There are many inspiring examples of athletes from all around the world who have successfully made the transition from sport into business.
We’ve identified five athletes whose journeys from sport to business could encourage you to come up with your own idea and take the first steps towards entrepreneurship.
Read about their experiences and kick-start your own entrepreneurial journey by signing up to the Athlete365 Business Accelerator, where you’ll learn all you need to know about business.
Lydia Lassila: injury to enterprise
Lydia Lassila retired from sport as an Olympic freestyle skiing gold medallist, but there was a point where injury threatened to cut short her career before it had truly taken off. While battling with coming to terms with her setback, a light-bulb moment led Lydia to turn her injury into opportunity, going on to develop the BodyICE range of heat and ice packs specially designed for athletes.
Lydia’s story is a great example of how you can use the skills and experience you already have as an athlete off the field of play to get ahead in the business world. Read her story of how she sparked her inner entrepreneur.
One of the key rules of starting your own business is that it should be something you’re passionate about.
Lea Davison: sport and social issues
One of the key rules of starting your own business is that it should be something you’re passionate about. Mountain biker and two-time Olympian Lea Davison saw a lack of female representation in her sport and decided to do something about it, co-founding Little Bellas – a non-profit mentoring programme that helps young women and girls to realise their potential through cycling.
Lea acknowledges that there were plenty of obstacles and setbacks in getting the business up-and-running, but – by channelling the resilience and work ethic that had supported her sporting career – Little Bellas has gone on to become a sustainable and empowering national organisation. Hear from Lea herself and how she started her social business.
Mike Dawson: using business to fund your sporting dream
When Mike Dawson lost his funding in the lead up to Rio 2016, the New Zealand canoeist was forced to look elsewhere to support his Olympic ambitions. Combining his passion for food and his experience of travelling the world as an athlete, Mike released his own cookbook, ‘Eat Like The Locals’.
All good business plans are founded on one thing: solving a problem.
Jackie Edwards: identify a problem, find a solution
All good business plans are founded on one thing: solving a problem. That’s just what five-time Olympian Jackie Edwards did when a conversation with a pregnant friend gave her the idea for what is now a successful specialist sports clothing business.
With her friend complaining of swollen legs, Jackie used her knowledge of recovery to develop her own brand of maternity compression socks – Tootsies – having used compression socks throughout her own career. The now-retired Jackie took the jump into the world of business and hasn’t looked back since.
Steve Hooker: success is a case of trial and error
Australian pole vaulter Steve Hooker retired from sport with an Olympic gold medal, but it took him some time to find his feet again. Going through four different jobs in quick succession might seem like a failure to some, but transitioning away from sport is not always a smooth process.