Part II of this inside look at the life of a monstrously successful sports professional delves into the professional side of the industry. It complements the first part of the interview that focused on the athlete. For a quick recap, throughout her 11-year career as a real estate investment advisor to the All-Stars, the one thing Tanya has found professional athletes lacking above all else is education. She and her company, TEAM Investments, aim to not only generate wealth for athletes, but also to educate athletes so they do not blow through all of their income. She clearly has the experience (advising Donovan McNabb and JaMarcus Russel, amongst many others) and the desire to not only make everyone money, but to make them smarter and more independent from their team of advisors.
Part 2: Tanya Marchiol, TEAM Investments
AA: Being a former athlete, how has that fueled your career? What skills and characteristics have you found most useful?
Marchiol: “I learned everything that I’m doing today through volleyball. When I was playing, if practice was two hours, I was in the gym and working out for an hour after practice just doing approach jumps and block jumps with Strength Shoes on. Everything I learned, I learned through athletics. Teamwork. I learned how to negotiate a deal. And the two things I tell my team all the time is that it’s who you know and how you problem solve. Sports really gives you that advantage because you’re always problem solving. In volleyball, ‘if I hit down the line is she there?’ I need to make the decision to hit it the other way. In football, you’re looking to see whose where. And then it’s being trained to do more. It's standing in a position where people want to know who you are and how you handle yourself. I just think athletics is so important for our youth because it taught me so much about what I know today.”
AA: Do you feel you have an advantage over other brokers who do not have an athletic background?
Marchiol: “I absolutely feel like that. In the sense that I know the lull after the game. I know how hard it is to go from thinking that you’re something and somebody, to realizing that you’re just like everybody else and you need to do something for yourself. And if you want to get back to that level, what are you going to do? How are you going to handle yourself? I think that being since I was at that caliber of athletics, I understand the mentality of what goes on. I know I can do things that other people who haven’t been in that position can’t do.”
AA: Do you also handle everyday people and families or do you just work with professional athletes?
Marchiol: “No, we handle everybody and anybody and really anyone who wants to educate themselves financially. I wrote a book called "The Prosperity Principles" and it really is about 5 principles:
1. make wise decisions
2. run your life like a business
3. always create cash flow
4. lead your wealth, know where your money is
5. change your mindset, so money does grow on trees
It’s for anybody, not just athletes. Those are the things I really preach. And obviously the first one is the most important. ‘How do you make a wise decision?’ You need to do your due diligence; you need to educate yourself on the situation and who you are getting involved with. I make my clients laugh when I tell them, ‘Know who you’re getting into bed with.’ Whether it’s in business or personal relationships, you need to be making wise decisions because those decisions will follow you the rest of your life.”
AA: What’s the major difference you’ve found between working with people with careers outside of sports and professional athletes?
Marchiol: “Honestly, I think a lot of people who are outside of sports take more time to do more research and due diligence. They want to know where their money is. It hasn’t been given in such a large, bulk sum. I don’t think an athlete’s money is [just] given to them because I know how hard I worked; by all means it is a job and a career and something you worked hard for your entire life. But you get one large sum of money at [an early] point in your life, whereas someone like me, get[s] money all the time. So I need to be able to spread that out and do the right thing with it. Whereas an athlete may get the $20 million up front and if you lose $1 million you don’t realize that that is still a big deal.”
AA: So you think the everyday people care more?
Marchiol: “Maybe feel it more. The losses and gains are felt more.”
AA: And that’s your job to come in and get the athlete to care about their money.
Marchiol: “Exactly, not just care about it, but know how to create more of it. I don’t care if they are making $150,000 or $150,000,000, there is a way to make more.”
AA: As we all know, athletes are always traveling and have practice and generally hectic lives, as well as not being in close proximity to you. How do you go about doing business with them? How has technology really helped you achieve this?
Marchiol: “Well what’s crazy is that I do a lot via text. And that sounds so crazy, but honestly to get them to meet with me, you end up doing a lot via text just to get them pinned down.
And, with my football guys, I know that they’re off on Tuesdays. No matter what, they’re off on Tuesdays. If they win or lose they might be off on Monday, but they’re always off on Tuesdays. So if I want to get something done, I know I need to schedule my football guys on Tuesdays. Or in the off-season if they’re having a charity event, I know that I can get an hour of their time during the charity event or whatever the case may be.
It’s really just knowing your clients and what’s going on. Basketball and baseball are a little different and you need to look where your guys are having off-days. What’s their schedule? I know, that a lot of my basketball players like to take naps during the day, and I gotta know not to call during those times. It’s honestly knowing your clients.”
AA: You’ve said in your blog at TIDaily that you spend 300 days a year traveling, does that ever take a toll on you?
Marchiol: “It definitely does, and I think my personal goals definitely superseded things that I want to say a normal female would want. A family and a husband definitely takes a back seat to my business and I think it’s really making that decision as to what you want in life.
