06 Apr Brand Power Analysis: Amobi Okugo MLS Professional Athlete & Entrepreneur
Zachary Colman (00:06):
Welcome to another episode of brand power analysis. I like to welcome.
Amobi Okugo (00:11):
Yeah, thank you for having me. It’s been a pleasure to finally connect and I’m looking forward to our conversation.
Zachary Colman (00:18):
Yeah. And today we’re going to be doing something a little bit different. We’re going to be having a joint podcast, between the both of us. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about your podcast?
Amobi Okugo (00:28):
Yeah, so a frugal athlete podcast network is essentially a podcast where we talk about, you know, the financial playbooks of athletes, but not only athletes, the stakeholders that help athletes, make, manage and multiply their money, you know, off the court and off the field. So I’m excited to do this joint podcast with you, someone that has a lot of experience, you know, helping athletes, you know, create their, brand profiles and expand on what they do off the field.
Zachary Colman (00:53):
Beautiful. Beautiful. So why don’t you tell everyone a little bit about yourself just to get started and kind of what you’re doing now and a little bit about your journey?
Amobi Okugo (01:04):
Yeah, so a mobi, Kubo first-generation Nigerian American, been playing soccer for the past 11 years. I went to UCLA, um, went pro after, my freshman year. And I’ve been playing pro, um, since bounced around Philadelphia, Orlando, Kansas city, Portland, and then now, currently in Austin. Um, but outside of that, I run a frugal athlete and essentially it’s an online financial media platform that promotes prudent financial practices and smart Cura decisions amongst professional athletes and student athletes. So our goal is to help athletes make, manage, and multiply money through financial education and athlete empowerment, and hopefully by doing so, because athletes are natural trendsetters, we’ll get others to follow suit when it comes to, you know, following prudent financial practices. So, um, that kind of takes the most of my time when I’m not on the field. Um, but it’s been giving me the lecture to connect with so many different people and learn a lot as a, as I’m trying to build this thing.
Zachary Colman (01:58):
Yeah, no, definitely. and we’ll, we’ll get into that a little bit more, throughout the episode, because like, because it’s, it’s one of the things that I look at with sports is just so connected. It’s, you’re so connected and that’s why I love it. It’s, it’s the best thing about, um, being in this industry is, and also what makes it so difficult because I have so many verticals I’m like, who do I talk to with this voice and that voice there, but first off, let’s talk about, let’s talk about a little bit about, your position. What position do you play?
Amobi Okugo (02:30):
No, I say yes, I play center [inaudible] center back. So, um, yeah, I started out as a center made, is basically like the quarterback of the point guard. You try to transition defense to offense, offense, the defense, and then sometimes I play center back. So center backs, you get blamed for all the goals, but you’re trying to stop them as well. usually stopper.
Zachary Colman (02:49):
That’s funny. Cause that was my, that was my position too. Well, I mean, I never went pro, but you know, I played, I played all the way through high school and I played through college and I got older here. I still play it. I was before the, everything happened last year, but I played, you know, on some rec teams and, and, but stopper was always my thing. I hated sweeper. Cause I, you probably have the same thing I do is you just there’s this thing with it. And even though it’s a team sport, whenever that goal goes through, you always blame yourself. You’re always like, Oh, I gotta stop that man. And in the last line of defense, you always get blamed, but yeah, yeah, yeah. It’s never, Oh, they didn’t score any goals, your offensive scoring and goals, but now yeah. So, so how do you, how do you handle that kind of pressure? Like what do you kind of do to kind of help keep yourself, you know, from, um, you know, feeling that anxiety,
Amobi Okugo (03:43):
Because as a defender you can play 90 minutes, you know, 89 minutes, like perfect game. And then like that one minute, um, they score going, you know, you get blamed. So from, for me, from the mindset, my mindset is just like always next play, always, you know, try to improve on what you can do better. Um, have a, short memory and just give it your all, you know, as a defender, you’re the last line of defense. So, you know, as proactive as you can be, whether it’s communicating to your teammates, whether it’s always staying alert, um, to give you the best chance to succeed, you know, in the game, but at the end of the day, you’re not going to be able to stop every goal. but you’re going to try to make it as difficult as possible for the opposing team.
Zachary Colman (04:22):
Yeah. We always played the diamond formation. So we always had the, you know, I always had the left and the right, and then we had the sweeper in the back. So I didn’t feel as bad when, you know, it would go through because it was cheaper. I was like, then you’re the last line. It depends not me, but, but, I tended to have to play back and forth a lot between that because I’m huge into the training side. And so it was funny as I got older in your you’re probably like it, you know, now man, it’s when you’re out there, it’s 90 minutes seems so long and soccer is definitely the most intense, I would say out of any sport when it comes to how athletic you have to be, because, you know, I played indoor too, and it’s a little bit different because it’s more of the fast paced faculty, no time outs or, or stoppage time, but you’re, you’re going the whole time.
