The Athlete Entrepreneur

J.R. Tolver | NCAA All-American and NFL Veteran on Finding Purpose, Serial Entrepreneurship, & the Pitfalls of Chasing Money

October 21, 2021 Greg Spillane
The Athlete Entrepreneur
J.R. Tolver | NCAA All-American and NFL Veteran on Finding Purpose, Serial Entrepreneurship, & the Pitfalls of Chasing Money
Show Notes Transcript

This episode of The Athlete Entrepreneur features J.R. Tolver

J.R. is the epitome of any entrepreneur. He has gone on and founded a number of companies and organizations and serves on several boards. Along with running his business ventures, JR is also a sports analyst doing pre-game and post-game with iHeartMedia. In this episode, we talk about a variety of topics including his transition from the NFL into business, the pitfalls of chasing money, the importance of finding "Your Why" in life, and how he balances family and all his entrepreneurial ventures. Without further ado, here is JR Tolver. 

If you prefer to read the conversation, you can find the full text here.

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Greg Spillane:

Welcome to the athlete entrepreneur. I'm your host, Greg Spillane. This is the podcast that brings you real success stories and insights from former elite athletes who have gone on and are now crushing it as startup founders, innovators, operators and business leaders, we dive into the traits and habits that lead to high performance on the field and how they are carried forward to the boardroom. Whether you are a professional athlete looking to transition to the business world, or an entrepreneur looking to hone your craft, we're going to dive deep to find the tools, tactics and tricks that you can use to reach your goals. In this episode, we have one of my favorite people. Jr. Tolbert, Jr. had a ridiculous college career at San Diego State University, leading the nation in receiving in 2003. Check out these numbers his senior year yet 128 receptions for 1700 plus yards and scored 13 touchdowns. It earned him all American honors, and led to him being drafted by the Miami Dolphins. He also spent time with the Dallas Cowboys and the Carolina Panthers before starting his business career, Jr is the epitome of an entrepreneur. He has gone on and founded a number of companies and organizations currently serves on several boards, along with running his business ventures, Jr. is also a sports analysts doing pregame and postgame iheartmedia In this episode, we talked about a variety of topics, including this transition from the NFL into business, the pitfalls of chasing money, the importance of finding your why and how we balance his family and all his entrepreneurial ventures. Without further ado, here is jr tober. Jr, welcome to the show.

J.R. Tolver:

Thanks for having me, man.

Greg Spillane:

You know for those people out there who may not know who you are, know everything that you've done, maybe take a minute or two and just kind of go through your background and you know how you got to where you got to today?

J.R. Tolver:

Yeah, so um, so I'm from San Diego, actually grew up in Louisiana moved to San Diego when I was 12. I played high school football at Mira Mesa College football at San Diego State was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in 2003. So play the National Football League for four years. Two years for the dolphins two years for the Cowboys played six years total a year in Canada a year for arena. And then I became a head football coach and athletic director at a small private school in Newport Beach. Did that for six years. But I graduated with a business degree. So I always knew when I got done playing football that I wanted to be a businessman be an entrepreneurship. So right around the same time I got the job as the head football coach at the private school. I also started my first company and left the private school in 2015. And I've been in full blown entrepreneurship since so.

Greg Spillane:

So I know you went to Mira Mesa high school had a really great career there. But you were a quarterback right? Yep. So how was that? How did you? How'd you make that transition from quarterback to wide receiver?

J.R. Tolver:

You know, so in Pop Warner, I played running back. And then when I moved to California, Marcus Brady, who's now a coach for the Indianapolis Colts, had just left the Pop Warner team that I joined to go play High School ball. And the coaches were like, Oh, you remind us a lot of Marcus Brady, can you throw the ball? And I never played quarterback before that, but my dad was a quarterback. So you know, I was very intrigued by it and kind of jumped in and started playing quarterback and you know, there's a lot of different aspects to quarterback that aren't, you know, that don't follow other positions, right? The leadership role, the having to be accountable for everybody else, not just yourself, having to play well. And in order to earn the respect of your teammates having to be tough. There was just a lot of things incorporated into play in that position that I gravitated towards so I ended up playing wide receiver in college. But yeah, the quarterback position in high school is definitely something that shaped the way that I approached. Work at the again leadership had a lot to do with me play in that position.

