5 Steps to transition from athlete to entrepreneur

There are many questions to ask when an athlete needs to make the move from the field to management. Given my unique characteristics as an athlete what am I best suited for? “How can I find professional fulfillment?”

After a successful stint with the University of Hawaii as a student-athlete (and a proud member of the 1999 national championship football team), the answer was easy: entrepreneurship.

These are the steps that helped me to transition seamlessly from athlete-entrepreneur.

1. Understand Your “Athlete DNA”

Your AthleteDNA is just like your DNA influences your biological makeup. It also controls what motivates you to succeed.

Your “AthleteDNA”, or DNA, includes traits such as competitiveness, desire to succeed, passion, perseverance, and other characteristics that make athletes excel off and on the field. You will feel frustrated and anxious if you can’t express these traits in your everyday life. If that is you, then entrepreneurship might be the right choice for you.

2. Your definition of success

Success has been a constant for athletes. Either you win the game and are successful, or you lose it and fail. But success on the field isn’t always so easy.

Success isn’t a one-size-fits all. It’s individual to each person and must be tailored to what you are looking for. Perhaps you want a better income or more time with your loved ones. Maybe it’s the freedom to work from a schedule.

However you define success, embrace it. You must own it. You should eat, drink, and live it. Then, while you work on your success plan, keep doing periodic gut checks to ensure that you’re still on track. As you get older, your definitions of success change.

3. Set goals to keep you accountable

Athletes do not shy away from challenging themselves. Entrepreneurs can do the same. In both cases, it is crucial to set achievable, measurable goals.

When a runner wishes to set new personal records, he/she sets miles and times goals. This is a great example for how to create a series small-scale goals to hold yourself accountable over time. The satisfaction you get from each one can be used to motivate yourself for the next.

4. Networking Professionally is an Important Thing

Who you place in your professional circle of peers is vital to your entrepreneurial success. The people in your circle are the ones you will learn the most from, much like an athlete who studies how the best athletes do it. The opportunities you get will be directly related to who you are. Be strategic, smart and open to trying new things.

There are many opportunities to grow your network. You can attend conferences, arrange meetings with people that inspire you, or take advantage of online communities such AthleteNetwork.com which can instantly connect people who share your passions and interests.

5. Entrepreneurship is an exciting game.

The day of the game is always near. A better understanding of your self, your potential success, the steps you need to make it happen, and who you will need to support you on the way to success will allow you to be ready to start the entrepreneurial journey.

Being an entrepreneur is risky. You’ll doubt yourself many times during the journey. Sometimes, you might even doubt your own abilities. It’s okay to doubt yourself from time to time. But keep at it. But don’t lose heart. Your business won’t look exactly like the business plan that you created. Failures are normal. Take them as a learning opportunity. You can never lose hope, no matter how difficult.

Remember that athletes don’t take any chances.

It is a challenging journey, but it can also bring great satisfaction. You’re equipped with the necessary tools to succeed, thanks to your natural drive.