A big part of being able to do what I do is having really amazing people around me. So yeah, my personal life totally doesn’t exist. But, honestly, I get to do really fun things. I get to do the Super Bowl or NBA All-Star games or things that others probably don’t get a chance to do and that’s kind of when I get to let loose a little bit.”
AA: Do you find the concerns with unethical behavior in the sports world to be a problem in your particular industry?
Marchiol: “Oh, horrible. I think that my industry is, I don’t want to say one of the worst, but it’s definitely up there. Because the thing about my industry too is that #1 it’s unregulated and #2, until recently everyone and their brother was a real estate agent. So you were buying anything from anyone. #3 how many people really know how to read a HUD statement and know what it is? So I think there are fees tacked on and things your client wouldn’t see no matter how much they trust you. I’ve looked over people’s HUDs (editor's note: HUD stands for Housing and Urban Development and the HUD statement is a document used in a real estate transaction) and I’ve been like, ‘You realize they’re making $96,000 off you, it’s a 3% commission and you’re buying a $500,000 house. Hello? Where do you think this other money is from?’ But who would know that if you didn’t know the industry? So I think that my industry is terrible as far as that sense goes. And I think that’s why it’s so important to ensure your attorney or myself or someone you know who knows the industry and that you trust looks over your deal.”
AA: How do you go about meeting with a potential client and persuading them that you’re not going to cheat them out of money? That you’re not going to be that person they have been hearing about and avoiding?
Marchiol: “Number 1 I think it’s the relationship with the people he’s already in with, like the financial advisors or agents. So number 1 I’m usually recommended from someone. Number 2, again it goes back to the education process because I can educate you on what it should be and I’ll show you what it shouldn’t be so then when it’s wrong you can see it. If I’m telling you I make 3% on your house and somehow I come out making 8% you know that there’s a problem. And you know a lot of times they don’t care, they just want their house and that’s all they want. But they need to care and that’s where the education comes in. You should be looking at my commission because somebody’s paying it. And really, bottom line is the seller usually pays the buyer’s commission. It’s ultimately coming out of your pocket so you should be looking at that stuff.”
AA: You’re way around that is to open up your books and become transparent.
Marchiol: “Totally, totally. And I don’t need to do just one deal with you. I want to do tons of deals with you because you understand I’m there for you.”
AA: With the recent news of Mark Cuban being charged with insider trading, do you feel that you as a top businesswoman in two industries, real estate and sports, are more closely monitored? That you have to prove yourself innocent?
Marchiol: “Absolutely, and even more so being a female because I’m with males all day long. People are like, ‘Hmm, what is she doing?’ So I think you definitely are and this is one of the reasons I am so transparent. And you know it’s not just in my business life, it’s kind of come into my personal life as well because you end up having these people as friends. They see your day-to-day life and you get those phone calls at 11 o’clock at night that somebody wouldn’t understand. And it really is business and you HAVE to be transparent and especially being a female in this industry.”
AA: If you could change one thing about the industry, what would it be?
Marchiol: “I hate to put more rules and regulations on anything, so again what I would recommend is educate more. Require certain, I don’t know if you wanna say classes or seminars, whatever you want to call it, so they [buyers] know what they’re dealing with. Because you really don’t know what you’re dealing with when buying a house. ‘Ooo, I like that one, get it for me!’ That’s really the conversation so there isn’t a lot of negotiation process that the guys are involved with. So if you educated them on what that is, if you educated them on what the commission should be, if you educated them on where I make my money, where they make their money, how much it should be, then you don’t need to regulate as much because they are educated.”
AA: Some sports have rookie symposiums and seminars, would you like to see your proposed seminars get added to them?
Marchiol: “I would, and not only that I would actually like to see some things changed so that it is more educational and not so political. I do think that rookie symposiums help and it’s crucial that the guys go to it. The things they teach are awesome, but I would like to see more financial education. And not just financial advisors, you know money market guys. Pull the real estate industry into that because there is so much money being made in the real estate industry. Pull a business guy in... pull a franchise guy in, and talk to them about that. And there are some really good groups out there right now that have asked me to speak to their guys, and I have actually done that. Iron Mountain Sports is one of them. I speak to all of their clients three times a year. And they have different clients come in and they put on seminars and I go out and talk to them, and it is awesome. Pro Athletes Only does a huge education seminar, but the guys have to opt into those, it’s not mandatory by any means.”
AA: Do you feel it would be beneficial to have periodic seminars where the league flies in analysts?
Marchiol: “I do…And then give them some type of credit for it because no one wants to do something because they have to. But if it went towards a degree or it went towards something, I think [the response] would be very different.”
AA: Do you have any advice you would like to give young, aspiring athletes or sports reps?
Marchiol: “Make wise decisions and educate. Being able to teach someone how to create generational wealth is critical. Make money with your money while you are playing so when you are done you can maintain your same lifestyle. Everybody wants to know how to make money so I just don’t think it would be that hard if it were put together properly.”
On behalf of Access Athletes, we thank Tanya for taking the time to participate in this interview. If you have any questions or comments for Tanya, email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll pass them along to her.