Greg Spillane:

So where does that come from? Right. You're 1617 years old. You're in high school. You're the quarterback, the de facto leader. I think you nailed it. You're exactly right. Those are so the 10 traits you need to exhibit. Where does that come from? Is that was that innate with you? Is that from your family? Is that from your coaches?

J.R. Tolver:

Um, so I think it's it's assumed that the quarterback will be the leader of the team. I think the person in that position determines whether that is assumption is correct or not. And for me, you know, I've never had an issue with the leadership role. And so when I was put into that position, and not only that I want to be a good quarterback on the field. But I want to be considered a good quarterback. I mean, all the great quarterbacks are considered great leaders. If you look at Tom Brady and Peyton Manning, if you look at some of the guys who aren't considered a great quarterback, a lot of that is tied back to their ability to lead or not lead the football team. So for me, I just wanted to be a great quarterback. And I knew that that meant not only performing well on the field, but being a leader of the team, and all the things that came with that is something that you know, it was it was a dual. Joe's a dual dual need there.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, no, so sure, recruited by a lot of different programs decided to stay close to home San Diego State, what was that was about that decision.

J.R. Tolver:

So when I was getting recruited, I actually didn't get recruited by a ton of schools. I got recruited by the military academies to continue to play quarterback, I play quarterback at a time where if you were an athletic quarterback, one or two things happen. You ran the option in college. That was at the time when Nebraska was running the option like crazy and all of the military academies, or you switch positions. You know, today's day and age with guys like Lamar Jackson, I mean, they run the RPO they're just a little bit more creative with how to use a athletic quarterback. In my day it was you either go run the option, or you switch positions. And because I always felt I was a football player first and foremost. when the opportunity came to make a choice, I decided to stay home and San Diego State switch to wide receiver and one of the best decisions I've ever I ever could have made.

Greg Spillane:

So I know a lot of the military academies Navy army, they do run the option where you've been recruited to go out there and play quarterback.

J.R. Tolver:

Yep, exactly. So I got offered by Army and Air Force Navy kind of came in in the final hour. But you know about my goal since I was six years old was to play in the National Football League. So when I took the opportunity at San Diego State to be a wide receiver, one of the things that I had at the forefront of my brain which is kind of crazy if you look back on it now was the ability to make it to the National Football League. It's harder to do that through the service academies just because of the way the programs are structured. So I decided to you know, stay home and play at San Diego State to give myself the best opportunity to pursue that vision of playing in the National Football League

Greg Spillane:

right on and you know code for you know, I was recruited by the military academies as code for you are a really good student and most had pretty good test scores because those guys do not bring in dummies they're they're recruiting the best in the Basques Now look, I obviously the your career at San Diego State was phenomenal. I definitely want to dive into that a little bit and some of the ridiculous numbers you put up there. But I want to hear a little bit about that transition right that that I think that transition from high school having at home mom and dad all of a sudden you know you're you're you're away and you're put into a different world and you know kind of be overwhelming at times. Not everybody's able to make it I don't know how many people came in on your class but I think in my class I came in with like 28 guys, I think six of us graduated. So I'd love to hear a little bit about what that transition was like and you know how you found a way to be successful there.

J.R. Tolver:

You know, I tell people I had the best of both worlds. Going to San Diego State I was moved out the house. So you know I had the freedom of being away at college. But I was also close enough to home were funny to get my laundry done or need to get a home cooked meal or hook for mom. I was a 17 minute drive away from the house. So so my transition was was phenomenal. For me I had, again the space to grow and transition from from a high school kid to a to a to an adult through college. But again, I also had that that that support and that proximity to my family that if I needed anything. They were there right up the street and I created a lot of that to where I am today in terms of you know, like you said a lot of guys going to college and they don't make it out. And some of that is due to being homesick right. Like if you live in San Diego, and you sign with Syracuse and the climate is different. The food is different. The people there difference. And you don't have something to remind you of why you made the decision, but also to comfort you. It's very easy to get homesick. And I think a lot of a lot of guys do get homesick. And for me, I wasn't homesick, but I was position sick. You know, when I first made the transition from quarterback to wide receiver, my body hurt in places that had never heard before.