Zachary Colman (05:16):
You know, you have to have those breaks, you know, you want those breaks every time you get your energy back, you know, especially if you’re, especially if you’re off offense, isn’t doing a good job and you’re, you’re, you know, don’t have that. Yeah. So I know you’re kind of, I know you’re kind of, still playing the game. And so I kind of asked you how, how your, your, your transitions have been, but let’s, let’s change it around a little bit and talk a little bit about your transitions from not your transitions from the game, but how you’re able to do both deal with your podcast and your journey is on with your business alongside you playing the sport. That’s a great question. I think
Amobi Okugo (05:58):
For me, it’s, you know, Google calendar has been my best friend, you know, Google calendar Calendly, and then time blocking. So not trying to overwhelm myself. I know we talked offline how you said, you know, Mondays are strictly for podcasts. You’re not trying to do it on Tuesdays. Wednesdays, Thursdays, you know, Monday is set aside for podcasts and I followed a similar approach. So for example, Mondays, I write newsletters. So I’m not doing it on Friday. I’m not doing it on these other days. So I’m kind of like prioritizing days and giving like certain days certain tasks. And it’s allowed me to kind of free up my time, um, with like the grooming schedules to travel and practices and games and stuff like that. So that’s helped me tremendously, um, you know, trying to be efficient. So like if I need like an hour to do this, like I focus for an hour, um, and then I take my breaks and then I focus on another hour on the next task. And, um, you know, having like a, um, big on post-it notes. So like crossing it out, being able to cross something. Now it’s just like, that’s a good feeling as well. So, you know, that’s, that’s, what’s helped me be efficient, especially with my time and, any tricks that anyone has to recommend. I’m always looking for new ways to increase my, my, my production line.
Zachary Colman (07:07):
It’s, it’s crazy. It’s crazy once, you know, like I was telling you earlier, how I’m kind of that next growth, that next growth phase in our business and it’s, it’s always growing, always learning, always containing situation. Like I was the same way I, I have, I have that personality, Google hinders my life too. And I have my new W2 employee. I’ve been kind of really focusing him on, you know, one of him I’m really like, I use the Google calendar, I want to lock up your time and just so I could see it and you know, my time availability, you know, it’s still kind of, and, but it’s one of those situations where you realize that as you get older, that, and you start learning new things that not everyone knows that stuff, but you kind of have to use then learn the next thing.
Zachary Colman (07:58):
What’s the next thing that helped me push to that next level. And it just never stops, but that’s why I love the business side, because if you’re a joy, the journey of it, you know, that’s, that is the business is the enjoying the journey of watching it go from this little baby up to this, this big thing that you can, you know, push forward with. Um, what kind of challenges that you had to during this, this, this, while you’re playing, what kind of, what kind of challenges, if you had to overcome, um, to kind of keep yourself engaged on both the planning and the, and the business side,
Amobi Okugo (08:36):
Man, that’s a great question. I think first and foremost, you know, as a soccer player, as a professional, you got to keep the main thing, the main thing. So obviously with the business, it’s kind of had to take a back seat in the sense of like, I can’t always make that conference, so I can’t always do that speaking engagement, or I always can’t, I can’t always make that meeting. I might have to reschedule it. So there’s been times when, you know, I’ve had unique speaking engagement opportunities and I’ve had to pass them onto somebody else because I know I wouldn’t be able to go there. Um, so as a professional, especially because it’s my main source of income, um, I have to make sure to keep that in the main thing. So my performance has to be paramount. My performance has to make sure that, you know, the guy come and try to take my spot is doesn’t have the opportunity from a business standpoint, it’s been unique.
Amobi Okugo (09:19):
And, you know, you talked about evolving. I remember when I first started, I was going back and forth four or five emails just to schedule a meeting. So now it’s like just having that efficient, like, alright, perfect. Here’s your Calendly link. I know people at a higher level than me. I don’t even talk to him like initial intro CC my assistant. So I’m talking to their assistant. So like, that’s like, it’s always progression. I’m not there yet, but hopefully, um, you know, down the road, then I can get to that. So it’s all about, like you said, an evolving process, but, um, balancing soccer and, business is, you know, like I said before, it just being efficient. So when we have off days, um, that’s kinda when I’m doubled down, double down on, you know, content or meetings and stuff like that, a book making book content. So instead of writing a blog every week, spend a day and try to write three to four blocks and then space them out over the course of the next month. Um, so that’s been a, a game changer for me to doing content in bulk. Um, yeah. So those are like different tricks of the Tre that I’ve been able to learn as I’ve continued to grow in this space.
Zachary Colman (10:23):
It’s funny you say that I ended the same thing with my YouTube videos. I’ll I’ll I get all this, my content writers will write the scripts out, um, from stuff that we’ve discussed at the beginning of the month. And then when it comes down to Tuesdays, I keep the same thing. I bulk, I brought them all together. Um, and say, I’m just going to do four. I don’t do more than four because then I just like, I’ve seen my design beyond the campus, but, and that is, that is a good thing for people to realize you have to kind of manage your time, especially for athletes and when, when we, when you work with them. Um, and money’s probably very similar. Um, so why don’t you talk a little bit about, why you, why do you feel like you as an athlete with what you’re doing and actually, why don’t we go into talking just a little bit about, about the business? Why don’t you talk a little bit more about what you’re doing and what you’re trying to achieve?
Amobi Okugo (11:13):
Yeah, so the business started because I saw the 30 for 30 broke documentary, um, on ESPN. So if no one has seen it yet, or if you haven’t seen yet, I highly suggest there was a great, um, documentary of highlighting why athletes, um, tend to go broke. And for me, it was kind of like a motivation because I wanted to look at athletes in a different light, um, you know, playing soccer in the States. We don’t make as much money as the NBA, you know, NFL baseball guys. Um, but we do make enough capital to help set us up for the next phase of whatever we may do a long after our careers over. So after I saw that documentary, I was like, all right, how can I find that I can use as roadmaps? And you know, what was available was like the LeBron James, the Tom Bradys, Colby, Ryan rest in peace, Serena Williams.
