Brandon Marshall: 'I Approach Business Like I Did My Time in the NFL' Brandon Marshall breaks House of Athlete, his company dedicated to improving the mental and physical health of athletes.
"Athletes are the healthiest people on the planet," says former NFL receiver Brandon Marshall. "People need to look to us and we need to lead this industry."
Since retiring from the NFL, Marshall founded the I Am Athlete media network and the House of Athlete fitness facilities. Today, he announced the digital expansion of his facilities with HOA+, a fitness app that brings the guidance and training athletes find at HOA gyms to their homes. (The monthly rates are $39.99 fo access to expert coaching and daily classes, $149.99 for live, one-on-one personal training sessions.)
Entrepreneur spoke with Marshall about the launch of his business and to get his advice for anyone starting their own entrepreneurial journey.
Please give us the elevator pitch for House of Athlete. How is it different from other fitness companies?
House of Athlete is a lifestyle wellness brand. We're on a mission to (re) define the term athlete by bringing access to philosophies and methods typically reserved only for the Tom Bradys or Serena Williams of the world. Our five pillars — Train, Fuel, Recover, Tribe and Mental Fitness — steer everything we do. That's why we're so excited to bring what our members love about HOA to more athletes across the globe through HOA+.
What was your lightbulb moment for launching HOA?
It's less a lightbulb moment, and more the journey. I spent 13 seasons in the NFL, surrounded by some of the healthiest people in the world. During that time, my experience of having everything integrated and personalized, from training to nutrition to mental health, is really what enabled me to perform at the highest level and achieve my goals. HOA and now HOA+ provide that same opportunity to the masses.
What is your "why"?
Mental Fitness. It is the cornerstone of everything we do at HOA. In fact, our entire company shuts down for a full week in October during Mental Illness Awareness Week so our team can simply reset. By prioritizing the mental health of my team, they can then be at their best to serve our athletes. We love that we can offer Mental Fitness classes as a part of our platform with HOA+.
What has been your biggest challenge and how did you pivot to overcome it?
In 2011 I made public my diagnosis of Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I spent three months at McLean Hospital in an outpatient program engaging in mental health treatment including dialectical behavior therapy, mentalization therapy and self-assessment. It was intense! But, truly amazing. I learned the skills and tools to cope and self-regulate. It's been an incredible journey ever since. Nowadays, I just feel blessed to be able to pave a path for other athletes to share their stories and help destigmatize mental illness.
What does the word "entrepreneur" mean to you?
To me, "entrepreneur" and "athlete" are rather synonymous. I try to keep things simple. It's all about culture, production and results.
What is something many aspiring business owners think they need that they really don't?
Formal business training. Entrepreneurship is much more about grit and vision than it is about anything else. You have to grind and show up for your team every day, most aren't willing to do what it takes to make it.
How would you describe your business leadership style? Does it differ at all from your NFL days?
It's all the same. While I am certainly a visionary and believe in big ideas, I also feel it is critical to be consistent and show up every day to do the work. I put the team first, I'm surrounded by like-minded teammates who are just as invested in our vision as myself. Business — much like sport— is hard and there are no shortcuts.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use as personal motivation?
"Don't tell me I can't, tell me how I can." Staying confident and motivated drives results. You'll see in HOA+ that our coaches are real and bring a level of authenticity that will inspire action.