Greg Spillane:

No more, no more red jersey,

J.R. Tolver:

no more red jersey, I was terrible at the position when I first started, because I didn't have any experience, running, catching reading coverages, all that good stuff. So my first two years was a little bit of a grind. And it was tough. And I think that if I did not have the support of my family and being able to drive home, you know, complain to my dad, you know, do all the things that we need to do to process new situations, maybe out would have fallen into that into that other piece of the puzzle. But yeah, the stay at home, and also be in a way was, I think the best thing, the best thing for me, and it's one of the things that when I'm telling kids to consider where they're going to go to school, like take all that stuff into consideration, because you don't want to be one of the guys who doesn't make it all the way doesn't make it all the way through.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, so I I remember watching you play. And I knew you put up some big numbers, but I had to look it up before the conversation senior year 128 catches for 1700 85 yards and 13 touchdowns. Those are insane numbers. That's a good, that's a good college career for most players. So you just made a comment. Hey, when i when i when i transition to the position I was terrible. handful of years later, your your did you leave? I don't know if you lead the lead NCAA and receiving you did talk to me about that journey. Man. That's, that's special.

J.R. Tolver:

Yeah, you know, I think, um, and this kind of ties back to what does it mean to be a leader, right? Like, I think leaders innately are going to work through difficulties and problems, to get to the ultimate goal, which is to be as good as I can possibly be, right. And so for me, that was kind of a part of my journey. But it always was a part of my journey, I was never the best when I started at something. But I kind of found out just personally, the more and more I stick to something, the better and better I get, you know, some guys are just naturally gifted, right. And we've all seen those guys who can either shoot really well or run really fast, or whatever it is, right. And I was never that guy. I was never that guy that was just naturally like good at something great at something I was always pretty good, but never naturally great. And so for me, it was really about that idea of saying, I'm making the decision saying I want to be one of the best that ever has come through this program. And making that decision at a time when things weren't going well. Right? It's easy to come in and say hey, I just you know, came in and killed it in camp and I'm now a freshman and I'm starting I want to be one of the greatest that ever leaves the program, right? That's a pretty like straight line decision to make but to go through to be redshirted, you know, to battle drops to battle, the ability to as Coach dickins would say stay on my feet, right? All those things. And then to be able to say, you know what, despite that, like when it's all said and done, I want to be one of the best that's ever come to this program. That was my motivation. So it was kind of like creating the destination starting with the back of the book. Right? So creating the destination in the beginning, to me is kind of what created the journey. And you know, I'm unlucky. What happened to me was, you know, Coach toner was relieved of his duties my junior year. Coach Kraft came in coach Kraft, his moniker was aircraft he loved to throw the football around. And so you know, I got lucky I got lucky because coach Kraft came in and he wanted to throw the ball 40 times a game. But I've always been so luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I prepare I was ready. And when it showed up, I took advantage of it.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, sure. Dad, man and congratulations. I know you got inducted into the San Diego State Hall of Fame. How was that call? I was getting that call. It was

J.R. Tolver:

a surprise. It's funny because you know when you're going through your journey and your focus is on Trying to be a little bit better every day right? Trying to get better trying to do the things to help your team win. You kind of gloss over some of the things that you do that are great in the in the process. And so I remember when Steve Schnall called me It surprised me. Like I never saw myself as somebody who was Marshall Faulk worthy, right, Marshall Fox in the Aztec Hall of Fame. Or Tony Gwynn worthy. I never saw myself that way. So when I got the phone call, I was I was humbled, excited, shot. But you know, after going back and looking at some of the themes, and really like having conversations about, you know, what my career was, and being able to compare that to others who had come to the program, I felt deserving, you know, after after a while, and so, I was surprised in the beginning, but I'm humbled that they, you know, brought me into the Hall of Fame, but at the same time, I felt like you know, I deserved it based off of the the body of work that I had while I played at the school.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, and that body of work, did give you a chance to go play, play professional right to live that dream that you'd set when you were a little kid, drafted by the Miami Dolphins 2003. Talk to me about that transition. Man. That's a big jump. It's another man.

