Jonathan Kelly is an Entrepreneur and Investor from Tallahassee, FL. He earned a basketball scholarship from Florida A&M University where he graduated with honors and earned a degree in broadcast journalism. After college Jonathan played professionally in several leagues before getting into sales full time. He has worked for three industry leading sales companies over the past 13 years. While working, networking and learning to master his craft in sales and marketing, Jonathan started several businesses of his own, which are still growing and thriving today.
Currently, Jonathan is a successful real estate investor, forex trader and business owner that teaches people about financial literacy and how to create wealth and freedom. Jonathan believes that by changing your mindset and working hard, you can attract what you want into your life. Jonathan loves helping young people discover their passion and purpose. His life’s mission is to make a positive and lasting impact with everyone he meets and be a catalyst for growth and financial empowerment in his culture and community.
2. What are some misconceptions you had upon graduating from college?
Some misconceptions I had after graduating was that life would be easy. I thought I would get all types of contracts to play overseas and that didn't happen. I quickly found out that everything doesn't always happen like you plan it or think it will.
3. Describe your mentality during those years you were trying to figure what’s next.
Honestly, my mentality was pretty bad. I was depressed for a while because I didn't know what to do or have a Plan B if basketball didn't work out. I had to do some soul searching and find out who I was without basketball and without a game to play. It took a while but I eventually figured it out.
4. At what point did you know entrepreneurship was the route you wanted to pursue?
I knew entrepreneurship was the route I wanted to go in 2017. I was always interested in owning a business and working for myself because I was never a fan or someone else controlling my time and income. There is so much more you can do when you are an entrepreneur and that intrigued me.
5. Do you think athletes make great entrepreneurs? If so, why?
I do think some athletes make great entrepreneurs because it requires ambition, drive, self- motivation, discipline and many other characteristics that being an athlete gives you. When I was in college, I learned time management and sacrifice which is crucial and critical in business. When you are an entrepreneur, you will have to sacrifice and learn to work much harder than if you were an employee.
6. How has what you learned as an athlete translated to your career/business?
I learned a lot as an athlete that has translated into business and my professional career. I am very competitive in everything I do and always want to win or be the best. I push myself to reach certain goals just like I did when I was playing ball. My very first job after college was Enterprise Rent A Car. I remember the hiring manager telling me that they like hiring former college athletes because they are self-starters and disciplined.
7. Is your approach to entrepreneurship the same as game day? Do you embody the same feelings?
I do approach entrepreneurship the same way I did in basketball. The way I look at it is, I have to play hard and drop 30 to win the game. Each day is a new game and I want to win every day and average 30ppg. I try to focus on what I can control and take care of business the same way I did on the court.
8. Why is it so important for athletes to prepare for a future without playing sports?
I believe it is very important for athletes to prepare for a future without sports because there is no guarantee they will have a future in sports. Everybody thinks they will go pro in whatever sport they play but the odds really aren't in their favor and it is more likely that they won't make it. Being ready and prepared for that scenario is wise and a very smart move.
9. What can parents and coaches do to alleviate disappointment or those moments of discouragement most athletes face when trying to move on from their sport?
I think parents and coaches should just be real with athletes and tell them the truth even if it hurts their feelings. They need to know if they even have a realistic shot at a career in sports after high school or college. They need to have a Plan B for sure.
10. Any financial tips for current and former athletes you would like to share?
Always invest in yourself and your future. Start somewhere and build from there. If you learn about financial literacy and how wealth is created while you are young, then you will be in a much better position after sports and when you're older. I think this type of education should be taught in school but it's not because it is kept from us intentionally. But we can educate ourselves to benefit from all the different ways to make money and become financially free.
I’m willing to bet that within a moments time of scrolling through daily news headlines, social media feeds, and even your inbox that you are bombarded with websites, coaches, and even friends suggesting they have the answers to fix your waistline and improve your health. All you have to do is join a Facebook group, buy XYZ, eat intermittently, watch your carbs and, Voila! You are fit and fabulous for life.
If, indeed, you’ve ever joined a Facebook group, purchased XYZ, fasted intermittently, watched your carbs, so forth and so on, then you know there is no unicorn out there that’s going to “fix” you. First, you’re not broken. Remember that. You are wonderfully and uniquely made. For real. Nonetheless, we are products of our habits. Every choice yields a result, some favorable and some not so much.
Beyond the quick fix mentally that we so often, and erroneously, have faith in, I want to challenge you to consider how small changes strategically implemented can help you build a sustainable and healthy lifestyle that will serve you well today and onward.
Narrow Your Focus
Often when we are energized and ready to embark on a new fitness or health related regimen, we tend to tackle too much at once. You may say to yourself, “I want to lose 25lbs, run a 5k, and practice yoga every day.” While each of those are admirable goals, going from zero to 100 is likely to backfire. Instead, take the time to assess your values. Research illustrates that people tend to commit better to projects and ideas that align closely with things that are most important to them. Were you a youth athlete and felt most alive when you had specific performance-related goals? Are you overweight and concerned about the health implications down the road? Has your lack of mobility negatively impacted your quality of life?
Ask yourself a few questions to help figure out what matters most and where you are most likely to consistently dedicate your time and energy. Taking this step will allow you to hone in on what really matters. And what really matters is what will keep you engaged and actively working towards your goals.
Now that you’ve narrowed your focus and identified what matters most, it’s time to start implementing some changes. I know you’re excited and ready to go, but just a minute, pump the breaks and hear me out.
Stanford University’s BJ Fogg introduced the idea of a Tiny Habit. The anatomy of the tiny habit includes strategically adding super simple changes to your routine to encourage big change over time. It’s as simple as it sounds. If your goal is to include more variety in your nutrition, consider adding a piece of fruit to your preexisting breakfast. That’s it. Once you feel good about getting in more fruit, you’ll be amazed at how inclined you feel to include more nutritious choices throughout the day. Adding one small and desirable habit to your preexisting routine will encourage greater and more long-lasting change over time. Take your time, don’t rush it, and most importantly don’t overwhelm yourself. Small, successive changes over the course of time will get you that much closer to your goal.
Anticipate Roadblocks and Barriers
Now you’re feeling great. You’ve identified what’s most important, you’ve made small changes that have collectively gotten you moving towards a better you. You’re feeling good, maybe even great, and then, life happens.
To truly be successful in behavior change, you’ve got to anticipate potential roadblocks and barriers. Perhaps it’s fourth quarter and work has become more demanding with deadlines and you can’t reach your daily steps goal, or maybe you, a child, or spouse falls sick and you can’t get out to do your regular grocery haul and weekend batch cooking. Or, because we’re nearing that time your year, the holidays are upon you and actually want to indulge a little more in things that don’t fit into your newer lifestyle.
Don’t give up, prepare and anticipate as much as possible. If you have a family, get them involved in planning and organizing easy and nutritious meals. Consider working out first thing in the morning to avoid allowing the fatigue of the day to set in and deter you later in the evenings. Figure out when and where you will indulge this holiday season and set reasonable parameters for your continued success.
Behavior change is anything but easy, so beware any “quick” fix. A little, or rather a lot, of effort is required for actions to become automatic and habitual. Remember what matters most, take it one step at a time, and know that curveballs are on the way. Kudos to you for investing in what really matters; you!
Certified Health Coach
Certified Personal Trainer