Amobi Okugo (12:01):
And you know, those are anomalies, not every athlete is going to have the luxury to be like that. So as I did more research, I can find the athletes that went bankrupt or athletes similar to the broke model. So that’s kind of how for wildly started. I just wanted to create like an ecosystem where you can come on the site, find content around financial literacy, but using athletes to tell those stories. So if you want to learn about real estate, you have a whole database of content around athletes that got into real estate, um, in different matters. Or if you wanna learn about stock trading, if you want to learn about budgeting, all these different things. So when it comes to us as a business, we have courses, um, we do speaking engagements and workshops. We do small time, financial coaching and consulting, um, which, which leads into like revenue generation, revenue, generation, budget, templating, understanding different things around the behavior. We’re not advisors. So we’re not going to tell you to invest in GameStop or Tesla or anything like that. We’re just going to get you, the behavior around your finances straight. And then we do also do sponsored content based on our YouTube and podcast and, written content. And then we have merged as well. So I’m rocking for where athletes sweatshirt, but that’s very minimal in comparison to the other four categories.
Zachary Colman (13:18):
No, it’s, it’s kinda like you said about the playing the playing career. Um, and how that’s your main focus right now in your business is kind of still your secondary, which is of course fine. You are still still playing. Um, but even within the business, yes. They always say that the smart ones say you have to diversify, but I still look, I still say, Hey, you have to diversify, but you don’t want to have too many hands in the bucket. You know, you need to still focus on one. Like for instance, we, we have this huge, growth idea for about five to 10 years from now, which would be perfect. And I can’t really say too much about it now, but it would be perfect for right now with what’s going on with society and what’s going on with the growth of technology and stuff.
Zachary Colman (14:05):
And I started developing it, you know, about a year ago. And then I still have to step back a little bit. And I said, well, like I don’t have time to run two full-time businesses at the same time. Like, I will focus on that as a stage three or four down the road. So it was one of those things where, and, you know, it all kind of works together to, like you said, like, it’s great to have merge. It’s great to be able to give value in different ways, but to be able to really hone in on that one specific thing that you really care about and are passionate about is always, it’s always a plus. Um, so you don’t get burnt out.
Amobi Okugo (14:41):
Yeah. Preach that. Yeah. So you don’t get burned out. I think that’s, that’s like if there’s one takeaway, um, because we get overwhelmed, especially in our of work, when it comes to, you know, building brands and stuff like that, by the time you master one platform, they’re telling you, you need to get on another one. By the time you get to that one, there’s another one. Now you gotta be on all of them. So, um, it can get overwhelming. So like you said, you know, try to focus on one stream or one river, and then eventually as the river gets bigger than streams will start to form and you can build out those, you know, those new, those new lanes.
Zachary Colman (15:14):
Exactly. It’s, it’s very similar and I won’t get too much into the privacy situation going on with like Facebook right now, but it’s really, it’s very similar to Facebook and how they grew. And then they eventually, you know, said, Hey, let’s, let’s buy Instagram. And then now they have Instagram and it’s a whole different platform. If they were to develop, try to develop both of those at the same time, they probably won’t have enough capital to do so and could have went bankrupt. I’m not saying they would have, but, um, but yeah, it’s a good example. And I agree with you. It’s very, it is, it’s, it definitely takes, it definitely takes a lot of hard work and a lot of, a lot of their sacrifice there, but it’s, it’s more so a lot of tedious knowing that things are going to get better as you keep going. Um, so what would you say make athletes, you as an athlete, what would you say make athletes such great business owners?
Amobi Okugo (16:11):
I think, I feel like sports is like the game of life. There’s a lot of, there’s a lot of skillsets that we acquire playing sports. There’s a lot of things like based on our experiences that we use for business and life and relationships that we just don’t. Um, I don’t know if we just don’t know how to translate it. Um, but it’s all the qualities are there. So whether it’s, you know, the basic ones that everyone talks about, you know, working within a team setting, you know, communication, handling adversity, dealing with criticism, whether it’s constructive or negative and using that to turn it into results, goal setting, understanding the discipline it takes and the sacrifices that it takes to get something done, time, time management, priority management, energy management, you know, looking at something from a negative, like understanding your weakness and turning it into like a strength.
Amobi Okugo (17:03):
These are all things that we learned from sports working with, you know, I said team setting, but especially in soccer, I’m working with players that only speak Spanish or only speak French. So being able to, understand different values and ultimately come to a common goal, um, that’s invaluable experience that not a lot of people are fortunate enough to have, um, embracing different cultures. Um, these things are, you know, things that you acquire from sports, you know, it doesn’t matter if you play it to professional level, um, college level, youth level, they all translate, obviously the professional level you’re able to maximize it, but then it’s harder to translate it into, you know, the corporate space. So you just gotta figure out how to word it the right way. So instead of, you know, being able to say, yeah, I’m good with working in a team setting. It’s like, no, yeah, you are. But how do you craft it in a different way to kind of exude some of the qualities that you have?