J.R. Tolver:

I was in my garage listening to Alicia Keys. You know, why don't you call me. I was drafted in the fifth round. And you know, everybody thinks they should be drafted in the first right. So that was a little bit of a long road to finally get the call. But I picked up the phone when they called me it was norv Turner on the other line, and he said A j Are you ready, we're gonna make you a dolphin. And all of the anxiety that you know, I had went through over the first two days, it disappeared immediately. You know, it was at that moment, I kind of realized, like, man, I was been dreaming of this moment since I was a six year old kid. And it happened. And I, I can remember exactly where I was. When I got the phone call. I can remember the expression on my mom's face when I told her that the dolphins were going to draft me. And we all looked at the TV and we saw my name go across the bottom of the screen. I remember that stuff very, very vividly. So it was an exciting time for sure.

Greg Spillane:

And you ended up playing How many years did you end up playing now professional

J.R. Tolver:

for well for for the NFL, and then to outside of the NFL? So six, total? six total

Greg Spillane:

years, man. So you know, it's interesting, right? I think sports ends for everybody at one point or another. You know, unless you're Tom Brady, maybe just play forever. But other than that, for the for the normal people, it's going to add some people in entered High School, some people in college, some people are lucky enough that it ends in the pros. But you know, in a situation like yourself, right? You're probably not even 30 years old yet. And you've lived a lifelong dream. But it's over and it happens abruptly. So talk to me a little bit how you handle that, first of all, were you prepared and planned? And then you know, how did you start to, you know, think about the next part of your life? You're on mute.

J.R. Tolver:

Sorry, it's kind of like being dropped off of a cliff a little bit, right? So in high school, you know that there's an opportunity for it to end because you're a senior. So you know, at the very least, you're gonna get an opportunity to play until you're a senior. And then from there, you're not exactly sure what's going to happen. Same thing in college, right? Yeah, five years of eligibility. So you know, there's a start, and there's a stop. In the NFL, it's like, you know, it's going to end but you can't plan for when, and that part stinks. Because everybody wants to play 10 years in the National Football League, you know, but 80% of guys don't make it past their third year. So how do you plan for something that literally you can feel and taste and see and touch you have it, it's yours, but you know, it can be ripped away from us at any time. And, you know, most people don't leave the game the game leaves them. And again, the problem with the National Football League is that our professional sports in general, is that you can still want to keep playing still have the ability to keep playing, and the league or the team or the sport decides that you're no longer good enough. Most people don't get to make the decision themselves. So it's tough and I think most guys go through the same thing which is like this, this phase of abandonment of unknown Little bit of an identity crisis. Who am I outside of the game, I know I have something internally inside of me that got me to this position. But I've never had to tap into it, I literally just had to show up and do my job and play and be a good teammate and all that good stuff, I never had to really create systems for myself or, you know, tap into some of the transferable skills that again, I know are there, I just never really had to, like develop them or address them. So it's, it's difficult. And I want to say the first, really two or three years out of the game is, no matter what you're doing, you always feel like a football player within those first 234 years. I mean, you could be in sales, you could be a personal trainer, you could be working at McDonald's doesn't matter. Like you always feel like an identify as a football player for those first few years of transition. So it is difficult. I think there's a lot of resources now that weren't there when I was coming out that are now helping guys through the transition. But I think it's inevitable, most guys are going to go through some form of it.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, I mean, you know, I was talking to somebody else about this. And they described it as, you know, going through a midlife crisis, like 26 years old, you know, they're drafted, played a couple years. You know, as you said, sometimes you walk away from the game, but a lot of times the game walks away from you. And you know, it's like, what now what do I do this is this is all I know, the solid done my entire life. So, you know, it's like, you talk about the NFL, and you talk about resources being put in place, but at the end of the day, you know, people got to sort of do it themselves, right? I mean, it's the same thing as you know, getting to college or getting to the NFL, right, like no one's no one's gonna help you The game is gonna go on the team moves on, no one's bigger than the team are bigger than the game. And now you get into this, this, this, this working world, and, you know, especially yourself, I know, you know, you're you're entrepreneurial. You've obviously had a great entrepreneurial career, what what do you think allowed you or what gave you that, you know, sort of that motivation that kick to be able to just like, be like, Nah, man, I'm gonna, I'm gonna put in the work that I put in before and I'm gonna be successful in this next chapter.

