, will not last longer than the start-up phase.
During their sporting careers, athletes acquire a number of transferable skills, which can be applied in other areas of life and to other non-sporting activities. Such transferable skills include:
- organisational skills;
- dedication and perseverance;
- patience; self-motivation; and
- abilities associated with performing under pressure, meeting challenges/deadlines and setting and achieving goals.
In order to make a successful transition into entrepreneurship, an athlete needs to utilise these transferable skills; develop personal resilience; obtain formal education; create a professional network, which will help to find opportunities; and experiment with new roles within the business.
As a sports employee for most of your life you have gained a great deal of experience that will prove to be a huge asset to any company and can also give you a competitive business edge in your future endeavours.
If you are able to take risks; you love to work; you want to keep growing; you are ambitious; and you can handle uncomfortable situations, then you should follow the entrepreneurial path.
Successful entrepreneurs have certain skills and personality traits in common. Some of the typical qualities of the successful entrepreneur are:
- They have a vivid imagination and are creative;
- They are big-picture thinkers;
- They are self-starters and self-motivated;
- They are risk takers and their risk tolerance is above the average;
- They have self-awareness and understand their own strengths and weaknesses;
- They are goal-oriented and competitive in a business sense.
In addition, entrepreneurs have the ability to supplement areas where they are lacking in certain skills by hiring people who are exceptional in those areas; or finding other ways to complement and enhance their relevant skills.
Athletes should, however, realise that not everyone is cut out to be his or her own boss, but if they find themselves longing to be in control of their lives - and if most of the above traits can be used to describe them - then they have what it takes to take the risk and go into entrepreneurship - and make a success of it!
At APC Sports Consulting, we have tried and tested programmes to help former athletes to achieve these goals and become successful entrepreneurs.
See further at ‘www.moneysmartathlete.com’.