( ENSPIRE LEADERS ) From Broke to Best Seller: How Former NFL Player Marques Ogden Got Back In the Game
There’s no getting around it. The role of an NFL player is a coveted one. Its hard work, but the perks that come with this job are pretty sweet. Unfortunately, there are some NFL players who are so consumed in the sweet life that comes with being a professional athlete, they forget that the price of fame often manipulates the spending. After all, being a football player is a full-time job and athletes should have a solid financial plan together for when they are no longer able to play professional sports. It’s also essential for NFL players to plan for their financial futures god forbid they are injured while playing football. Marques Ogden, a former offensive lineman who played for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and the Tennessee Titans while still pursuing an NFL career, knew there would always be a need for a Plan B. With an early career in the NFL and what he presumed to be a budding business after retirement Marques Ogden couldn’t imagine his life spiral down the way it did in 2012. ENSPIRE Magazine had the privilege of conversing with him about his life journey through some sleepless nights.
Statistics show that about 78 – 79 percent of former NFL players have gone bankrupt within their first or second year of retirement. Marques Ogden, also a former NFL player was no exception to this fact. “I grew a construction company and started my business in 2008, I took it from $0 to little over $12 million by the spring of 2012”, he stated. By obtaining a lot of work and using his business savvy, Marques and his partner were able to build relationships and respect in the community and their corresponding fields. Things were going so smoothly for Marques and his partner that he didn’t see the snag he unsuspectingly came across in 2012. Unbeknownst to Marques he was involved with a bad business partner which aided in the construction company’s demise. As a result of a faulty project, within 90 days Marques had to exhaust $2 million of his own money in hopes of getting his money returned. It never happened. Losing all of his money, his car, his home, Marques, like anyone would, fell into a deep depression.
“Failure is a stepping stone to success.”
Going through financial downfalls doesn’t only affect an individual party, Marques had a wife to take care of. Nonetheless as a former Finance graduate of Howard University Ogden wasn’t going to let what would hinder others from moving forward derail him. He recollected himself and connected with the footing his father taught him and his brother stating, “My father, my brother have always inspired me on how to be determinant, how to be a man and how to be accountable.” Another major influence Ogden mentioned is his wife, who supported him and gave him all the love and courage she could to get him back on his feet again after he lost everything he owned. Yet it would be one more unforeseen family member that would aid in Ogden’s financial blessing…The NFL!
One day while in the midst of clearing out his desk Marques came across his card for the NFL Players Care Foundation that led to him getting a much needed grant. Through the Gene Upshaw Players Assistance Trust Fund, Marques was approved for four months of rent and utilities that allowed him to reorganize his life. Shortly after receiving the grant, Ogden became a new father and transitioned into helping others in business and life. Ogden states: “Without the NFL approving the grant I don’t know where I would be, The NFL approved me for $14,000 grant to help me get back to my feet when I was bankrupt and lost everything that I owned.” This grant was approved for him even though he was no longer a part of the NFL.
While the statement failure is part of success holds certainty, it is also accurate to say that patience is the pathway to success. Currently Marques is a territory manager with Gamebreaker Headgear, a motivational speaker and author of a Best Seller “Sleepless Nights, The NFL: A Business and Family.” He offers motivational speaking at different companies, Universities, Government Agencies, High Schools, youth programs, etc.
As we are completely aware of the struggles of entrepreneurship ENSPIRE Magazine couldn’t help but request some tips from him for our family oriented entrepreneurs and business startups. Here are a few of the tips he offered us:
For Business Owners with Families:
1. Always make time for your spouse – Your significant other needs to feel included in your life and time with you.
2. Always make time for the kids – The kids need to know you care. Make time for them and be involved in their activities.
3. Be willing to work 24/7 – Be willing to do things when everyone else is sleeping.
For Business Owners:
1. Always investigate your business partner;
2. Get background and reference checks;
3. Know your business –Do not rely on anyone to know your business for you;
4. Don’t be underfunded; and
5. Learn to walk away if needed.
“Never give up in business.”
There are lots of things that contribute to failure in every business; being it poor management right from the start, insufficient capital, getting involved with the wrong people and so many other things. In Marques Ogden’s case he may have started his business out of curiosity for the fear of failure. In his words, “When I started, I got involved with the wrong people and it’s really my fault.” Ogden’s determination and accountability about what he should have done are the reason his advice can be held so dear to any entrepreneur’s playbook. Maybe a little study of the new field or just seeking proper advice in the preliminaries would have saved Ogden the loss of his life savings. Nonetheless, he embraced this failure, learned his lesson and moved forward in an impactful way. “Actually for me failure is part of success. Steve Jobs failed when he started Apple, Abraham Lincoln lost his first eight presidential elections before he became a President.” he said.
When you try without counting the days and fail severely, don’t give up for you never know when success is coming. The more you try, the more you learn new strategies about your domain. Ogden didn’t just burn his dream for being a renowned business owner, he moved forward with his life.
The lessons he learned are all published in his book; ‘Sleepless Nights The NFL: A Business and Family.’ We urge any entrepreneur to give it a read during one of their “sleepless nights.”