J.R. Tolver:

It's just what you just said, it's, it's the desire to be great, add something, to me, that desire doesn't change, right? If you're the type of person where you're like, I want to be the best at, it doesn't matter what you're doing, you could be golfing, or, you know, doing CrossFit, right, I know, you do a lot of CrossFit, whatever it is, right, your, your goal is to push yourself to the ability for the level of greatness. And so for me, that'll never leave me. whatever I'm doing, and I'm passionate about and I'm committed to, I'm gonna want to be the best at it, I just had to find that next thing to kind of like transfer my interest to. And so I actually went to a seminar, one of the guys gave me a pretty good perspective, he said, You can't chase the adrenaline of football after football is over, it doesn't exist. So realize that, understand it, understand that there's nothing going to ever quite compare to the adrenaline of being on a football team, and chasing a championship. So get that out of your head, don't try to recreate it, it's not gonna happen, it's a part of your story. But it's not, you're not going to get that feeling anymore. Now, take that desire to be great, and attach it to something with the reasonable expectations that come with the greatness and whatever you take, and go from there. So if it's business, and greatness means you generate a lot of revenue, or you hire a lot of people, you impact a lot of clients, right? Those are all good things to chase in terms of defining greatness, per se. Just don't expect that you know, when you achieve those things, or while you're chasing those things, you're going to get the same feeling from the game that you're going to get the same feeling from that that you got from the game. So that was really good as advice for me it allowed me to like temper my expectations, without you know, holding myself accountable to being the best and you know, whatever it is I'm currently doing.

Greg Spillane:

And I know you're you're very active in the San Diego startup community, startup San Diego, you're a board member, I believe you're one of the founding board members of a group that's goal is to help minority business owners and entrepreneurs get started. You know, when you do talk to these people, what are what are some of the things that you're really trying to help them understand, you know, maybe lessons that you learned in athletics, things that you've learned outside of athletics, but you know, those really key messages that you think are important for them to be able to Embrace to be successful in their entrepreneurial journeys.

J.R. Tolver:

So I think the first thing really is is system. You know, we hear a system all the time and trust the process and all that good stuff. But to me, putting yourself inside of a system allow allows you to reach your full potential, right? And so when I look at a business, I'm saying, understand that your passions are going to be one thing, your desire to generate revenue to make money to impact clients, that's going to be one thing, right? separate that from the how, you know, the Y is something that I think is if you're entrepreneurial, it's pretty easy to decide that you're going to put action behind your y. Pretty easy to do it, right. So system to me is like, somebody told me, this system stands for save yourself time, energy and money. So if you're really passionate about bringing things to life, right, you have this passion, you have this desire, you have this goal, you have the internal drive to put yourself out there and create something from nothing. That's just the starting point. The how really is where the rubber meets the road, you know, there's 10,000, great ideas out there, there really is. And the thing that separates a great idea from a crappy idea is literally execution. And so for me, like when I'm talking to entrepreneurs, I'm always kind of talking about the how, right? How, how are you going to get to seven figures of revenue? How are you going to impact 1000 clients over the next 12 months, or whatever you feel like your your metrics are, because once you get out of the why, and start really focusing on the system of the hell, then you can, you'll find out really quickly if you're if your, your perception and your realities are like, are like going to match up. So that's something that I talked about, just peel the layer bag, let's take the emotions out of it. And let's see if this dream that you have this vision that you have, is really actionable and executable. Let's talk about the details of that. And then if you get to those details, and you're like, yeah, yeah, I could I could do that I can make 125 calls a day. Yeah, I can do that to chase my why, then boom, now you have the ability to really see if you can get to your to your end game.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, there's two things I want to unpack there. But I want to start with, I love your comment on like, there's, you know, 1000s of good ideas out there. I, I probably similar to you, I'll occasionally get asked to help or someone will have a business idea and they'll give me a call and they want you know, my two cents or my advice or, you know, what would I do here and helps always, always willing to help especially, you know, friends, and then you know, they'll say something like, Hey, I'm gonna send over an NDA. They're always like, Look, do you think your idea that you're going to talk to me about is so good, that I'm gonna steal your idea and go do this like, like, it's all about execution man, it's all about perseverance. It's all about, you know, willing to put in the time and the effort and all those types of things to make something successful. So your ideas as you said, it's kind of a dime a dozen it's what you're willing to put in behind that idea. But the second part, and and I really love what you just said here, and I believe in it so fully is the Find your why. Right? I mean, I think purpose, the Why is so essential. It's so important in everything in life, like, you know, can you give me a little bit more on how you view that in your own personal life,

