Creatives in Conversation: How Tayo Adewon turned his love for football into his professional career as an entrepreneur.
There is much to learn from those who find success in adapting to the inevitable curveballs that life throws. For many athletes, such an experience is a bittersweet rite of passage, especially when facing the reality of just how competitive the professional sports arena is. While playing football in college with aspirations of reaching the NFL, Tayo Adewon was put to the test of making a serious decision, one that was especially difficult after dedicating his life to excelling on the field.
As the Texas native was nearing the end of his junior year as a safety at the University of New Mexico, Tayo made the difficult decision to shift his focus away from his own path as a prospective NFL player and instead figure out how to apply his love for the game into the business realm. He soon found his calling to be in the world of marketing and strategic brand partnerships, leading him to sign his first client and begin his own management company.
Tayo, who now represents a roster of both emerging and established professional athletes, attributes his successes to being able to apply his mindset as an athlete into his endeavors off the field. From maintaining a strict workout regimen to helping secure fitting brand partnerships for his clients, Tayo continues to draw inspiration from the beloved sport, carving a lane for himself while also working tirelessly to support others. During a recent conversation with DropLabs, Tayo shared more about his journey transitioning from a student athlete to an entrepreneur, finding motivation in life's challenges and the mantra that keeps him going.
What do you do for a living and what helped you get started?
I'm a business owner and I run my company, Advantage One Group. I manage athletes on the marketing side of things and handle all of their off-the-field endeavors in that regard. Essentially, it's my job to bring marketing opportunities to my clients and manage that. What I do from a technical standpoint is I bring my clients off-the-field revenue opportunities, from the traditional marketing deals we do with the NFL to the stuff we do outside of the NFL, such as branded partnerships. A big part of that is helping them find their passions and find what they love to do and what drives them outside of football.
Growing up in Texas, really where everything originated from, I was an athlete myself. I was fortunate enough to take it to the next level and play in college at the University of New Mexico. Reality started to kick a little closer to my senior year that playing professional for me was a long shot so I began thinking of other paths to take where I could adapt my athlete's mindset.
My best friend, Jay Ajayi, who I grew up with, got drafted and became my first client. The plan was to move forward with him and see how I could be an asset to him and his enterprise. I quickly found my lane in marketing and began handling his endorsements. I was able to create a blueprint working with Jay and now I'm able to offer my services to other clients.
In your experience, was it difficult to transition from pursuing your own career as an athlete to supporting others?
It is a hard transition in the sense of having to deal with change; it's difficult when it's something you've been planning for your whole life or that's all you've known your whole life. With athletes especially, the mindset is very narrow when it comes to going to the league even though statistics show that majority of us are not going there. So, for me, that transition happened pretty naturally once I learned my best friend had been drafted and I started thinking about how I could be an asset to his team.
I was really motivated because I didn't want to not play football my whole life. I was fortunate to play in college and get a scholarship. I know a lot of guys will go down the wayside and keep trying and trying and trying. I decided to stop early. I didn't stop early in terms of quitting the team and I completed my senior year, but after that, I didn't go to pro day or any of that stuff to keep chasing that dream to play in the NFL. Instead, I started pursuing the business side and seeing how I could help out others. That's always been a passion of mine and that motivates me to see others grow and be part of the reason for that growth as well.
What would you say is the most rewarding part of being an entrepreneur?
I think it's very rewarding being self employed and running my own business. I run my own schedule and I kind of run the whole show [Laughs]. I think the most rewarding part is being that I've built this from the ground up. On top of representing my clients and running the business, I've also consistently been able to bring opportunities to my other friends and peers, regardless of what their professions are. So, whether it's a content guy or a digital media guy, I'm able to bring in other friends and peers into my clients' projects, which is something that's very rewarding for me.
It's also rewarding to see my clients when they really engage in the off-the-field stuff, rather than just collecting a check for doing something. I really like to build relationships and value the off-the-field stuff, so it's great when a client will really try to dive in. My job is to educate my clients and bring them endorsement deals, whether the value is the cash dollar or some other type of value. Seeing those guys understand and appreciate it, and grow from it, as well as bringing other opportunities to others, that's really rewarding to me on a daily basis.
What surprised you the most the first time you tried out DropLabs?
Obviously, I think everybody takes a second look when they see a pair of shoes that light up, and then when I put on the shoes and the music started, and my feet started vibrating, it was just like, 'Oh s**t! This is pretty dope.' It surprised me; I just was not expecting that type of technology. I couldn't understand the capacity of it. Like everybody else, I was blown away.
Would you say you've noticed any benefits or changes when you're working out wearing the shoes?
Yeah, for sure. So, right now in terms of productivity, I use them almost every morning when I'm in the gym and lifting weights and listening to music. The benefits, I'd say, are that I think it enhances my workouts. I love to work out and I can't work out without music; who goes to the gym without listening to music?! The shoes just enhance the experience. It's almost like you're at a concert and getting that level of motivation when you're working out. I'd say it also enhances my workouts by helping me to feel more in the zone.
Would you say that you've noticed its helped your excitement or energy levels?
First of all, I'm a morning person and I'm excited to work out, so it just enhances it that much more. I look forward to waking up and working out, and putting on these shoes definitely gives me that extra oompfh.
How would you describe the experience of DropLabs to someone who hasn't heard of them before?
What I have been saying to all my clients is that these DropLabs EP 01s are like tech shoes that immersify specific experiences, whether you're gaming or working out or rehabbing. These enhance your experiences when you're doing those things. That's how I've been describing it.
What are some projects that you're currently working on or some goals for the year ahead?
I just signed two new rookies this year, on top of my current clients that are in the NFL. I'm excited for the draft coming up and seeing where my two new rookies land to start their careers. I'm also excited to really build out the business. This is a very pivotal year for going to that next level. I'm really stepping up my game this year in terms of the different partnerships and endorsements I bring to my clients, as well as onboarding the rookies. I already have my eyes on the future and am excited to bring on the next big names. I'm also excited to keep building the business out, such as bringing more people on board and running a tighter operation overall.
Do you have any words of wisdom or mantras that you live by?
I would say my attitude or mantra--just in life and work and every day--is to just keep progressing and moving forward. I've always been a one foot after the other type of guy. I always say keep working hard and pushing forward because there's always an opportunity to get better. I still consider myself an athlete and I try to translate how I was as an athlete in my daily life, such as how I'd wake up and work out and the attitude that I had. My work ethic is still led by a football mentality and I still have that same attitude now that I'm in the industry representing players. I love football and I love what it's instilled in me as a person, so I definitely have that same mentality as an athlete attacking my business.
Tayo Adewon can be found on Instagram at @tayoadewon and on the web at https://www.a1advantagegroup.com/.
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