Being an NCAA college athlete requires extreme dedication, motivation and passion – yet while these qualities may create success on the field, they don”t always translate to a typical nine-to-five corporate desk job.
This issue was brought to the attention of Frank Milner, president of in-home tutor franchise Tutor Doctor, and Lina Taylor, two-time Olympian athlete and former University of Idaho volleyball player.
Together, the two created Athlete2Entreprenuer, a program that will help graduating college athletes transition into the business world through entrepreneurship rather than being pushed into a static career sitting at a desk.
“I think when you”re a college athlete, you are really driven by a certain thing,” Milner said. “You are driven to achieve, you”re competitive and striving toward a goal, and there”s a tremendous amount of challenge associated with that.”
Milner said often when a former athlete enters the working world, they can lose their sense of drive for what they are doing, which ultimately affects their level passion.
“It winds up being a really difficult transition for many of them because it”s such a change of pace,” Milner said.
The life of a collegiate athlete is filled with a dynamic schedule constantly filled with early morning practices, classes, an afternoon workout, followed by classwork – only to be repeated day after day.
Taylor said athletes often struggle with transitioning from a block schedule for four years to typing at a computer from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Entrepreneurship, she said, is an easier way to start in the business world.
“Business ownership allows an athlete to continue that dynamic lifestyle,” Taylor said.
In addition to that, she said entrepreneurship allows the athletes to take their passion, drive and other qualities they”ve acquired throughout their athletic career and focus it on their own business.
Milner said qualities like having discipline, committing to goals, having a quick learning mentality and being goal-oriented are necessary to succeeding in the business world.
“In order to be successful in your own business, you need to be disciplined, work hard and put in a lot of hours,” Milner said. “It takes a high degree of dedication.”
Another aspect of college athletics that is missing from the business realm is the teamwork atmosphere, which is something Taylor is really focused on incorporating in to the Athlete2Entreprenuer program.
“The environment is hugely motivating – you are a part of the team and you have goals and are given a system on how to reach those goals,” Taylor said. “It really mimics the team atmosphere, just in a business sense.”
Taylor said the program emphasizes a flexible schedule for the athletes while still providing a support system to stand behind the athletes.
Taylor”s passion for this program stemmed from her own desire to help others.
“One of the things that really motivated me to jump on board is the aspect of helping other kids who are looking to improve their education, and making a difference in their life through education,” Taylor said.
Former athletes who participate in the Athlete2Entreprenuer program are given the opportunity to be trained in a way that will prepare them for owning their own business.
Individuals can begin the application process by simply showing an interest in the concept. Once they complete that, they are able to begin the interview process and complete various online training modules, eventually leading to completing personal training at the company”s corporate office.
Taylor said this lengthy, multi-step process is to ensure that the Athlete2Entreprenuer is the right decision for the athlete, and that they would enjoy the overall environment.
“It can really help athletes, and I think it can really impact them in their lives and through the next chapter of their lives,” Milner said. “We want to see them get really passionate about it. When you”re really passionate about something, it”s easy to get out of bed at six in the morning and get out there with excitement and optimism.”
Taylor said this program helps with one other issue that is rarely addressed and often underestimated in the college athletes after graduation – the void they feel when their athletic careers are over.
“They find it hard to relate to non-athletes,” Taylor said. “For anybody who”s thinking about starting their own business, I think this is a really good opportunity to see what being your own boss is like and what running a business is all about.”
While young graduates are eager to begin their business endeavors, the lack of funding often hinders their ability to truly pursue it.
To remedy this problem, Milner and Tutor Doctor have set aside $1 million in funds to help former college athletes begin their entrepreneurships.
“We want to create an excitement and passion, and we”ve definitely seen success in our college students,” Milner said. “We believe we”ll see even more success in athletes.”
Mihaela Karst can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org