J.R. Tolver:

you know, and it's funny, man, because when you get into business, when I got into business, I felt my why was to make a lot of money. By um, just being perfectly honest, right? Like, I'm starting my own business. And it's because I want to generate enough revenue take home enough money to be financially free, right? If football, that was also an opportunity of the game, but I was passionate about the game. I mean, I played the game since I was nine years old. And I played for free, until I was 23. So I wasn't playing the game for money, I was playing the game for love. Now, I happen to get paid good money at some point while playing the game. But that was really just a byproduct of me chasing my y which was being as good as I possibly could. as a as a football player. And so I think business sometimes we get confused, right? We get confused and say, if I can get into this business, I can make a lot of money. So my Y is to make a lot of money. And money is never the reason I found that out the hard way. The first business that I started was a cost reduction consulting company for a waste and recycling expense. And I started the business because I said, I can make a lot of money. I didn't start it because I was passionate about recycling. Or I was passionate about sustainability, where I was passionate about, you know, hiring people and culture and all that I started the business because I was like, I can make a bunch of money, right. And eventually, it fizzled out. Now the business did well, I sold the business in 2012. But it was never about the money, it was more so about, man, I'm really doing something, I spend a lot of time energy and effort in something that I'm not really like passionate about, you know. And so that's the piece that I think is like, most important, I took a transformational leadership class about three years ago. And they made me doubt my purpose down into two words. And I had to go through this two year process to figure out what my two word purpose was. And it was to facilitate collaboration. Like, at the end of the day, whether I'm making a lot of money, or getting my butt kicked, as long as I'm in a team environment, and I'm connecting the dots, and I'm helping people meet people and be better as a result, I am 100% operating within my purpose. So to your point, I think that, you know, establishing your why first is going to get you to whatever the results are, whether it's making a lot of money, or being Insta fame, whatever that is, right, whatever that looks like, establishing the why of front doing the hard work to establish your why and your purpose of front is going to keep you going forward when some of those byproducts haven't quite showed up yet.

Greg Spillane:

Love that man. So, look, there are very few entrepreneurs out there that haven't suffered some type of setback or some type of failure. You know, I just, it's just just comes with the territory. And when you think back over your career, and maybe even prior to your career, you know, what's like that one, or one of the failures that you've had that, you know, kind of sticks with you a little bit, Neil, how have you learned and evolved and made yourself better from that?

