A Win for Young Athletes


Up until now, college athletes have not been able to “monetize their name, image and likeness”, but that might change with a vote scheduled for January 31 with the NCAA. In April of last year, a board of governors for the NCAA voted to move forward with plans that would let student athletes make money off their personal brands, which many have actively been growing. 

Take Leah Clapper, for example, a gymnast at the University of Florida and communications major who has her own blog called Zest and Finesse. Leah has always wanted to find a way to combine her passion for athletics, marketing, and nutrition into one area that would also be a  resume booster.

She’s worked hard at her blog for two years and finally got a business offer from a local Gainesville restaurant, but she had to decline because of the strict rules student athletes face. Leah said, “the offer is exactly the kind of thing you hope for when starting a project like Zest and Finesse, so it was painful to have to deny it, but those are the rules.”

Are the rules in place to protect students, or help the NCAA continue to rake in billions of dollars? They generated over $19 billion in 2019, but there’s been so much pressure on the organization lately to let student athletes pursue their entrepreneurship dreams. This could open the flood gates for students to receive millions and potentially billions in revenue. 

This issue isn’t limited to just student athletes, but also encompasses rules for marketing agencies, sports agents, and third-party businesses that will work with these types of students. 

Do you think student athletes should be allowed to monetize off their name or brand? Hit reply and give us your opinion!

Your Hobby CAN Be Your Career

Heather Parker was taking a walk with her dogs and husband one day when it dawned on her: she just wasn’t that happy working at her corporate gig. She’d started sewing on the side a few years ago, but never thought of it as a business opportunity. One of her favorite things was to sow bow ties for her dogs before they’d attend adoption events (she was a foster mom). Whenever her dogs had bow ties on, they’d get adopted more quickly.

She decided to open up shop on Etsy, the selling marketing place, and now runs a full-time operation because of it. She has a 2,000 square foot space with retail and seven employees… yes, all from doggie bow ties. 

Etsy may sound like a marketplace for sell-outs, but there’s a lot of learning curves that goes into it. To truly stand out from the crowd, you have to learn product photography, keywords, SEO, how to build your community and so much more. Although she had big dreams, Parker decided to grow at her own pace. Opportunities to grow her team and her space happened naturally without her having to push hard to “make it”. 

Heather’s biggest advice to entrepreneurs is to stay true to your passion. Although many other successful business owners have told her to get her products overseas or start manufacturing, she’s passionate about handmade goods, so she sticks to her same operation… even if it isn’t as scalable or cost-effective. She also won’t sell on Amazon where “customers want their order yesterday” and instead stays where customers value the time length it takes when ordering something custom. 

Peloton Has Some Competition

Tonal is doing exactly what Peloton did. They’re using AI to create personal, at-home workouts. In 2020 alone the company grew eightfold and claims they’re the “most intelligent home gym and personal trainer on the market”. Hmm…

The inspiration behind Tonal definitely runs deep for Aly Orady, the CEO and founder. Aly was like most computer nerds and worked as a telecommunications engineer, staring in front of the computer for 15 years before developing sleep apnea and Type 2 diabetes. That’s when he had a wake-up call while working out one day.

Orady says, “I was literally sitting on a bench of the gym, staring at this giant piece of equipment. I thought, ‘I wish I could make this compact enough to fit into my home, and intelligent enough to guide me through a workout, just like a personal trainer would, but using all the latest science.’”

It took three years and 40 patents, but Tonal is now one of the most popular digital fitness platforms to date and has raised over $200 million from investors like Stephen Curry. 

What makes Tonal different is instead of replicating group fitness classes, they try to replicate a personal trainer. It takes way more AI to accomplish, but is much more personal, which people like these days. Plus, users get real-time, data-driven feedback. 

What other intelligent fitness platforms or equipment do you see taking 2021 by storm? Hit reply and tell us!


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