NFL Player to Entrepreneur How One Pro Athlete Made the Jump

NFL Player to Entrepreneur: How One Pro Athlete Made the Jump

On the field, training and hustle launched Sean Dykes’ professional football career. After the kickoff, an executed game plan made the difference between a win and loss. Today, Dykes is using those very same qualities; training, hustle, and execution, but on a different playing field; being an entrepreneur.

Dykes, who was affiliated with teams such as the San Diego Chargers and the New York Jets before retiring from the NFL, is the owner of SRD Bodyguard Services, a Florida-based company that provides event security, personal protection, executive transportation, and private investigation. He’s also a certified recovery coach and interventionist.

Before launching his business, Dykes lined up the training required to do the job right, including earning a dozen private security–related licenses and certifications. Now, he said, when he’s working a job, success comes only with preparation.

“It’s a game plan. There’s a massive amount of planning and strategy that goes into what you’re doing. There’s a definite parallel between football and business.”

Here are four ways Dykes’ experience on the field, and in life, helped him turn from professional football player to successful business owner.

Keep Up the Drive

Born in New Orleans’ crime-infested 7th Ward and growing up without his father, Dykes found a role model in his hardworking grandfather. From him, he learned the value of teamwork and gained an uncompromising work ethic and drive, qualities that eventually helped him build his NFL career.

That drive came in handy again two years ago, when Dykes faced another hurdle: a brain tumor and the surgery to remove it. But instead of setting him back, that experience spurred him to satisfy another life goal: business ownership.

“I thought, 'This is it. Either I’m going to do this now or I’m not going to get it done.’ I’m a big man of faith. I believe in God. And I had to step out on faith and do it.”

Get Educated

It took years, and some stumbles, before Dykes signed his first NFL contract with the San Diego Chargers. As a kid, he played on a peewee football team. After high school, he played for a community college before accepting a full scholarship to Bowling Green State University. After graduating and losing out to another player in the draft, he signed as a free agent with San Diego.

Every step of the way, Dykes honed his football skills; running drills, lifting weights, and learning the strategy behind the game.

As the owner of a security company, pure muscle isn’t the only thing required to get the job done. "Business ownership requires the same level of training as football," Dykes said.

Dykes’ certifications give him the expertise on topics that include international executive protection and advanced tactical training, along with the required licenses for Florida-based security businesses.

And he’s not done. Dykes continues to build his skills. He’s currently involved in an internship to earn a license to expand his bodyguard work.

“I’m doing everything I can to be prepared and keep myself ready for when the opportunity comes.”

Be Ready to Adjust

As a football player, life didn’t always take Dykes to familiar settings. After growing up in humid New Orleans, football took him to dry Arizona, snowy Ohio, and sunny San Diego. Each time, he adjusted and found ways to excel.

In business, Dykes also is prepared to adjust, depending on what his clients need. Not only does he offer protection and bodyguard services through his business, but Dykes also supports those struggling with addiction.

As a Certified Recovery Coach, Dykes helps clients stay sober after a stint in rehab. In his work as an interventionist, Dykes receives calls from clients who need help for their loved ones as soon as possible.

“I’ve got a lot going on, a lot of irons on the fire.”

Don’t Forget “Signing Day”

Signing day for a business might not have the bells, whistles and TV coverage dedicated to college football’s national signing day, but it might be more important.

When it was time for Dykes to get serious about his business, he got his paperwork in order. Through a program with Pro Football Legends, the commercial marketing arm of the NFL Alumni Association, Dykes recently formed a limited liability company for his business through BizFilings.

“Everything I do affects somebody’s life, whether it’s working as a bodyguard or a recovery coach. It’s an awesome responsibility. Their very life could be in my hands if I don’t perform my job well. I take it very seriously. The LLC gives me that peace of mind. I wanted to protect myself.”

Once he signed those LLC papers and filed them with the proper state agency, Dykes gained personal liability protection. The LLC now owns the business, not Dykes personally. If something does go wrong, creditors can’t go after his personal assets to pay off business debts. The LLC is liable for its own debts.

Forming an entity also means that a professional registered agent can be appointed to make sure that if creditors do sue, the company will receive timely notification. A good, full-service professional registered agent can also help make sure business owners get — and maintain — all their business licenses.

A formal business formation is something Dykes’ clients, often business executives and celebrities, look out for, too. It adds to his credibility.

“It makes the client feel good knowing that you’ve taken care of your part, too. It says you’re a legitimate company. You’ve done all you can to protect yourself and them.”

Dykes has plenty of dreams and goals for his business. And with his hustle, training, and preparation, he’s on his way to accomplishing them all.