There’s an idea that famous people are rich, that idea is misleading. Famous people are not rich; most are actually far from it. The downfall of SA soccer players is the lack of realization that playing football is a limited career, fifteen years at most.
The limited time is there for the player to build a brand, a personal brand, which can be used way after the playing career. Jimmy Tau is a great example of that concept.
A Solopreneur is an Independent Professional (IP). An IP is someone who works for him- or herself in a professional capacity, even though in this case a soccer player will have a boss, an IP doesn’t have a boss. The Solopreneur is used to distinguish them from entrepreneurs. An entrepreneur builds a company, with its own brand that could, presumably, exist even if the entrepreneur left the company (sold it, died, etc.). By contrast, an IP builds a personal brand, tied to the individual IP.
It is therefore very important to make sure those players treat themselves like a brand, with dignity, respect, and vision. A Soloprenuer can be trapped into thinking small and not beyond their boundaries. One of the reasons professional soccer players die poor in South Africa, it’s not only because of the lack of business education, but because of the lack of understanding of who and what they truly are in the business space.
3 Best Practices from Successful Solopreneurs (Independent Professional)
1. Create Notoriety
Start building a brand away from the football club. Start publishing, speaking and networking with business people outside your profession or with former successful football players.
2. Become a Subject Matter Expert
Learn or teach more about football while you still playing. Research and understand the different tactical formations and share it all the time. A soccer player should have a huge amount of Intellectual Capital, get away from the stigma that South African soccer players are not educated.
3. Eliminate Non-Value added activities
Soccer players are associated with partying, fast cars and women, which becomes their downfall. They must do independent Corporate Social Investment (CSI) work for disadvantaged communities. Make a mark and build a caring brand.
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