By Vasilia Polycarpou, The Sports Financial Literacy Academy, Nicosia, Cyprus
Entrepreneurial careers seem to be relatively common amongst athletes seeking to safeguard their financial stability, especially after retirement from sport. For example, see https://medium.com/thrive-global/29-pro-athletes-who-became-entrepreneurs-and-how-they-are-still-winning-out-of-the-stadium-dfef5e06c9bf.
At first glance, entrepreneurship may seem like the ideal career alternative to sport, due to the wide prospects it has to offer. However, it is important to start creating a realistic image of what entrepreneurship is actually like, that better reflects the truth, to allow athletes to understand which roles fit them best: aligning with their dreams and goals. Before deciding to take the risk of starting something new on your own, there are certain advantages and disadvantages, which should be taken into consideration, in order to make an informed decision.
To begin with, you should know that, as an athlete, you have gained a great deal of experiences that are going to give you an edge in your future career endeavors. Starting your own business gives you full responsibility for anything happening within your company, constantly exposing you to new situations and environments, which are meant to teach you new skills, through experience. This will not only help you grow as a businessperson, but also as an individual, in a holistic manner.
The entrepreneurial lifestyle is commonly associated with personal freedom, since you are the decision-maker about everything. You can work your own schedule, make your own hours, and control your own income. You have the flexibility to choose the people with whom you conduct business, creating the work environment dynamic of your liking. Most importantly, this freedom and autonomy enhance your creative ability and allow you to bring purpose to what you do.
The positive aspects of the entrepreneurial lifestyle are undoubtedly significant; however, when choosing the entrepreneurial path, you have to be prepared to deal with the obstacles and difficulties it comes with, without being disheartened when things do not go as planned.
Being a business owner means there are no pre-determined work hours. Switching off can be extremely difficult, since you need to be monitoring and focusing on everything going on at work; making sure things are running as smoothly as possible. This comes with major personal sacrifices, since you may need to miss out on personal commitments to keep up with work obligations. Consequently, this can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation as well as exhaustion.
Moreover, being the primary decision-maker and having so many responsibilities at all times can be overwhelming and pressuring, since there is always a risk of failure. You should keep in mind that you are not only responsible for your own financial security, now that you do not have a regular paycheck, but also for that of your employees and dependants at home. Success is not guaranteed: therefore, you need to be prepared for the possibility of things deviating from your initial plan.
Before making the decision to take the road to entrepreneurship, it is important to weigh all these factors to ensure that this is the lifestyle to which you really want to commit. You can begin by writing down your goals and dreams, assessing whether they can be met if you decide to pursue a career in entrepreneurship. Discussing your thoughts with a mentor, professional advisor, as well as family members and trusted friends, can be really helpful, since they will listen to your concerns and offer valuable advice and support.
Always remember, if you prefer a life of stability with minimal risk, entrepreneurship may not be ideal for you.
However, if you are not afraid to take risks, can take on multiple responsibilities, handle uncertainty and pressure and want to keep growing professionally, leaving your mark in the business world, then the entrepreneurial lifestyle may be the right one for you to follow!
For further information and advice, log onto ‘www.moneysmartathlete.com’.