Words of Wisdom From Jimmy Conrad
I had the pleasure of attending the MLS Players Union meeting as a team player rep this past offseason. On our last day there we were able to listen to a few guest speakers that help with career development and building your brand. As you see more and more, your brand and reputation go a long way in your career.
Jimmy Conrad, former MLS player who’s been part of World Cups and All Star games, is a great example of someone who’s branded themselves to help his transition after retirement spoke with us about his journey and what things he wishes he would have done to have helped his transition run more smoothly. He currently works as a entrepreneur, youtuber, brand partnership ambassador, e-sports correspondent, tv sports analysts amongst many other things. I’ve listed some of the important things that caught my attention that I feel will help for anyone moving forward
Say Yes to Everything
Whether it’s an appearance (paid or unpaid), volunteer charity drive, corporate sponsor luncheon say yes to everything. You never know who you might meet or who’s watching. It’s not like you are doing anything at home anyways, great opportunity to get your name out there not only as a team ambassador for the club but for yourself as well. When you put yourself out there and have fun and mingle, the next time that corporate sponsor throws that brand deal guess who they are more likely to call? Being able to be available as long as it’s not at the expense of your rest and career enables you to get out and find things your passionate about as well as meet different people in their own sectors of life.
Jimmy Conrad states that it was because he volunteered as a host at an ea sports party when someone else bailed that led him to being remembered for a big upcoming partnership for the Russia 2018 world cup. He could have backed out and been to cool or just said no but he made himself available and ultimately reaped the rewards down the road.
Take Advantage of your time
The average day of an athlete is from 7am- 1pm , and I’m being generous. Athletes have more than enough time in the day to pursue other passions if gone about it the right way. I’ll cut some slack for the athletes that have kids but even then, it’s not impossible to commit two-three extra hours a week for something you are passionate about. I know firsthand as an athlete you can do a lot with your extra time. Jimmy Conrad himself explains that you don’t have to make it seem like you have a second job but you can definitely give yourself an hour or two a week and build from there to explore other passions whatever it may be.
Have an LLC
Conrad explained the importance of having an LLC just for the simple fact that it helps you understand the world of business a bit better. Also for protection in whatever business you are conducting, if anything were to happen you are protected through your LLC. According to Conrad, he explained that having an LLC is a great way to build for yourself and understand the intricacies it takes to plan and create a profit or revenue stream. Especially for someone who doesn’t want to work for anyone else creating your own business is the perfect way to start. It could be something as simple as soccer training or public speaking, having an LLC is one way to start making it official.
Learn another Language
Jimmy Conrad was upset at the fact he didn’t take advantage of his time as a professional soccer player surrounded by a multitude of hispanic speaking players to learn Spanish, he claims his post career endeavors would have increased ten fold just for the simple fact he spoke another language.
Especially in Soccer, with the sport being a global game you are able to connect with a whole other demographic. You see it on a bigger scale with guys like Kobe Bryant and Cristiano Ronaldo, players that are able to speak multiple languages can be advertised in a different way and more oppurtunites will be presented.
Networking has become a cool word to throw around. Jimmy Conrad stresses the difference between networking and intentional networking. Find something you are passionate about and find a way to connect with people in that field. As a player on a sports franchise your team will have a multitude of corporate sponsors in different fields you may be passionate about. Whether it’s asking the administrator to sign you up for those particular appearances or you going out of your way to introduce yourself and the team banquet, it’s important to be intentional about your networking instead of doing it for the sake of it.
E-Sports is the future according to Conrad himself, who is a big E-sports correspondent on Youtube and other platforms. Everyone knows someone that plays video games and with the way VR and AI are developing it only makes sense. I did something with Twitch last year and was amazed how big that platform was. Next time you are playing Fifa online, livestream it and see how that goes. As Jimmy Conrad puts it, “who doesn’t want to get paid playing or talking about video games.”