Life After Poker: How to Transition from Poker Pro to CEO

February 11, 2020

Are you at the end of your poker career and wondering how to start a life after poker? I’ve been in that same river spot, and so have most of my poker buddies, even the ones that are still crushing the online high stakes games.

The question “What to do after poker?” is one that every professional has asked himself, perhaps multiple times during his career, and I’m here to give you some tips from my personal and network’s experiences.

The freedom you’ve enjoyed as a grinder is something that is difficult to replicate, but not entirely impossible. Personally, I decided to become an entrepreneur. But how does one start an online business from home?

It’s actually not that hard, because you have one huge advantage over other startup entrepreneurs, money and access to capital!

If you’re reading this, and you’re low on your bankroll it might not be the best time to change your career. Make sure to grind your bankroll up so you can comfortably get ahead for a year or two before taking the leap into the startup world. 

Even though you can start an online business for free, or almost without any investment, it’s recommended that you can cover your living expenses for a while so you can focus on starting a successful online business without having to take money out of your company while you are focused on growth.

Got that covered? Let’s dive a bit deeper into it.

Keep it simple

A business has a lot of similarities with poker. When you first start, expect to make mistakes. 

Starting out with poker, you didn’t immediately jump into the high stakes games, did you? You started playing at low/micro stakes and grinded yourself up. Some of my friends even have the old success stories of how they played freerolls to build the initial bankroll, all the way up to the nosebleeds.

So when starting in business, don’t start with a complicated idea or business model. Start with a simple idea and make that work first.

If you’d like to find out what good business ideas are for beginners you can check out this piece of 2018 business ideas. I started out with affiliate websites, as that gave me the opportunity to teach me a few things I wanted to learn, which included SEO and WordPress skills.

Find out what you’re good at, and what you lack

Are you a good writer? That’s great for SEO training or business ideas that rely on content.

Do you lean more towards development or data science? Then the fintech space might be something for you.

As a professional poker player, you already have a unique skillset, now you need to find a new way to exploit those skills

Play around with a few different simple ideas to find out what you are good at, where your interest lies or what you’re drawn towards. You’re already familiar with making money online, why not experiment with learning new skills and take the first steps on creating your first online business.

Start Your Life After Poker With These 4 Steps

1. Monetize your idea

After you’ve tried and failed a few things, you can start focusing on monetizing your business. As a poker player, you will most likely have a mindset that is money-driven. Finding the exploits, optimizing your EV and bankroll management are skills that are difficult to develop.

As poker pro’s you have thousands or even millions of decision points that included at least 2 of those skills. One of the few professions that come close to that kind of financial decision experience is traders.

Now it’s time to utilize that skill set for your new business. 

2. Passive income

Create an online business idea that generates you a passive income online. This way you validate that you’ve developed a few skills you’ll need to move up in business stakes. Whether you go into affiliate marketing, dropshipping or content provider you’ll gain the experience you will use in your next venture. It’s kind of like learning how to optimally play pre-flop, before you focus on the turn and river strategies.

Plus, having a passive income stream is very valuable for any business you start after. It reduces cashflow problems, pressure and possible mental leaks that can occur while entering your new venture.

3. Find a co-founder

Even though you might be an Ace, a pair of deuces always beats your high card.

Find a co-founder that has the skills you are lacking. Are you more of a financial guy? But you want to create a platform. It might be time to find yourself a developer as a co-founder. Preferably a non-poker player, as poker players often have overlapping skills. However, it’s always a good move to scout your own network for talent first.

You’re probably eager to get started with a life after poker. But don’t rush this process. If you need to push your idea live on a short timeline because there is too much competition, it might not be the best idea. You should not be in a hurry while starting a new venture, so this process should not be a snap call. Your time bank should be 3-6 months here to find a suitable partner to start the journey of creating a successful online business.

In general, a founding team should consist of 2 or 3 members, with complimentary skill sets. A popular model is the “hacker, hustler, hipster” concept, where 3 founders each have the unique expertise they thrive at. In this case, the hacker is the developer or coder, the hustler is focused on making money and driving traffic and the hipster takes care of the designs and customer journeys. Sounds like a good match right?

4. Get a business advisor

Validate your business idea and financial plans with an advisor with more experience than you. It’s worth the money if you can avoid mistakes. Poker players are more familiar with coaches than any other industry. In my poker career, I’ve used mental coaches, strategy coaches,  lifestyle coaches, pick-up coaches and even data science coaches. There are people with far more experience in the business than yourself, make sure of that. It’s + EV without a doubt.

Start your Life after poker today

Have you been thinking about stopping gambling for a while? And are you eager to start your life after poker?

It’s a tough decision to make, and it took me a few years to finally come to my conclusion and take a leap. Looking back, I’m happy I got the courage to do so. Although I wish I had done so earlier.

If you feel like you’re in a similar situation and want to discuss your options, schedule a call with me through my webshop.

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