How I found my new path after professional badminton

Guest post from Martin Campbell, ex-pro Badminton Player who has set up his own Financial Management business.

As an athlete you sometimes put that question off for as long as possible by convincing yourself that you need to remain fully focused on your sport. However, looking back you can see this is also a defence mechanism for not accepting that at some stage, this will all come to an end.

I had been playing professional badminton and been part of the Scottish National Team for Men’s Doubles for around a decade. I was playing a sport that I have loved since a very early age. It was all I had ever wanted to do.

However, following the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games I knew it was time for me to move on and take on a new challenge. The first new challenge was finding something that I was equally passionate about, that would push me the same way playing professional sport did and also importantly, something that would excite me.

Accepting average or just doing something to make ends meet, I don’t believe is in any athlete’s DNA.

What helped me figure this puzzle out was reaching out to people who had been on this path before me, speaking to people that I trusted and respected and who had gone on to achieve success in their new chosen field. This process helped me a lot, enabling me to share my thoughts and ambitions and also to gain perspective from those further down the road than I was.

I’ve always believed that an athlete can bring a lot to the table when it comes to a business setting. There are so many transferrable skills that can bring real value to other walks of life:

  • The drive to consistently put the work in and show up
  • The resilience to bounce back from setbacks
  • The ability to be very open to learning constantly

These are just a few of the qualities athletes have that can add real value to a business.

Starting Out

For me, a good starting point was work I had done with a lifestyle adviser at the Scottish Institute of Sport (SIS) – finding out what my values were and what was important to me.

I wanted to make a direct impact and difference to people’s lives. My sporting journey had also taken me to doing an honours degree in Maths down at Loughborough University so it was how I could align those skill sets with something I was also interested in. I had always had a natural curiosity and fascination for how to manage your money, what to do with it and how you should run your finances when I was playing.

I turned to LAPS to see what opportunities were out there in the finance space and from there I was instantly drawn to wealth management.

This was going to be my new path.

Having the opportunity to become fully qualified and regulated by going through the Academy Programme at St. James’s Place and then being able to launch my own financial planning and advisory practice was, I genuinely felt, tailor-made for me. Since making that decision, I’ve honestly never looked back.

There have been many challenges along the way, there have been ups and downs but that’s nothing new from life as an athlete. It just requires you to transition those skills and experiences into a business setting.

The Business

I’ve now been successfully running the business for around a year and a half and I’m happy to say that it is going from strength to strength. One of the great things about doing what I do is being able to help current athletes who are in the same position that I was myself and being able to help advise them with how to set themselves up and safeguard their future.

My goal has always been to be able to take the complexities out of finance and help people understand their own situation and the options that they have. Ultimately, to create the future they want by building the most effective strategy for their money.

This is what excites me doing this job and is something that I look forward to continuing to do.

As I went through my exams, it opened up my eyes to many opportunities and I truly enjoy being able to help people in areas where there’s not enough education or awareness around. We are never taught about money, not in school or beyond. It’s not our fault but it is our problem to go fix.

Taking Action

There are studies that show we actually have built our beliefs around money by the time we are 7 years old, which to me definitely answers why people build up certain beliefs such as, “I’ve never been good with money”. This comes back to an education thing, a true understanding of how to actually manage your money. That’s where we start off when working with a new client and something I really enjoy helping others with.

I think the skills and attributes you develop and life experiences in sport really help set you up for what’s coming next but you need to go out there and take action. There are so many opportunities out there but it’s very unlikely you will get it handed to you on a plate, just like it would never have been in your sport. You’ve got to show up and put yourself out there!

That’s why I think the work LAPS are doing around helping support athletes is brilliant and would advise anyone needing a steer in the right direction to reach out to them and ask for help.


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