A Letter from the Founders
People often ask us what it’s like to play professional soccer and run a company on the side. Sometimes it feels more like we run a company and play professional soccer on the side. It can be confusing. So, we thought we would give some insight into what life is like as professional athletes/business owners.
Tiffany: My days living in Denmark right now look like this - I wake up, have breakfast, read, write in my journal, go to the gym for a workout, figure out what we can post on social media (which is daunting), answer emails, have a phone meeting with Ade, divide up some work for the day, training at night, dinner and bed. I usually work between 2-3 hours a day on the company with my full attention.
Adelaide: When I wake up (because of the time change) Tiff has been up for hours….plotting. My first question is usually “how many coffees have you had.” I try to clean up one or two Duktig Brand emails or small problems before I leave for training with the NC Courage. Usually I go home or to a coffee shop after training and that is when I get the majority of my Duktig Brand work done. Duktig Brand work can be anything from customer service, taking/editing photos, making graphics, newsletters, new product design. After a couple of hours I either have a second training session and/or I have coaching at night. I do some work in the evenings but that is generally the time that I have for reading/writing/watching Game of Thrones. I will note that as professional soccer players the “work week” isn’t a thing (as I’m sure is true for coaches as well). We attempt not to do any work on Game Day, but any other time of the day or week is fair game.
Tiffany: The most important part of the company for us is the ability to do it from anywhere. We are both very focused on our soccer careers and have not made any decisions based on the company. Soccer is first. The company is second. We are lucky to have Bobby involved to ship orders when we are unavailable. He has done an extremely awesome job with the logos and stepping in for us when we need him. Our hope is to get him full-time one day. And as of now, it’s just the three of us.
Adelaide: I think setting our priorities has been really important because sometimes it is difficult to keep an eye on what you are truly prioritizing in life. It’s so easy to make decisions on a whim or to satisfy a basic need like money haha and it’s hard to stay on track in the bigger picture. Having a clear understanding of what comes first is important because when everything is hitting the fan you have to know what to clean up first and stick to the plan.
Tiffany: It’s actually refreshing sometimes. I used to dwell on performances. Good and bad. I got really high and really low. After games, I wouldn’t know what to do with myself. I think it was because soccer consumed every fiber in my body. It wasn’t healthy. Now, regardless of my performance, I have something else to work on and something else that needs my attention away from the game. I can come home after a game, eat a meal, take a shower and sit down at my computer and make the day right if it was bad. And make it even out a little if it was good.
Adelaide: It’s a tough balance. I agree that it’s nice to have something else to focus on when things aren’t going my way on the field. But it’s also difficult not to take it with me. When bills are due or something isn’t selling the way it should, it’s hard to put it aside. On the other hand, when things are tough all around all it takes to turn my day around is to see someone using our products.
Tiffany: I really like being in the soccer community more than I was when I was just a player and a part-time coach. I feel like I can understand now more of the ups and downs that coaches and players have at all levels and not just at the levels I was working at. It’s important as a company to understand that there are thousands of different types of people working in thousands of different types of conditions when it comes to the beautiful game. It makes you appreciate playing at the highest level and wanting to help improve areas of the game in other places.
Adelaide: We are all kind of in our little bubbles within the soccer world. We are working within our team or our club and we are just consumed with the successes and failures day to day. That was/is certainly true for me. I never really got a sense for the bigger soccer community until we started Duktig Brand. Meeting coaches from all different geographical locations from all different levels has been eye-opening. Duktig Brand FC has maybe been the most rewarding part of this whole thing. I’ve always been on a team since I was 5 years old running around on Sunday mornings. I love the feeling of being part of something bigger than myself, being surrounded by people who are there to push me to be better, support me when I’m down and work towards a common goal. I know it is a different kind of team, but there are still many similarities.
Tiffany: I often have conversations with people about how long I want to play for. If I’ll go full-time with Duktig Brand. I guess full-time with Duktig Brand means I’m not playing professional soccer anymore. As in, I’m not getting paid to play. Because I will play soccer for as long as I can stand on my own two legs and kick a ball through someone else’s legs. The key to life is doing what you love for as long as you can and doing things on the side that make it possible to do what you love. I hope to play, to coach, to build Duktig Brand and to write and to just live a life full of all the things that make me feel alive, while helping others do the same.
Adelaide: I think there is this line that is drawn by people no matter what age you are. Something is a career or it’s not a career. That is certainly the case with women’s professional soccer. People want to know the plan, ask when you’re going to retire, ask what you’ll do after, want to know how much you get paid. It’s the same when you have a small business. People want to know exactly what you think you’re doing. And that just isn’t how we’ve lived our lives. We started this because we saw a need and we enjoy trying to fill the needs of the soccer community. Just as we enjoy playing. And I think we’ve had so much practice piecing together the money we need to survive that having one career isn’t the end all be all right now. I’ve never had just one job and I’ve done some very strange things to pay for food and health insurance. So whether I’m making a living at one “career” at any given time doesn’t matter so much.
Tiffany: As a serial entrepreneur who can’t spell the word entrepreneur without spell check, I am certain that as a pro female pro athlete, at least for now, it’s important to start preparing for life after soccer while you’re playing. I give this advice out once a week. It’s important to have an idea and some groundwork done for when you stop getting paid to play. The unfortunate thing for some is that it can end any day any time. Injuries, coaches cutting you, age or other circumstances make for a short career. The more you can do to prepare for your life after soccer the better your transition will be from being a pro athlete to being whatever is next for you.
Adelaide: I also think you don’t know whether you’ll like something until you try it. So the more things you try the better. If you have to start over, it’s not the end of the world.
Tiffany: The best part of the company for me is seeing people getting actual use out of the products we create. When I played with the Boston Breakers I watched Matt Beard using his notebook at half time and thought holy shit, that is mine. He’s using something I created. And I’ve had that experience time and time again. Like wow, it’s actually useful. They didn’t purchase one because they know me, they purchased one because they use it. When people support us by buying our products, especially our friends and family, there’s a deeper meaning of the word support. It means they’re contributing to our livelihood and the future success of the company. It’s an overwhelming emotion. It’s much more than support in the sense that we usually know it as.
Adelaide: Absolutely. There are moments when I see someone post a picture of a bunch of well-used Session Cards and I feel giddy. I know it isn’t curing cancer and I know the coaches on the ground are the ones changing lives, but I feel like I’ve left a tiny mark on this world. And I think that’s what we all want in the end.
Adelaide: One of the toughest things for us is keeping our new products a secret. There can be quite some lead time on the things that we are doing and we want to announce them right away. And by we I mean Tiff.
Tiffany: We are really excited for what we have coming up in May so be on the lookout. There’s some new products, new materials, a position-specific notebook, another notebook/book package from a new author, and even more ways to rep the brand.
If you have any questions you’d like us to answer, we can do that on Twitter or anywhere you’d like to reach out to us. Our emails are email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org. We love hearing from you.