Hillard Heintze guest blogger Marques Ogden was drafted into the NFL in 2003 and played for six years for the Jacksonville Jaguars, Baltimore Ravens, Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. He currently lives in Cary, North Carolina with his wife and two daughters. He is a public speaker, motivator, and published author and educates young people across the country on improving their lives and leadership skills.
The NFL: A Strong Start
The NFL provided me with so much – a career, strong relationships, friendships and family. I recently published a book, “Sleepless Nights – The NFL: A Business and Family,” about my childhood, experience in the NFL and how I started a construction company in 2008 and successfully grew it within five years, and then went bankrupt in 90 days.
Growing My Company
My company started out doing concrete and demolition for the first few years of business and I took the company from nothing in 2008 to about $3 million in 2010. In 2010, my business partner and I switched gears and started doing commercial earthwork. The company continued to grow: from $3 million in revenue to almost $12 million in revenue by the spring of 2012. I thought everything was running smoothly, but looking back now, I made several critical mistakes in my business. Although I had a basic background check run on my partner, I didn’t request a more thorough investigative background check on him. I never got references on people that I hired. I grew too quickly. I was underfunded for the scope of work I was performing. And most importantly, I did not truly know my business inside and out like I should have. Unfortunately, that all caught up with me in the summer of 2012.
What I Know Now That I Wished I Knew Then
As an athlete, you’re taught to trust those around you – especially in a team sport like football. Many athletes, myself included, carry this trust with them when they step off the field for the last time.
I learned the hard way. I was not properly set up to handle the catastrophic blow to my business and shortly after completing the project, due to lack of funding and support, I was forced to shut its doors, and file for personal bankruptcy! I lost my home, my cars, my life savings, and everything I worked hard for just because I did not follow some key steps to ensure my business was set up properly! I wish I had contacted Hillard Heintze to vet my business partner. Today, they help former NFL players answer critical questions:
- I have concerns about a possible investment. Is it too good to be true?
- Is my potential business partner legitimate?
- Are there undisclosed issues in the past I should know about before proceeding?
- Should I have doubts about the professional or personal representations made to me by a party seeking an investment?
- Is the venture legally organized and in good standing?
- Has the party soliciting an investment from me been sued by a partner, managed failed investments or been charged or convicted of fraud?
With my experience, my goal is to help inform and educate others who may be placed in similar situations. My book, Sleepless Nights: The NFL: A Business and Family, does just this. The NFL helped restructure and restart my life to get where I am today. I am a happily married man, I have two beautiful daughters, and I am giving back to the community in a variety of different ways!