"Athletes are the healthiest people on the planet," says former NFL wide receiver Brandon Marshall. "People need to look to us and we need to lead the industry."
After leaving the NFL, Marshall founded the I Am Athlete media network and the Athlete House fitness center. Today it announced a digital expansion of its facility with HOA+, a fitness app that brings home the instruction and workouts athletes can find at HOA gyms. (The monthly price is $39.99 for access to expert coaching and daily lessons, and $149.99 for one-on-one live personal training.)
The entrepreneur turned to Marshall for advice on starting a business and for anyone starting their entrepreneurial journey.
Please give us an elevator speech for the athlete home. How is it different from other fitness companies?
House of Athlete is a healthy lifestyle brand. We aim to (re)define the term "athlete" by providing access to philosophies and styles usually reserved only for Tom Bradys or Serena Williams. Our Five Pillars – Exercise, Supply, Recovery, Hard Work and Psychological Preparation – guide everything we do. That's why we're excited to bring what our members love about HOA to more athletes around the world through HOA+.
What is the shining moment to start a hangout on air?
This is not a moment of enlightenment so much as a journey. I spent 13 seasons in the NFL surrounded by the healthiest people in the world. During this time, my experience incorporating and adapting everything from exercise to nutrition to mental health has truly enabled me to perform at my highest level and achieve my goals. HOA, and now HOA+, offer the same option to the masses.
Related: Watch Brandon Marshall make a struggling entrepreneur's dream come true
What is your "why"?
mental fitness. It is the cornerstone of everything we do at HOA. In fact, our entire company shuts down for an entire week in October during Mental Illness Week so our team can start over. By prioritizing the mental health of my team, they can do more to help my athletes. With HOA+, we like to offer mental fitness classes as part of our platform.
What was the biggest challenge for you and how did you overcome it?
In 2011, I discovered that I had been diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD). I spent three months in an outpatient program at McLean Hospital doing mental health treatment, which included dialectical behavior therapy, psychotherapy, and self-esteem. It was intense! But really amazing. I learned coping and self-regulation skills and tools. It's been an incredible journey since then. Today, I feel fortunate to be able to empower other athletes to share their stories and help demystify mental illness.
What does the word "entrepreneur" mean to you?
To me, "entrepreneur" and "athlete" are something like synonyms. I try to keep things simple. It's about culture, production and results.
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What do many aspiring business owners need and don't need?
Formal business training. Entrepreneurship is more about courage and vision than anything else. Every day you have to push yourself and lead for your team, most of whom are unwilling to go above and beyond to get there.
How would you describe your leadership style at work? Is this different from your NFL days?
They all look the same. I am certainly a dreamer and a believer in great ideas, but I also find it important to be consistent and go to work every day to do my job. I put the team first, surrounded by like-minded people who are as committed to our vision as I am. Work, like sport, is complex and there are no easy ways.
Is there a particular quote or saying that you use for personal motivation?
"Don't tell me I can't, tell me how I can." Staying confident and motivated pays off. You'll find that our coaches at HOA+ are genuine and bring a level of authenticity that inspires action.