We’ve read about many of our former successful high-earning athletes in a financial ruin. Some faced bankruptcy, while others watched their assets dwindle. Today, some of our superstars are smarter when it comes to money management and business deals. Oakland Raiders defensive end, LaMarr Woodley revealed how he cleverly used his name to grow his businesses and help the community. Below are five key strategies from Woodley from this year’s 18th annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit.
1. While you have name recognition make connections. “You have to take advantage while you are hot,” advice from one of Woodley’s mentors. “When you are hot, people want to talk to you and have a conversation with you. So that’s what I did. I was in the limelight and I took advantage of it,” said Woodley, at a panel discussion at the 18th annual Rainbow PUSH Wall Street Project Economic Summit on January, 14.
2. Start as early as possible. When he was a sophomore at the University of Michigan, Woodley teamed up with former college teammate and current St. Louis Rams defensive lineman, Clifton Ryan to develop Heroes For Kids, a yearly golf outing, as a way to give back to Saginaw, Michigan, where both were born and played sports when they were small. In five years, Woodley and Ryan raised over $300,000, the money was donated to Saginaw public schools.
3. Step outside your comfort zone. Even though he loves football, Woodley is also a “huge basketball fan.” Three years ago, he started his own AAU basketball team with a childhood friend who know plays for the Golden State Warriors.
4. Never take your success for granted. Woodley observed as an aspiring athlete that some superstar players from his hometown Saginaw, Michigan rarely returned back to encourage other young children. He decided early on that “I’m going to go back and spread the word.” He added, “it’s not going to be a secret with how to make it.”
5. Don’t forget to invest in non-profit programs. Woodley used his brand to start a foundation for underprivileged children. He also started a back-to-school event, called the First Impression. The event gives 300 children book bags and school supplies. Woodley’s organization also gives 150 boys haircuts and 150 girls manicures to prepare for the first day of school. ”I remember my first day of school,” said Woodley. “My [public relations team] they are the engine behind the whole thing,” he said. “I’m just the face of it with a few ideas,” as he cracked a smile.
What do you think about Woodley’s approach?