Zachary Colman (17:58):
And I think you said that beautifully because I kind of, one of the reasons I got into this was because I did see from a business perspective, you’ll probably have the same, the same aspect I have that you’re, you’re creating something that you’re passionate about and you love, and you love seeing it grow. And that that feeling that you get from getting over a boundary or getting over a struggle is pretty close to that same feeling you get when, when you stop a goal or you win a game, but the team or gets that same kind of drive that leads you to wanting to be the best and wanting to bring value to your fans or the people that you know are helping, you’re helping alongside your business. And that’s one of the reasons I got in this is to help translate that to athletes.
Zachary Colman (18:47):
And, and so with what you’re saying with the stuff that they learn, I think it’s, it’s very, it’s very common for athletes, especially when they get to a certain size that they still try to do everything themselves when it comes to growing their business. And, and as you are aware, like, Hey, you need someone to help you with your finances. You need someone to help you with. And I come in and I say, Hey, you need someone to help you with your marketing. Like you, you need, you could hire a whole team at this much, or you can hire our agency. It don’t put don’t time. Shouldn’t have to equal money for you. You should have money equal time for you. So, um, really focus on hiring a team to do that stuff that you’re not an expert in. And you focus on what good at exactly. Um, so with, with that said, that let’s say the opposite. So how do you feel the struggles for athletes? Like what are some struggles? You see athletes, athletes.
Amobi Okugo (19:48):
So from a stroke, from a struggle standpoint, identity, you know, so how can you define yourself outside if you weren’t, if you weren’t able to say I’m a professional soccer player, if I’m a professional basketball player, how do you define yourself? I think that’s something that a lot of athletes struggle with. Um, just because, you know, you spend your whole life from five years old, ultimately, you know, trying to become the professional and then you make it there. And then what happens after you got your whole life to live, but because you were so focused on making as a professional, you didn’t even think of it, you know, longterm, um, sports is the only thing guaranteed to end in divorce. You know, you’re going to have to figure out your next game. So from an athlete standpoint, figuring out your identity, that’s one. Um, and then, because I don’t want to say that we’re spoiled, but we’re so used to having the schedule of, alright, we know when our practices, bless you, you try to hold it in the first time.
Amobi Okugo (20:42):
so we know our schedule, we know our practice, we know our games, we know, you know, our workout regimen. We know what we’re supposed to eat when that’s all done. All right. How do we figure out, how do we become proactive in that sense? And then simply, um, I don’t want to say it’s like a confidence thing or like an insecurity thing, but how do we, um, define ourselves from the lessons and experiences and skillsets that we’ve acquired from sports and translate it into the corporate space, whether it’s entrepreneurship, business, education, whatever aspect of your next phases, because while we were spending our twenties, you know, building our careers, you know, our peers were in the, you know, corporate space or in the business space or whatever space, you know, learning the lessons that you need to learn. So we’re coming back into that space, whether it’s entry-level or, you know, not the same elite level that we’re used to, um, that can kind of have like, um, a negative effect on, on us as human beings.
Zachary Colman (21:43):
Yeah. I mean, I’ve never had to deal with that myself, but I have heard it is that struggle. And I mean, when you’re in business, I think the hardest part, and we’ve talked about it earlier with the Google calendar. I mean, that’s just one aspect of it. I mean, I’m at the point where I’m managing, you know, nine, 10 employees. And so it’s like now I have to, I’m juggling most of my day, just making sure that I’m queuing stuff correctly, making sure things were correctly. And I, man, I haven’t even eaten lunch yet. You know, like I’m like, I, one of those things where I’m just like, Oh man, and that’s why that I have to meal prep early in the morning or on a Sunday I’ll meal, prep my lunches for the whole week and getting into last year as a whole, another controversy I have, I have an almost two year old now.
Zachary Colman (22:32):
So that, that puts a whole damper into the whole thing. But, um, it’s, it’s trying to, yeah. Try to get yourself in a good routine, at least somewhat of a routine that you can kind of keep with yourself. And, you know, I have a business developer that somewhat helps me with that. So that just goes to show you that, you know, hiring other people to help you with, with certain struggles is, is there’s nothing wrong with that as you’re continuing to grow. Um, I mean, I love to hire a personal trainer again, just because I don’t have enough motivation when I go to the gym still to, you know, and you do it so long that you can get to the point where like, I just need someone to be there with me to tell me to push for that test.
Amobi Okugo (23:10):
No, I feel you, I feel you on that. It’s just like, and that’s something I commend business people for because you’re so focused on, you have to always be on call that’s you sometimes forget that you have to focus on yourself too. So, you know, like you said, you, you skipped lunch or you haven’t had lunch yet, but like yeah, if you have to like work out, you have an hour, but what if someone like an emergency call comes, like, how do you guys to allocate that? So, and it’s like an hour out of the day as you, as you’ve reached the next level of your business. So like that’s an hour that could be focused on your business. So it’s like, it’s a, it’s a big battle that people don’t realize or see. So luckily for me, you know, I have the soccer aspect, so I’m like indirectly staying fit and staying, you know, in that, that lane.
Amobi Okugo (23:54):
But I love what you said about, you know, hiring people to help you, I think this year or sorry, this last year with everything that’s went on. The biggest things that I did was, you know, get a lawyer, you know, like a full-time lawyer on retainer and then having like a, a director of operations, just help streamline some of the processes that we have with, the interns that we use. So, um, because before I was trying to do everything on my own from, you know, booking guests, for podcasts, to making content, to, you know, pitching companies, it’s just, it’s too much as you know, so, um, you know, hiring people to help you and it it’s less work from you for you. And the more you can outsource, the more you can, you know, build out for the bigger projects that need your net needs your full attention. If that makes sense,
Zachary Colman (24:41):
You may ask for your, after the call, I may ask for you to give me a referral of that, that coordinator you have. Cause that’s something that I’m in, I’m in looking at.
