You may know Kamerion Wimbley as the NFL star who played for the Cleveland Browns and Oakland Raiders. He's currently a defensive end for the Tennessee Titans (No. 95), but this professional football player is also a serial entrepreneur who owns several successful startups.
Wimbley, a Wichita, Kan., native, was drafted into the NFL right after college, but he knew that he needed something to fall back on in the future.
"Most athletes don't play professionally for long, so I needed to figure out how to generate income without having to do a typical 9-to-5 job," Wimbley told BusinessNewsDaily. "I decided to find something I was passionate about and start a business to build my asset column."
Wimbley bred and sold dogs as a student at Florida State University. Once he joined the NFL, he hired a financial adviser and an accountant, and launched a dog kennel and registry as his first official business venture. Shortly after that, he partnered with his cousin to open two barber shops in his hometown, and in July 2013, Wimbley and his aunt held a grand opening for their new restaurant, Wings & Things.
Thanks to the NFL Business Management and Entrepreneurial Program, a program sponsored by the NFL and five national business schools for players who want to pursue entrepreneurship after their football career, Wimbley was able to gain the valuable insights and business savoir-faire he needed to get these three startups off the ground.
"I attended the program at Stanford University and it was such a great resource," he said. "I met so many CEOs and founders and was able to pick the brains of those people as well as students on campus."
Based on his education and entrepreneurial experience, Wimbley offered these three tips for aspiring business owners:
Do your due diligence. Whenever people start a business, they tend to invest a lot of their emotions into it. They forget to put in the legwork and do the required research to see if it will be successful. Make sure you know what you're getting into before you start.
Hire a good team. The NFL takes up a lot of Wimbley's time and energy, so it was crucial for him to have a solid team of managers in place to run his businesses when he can't be there himself. Even if you'll be heavily involved in your company's day-to-day operations, you should still hire smart and only bring in people you trust.
Love what you do. Wimbley is truly passionate about each of the businesses he owns, and enjoys using them as a way to make an impact on his local community. Having a deep interest in whatever it is you're doing will help your business provide higher quality products or services and make it all the more successful.
"All of my businesses are in areas that are important to me," Wimbley said. "I like running them, so it doesn't feel like work."
Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.