If you are an aspiring sports agent, you constantly hear about how to break into the industry. While getting your foot in the door is the first step, what do you do after you accomplish that? There are plenty of challenges that will arise after you land your first gig and I believe this hypothetical will touch upon a few of them.
After months of cold-calling and introducing yourself to agents who act completely uninterested and emailing your resume out over and over again until your own spam filter tells you to stop, you land your first internship with a top sports agency. Of course, you’re thrilled beyond words and you feel like you’re on top of the world (as you should because breaking into the business is no easy task).
After you complete your unpaid summer internship, you receive an offer to become what amounts to a full-time unpaid intern. You are told that if you prove yourself over the next six months, you will be hired on as a full-time, paid staff person.
Similar to everybody else in the working world, you have to start at the bottom of the food chain. You have honed an incredible work ethic and undying passion for the sports representation business. You have always wanted to be a sports agent and you’re willing to do anything in your power to achieve that goal. While the offer to work full-time for free sounds almost inhumane, you shrug it off and find a second job as a bartender, which will boost your income just over the poverty line while you get your feet wet at the agency.
At the end of 6 months, you have performed well enough to be hired on as full-time paid employee. You treated everyday during your “probationary period” as if was going to be your last. Every morning you walked into the office, you felt like you had arrived for another interview. You put the pressure on yourself to perform and it paid dividends. Now you are eager to transition to your new position and actually get some respect around the office. Instead of being widely recognized for having the fastest 40 time to the coffee station, you now have the opportunity to get some sales and marketing experience. You are psyched and ready to get the ball rolling.
You begin your full-time position in the fall right before the football season starts. Perfect timing! You start off doing sponsorship calls to procure endorsement deals for clients and put some extra money in their pockets. The work is fun and you get an adrenaline rush every time you close the next deal. After nearly 3 years of working in the marketing division, the luster starts to wear off. You have learned just about everything there is to know about finding and securing sponsorship opportunities for athletes. While you enjoyed interacting with the athletes, going to parties and other functions, and just being in the game in general, the job has become monotonous and you are ready for a change. You believe that you have paid your dues and you don’t see why you can’t start training to become a sports agent.
The only problem is there is really no upward mobility. There are already enough established agents in the office and there isn’t any place for you. You aren’t sure if you want to leave, as you work for one of the top agencies. After all the hard work you have put in to establish yourself, you know if you leave, you will basically have to start all over again at another agency. You also thought about going out on your own, but you are reminded by the fact that for the last 3 years, you only made $30K a year and you have hardly any savings. The harsh reality sits in that starting your own agency isn’t a viable option. You have also thought about completely hanging it up.
You are in your mid-twenties and you want to start a family in the near future. Everybody keeps telling you that if you become an agent, you are always on the road and it’s very hard on the family life. At this point, you can stay put, go to another agency, or get out of the game.
What would you do…?
Please check out The Real Athlete Blog (Real Content for Real Athletes). It features a diverse group of qualified sports professionals who will share their insight on issues related to an athlete’s performance, everyday life, and post-athletic career. If you are interested in being an expert contributor, please send an email to Matt at [email protected].