Economists are weird dudes by nature. They take data, analyze it, look for trends, and come up with theories about how to best impact a given market. While on the surface they may have absolutely nothing in common with bodybuilders, there is one thing – they both operate in a niche world and view things through a totally different prism than everyone else around them. If we strap on our economist cap, take a step back, and try to analyze some of the data from the business of bodybuilding, we’ll come to the conclusion that it’s all about Capital. Hence, it’s the Business of Bodybuilding. In order to maximize our Capital we need to ask two questions:
- What are we investing?
- What sort of return are we getting on our investment?
Network Capital – While it may have any direct monetary value, in reality, Network Capital may be the most valuable “asset” in your bodybuilding portfolio.
This may come as a shock, but the bodybuilding industry is small – really small. And when you work in a small industry it isn’t necessarily about what you do, but who you know. That makes establishing connections absolutely critical to whether or not you’re able to stick around for the long term. The more people you bring into your Network, and the more “teams” you align yourself with, the more you grow the Capital in your portfolio.
The key word here is Diversification.
Do you know what happens when an investor has too much money tied up in a single stock or fund? An unforeseen shift in the market comes along and wipes them out. In other words, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Try to accrue as much Network Capital as possible, diversify your portfolio by making as many connections as possible, even if they may seem insignificant at the time. You never know when a major shift is on the horizon.
Financial Capital – This one is tricky. While on one hand it’s going to be pretty tough to get someone to invest in you if you aren’t willing to invest in yourself, on the other hand, there are more than enough horror stories circulating around about guys who went broke chasing the dream – and you don’t want to end up as a cautionary tales yourself. So it raises an interesting question – How do you know when enough is enough? Quite simply – You don’t.
There’s no magic formula here. Only common sense. If you take a step back and look at the big picture: Has your pursuit of the game become detrimental to your life, or the lives of those around you? If the answer is yes, or maybe, then it’s time to reevaluate and decide whether or not the negative financial impact coupled with personal loss are more valuable than what you perceive to be waiting for you on the other side. If the answer is no – put your head down and keep on trucking my friend. Life is short, and we only get to live it once.
There’s no remedy in the world that can cure “What if’s”, so relentlessly pursue your passions until you notice the cracks in the foundations. That’s when it’s time to pull out.
Intellectual Capital – Doesn’t it seem like this is something everyone in bodybuilding thinks they have an abundance of? Bodybuilding, maybe more so than any other niche I’ve encountered, is loaded with people who know everything.
Bodybuilding seems to be the breeding ground for the world’s foremost experts on health, training, nutrition, endocrinology, biomechanics, and philosophy. Pretty incredible considering how small the community is in comparison to the rest of the world isn’t it? The truth is, most tend to dramatically overestimate the value of their Intellectual Capital, which dilutes the market as a whole. That’s why there are record numbers of competitors, countless gurus, and an unreal amount of athletes who show up looking like – to put it nicely – dog shit. Because the market of Intellectual Capital has been diluted and the trickledown effect is readily apparent.
Seek out the people real smarts – the ones who aren’t crazy – and try to gain a little bit of insight into what it is that they do differently. The guy who did one show and is now handling clients isn’t who you should be looking to. Instead, look for the person with longevity. The person who’s managed to consistently get results over time without fail. It’s their portfolio you want to study so that you can go on to diversify your own.
Physical Capital – At the end of the day, if you’re looking to break in as an athlete in the bodybuilding industry, you’re going to have to do some talking with your physique. It doesn’t matter how smart you are, how many people you know, or how much money you dump into your career – if you aren’t getting the job done onstage everything else goes out the window. Your job as an athlete is to be on shape. Period.
If you don’t fulfill your end of the deal you can be certain that the people who matter will lose your phone number in a hurry. Conversely, if you’re trying operate on the other side of the industry, your Physical Capital comes by the way of work. Whether you want to be a writer, photographer, guru, or anything else under the bodybuilding sun you’ve got to produce better, and more consistently than any athlete. Athletes can have a rebound performance, but if your write one column that sucks, or send your clients onstage looking like garbage it won’t be long before you slide from barely known into the no-man’s land of irrelevancy alongside the 58,000 people who came before you.
Bodybuilding is a business. And just like any other business, there are no absolute predictors of success. There is no blueprint, no road map, no flashing sign with blinking lights that say “GO THIS WAY”. That’s why it’s important to take the economist approach to the game and study the data, spot the trends, and make a calculated decision based on your findings. While trying to figure out the game as a whole is impossible, compartmentalizing it and breaking it down into workable chucks, or types of investment Capital, will allow you get an idea of where you might be deficient and make some corrections.
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