J.R. Tolver:

Yeah, chasing money is probably the precipice of it, right? So I started a another company, international recycling company, and Panama City, Panama. To the day, that was my biggest failure, I mean, I lost a lot of money. I raised a bunch of money, so I lost other people's money. I definitely did not prioritize my family and my relationship in the pursuit of that venture. So there was a lot of tough lessons that I took out of it even so much to the point that when I had to liquidate that company and close it. Now one of the pictures that still haunts me is when they came to my warehouse, and they put the chain on the door, right? Like that's a picture that I see a lot when it comes to like reflecting back on things. But yeah, one of the things that that haunts me the most about that is, it was completely avoidable is probably not the right word. Because there's a lot of lessons that I learned from that, that I don't think I'd be who I am today, sitting where I am today, without those. But in that same breath, you know, why make mistakes if you don't have to. And so one of the things that I've really adopted is not building things in a vacuum anymore. There's nothing new under the sun, everybody has already done everything that we are attempting to do, you just got to find that person or that group. And you got to have conversations with them. And you have to be open to the feedback that you receive. Whether you take the feedback or not, that's on you. But being closed off to the conversations that can lead to feedback that can put you on a better path is 1,000% on me. And so that's one of the things that I didn't do as I was pursuing that venture was I didn't have as many conversations as I should have. I wasn't as diligent as I could have been. And again, I was pursuing something for for money not for purpose. And eventually all of those things made that made it too tough for me to overcome that venture.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, man, I tell you what, you know, there's a lot of people out there they're trying to start something they're they're thinking about raising money they're raising outside capital. I mean, there's a positive do it is it's a little bit like burning cortezes ship right? Like there's no turning back. You know, the second you take somebody else's money and you have a fiduciary responsibility over them and they believe in you. That pressure that you got to wear You know, is significant. But, you know, the flip side of that is it's a lot of pressure man, you know, when you're when you're working with someone else's money and they took a chance on you and they believed in you and whatever that venture is, you know, you got to wear that you got to own that every day. And that can can take a little bit of the fun out of entrepreneurship at times. But so I feel that I've been in situations similar to that. If you could go back and give, you know, an 18 year old, you know, Jr, some advice, what would you tell him?

J.R. Tolver:

I would say, the skills, the skills that we often overlook, are sometimes the most important. I look at little stuff, like being able to operate Excel. Again, these are like little things that maybe in the moment, when you're thinking big picture, these little things, they don't matter. So the 18 year old Jr, I would say, try to learn as much about the little things as you possibly can. Because at the end of the day, like business is all built on the same foundation, right? We're talking accounting legal, we're talking bookkeeping, we're talking taxes, insurance, like every business is basically built on the same foundation. You need to understand what that what that means what that looks like, right? do a better job of saying, okay, I am going to shoot for, you know, Chase revenue, pursue revenue. But at the end of the day, my foundation is my foundation, like, I don't care if my house is on the beach, or it's in the hills, like all houses have the same thing underneath, they have the same piping and plumbing and electrical, and you know, whatever Foundation, right? So, for me, understanding what it means to be a business is probably where I would have spent more time at a younger age, as opposed to just on the idea itself. And that's probably the advice that I would give myself learn as much about the business of business first, and then attach that learning to the business of industry, whatever you're trying to pursue as a result.

Greg Spillane:

Yeah, I couldn't agree more. And you know, in my personal journey, and I've had a lot of conversations with a lot of people and here we talk back about you know, the the college journey and athletics, and almost everybody says the same thing, man, like, Oh, I wish I'd spent you know, more time in school, I wish I paid more attention. I wish I challenged myself harder. And you know, the truth is, and you know, I don't want to say universally, but I but I think it's the majority, the student athlete is kind of a misnomer. Like you're, you're if you're playing in a major program, anywhere, any sport, you're an athlete, student, it is the number one thing unfortunately, that these people and many athletes are focused with. And, you know, school kind of becomes a little bit of a second thought. You want to go back and you want to help these young students in these athletes realize that their athletic career is going to end. And they're going to have to eventually have something to fall back on. And it's like just every other stubborn 18 year old kid out there, right? Like you can't tell them anything like you don't know, you don't know. And then it's like, you got to be in your 30s. And one day you look back, you're like, Man, I wish I had done those things. Like, how do you get that across to these young kids? Man? How do you how do you get them to understand that? You know, those are the things that are gonna make them successful in life? Yeah.