Amobi Okugo (24:48):
Oh, no, most definitely. Yeah. He’s, he’s, he’s, he’s, he’s legit. I call him the streamliner because everything, I just give them all my ideas and then he’s like just steps up stuff. Yeah. So yeah, most definitely.
Zachary Colman (25:01):
But, but no, no, I totally agree with you. so back to kind of, or you were talking about with, the athletes building their identity, cause you said about the identity is a big struggle. Um, what do you think athletes can learn in regards to building their brands from other athletes? Like what kind of things can they take away from athletes like yourself, um, in helping them build their, build their personal brands?
Amobi Okugo (25:32):
Yeah. So I would just say, you know, be curious, I think, you know, a lot of athletes have passions outside of the sport. They play, you know, you can’t play sports 24 seven, so what are you doing for those off hours? You know, whether it’s, you know, you watching video games or sorry, you playing video games, you’re watching movies, you’re listening to music. Are you making music? Are you into this fashion? What are you into? And then from there find people that, you know, may be more, um, I don’t want to say experienced, um, but are in that space on a full-time basis, just like you’re in your space on a full-time basis, connects with those people. Because as an athlete, so many doors are open and available to you, if you take advantage of it. So how can you use your off time, your free time, um, to be curious, to be, you know, more interested than interesting and, you know, use, use your platform to learn more about those spaces and then from there be open and be authentic and how you go about sharing it.
Amobi Okugo (26:26):
So, you know, when you’re trying to build a fan base or you’re trying to build a community, they want to see you outside of, you know, the political answers you give out after every game saying, you know, we thought it was a hard fought game. You know, we won, we’re looking for it. Not like they can get that from anybody. They want to know, like, what’s your eating? Like, what are the desserts that you have when, you know, you have off day, what’s your favorite movies? You know, they want us to know all that. And the more you share, obviously within reason, if you’re, if you’re a private person that you don’t want to share everything, but within reason, um, they will gravitate towards you long after your career is over.
Zachary Colman (27:03):
Yeah. And I personally really focused on that. I mean, I’m doing a webinar right now with one of the retired NFL organizations and we’re really trying to help, professional NFL players and retired NFL players, kind of understand the whole voice aspect and how it plays a huge role in, in, in branding because, when it comes to it, it’s hard, but it’s not at the same time as you know, because it is, you want it to be authentic and it is hard for certain people to post is that I’m even me I’m, I mean, I’m all, I’m 35, you know? And so, you know, I was at the very beginning stages of social media, so I have a very hard time on, on posting myself. And so it really comes down to, it really comes down to trying to figure out your fan base, like really who’s who wants to listen to you, why they want to listen to what value are you giving them?
Zachary Colman (28:05):
And let’s really kind of develop a voice for you that kind of helps bring you, you can bring value to them without it just being political. Um, you know, for instance, it may be helping someone with, you know, kids, you know, playing soccer or stopper, you know, you know, helping them understand, you know, some of the ins and outs of that position. Cause a lot like a corporate, a corporate, you know, job, you know, you may not love every sport. You may not love every position. You know, I, I was horrible at it. I was horrible at forward. That just, wasn’t my thing. I loved playing defense. That’s just what I loved to do. You know? And so I stuck with it, um, to the point where my dad who used to be an NFL kicker was like, you’re only playing soccer. It’s we want you to be a football figure like I did.
Zachary Colman (28:49):
And I went in and I never went that route. I just play soccer and I still play rec because, you know, I enjoy it. And it’s, it’s fun now, you know, I love, I love going out there and I don’t have as much competitiveness as you cause I don’t have to win games, but with that comes the, I don’t also have to deal with the, you know, behind it. But, so let’s talk a little bit more, let’s talk a little bit more about how you personally are, how are you helping athletes, um, going back to your business, how are you helping athletes move forward as they make their transition and as they continue to play?
Amobi Okugo (29:27):
Yeah. So from a standpoint of like that transition, you know, with the frugal athlete will help them in terms of making the relationships that they need. So for example, if someone is into VC, um, I have a, you know, a unique amount of relationships where I can get them in touch with, you know, VC managers, you know, portfolio funds, first and foremost to get educated. I think that’s the most important thing because we see the athletes like Kevin Duran, LeBron James, Steph Curry, they’re investing, you know, you know, hundreds of thousands of dollars in different, you know, companies, you know, both from the angel round to series late stage round. And not every athlete can do that, but if they’re interested, there’s so many different ways to get involved. And that’s where, you know, um, a service like ours comes into play so we can connect them with different organizations if they want to learn more, if they want to see some deal flow, um, get acclimated to what it’s like.
Amobi Okugo (30:20):
Um, that’s where we come in. Um, from the standpoint of, from the finance, you know, all right. How do you have a budget? Um, are you budgeting? What services are you using? Are you using an app or using your financial advisor? Are you looking for a financial advisor? Have you, you know, have you researched them or you got them from a recommendation of someone else? What questions are you asking them? This is where we come in and help. Are you looking at different ways to expand and make money? Okay. Obviously you have a, you need a marketer or a brand manager. Um, how do you do go about doing that before that? Do you have an idea of what you want to do? What does that look like? Are you into e-commerce? Are you into affiliate marketing? Are you into all these different things?
