The 2019 NFLPA Contract Advisors exam is less than three weeks away, and we’re hard at work helping dozens of would-be agents get ready for a pretty challenging test by using our exam prep materials. Still, the exam itself is just the first challenge our clients face.

We do extensive interviews with the rookie agents we worked with to find out what they learned from Year 1. However, this year, we decided to look at the issue from the other side, so we asked several prospective 2019 agents this question: What do you expect will be your biggest obstacle in Year 1? What do you see as the greatest hurdle you will face as a rookie agent, presuming you pass the exam?

This is actually a continuation of the report we filed in last week’s Friday Wrap; you can read it here. But because there were so many responses with different points, we thought we’d include a selection of them here:

  • “Transferring all the new information from knowledge to experience (will be the biggest obstacle). It’s never as black and white as it is on paper. (Also,) being a woman entering into a male-dominated industry (and) going at it without a big brand name machine to rely on. But I am a former hurdler, and I always ran strong races and pulled off upsets. I’m prepared for this hurdle race, too.”
  • “I appreciate that representing players in the NFL is a complex and nuanced endeavor. It will take time for me to recognize and understand much of the intricacy involved in the business.  There is no substitute for experience, so patience and diligence will be key for me. . . I anticipate that it will be challenging to begin the process of developing a rapport with team representatives, players and other agents that will be essential for me to attract and effectively represent players. In addition to continuing to learn the business, I will immediately begin initiating and fostering relationships.”
  • “From what I understand, (1) a majority of the players are represented by a select few agents or agencies, and (2) many players’ first question when you approach them is, ‘who else do you represent?’ Having said that, I believe the greatest hurdle is going to be procuring my first client. I am likely going to have to find a player who is willing to take chance on a rookie agent, or I will have to find a ‘diamond in the rough’ . . . and find a player who is under the radar and doesn’t have the big agents recruiting him.”
  • “I think the biggest obstacle in Year 1 will be learning the process: getting to different universities, meeting with clients, which events to attend, and putting that all together to maximize your impact and gain new clients.  Presuming I pass the exam, I see the greatest hurdle as a rookie free agent is gaining client #1 (and) building trust and rapport for that initial person to take a chance on a rookie agent.”
  • “I believe that the biggest hurdle I will face is being a first-year agent trying to attract quality clients without representing anyone currently. We are in a time where people are sold on what you have already accomplished, so the ice-breaker is being able to establish that connection and prove my competency.”
  • “The biggest obstacle will be connecting with an agency or getting my first initial client. (The) greatest hurdle will be the cost factor down the line when it comes to the clients training.”
  • “I think the biggest obstacle is going to be breaking into an area that is top-heavy.  In other words, there are a handful of agencies that represent a majority of the available players; at least, that is my perception. While there are still clients to be had, I think it is going to be challenging to establish those connections and relationships in order to position myself to land my first client. Although I have a football background, athlete representation will be new to me, so it will take some work to establish credibility once those connections and relationships are established.”
  • “(The biggest obstacle will be) answering the question from prospective clients, who you got? (Also,) funding.”
  • “I think it would be expected for me to say being a female agent would be an obstacle, but I don’t see that as an obstacle whatsoever (even though the number of female agents have decreased). I personally think my biggest obstacle will be something I can’t pinpoint right now, but probably something that catches me off guard. I’ve been lucky to have some really great NFL agent mentors/friends who’ve given me their ‘rookie’ stories (the good and the bad) so I feel pretty confident. I will say, most likely, spending a lot of time recruiting a player for them to go a different direction probably will be one of those ‘unexpected hurdles’ I encounter that hits me a certain way Year 1.”

We’ll continue to look at the 2019 NFL agent exam from all angles this week, so stay tuned.