It feels as though there is more talk than ever by and among professional athletes about how they can prepare for their lives after sport. A leader in the space who comes to mind is Miami Dolphins Player Engagement Director Kaleb Thornhill, who has led pro athlete business combines to edudcate athletes about opportunities in a variety of industries.
Yet, there is still a lot of work that can be done to place players in a position of power outside of the game. It is about more than providing athletes with the ability to explore new outlets such as in the technology, real estate and finance sectors. Many need to be motivated and driven to repurpose their passion for something other than the sport that they have learned to put all of their efforts into from an early age.
Former football player Josh Hull is up to that challenge. Roughly two months ago, the former Penn State linebacker who was a journeyman for a few years in the National Football League, playing for the Rams, Redskins, Patriots and Jaguars, created a for-profit company called Contend Consulting. His mission is to help professional athletes become successful business owners.
Hull is the “face guy” of the operation and is joined by entrepreneur and co-founder David Dupree in trying to build this entity from scratch. Dupree also attended Penn State and has a plethora of consulting experience.
The two of them are bootstrapping the company and have indicated that it is not an expensive venture operationally. They have already begun working with one current NFL player, two retired NFL players and an Olympics rugby player. No names were disclosed when asked for specifics.
Hull says that he is tapping into his extensive database of connections that he has built up over time, but that his hardest challenge is turning an acquaintence into a paying customer. Thousands of emails have been sent and he has used LinkedIn around the clock to spread the word. The three NFL players that have signed up were all friends of Hull prior to the creation of Contend Consulting.
Hull has tapped into his own shortcomings to build a mission for the company.
“I spent 4 years in the NFL and my transition was pretty terrible,” says Hull. “It was the first time in life where I had no purpose, no passion. I was upset, confused and disoriented.”
Hull says that he did not know where his life would go after spending sixteen-to-twenty years working solely be a football player. He had an undergraduate degree in engineering, but he was not passionate about being an engineer.
Finally, after being retired from football for a while, Hull realized what he needed to do.
“Going to grad school filled a void of not having football anymore,” explains Hull. “Half way through an MBA program I realized that the skills from football directly correleated to being a business owner.”
Now, Hull and his co-founder want to impart their wisdom and experience on other athletes, and they are also hoping to make some money for themselves in the process.
There is an hourly fee option that ranges from $100-to-$199 per hour. This entails assisting athletes with developing strategic growth models, financial reviews and penetrating new markets.
He is cognizant that many athletes do not have the requisite resources or desire to spend money on hourly consulting. As such, Contend Consulting will sometimes, in unique situations (as stated by Hull), take a percentage of revenue off the top of companies that receive constulting services. There is also an option for Contend Consulting to take an equity stake or provide capital to minimize upfront cost.
Hull is not alone in attempting to capture this new opportunity of revenue creation for athletes seeking their next role after sport. But he thinks that he is unique as compared to the competition.
“There are a multitude of current and former athletes trying to tackle the same niche that we have,” says Hull. “The one advantage we have is my background as a professional athlete and holding an MBA accredation.”
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