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Money Smart Athlete Blog

Why athletes become great entrepreneurs

By Lazaros Ioannou, APC Sports Consulting Limited

There are many examples of professional athletes who made it into business after their retirement from sports. Payton Manning, David Beckham, John Elway, Magic Johnson and Venus Williams are just a few examples of the most notable elite athletes who made a successful transition from sports to entrepreneurship.

The entrepreneurial success of athletes is highly attributable to the traits and characteristics athletes cultivate throughout their athletic career.  These traits that are acquired by elite athletes, due to their everyday involvement with professional sports, are the following:

Self-Driven – Athletes are self-driven and often don’t need extra motivation to get things done. Athletes are constantly pushing themselves every day to workout, eat right and maintain their bodies, even when coaches aren’t around. There are days where it’s harder for athletes and business leaders to put in the work, but they always motivate themselves to get it done when it counts the most.

Goal Oriented– Athletes set personal and team goals all the time. Whether long term or short term, goals are what push athletes to achieve every day. Goals are crucial in the business world because they monitor what the company needs to do in order to continue running efficiently and effectively. Without goals, there really isn’t a way to measure progress.

Confidence– Confidence is at the top of the list for athletes because without confidence they simply won’t perform to the best of their ability. They have to believe in themselves on and off the playing field or they won’t take risks, make decisions and inevitably won’t get results. Having confidence as an entrepreneur works the exact same way.

Determined & Persistent– Athletes don’t give up. They keep pushing on despite setbacks, or detours. Having this mentality in the business world is so important because you will hear a ton of “No’s” before you hear one “Yes.” It takes persistence and an attitude that you’ll keep going until you get the answer you want.

Able To Handle Failure – The unfortunate part of life is that failure is inevitable. At some point in an athlete’s career, they’ll lose heartbreaking games or come up short in some sort of way. This will also happen in the business world, but it is all about how you brush it off and keep going. Athletes are known to handle and manage failure well, which is imperative in the entrepreneurial world.

Mental ToughnessMental toughness is the ability to psychologically endure pressure, while still performing at peak efficiency. This help athletes cope with their life as entrepreneurs and the possibility of 60+ hour work weeks.

Good Team Players – Being a team member within a company is very similar to being a team member in Sports. Having a strong and effective team is vital in having a successful business, and as the leader of the pack, you have to demonstrate those qualities and transform them to the other members of your team

The above are just some of the traits athletes possess through playing sports for years. There have been many athletes who have made the transition to the business world and have been very successful because of the skills they have acquired during their athletic career.

If you are an athlete thinking about making the leap into the business world, don’t hesitate. You already have what it takes to be a great business leader. If you need any advice in designing your life after sport you can get in touch with us at