Amobi Okugo (31:02):
Um, we kind of give them like a S a whole spectrum of different ways they can make money. Um, so for example, um, a buddy of mine, he plays soccer, he’s very into wine. He’s like really into wine. So instead of just like being a wine connoisseur and wine collector, how can you monetize that? And what does that look like? So we’ll help them, um, in terms of developing concepts around what they can do, and then what they want to do with that. If they want to work with us, then we can put them in touch with someone that’s more experienced in that space, or like a brand manager or marketing manager or a business developer. Um, or if they want us to do that, um, we can do it as well, but that’s kinda where we, that’s where we stand on the more one-on-one standpoint. Um, but our main bread and butter is courses and curriculums around, you know, athletes and managing, making, and multiplying their money.
Zachary Colman (31:55):
Beautiful, man, I feel like you said that quite a bit of time, do you have that you have your pitch down, so hopefully people connect,
Amobi Okugo (32:02):
So, yeah. So I’ve been just trying to work on that pitch a lot of practice in the mirror and stuff like that. So hopefully that’s okay.
Zachary Colman (32:11):
Yeah, no, thanks for, thanks for jumping on, man. I, we’ll, we’ll flip scripts down and I’ll let you kind of go ahead and kind of push yourself forward me if you want.
Amobi Okugo (32:20):
No, yeah. Perfect. So I appreciate that. So yeah, right off the bat, you know, love what you’ve done with your company. Like I said, offline, you know, um, I had the pleasure of connecting with you, um, through one of my classes at ASU. Um, but what was your journey like, you know, starting a business, you know, especially this type of business in this space, you
Zachary Colman (32:41):
Fab to start off, I’ll just say a lot of grinding, but, it, you know, it was very hard for me. I mean, I was in the corporate world for years. My dad, my dad was a, an NFL kicker for way before I was born. He didn’t play too long. Um, but it grew me up in the, in the aspects of sports. And like I told you earlier, I played soccer. Um, growing up the same position is you all the way from when I was like three, till I graduated high school. Um, and then college, I kind of got to the point where I was like, Hey, you know, I’m going to kind of, you know, playing college at ASU, but then also focusing on what my passions were going to be off the field. I kind of moved to more towards the visual communication.
Zachary Colman (33:26):
So I focused on, on the graphic design side, which really is called visual communications, but I went through so many, ASU is a very great school because they focus a lot on the research and not so much just learning programs because programs are kind of meant for you to learn yourself. And so we focused for years on that and I learned a lot of the research side. And just through my years in the corporate world, I kind of, you know, jumped around a lot. Um, and I realized after working for the Phoenix suns for a long time and working for a couple of athletes that while I was in the corporate world, I just slowly, every year I w I, that fear, that fear came in and, and you know of, I want to go out myself, but I just don’t know if it’s stable.
Zachary Colman (34:12):
You know, I don’t know if it’s a good thing to do. And I just got to a point where I had a job. I had a job that was requested for me from American express to fly out to New York for a freelance gig and redo all our UX and our UI. And I turned it down because I was so fearful of, Oh, that’s only a six month gig. You can come in and make twice as much money as my, in that six months that I did here. What am I going to do after that six months? And three days later, I wrote him back. I’m like, I changed my mind. I want to take it. And they’re like, Oh, we already gave it to someone else. Um, so I mean, that would have been the dream for anyone, you know, working for a large company as a freelancer.
Zachary Colman (34:54):
They give you a hotel room in New York and you kind of, you know, you know, especially my industry. And I’ve always been bummed about that, but what it did is it made me, it made, it finally gave me my leap on, you know, I realized that I was jumping around a lot because I learned everything I had learned about that corporate job within three weeks to a month, to the point where I was doing five times as much work as any of my coworkers were. And I think that I was trying, and, and I had good bosses. I had bad bosses throughout the whole thing, but I just feel, it felt like I could do better myself, you know? And, um, I jumped into it with what you would say is probably the normal thing. Lot of people should do is I saved up doing this as a side gig for one to three years.
Zachary Colman (35:44):
And so I didn’t have a lot in the bank. I mean, I had like 35 grand, which I built up over like four to five-year period, which wasn’t a lot for starting a business, but it was enough for me to say, all right, I could go a whole year right now and then just use this to pay myself. I don’t get any business. And so that’s, I had a nice cushion under me that I, that me and my wife were like, all right, let’s do it. And so I waited, I was strategically weighted to a certain point in my business, in the corporate world to go out. And I, a long story short the first couple of years were not really niche that much, but because I already worked in the sports industry, I saw a huge niche for, and just a huge, not going to say unquality, but just a huge need for professional athletes, needing a branding and marketing agency to focus solely on them.
Zachary Colman (36:40):
I mean, traditional sparks sports marketing agencies have their place. You know, they’re meant for, you know, contract negotiations are spent meant to help bring you sponsors. And that’s a whole different kind of branding and people don’t athletes, owners stand out big branding is, and it’s funny earlier, you said on the identity side, because I focus fully not fully, but one of our main services upfront is really focusing on let’s really create you a brand identity and strategy that’s consistent. It has a good voice that’s around the target fan base. You really want to focus on, um, that can help bring you, I mean, at the end of the day, we can say more customers, but at the end of the day, to build you a successful business, that you can leverage your end game appearance and your end game, um, passions and bring them off the field.
