If you've been living under a rock for the last year, you may not have heard of NRL star Jarryd Hayne, let us give you the crash course: Originally, Jarryd had a highly successful sporting career in the Australian NRL until he switched codes to play NFL in the USA.
Recently Jarryd announced his retirement of the American football league NFL as a "punt runner" and a "running back" for the 49ers. His one season with the San Francisco 49ers has been watched with anticipation from a number of onlookers including his ex-teammates, sports fans and other multi-code devotees. Previous to his time with the 49ers he had a very successful career in Australia with the National Rugby League (NRL) with the Parramatta Eels spanning 9 years. He has won many awards and reached career highs including representative honours at All Star, state and international levels for Australia and Fiji. In 2009 he won the Rugby League International Federations "international player of the year" award.
If you aren't an NRL fan you may not have heard of Jarryd before today but there are plenty of lessons that entrepreneurs can learn from him and his career so far:
Starting at the age of 18 has given Jarryd a long career already. As a capable, fit athlete, he has many years ahead of him.
Set your sights high
At the time Hayne was considering a switch between codes, he was apparently in negotiations with the Parramatta Eels for a 5 year contract which would have equated to more than 20% of the NRL's 2015 salary cap; at the time it would have been the largest playing contract ever offered to an NRL player. Jarryd, however, had his eyes set for a bigger game.
5 years into his Rugby career Hayne focused on playing in the American NFL via the collegiate system. However, he was ineligible due to not completing his year 12 certificate (HSC) so he arranged two American football training sessions with college teams between 2013 NRL seasons and the Rugby World Cup.
Promote yourself and be available
Jarryd also arranged a "highlights tape" that was distributed to key people. In time, the reason Jarryd was provided with an opportunity to play was down to 1 key person seeing his highlights tape; Reggie Bush (a 49ers teammate) commented that Jarryd "looks like an NFL running back, looks like he could come play with us tomorrow". Showing your skills and promoting your business seems obvious to some but not to others, ensuring you have customers who can provide testimonials and services that promote just what you can do.
Don't pigeonhole yourself
Jarryd has been called a "Phenomenal Athlete" on a number of occasions. This doesn't limit him to just being a great NRL or NFL player but provides great opportunities to ensure that all his skills can be used in multiple ways. Not everyone can claim to be a great athlete nor can all entrepreneurs be great at all parts of the business but ensuring that you are able to do all the elements of your business, whether it's sales calls or invoicing.
The lessons to learn
Whatever else you may read about Jarryd's personal decisions; the pressure he would feel to perform and succeed would be immense. Business owners also have an immense pressure to perform for their business success, for their staff and personal goals. Jarryd had not only worked hard to achieve the success he has, he has spent time looking at the future, taking opportunities that are presented to him and, as a result, he also had an opportunity to represent at the next Olympics. Business owners too should go for gold.