This column is part of a series formed from a partnership between Entrepreneur and NFL Players Inc. Click here to see the other columns.
I believe anyone can accomplish great things. Regardless of who you are or where you’re from, if you have an idea, you can make it happen. This approach to life has helped me to achieve goals and accomplishments far beyond the NFL, including starting my own business while still playing football. I used my power approach, not the same power I might have used on the field, but a simple five-step mantra to help anyone start a business.
I knew it was important to transition to self-employment before my career in the NFL ended. I started my venture as an entrepreneur while playing for the Chicago Bears. The number one key to that transition is having a strong, flexible plan. Launching a new endeavor while still employed full time allows you to take your time and test the waters to gauge its potential for success. And most importantly adjust for the next play.
Related: Can You Afford to Quit Your Day Job?
Being original and innovative is a key aspect of anything I do. I combined in a unique way two worlds that I enjoy immensely, sports and comics. Athlitacomics’ mission is to inspire, unite and entertain the world with dazzling art and stories. When figuring out where to start, the first place to look is at your passions and what problems might need solving in that platform. Be willing to reverse assumptions, study your industry’s history or look outside what you know.
Turning ideas into reality takes serious work! My spare time was spent working on bringing my business plan to life and persisting even when I was turned down. There was a lot of sacrifices involved to get to where I am today. An abundance of great ideas are out there, but it’s the action that is often lacking. You need to be willing to put in the work and face criticism.
At one point with my Sports Heroes property, I had to shift gears to get to the real opportunity. Be prepared to change course, tweak or transform as needed to position your idea for the best possible launch. Keep in mind that many of the most successful companies exist in a form that is completely different from how they were first imagined.
Put together the best possible team and/or gather the needed essentials before you start operating. Create a list of what you’ll need and its associated cost. Some requirements on my list included branding, an online presence and communications. No matter the size of your business, you’ll need a few essentials to get up and running and to demonstrate professionalism to your target audience.
You don’t need to quit your day job right now to start your own business. You just need the right plan, some original thinking, the willingness to do it, the ability to evolve and the right resources. That is the power behind my business.