In The Meantime, Hustle!
As a sports agency many times we get “approached by” or “referred to” talent that stands out above the rest and even though many times the talent is unarguably good, sometimes the time just isn’t right for us to sign them up.
Having to say “no” is hard, but watching them struggle with rejection without understanding why, is even harder. Many of them paralyze or get discouraged not knowing what to do. The days when talent gets discovered at a high school training field or at the park are not gone but they are highly overshadowed by the many other tools we now have at our finger tips. More is expected of us/you and that is a good thing!
If you have that special “spark” you will need an agency at some point, but in the meantime what should you do to get closer to your dream?
- Do What You Love! – As cliche as that sounds, by doing what you love, you inspire and awaken the hearts of others. Passion is contagious and when you are in 200%, people will notice and spread the word.
- Get In The Industry (however you can) – If tennis is your sport, volunteer at the local club to pick up balls. Life is serendipitous, you never know who will be there or what opportunity will arise to connect with someone who can change your life.
- Keep Learning – The moment you stop learning, you start moving backwards. You have to keep improving, because believe us when we tell you, there’s someone right behind you willing to work harder for your same dream.
- Know Your Pitch – Always be ready to clearly and concisely communicate with someone exactly what you’re about and what you are working hard to accomplish.
- Start Building It – Take the position of Leadership. It doesn’t matter how many times you’ve been rejected or just “were not asked to”. It’s time for you to assume your leadership power and position and when possible, guide others. Share your knowledge, build a personal brand, create a YouTube channel. Guide your actions so they inspire and motivate others. This will tell potential agencies how serious you are and your commitment to it.
- Put Yourself Out There (and prepare to be criticized) – Of course, getting good at something doesn’t help you if nobody knows about it. And that is where social media comes into play. You need to become a ‘creator’ and with that comes a decision; are you prepared to put yourself out there? If you want it, you have to be prepared for the criticism, the stress – and the possibility of complete ‘failure’ (or, feedback). Have you ever found yourself watching a YouTube video with millions of views of someone half as talented as you are? How did it make you feel? Were you thinking “that should’ve been me”? If you never share your gifts with the world, how do you expect them to recognize it? In fact, even those who harbor the delusions they’re good (when they’re really not) still have to be praised; at least they took action. In perhaps a more recent trend, countless athletes now have YouTube to thank for their college scholarships and even professional tryouts.
- Havard Rugland. This Norwegian soccer player became a YouTube hit after uploading his “Kickalicious” video featuring impressive trick shots. That video eventually found its way into NFL circles, and Rugland is now a member of the Detroit Lions.
- Alex Tanney. After going undrafted out of Division III Monmouth College, Tanney was a long shot to ever get a chance with an NFL team. But a YouTube video of the quarterback making some ridiculous trick shot throws got the attention of a few general managers, and helped him land tryouts with different organizations. Tanney is currently on the Dallas Cowboys’ roster, as a backup to Tony Romo.
- Wedley Estime. YouTube has become a critical tool for young athletes looking to get attention from college coaches and recruiters. There are countless cases similar to that of Wedley Estime, who wasn’t getting any attention prior to his senior season. A highlight video highlighting his skills got passed around recruiting circles, and the offers started flowing in. Estime eventually signed with Virginia Tech, one of the country’s premiere college football teams. Estime now plays under the name Dadi Nicolas. Though he had some run-ins with the law, he’s also had some on-field success. Nicolas was named Player of the Week by ESPN after recording a three-sack game against Pittsburgh during the 2013 season.
- Communicate Consistently With Your Audience – This one is about marketing yourself, YES, marketing…and that’s OK! Many misinterpret sharing their love for what they do with narcissism. Do what you do for yourself and if that offends someone else, that is their problem, not yours. Share your accomplishments (and failures). Social media is a communication tool that can strengthen the relationship between you and your audiences. Often frowned upon by many, social media provides that intrinsic value that agencies are looking for. How often do you post? How big is your network? The truth is that you will be that much more appealing if you already have a built-in audience. The key is consistency.
- Follow Your Gut – Being true to oneself and following our instincts is probably one of the hardest things to learn about oneself. In order to stand out, you have to promote yourself as an expert and as an interesting individual. Why interesting? Because it’s not good enough simply to be considered good at what you do; you also need to be memorable. You need to stick in the minds of potential agencies. For some people this seems to present a problem. “There’s simply nothing memorable about me,” they say. A common misperception about celebrities, whether in the entertainment industry, in business, or in sports, is that they are generally superior to the rest of the population. Many people perceive celebrities as not only talented, but also smart, good looking, ambitious, funny, and so on. The truth, in most cases, is that celebrities are just like the rest of the population, with some minor differences that make all the difference. The average NFL player is extremely good at football, but that’s probably the only thing separating him from the rest of the population. In order to stand out, doesn’t require transforming into a totally different person. It means getting extremely good at one thing.
- Find A Bigger Purpose (and embrace it) – The questions is “why”? Why do you want to do what you want to do? Why do you want to become a professional athlete or celebrity chef or musician? Once you can identify the true reason why you are chasing this dream, you can truly communicate that message and relate in a more intimate level with your audience.
- Brand Yourself – Who are you, and what are you good at? What gifts, skills, or knowledge set you apart from others? The answers to those questions will point you to the essence of your personal brand. The next ingredient is memorability. What will make you stick in the minds of your audience? To answer this question, step away from your qualifications for a second and think about your personality. What makes you unique? Your hobbies? Your sense of humor? Your passion for music, movies, or sports? Identify two or three personality traits that make you unique, and you’ve identified the “personal” part of your personal brand.
- Get Over Yourself – People are (or should be) busy chasing their own dreams, rather than looking at your every move. Stop caring about what people are going to think or say about you. Your dream is bigger than that. Do whatever it takes, however you can, to do what you love. You must want it more than anybody else, more than your agent, manager, parents or spouse. Have crystal-clear intentions and be bold enough to admit what you truly desire. Stake your claim on your piece of the pie and take it!