Zachary Colman (37:32):
So that’s why I said sports is such a great vertical to work in because it’s, it’s everywhere. So we have professional athletes that want to open e-commerce stores. We have e-commerce, we have, you know, an MLB player right now that we’re going through. And after a brand discovery, we realized that there isn’t really a backpack out there that he’s, there’s this MLB player is very big on outdoors and yeah, but he’s not, and it’s still in the final stages of development, but he, we, we went through the drop shipping options and there was just, there wasn’t enough money there for him to make, you know, off of all the efforts and things they were going to put in it. And then the vertical they were in through what we learned is he’s not looking to hit those, those major hikers. It was more aesthetic.
Zachary Colman (38:20):
So it was more of those people that, Oh, maybe they want to go out on a hike, but it’s just a hiking trail. But then they also want to go to the coffee shop with their backpack and they don’t want to have this CUNY bulky backpack with them the whole time, you know? So we we’re really trying to build him around personality, a brand around his personality. So we’re, we’re doing a product development. We’re finishing up the product development right now of that backpack and also designing some collateral around hand. But so we really, we really try to take it from the ground up and we really try to grow this for the athletes and growing them, something that they’re passionate about. And so you have e-commerce, but then you have some athletes that are like, Oh, I’m really passionate about opening a gym or opening a training facility.
Zachary Colman (39:01):
Um, or like you said earlier, some of them just want to invest in certain things. And so it’s, you know, and that’s not really our forte, but, really helping athletes sometimes just understand, Hey, what is your presence like on social media, but also we’re really big on, but we don’t come in as a fan to these athletes because they’re so embedded with fans all the time. They really try to come in and tell them, Hey, we’re here to do your marketing. We’re here to your branding. And we know what’s best in those regards, you know? So, so we’re not going to sit here and, and, and, and hold your hand, but we’re also not going to sit here and let you spend unnecessary money. We want you, we want you to get an ROI. So we always recommend, Hey, let’s talk to your financial, your financial team and see what they think about you opening a business in this market, and let’s show them the direction that we’re planning on going with building this thing, to see if it would even work out or, um, working with investors as well, or telling them, Hey, like, why are you just opening a facility and investing in a commercial real estate?
Zachary Colman (40:11):
If you had a business around that facility as well, and focused on local SEO or SEO and PPC and paid marketing, let’s really turn it into something that you’re passionate about and just let us be your team to focus on that. So that’s really what we’re trying to do and really help the traditional sports marketing agencies have a team that they can leverage for their athletes, because a lot of them do, they go out and, and nothing against freelancers, freelancers have their point and their, and their place in society. But, um, a lot of these, these, these websites you see athletes have, and these brand identities to meet, they’re, they’re just not really iconic. Or a lot of the athletes will be like, well, I haven’t sold one shirt and I it’s been out for two years. And I’m like, well, it’s because your traditional sports marketing agency doesn’t focus on
Speaker 4 (41:00):
They’re working on like the Sprite deals and stuff
Zachary Colman (41:02):
Like that. Yeah. They’re working on the deals. Like that’s what they’re there for, but just remember, like, we bring more value to your sponsors. I like to use Tom Brady is a great example. And because everyone knows him, I’m like, you look at TB 12 and you search Tom Brady online. He’s making a hundred thousand and he’s getting a hundred thousand visits from Google a month just because of his name alone. But TB 12 is still ranked at number three on Google. I mean, number three in the w in regards to pages, not number three in the search results. But, and so I look at it and I say, Hey, he did a really good job at leveraging a social media and finding that out. But social media is only one aspect of digital marketing. We need to focus on all aspects. We need to do the paid side.
Zachary Colman (41:42):
We need to focus on the SEO side. We even need to focus on the blog content. Like you brought up earlier, providing good quality content. Why do, why do you, why should you demand your content and your life story being displayed on ESPN? You have, you have the ability these days to have your audience, you, your life story on your own platform, you know? Um, and so I don’t know if I ran it there and went a little bit past your, your, your, your whole thing, but I just got, I’m really passionate about helping athletes, you know, kind of take it to that next stage, um, and helping them passionately create a business around something that they could do outside the game.
Amobi Okugo (42:29):
No, that’s what it’s all about. And I feel like, you know, you’re someone that you know, is focused on the future. You know, you talked about this next growth stage that you guys are having talk about it from the athlete perspective. What are some things that we, we should look out for moving forward as 2021, obviously last year kind of switched, shifted things. It kind of expedited some things from a digital technical virtual standpoint, but it messed up a lot of things, you know, just from a physical standpoint. So what are some things that athletes can take advantage of and advantage of, sorry. And some things that you’re looking at to help athletes from their brand and market?
Zachary Colman (43:05):
Well, I mean, a normal marketer would probably come out and just say ticked off, but I’m not going to say that. Um, I think, I think a lot of the, with the social media, craze right now, especially I think that a lot of athletes don’t take a step back and they don’t really figure out their fan base. They don’t figure out who, who they’re really trying to reach. And so they blindly just go on every single platform and they’re just like, Oh, I’m going to speak this year. Like, I’ll see people on athletes on LinkedIn posting certain things that they should be focusing on Instagram. So for me, it’s, it’s, it’s less so, Hey, just post everywhere all the time. And it’s more so, Hey, let’s really sit down and figure out what your, where your audience is. Let’s figure out your fan base.
