Every kid who plays football dreams of making it to the NFL, earning millions of dollars, winning Super Bowls and becoming a household name that other kids want to grow up to be like.
What is more likely to happen is you just don’t make it.
However, if you are one of the lucky ones who not only makes it but is successful, you have to be able to have a life after football as well.
Kelvin Beachum is entering his 11th season in the NFL. He invests in his community, evidenced by his selection as his teams’ Walter Payton Man of the Year in 2018 and 2021 for his efforts in fighting hunger, pushing for equity in business and education, and creating opportunities for underprivileged youth. But he has also been preparing for life after football with his business ventures and investments.
We talked to him about what it was that drew him to become an entrepreneur and how the NFL helped shape him for entrepreneurship.
What prompted your move to become an entrepreneur?
I think the biggest thing was being able to control my own destiny. I feel when you have the entrepreneur mindset, you are able to utilize every resource at your disposal to put yourself in a position where you can control your own time — your own destiny, follow your passions, and create multiple streams of revenue.
What is the first step you would recommend someone take to become an entrepreneur?
The number one thing is that you have to be able to follow your passion. Without having the drive to pursue something you love, there is no way you will be able to wake up every day and be an entrepreneur. You have to be savvy and for me, it involves creating multiple streams of revenue. To be an entrepreneur, you have to love the grind, the process, the day-to-day and everything that comes with managing all aspects of your business and the, potentially multiple, industries.
How do you stay on top of industry trends?
With football season on the horizon, the most efficient way for me to stay on top of trends is through email newsletter subscriptions — whether it’s Front Office Sports or Pitchbook or Strictly VC or newsletters around data infrastructure that several firms put out. I spend time on LinkedIn and reading through email newsletters to get my day started.
What was your biggest failure and how did you learn and grow from it?
It’s hard to say failure because I don’t equate failure to aspects of my life. I think there are huge learning experiences and those learning experiences have taught me to be more disciplined in the way I approach investing, spending time with people, and devoting myself to collaborations with partners or brands. Instead of framing things as failures, I focus my mindset on how and what decisions, experiences, or outcomes have taught me.
How has your NFL career helped prepare you for your business endeavors?
I think the NFL has really just taught me how to persevere. It’s a team game — a team sport — and you have to learn how to deal with people the same way you learn to deal with people in an office/business setting. If you are willing to persevere, put the work in and treat people the right way, those things will carry over into the business world. I think much like any system across the globe, the NFL is its own system — its own ecosystem. If you can manage this ecosystem and manage your own emotions, then you can manage and maneuver within any other across the globe whether it’s business, tech, art, etc.
Thank you to Kelvin for his time and for sharing his knowledge with us.