When a professional athlete’s playing days are over, many do not realize that athlete’s career in another field is often just beginning. As part of VIKTRE’s dedication to drive interaction between athletes and their fans, our Career team made it a priority to show how successful many athletes have been since their playing days ended in a feature called “My Career Change.”
In this installment of “My Career Change,” we interviewed former NFL tight end, John Bronson. Most know Bronson from his collegiate days at Penn State University, and his professional days in the NFL with the Arizona Cardinals.
What sport did you play?
Penn State University
Arizona Cardinals (2005 – 2006)
What industry did you change careers to?
How did you get into your new career?
After football, I shadowed numerous of business professionals that had been successful and had insights on the things that I was interested in learning. In addition, I took the initiative to study and learn from some of the best business minds in the industry to help me identify what I was good at and what I wasn’t good at. I studied all of the basic business skills suitable for me as an entrepreneur like marketing, branding, operations, financials, team management, technology, systems and processes, so I was able to have a round about understanding of what I could do, what I was good at, what I needed help on and what I could delegate.
I spent additional time utilizing resources like Babson College (#1 Entrepreneurs School in the world) to learn from additional adjunct professors and successful business entrepreneurs.
Getting a college education is one thing, however for what was most important to me, what could fit my lifestyle and what I wanted to do, it was imparative that I went the extra mile in learning as much as I can about how I could be successful at something I created as a entrepreneur.
What was the biggest challenge you faced making your career change?
The biggest challenge I faced making my transition was the years of the unknown. It’s almost like starting over again when you hit the business world. I knew that I wanted to start a business or two of value and something I could create that could solve a problem. You spend a countless number of hours spinning wheels and throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks just to figure out how to make value out of an idea that you have, this process went on for a number of years. I had to understand that things would get worse before they got better and had to keep working through it everyday no matter the challenges that were faced.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far in your new career?
Our biggest accomplishments so far have been our ability to create a brand that is wanted by the business and sports community for business relations. We have been able to accomplish many of successful transactions through our network and have partnered with some big brands like Microsoft and AsterRide, which has helped us understand and see that we are on the right track to building a network that will be continuously beneficial for those businesses and business professionals that want to be apart of a community that creates value for its members.
We’ve been recognized by the Phoenix Business Journal as the #16 Top Networking Association, only in our second year to that point.
I’ve been fortunate in having a strong team that really believes in our vision and is brought in more than I could’ve imagined. Our team is the backbone of our business and quite frankly is what has helped us to accomplish what we have in so little time.
We have many more goals that we look to accomplish nationally and internationally as we continue to move forward in the coming years.
What advice do you have for athletes making their career change?
My first piece of advice for athletes making the transition is to get a head start as much as you can. For me, I knew I was a bubble player and understood certain circumstances really well during football. I took initiative to connect and meet with as many relevant business professionals during my playing days that could help me to have a smoother transition simply by getting a leg up on information in the business matter that interested me.
Next, once you find something that interests you, research it. Spend countless hours getting a knowledgeable understanding on what you may get into, to not only find out if you still like it but if it is the right fit for you. Sometimes, we hop into things because it’s the “cool” thing to do but not necessarily the right thing to do.
Do your homework, take an extra course and ask the next question, shadow someone who has already been successful at doing what your trying to do. All of these steps will limit your liability in making mistakes and having money fly out the window. The more you know the better the decisions you can make and the more you can control.
Don’t let someone tell you the sky is brown (and you believe it) when you know it’s blue.
Last believe in yourself and get a good support team. The belief that I had in myself to take this leap of faith is one that many people doubted. Belief in yourself is half the battle, if you count yourself out, nobody else will count you in either. Successful business professionals are very good at reading those who are sincere and passionate about what they do. Their ability to lend a hand may be the defining point that gets you to your next level.
A support team is like any other team in sport, they believe in you, they will tell you the truth and they also will challenge you on your ideas. I was blessed to have a great support in my household first steming from my late wife to those mentors who just wanted to lend a hand. It means the world to have people in your corner that believe in you.
How can you learn more about John and connect with him?
PACC Pro Network is a sports & business community who provides business resources for sports people and business professionals. Our mission is to provide an environment of prosperity and success through quality business relationships between certified business professionals, non-profits and professional athletes for networking, strategic partnerships, career and educational opportunities.
We do this by having the vision to build prosperity by cultivating community through sports and business.
To learn more about PACC Pro Network and/or become a member. Please visit:
www.PaccProNetwork.com or 1-877-341-0070.
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