Zachary Colman (43:53):
And so what I would say is LinkedIn is always going to be a big thing for athletes. And I think that why LinkedIn is a big thing is because it kind of helps diminish that, that fan base of, of your fans reaching out just to say, hi, it kind of helps that boundary of business. And so I think every athlete should, should be on LinkedIn at least while when they start their career. Um, but I also think they really need to focus on is which channel should they utilize? Don’t you don’t need to burn yourself out and focus on every channel for if you’re really into gaming use Twitch. You know, if you’re really focusing on wanting to do a podcast, you know, focus on building a podcast and then possibly recycle that on YouTube, um, and do something like that, you know, so really pick the, pick the channels that two to three channels at most, I would say that you think really align with your business and then don’t discontinue the other ones.
Zachary Colman (44:55):
I mean, a lot of athletes don’t even consider Google search. They don’t even consider having any sort of paid marketing or funnel it’s going to help them deliver, um, results for them. So really try to think at the big picture and, and pick two to three channels that, that we’re, I mean, if your audience is 13 year olds, you know, 15 year olds, yeah. Go on Tik TOK. Yes. At the end of the day, if your main goal is to get sponsors, um, and that’s what your dream is great. But I think the biggest tip is something that you probably tell athletes with their, with their budgeting is, is diversify, diversify, your marketing efforts. Um, and that’s one thing that we really try to promote when we build our brand build processes is we say, well, which channels are really gonna work for you? And let’s pick the two to three that are going to fit fit within this retainer. And let’s move forward with that.
Amobi Okugo (45:46):
No, I love that. And then, um, w one of my last questions is what are the do’s and don’ts, you know, from the athlete standpoint, you know, I’m sure you have a lot of case studies of athletes that have done it the right way. And then some athletes that, um, wait, they may not have listened, you know, um, some don’ts,
Zachary Colman (46:05):
You know, and, and there’s, there’s a fine line, cause it really does depend on your voice. But I would say always the don’ts, it’s something that you brought up earlier. I, I honestly don’t think that it’s good to have your voice. It’s good to talk about, certain things we’ll just say going on with the country and going on with certain things for certain right. Situations, stuff like that. If you want your voice to be heard that way, and that’s the direction you want to go, that’s fine. Um, but I would limit it to like a certain platform on like Twitter, for instance. Um, but I, I always say try it because fans are, so we all, we all know how society is. And I think that the hard part is you’re always gonna get judged no matter what. Um, and so I think the hard part is, is just be really careful and safe with the kind of stuff that you’re posting.
Zachary Colman (47:00):
Don’t do anything hateful don’t, don’t bash other people, um, really just try to be unique and genuine in yourself and what you’re trying to do. Um, and if you need to add a little twist in there for, something that you’re trying to push forward with with growing your business, then, then go with that. Um, a good, really, a couple of really good examples is I think OTO Cinco did a really good job a couple of years ago, how he really kind of pushed out his, his platform and really talked about, and the things that he was doing. And that, that in itself really helped take them to the next level with this sponsorship deals. you look at Tom Brady again. And an example, when I, I have, an analysis coming out, you know, in a couple of weeks on, on some of the good things that he did with his platform, but leveraging your platform for your business platform.
Zachary Colman (47:53):
And what I mean by that is your personal brand. Your personal brand is great. If you look at Tom Brady’s Instagram page, for instance, he really focuses on his personal brand a lot, but what he strategically did and what I try to tell athletes is a good idea is leverage those followers and then build your business page separately, but still have it be folks from you and then leverage your existing followers and ask them, Hey, if anyone’s interested in learning more about this business, or go over to this page or go over to this website or go over to this. And so you can still bring value in your personal fan base, but you’re allowing people to move to the business side that are interested in learning more about the business side.
Amobi Okugo (48:38):
I think that’s a perfect way to close because I, I, I personally have tried to model that focus on the personal first people will gravitate towards what you’re doing personally, and then promote the different avenues that you’re doing. So for me, um, sort of how I’ve been able to grow for where athlete is, you know, talking about it more from my personal channel, whether it’s LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter, and then directing them to, for athletes. So giving them the choice, um, and using, you know, the built-in fan base that, you know, community that I built. Um, so obviously, you know, you talked about, about Tom Brady, someone that’s doing a great job with TB 12 and religion of sports and all the different ventures that he’s done. Um, but this applies to any athlete at every level. You know, we’ve seen Brandon Marshall do it now with, I am athlete and house the athlete. Um, but I really think that that’s a great way to close my questions. Um, use your personal brand to build out your, your business businesses or passions and different things like that. So, um, you know, with the frugal athlete, trying to be like the points guy or the penny hoarder, um, those guys or those gals, they know the person first before the brand. So, um, yeah, that’s, that’s, that’s a great way to close on my end. I don’t have any more questions. That was perfect.
Zachary Colman (50:00):
Yeah. We could probably talk about what we could probably talk about this all day. so yeah. Thank you everyone for jumping on another episode of frugal athlete and, the brand power analysis, where can, where can people find you at?
Amobi Okugo (50:18):
Yeah, so you can find me at a frugal athlete on all social platforms or So yeah, I’m everywhere is willing to connect and collaborate and build. So, thanks again. I’m glad we were able to do this, um, much appreciated. All right. Well, thanks for having me. Thanks for being on, you know, almost done. Thank you for asking me questions. Yeah, no for sure. Yeah.