For anyone that’s good at career multi-tasking or combining a range of different passions, a dual-career, or portfolio career, is a fantastic idea. And for a lot of female sport-stars it’s a totally necessary way of life – yep, they actually manage two careers at once.
Excitingly, we’ve arranged an insight day in October with Women’s England Rugby where you learn how to work smarter, harder and stand out in your field. It’s in Loughborough and is a day of top talks, insight and rugby skills and drills with players and coaches. You can sign up here!
But if you can’t make it, check our feature below from when we caught up with theWomen’s England Rugby team at Accelerate 2018 at Twickenham Stadium.
It was a top event from O2 Business about obtaining and build entrepreneurial skills where we learned that every single one of the team has a second career besides playing for England. Remind us never to complain again to our boss about having too many emails…
We spoke to three of the players to find out how the heck they manage to balance professional sports careers with other business interests in the hope that we can get a bit better at balancing our own workloads. Read on to discover their tips.
Rachael Burford: “We lost the world cup but that one game doesn’t define me. The backing that the RFU and O2 give us is very important”
Rachael first picked up a ball at six years old and comes from a rugby family background. In April 2016 she became the first female professional player on the RPA players’ board, and in 2009 and 2013 she took part in the famous Sevens World Rugby Cups. Rachael’s major influence on the game was recognised when she won the International Rugby Players’ Association merit award in 2017, and she’s also taken a course in Counselling Studies at Medway College, too. Amazingly, Rachael also finds the time to run her own business called the Burford Academy, which is the first female rugby academy for all ages and which provides a platform for players to develop both their personal and rugby skills. Rachael said she started her business to “give young girls a big opportunity to improve their sports skills and give something back to the rugby community” and added that she manages it in between her sport commitments. “Every player has a career outside of rugby” she said, “but every player is very committed to being the very best for England, whether it’s getting up before work or after work to train”.
With so much going on Rachael’s been forced to get disciplined when it comes to dividing her time. “The biggest challenge for me is time commitment, but now I don’t play as much rugby it’s easier to commit more time to the business and be flexible when I schedule meetings and other work,” she said. “It’s difficult when it’s rugby competition time as I do need to focus on that a bit more, but now I have a few people that I’ve employed so that means I’m on top of everything.”
Her top tip to young entrepreneurs trying to get ideas off the ground? Believe in yourself. She said “I thought I needed someone to show me how to be confident and give me that self-belief. I didn’t need that help in the end – I had it within me. It’s about having the confidence in yourself. And don’t be afraid to fail!”
Rowena Burnfield: “I work on my family’s organic dairy farm as well as playing for England.”
started playing for England in 2008 and was also signed by Richmond FC in 2013. Alongside her sports career she works on her family’s dairy farm in Hampshire but understands the importance of giving her all in whatever she’s tasked with doing. “I apply the same work ethic with rugby and farm” she said. “I work with animals and ultimately the animal comes first when I’m working there and when it’s for England, rugby comes first in what we do. It’s about keeping perspective in everything in order to help stay focused.”
Rowena also noted the importance of measuring your accountability when it comes to work. “I am accountable to myself and my teammates. Sport is peer led so ultimately you don’t want to do a disservice to players and coaches” she said. I always keep in mind that I’m accountable to England – if we miss a session, or a personal training session, we are behind the curve and we don’t perform. Similarly on grass farming, if you don’t turn up to work the cows don’t get fed! Then we don’t get profit margin we want.” Makes sense! With so much time to divide it’s a wonder Rowena gets to chill out at all, but she told us she likes to switch off by getting to a space where she “doesn’t have to think too much” whether that’s by reading or watching TV.
Marlie Packer: “We have early morning training sessions before our other work!”
Rugby player Marlie has played for Wasps, Bristol and Saracens Women – among other teams. The flanker also played in every Six Nations game in 2017 and started her rugby career at just five years old. (Phew). In her spare time, Marlie works as a plumber in Bristol where she’s based and says she constantly tries to keep her “desire to be the best” in her mind, no matter what work she needs to do. So how does Marlie stay motivated on the pitch and in her plumbing role? She told us playing for England is often enough of a drive to spur her on, but that it can be a challenge to balance it all. “We have to do those early morning training sessions before work, then put in some hard training on your own too, but I keep in the back of my head ‘get through this session and we’ll reap the rewards in the future.’”
Marlie also advised that setting realistic goals is the key to staying focused, too. “You might have dreams of playing in a huge tournament, but actually your goal for one day might be to get two high intensity training sessions in and to have a good dinner! That might sound silly but those are the kinds of goals I set for me on a typical day. Being organised and prepping my food is the worst thing for me as I’m a plumber and I’m out and about on my own, so when it’s a horrible day I want hot food but you’ve got nowhere to heat it up and it’s quite easy to go to a fast food restaurant but you have to be diligent.”
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