It’s been awhile since we here at Sports Agent Blog have written about what is needed to become an Agent, which was one of the reasons this blog was created. A lot of people who are looking to break in to the Sports Agent industry, let alone the sports industry in general, don’t understand that there is an entirely different path to that of many other sectors. So I have compiled a list of ten tips which may help to get you towards your goal. While every path is different, there are certainly some tips which will help you along the way.
1. You will not become an Agent straight away. Don’t expect things to happen overnight, the road to becoming an Agent is a long one. Even if you somehow manage to land a job at an Agency, you’re going to have to prove your worth to make the next step up.
2. Be prepared to work for little or no money for a while. Most Agents started out with an Internship at an Agency and went from there. Often, Internships are unpaid, so don’t think you should be paid for your work, because there are thousands who will gladly take your spot. If you do land a job at an Agency, most entry level positions, such as mail room or admin, will pay very little.
3. Social Media is your friend. Having tools such as LinkedIn and Twitter are an enormous help to network. Don’t know who to follow? Start with Me, Darren Heitner and SportsAgentBlog. There are so many people involved in the sports industry on Twitter who can provide a wealth of knowledge. A search of the terms #sbchat and #sportsbiz will help you find them. LinkedIn is another great resource, which can help you keep in touch with your contacts.
4. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is pretty self explanatory. If you want to know more, then ask people in the industry for their stories, pitfalls etc. Which brings me to the next point…
5. Always be learning. You can never know too much. Don’t think just because you have a Sports Management degree you can start managing clients. Read publications, journals, books etc. to keep ahead in the industry.
6. Attend Conferences. As I have previously stated, the sports industry is a unique one. Attending sports business conferences will enable you to learn and network with fellow people who are just as interested as you. There may even be companies in attendance and job opportunities provide.
7. Bring something unique to the table. You need to find something that separates you from others wanting to be an Agent. Drive will only get you so far. Maybe you know a few athletes who need representation, or maybe you have some ideas of how to generate new revenue streams for clients. Either way, think of something that will make them want you to be part of their team.
8. Be prepared to hear ‘No’ a lot. It took me 9 years to land an internship with an Athlete Agency. This was after working in Sponsorship at IMG and writing on this blog for 5 years. It isn’t easy. Be prepared to hear ‘No’ more than ‘Yes’. The main thing is to not give up on your dream.
9. Just because it’s not an Agency doesn’t mean it won’t help. When applying for a job or an internship, don’t just apply at Agencies, or you may be disappointed. Start at your local sports team or event company. Build up a diverse Resume so you can get closer to that internship. The skills you learn from working outside of an Agency may just benefit you when you are in one.
10. There’s no such thing as “It’s not my job.” To succeed in the business you need to live by this mantra. There will be times when you have to do things non-sports related, such as run errands. Be the person who performs these jobs and you’ll be noticed in the long run.
While this is just a small list to help steer people in the right direction, there are many points that are often overlooked. Good Luck.