J.R. Tolver:

I don't know. I mean, to be honest with you, like if you look back at where we were, at that age, I think it's kind of inevitable, it's inevitable that you know, you tell the kids don't touch the stove, they're gonna burn themselves and they still want to touch the stove, and some of them are actually going to touch the stove. One of the things I can say is that we can put the information out there and make it easily accessible and easy to digest. I think that's where it starts, right? So you can you can leave that horse to water, but you can't make them drink it. I think that that's something that as people on the other side of this thing, who has been through what we've been through, and then we're looking back and saying if I would have known then what I know now, we have to give kids you know, women men the ability to go through that process on their own, but at the same time, what role can we play to say, hey look, if you don't want to go through that process, like read this or listen to this, or look at that, or let's talk about this and and it's funny because I've had this conversation a lot based off of this name, image and likeness opportunity that kids have in college now, right? So the NCAA basically created 600,000 business owners overnight, by allowing kids to generate revenue from their name, image and likeness. Some kids are gonna want to listen to what does it mean to be in business? Some are not. But that doesn't take the responsibility away from us or the university or parents to make sure that we make the information to be successful, as easily accessible and digestible as possible. So that's those that do want to listen to and understand it. without going through the mistakes have the ability to do that.

Greg Spillane:

You're a family man. I know you have young children. How do you how do you balance life and work?

J.R. Tolver:

Oh, man, so my wife and I we talk about this a lot. You know, when I was in Dallas, playing for the Cowboys Bill Parcells was my coach and Bill, Parcells used to talk a lot about boxing, and used to talk about how boxing was his favorite sport to follow. Now because of the fight, but because of the discipline and consistency, it took the fighters to be able to fight. Like if you're a fighter, and you come in overweight, you can't fight you know that. They know that. So there's no there's no end game, right? And so for me, like I've always taken that and said, I don't think balance is really achievable as an entrepreneur, but what I do think achievable, is being disciplined in the consistencies that I deliver to my kids, and so one of the things that I'm very consistent with with my kids is bedtime. Like I'm the one who makes sure that I'm home and then I'm praying with my kids and reading with my kids and I'm putting them to sleep right like that's the one that's one of the things that I know that I can control for the most part you know, there's times here or there where I'm traveling or having a van or whatever it is but I'm very intentional about protecting that space with my with my kids so for me it's more so like I'm not trying to be let's call it balance per se. I'm just trying to deliver some consistent experiences to my kids so that as they grow up they're never like oh, you know dad was never there or dad didn't do this or dad didn't do that right so that's kind of that's kind of how I approach it

Greg Spillane:

you could be remembered for one thing what would it be?

J.R. Tolver:

Oh man, um I would like to be remembered for looking out for others you know, I want to be the guy where my friends know, if they have an issue they have a problem they have an idea they need help getting from point A to point B I'm somebody that they could use as a resource. You know, I think my gift is my ability to connect good people with good people like take individual conversations that I have and connect those conversations back to other conversations you know, I know you're really good at this you've introduced me to a couple of people since I've started my business and that's something that I find a ton of value in not only being on the receiving end but also being on the giving in So yeah, I think I want to be remembered as the guy that if you ever had an issue or you need to help getting from point A to point B you could give jr a call and he might not have the answer but he's probably going to put you in touch with somebody who can help you find the answer

Greg Spillane:

well that's a man I really appreciate you sitting down and chatting you're you've always been one of my favorite people back in the day just you know as a fan watching you play and do what you did on the field but then as as you know we've stayed contact and you know kind of gone through our own journeys together and I've always stayed in touch and you know, obviously helping each other out as we can I think your purpose and your why of, of you know, bringing communities together and helping people connect I mean, it like couldn't be more spot on than just about every interaction I've had and and really appreciate hearing your advice, man, I think you just have so much so much wisdom and and so articulate in your ability to, you know, to talk about it. So thanks, man. Appreciate it. Thank you so much for listening to this episode of the athlete entrepreneur. As always, the show notes will be available at crossing the field comm you can follow them In the show on Twitter at Greg underscore splain. He liked the show please don't forget to leave a rating. Thank you so much for listening. Have a great day.