I know that being a profesh runner is hard, and I respect you for working your butt off and having loads of self-discipline and whatnot. Unfortunately, the employers of the big girl jobs do not. They think that “professional runner” is code for “unemployed.”
Employer: Oh. So you run? Like for a living? What do you train for? The Olympics? And you can do that?
Me: Yes. Yes. Races. Yes. Yes.
Employer: Huh. (This is when the employer envisions a life of a professional runner that lives at home in their parents basement who gets up and runs for fun every morning. Maybe a local Turkey Trot winner with some far fetched dream of the Olympics.)
Here’s how I put a spin on the 4 years I have been “unemployed”:
I am Phoebe Wright. I am a small business owner in sports marketing. My biggest client is Nike. I also work for Garden of Life and USATF. Our target demographic is the running community.
The mission of my company is to connect with running communities to inspire healthy habits via exercise and diet. I want to inform and inspire people to train hard and reap health benefits. The more people get invested in themselves, the more they will invest in products that help themselves. Plus running gear is pretty cool. And I like shoes.
My main revenue comes from advertising space at national and international track events. This space is a 2 inch x 1 inch square located on the left shoulder of my skimpy racing singlet.
My employees and myself determine the specific events at which we advertise. We take into account the cost, risk and reward of each said event.
USATF Indoor Championships
Travel expenses: $1,500
Pessimistic Projected finish: 3-5 with a chance of DQ
Conclusion: Go for the experience.
Consultant (Coach Danny Mackey)
Physical Therapist (Real Rehab)
Massage Therapist (In Health)
Secretary/Financial Consultant (Agent Ray Flynn)
I also work with other sports marketers (my training partners) in a mutually beneficial relationship. We exchange ideas. We share travel expenses. We pull our resources together to advertise to a wider number of people. Plus, I wouldn’t talk to many people on a daily basis without them.
I get the business game. I know how to budget. I know how to assemble a team with a common goal. I know how to assess risk and reward. I know how to invest and predict how the investments will pay off. For example: weekly massages always pay off.
I get the marketing game.
The days of disgenuine-appeal-to-the-masses advertising is becoming obsolete. People are attracted to personality. Personality is polarizing. Some people will love you, some will hate you, but either way you are getting noticed.
I get the health industry.
Having a business centered around fitness and health, I have amassed a large knowledge base in exercise physiology, human psychology (coaching), biomechanics, nutrition, and massage. My advertising space is determined by my performance. Therefore I know what factors affect performance.
I get the international game.
I know how to travel. I can improvise when travel plans go awry. And they ALWAYS go awry. I know how to interact with people from different cultures, meaning, if Charades were a sport, I’d be World Champ. I am literally a pro in finding the cheapest route from one place to the next.
I have to take sole responsibility for the company. At the end of every year, I run statistical analysis on the progress on my company and make any necessary changes to make sure I am getting the maximal amount of results. (I look back at race results and decide what worked and what didn’t).
Like most small businesses, job security is rare. Even if I do my absolute best, I still may lose my clientele.
So employer of big-girl jobs, I have been very employed (168 hour weeks) over the past 4 years.