Lycra Suit to Business Suit

guest post from Olly Biddulph

Unfortunately, in sport, all good things come to an end. Yet sometimes you feel defined by that one thing, that one sport; ‘Olly the bobsleigher’.

After competing at the Inaugural Winter Youth Olympic Games in 2012, and representing Great Britain for 7 years as a bobsleigh pilot all over the World, my end came in 2017/18. Naturally, I did not know where to turn and like many athletes, I turned to using the skills I had learnt throughout my sporting career to become a Personal Trainer. One of my clients happened to be a Headmaster at a local Prep School. The following September I was offered a job as a PE and Games Teacher, again, this seemed a natural progression utilising my sporting skills and knowledge from my career as a professional athlete. After obtaining my PGCE and becoming a fully Qualified Teacher, I decided to go along to a careers event whereby I was introduced to LAPS.

I saw there were many opportunities for ‘life after professional sport’ and the opportunity to apply for St. James’s Place Academy, a FTSE 100 Company really excited me. This gave me the opportunity to not only look for jobs which directly linked to being an athlete such as ‘sports based’ but utilising the skills in which athletes all take for granted; Resilience, Determination, Motivation and utilise these in the corporate world. As soon as I had my initial interview on the phone, I knew I wanted to write my business plan, become self-employed and be in control of my own destiny, and of course, go suit shopping!

From Lycra Suit to Business Suit

Transitioning from a Lycra Suit to a Business Suit, here’s the answer you’ve all been waiting for… ‘No, I don’t have a lucky egg’🥚

Trusting the process, building strong relationships and ultimately successful performance was integral for me as an athlete. These traits and values were not only part of my sporting culture, but the way in which I developed and created my business. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀

Start with the end in mind

In sport, it is crucial you have the end goal in sight. Whether that’s winning the Premiership, going to an Olympic Games, or representing your country at the World Cup, you must start with the end in mind. Each day of training, rest, and adequate nutrition all has one objective in mind; the end event.

Whilst I have found many athletes are great at this, it seems most athletes are blinkered by ‘real life’ and stuck in their ‘athletic bubble’. Since understanding finance in greater detail, ‘I wish I knew then what I know now’. Albert Einstein reportedly said,

“Compound interest is the eighth wonder of the world. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.”

This concept is very similar to athletes in the gym; you can’t merely double your squat PB in one year, it takes many sessions and years of chipping away. This is also replicated with your finances! Year after year earning 7% interest on your money ensures that in 10 years’ time, your money will have doubled. And in another 10 years, doubled again. Repeat.

I don’t know where to start with my finances

Finance – what is your initial reaction to that word? Confusing. Scary. Uneasy.

My job is to remove the Technical Jargon and make finance simple.

A common misconception I come across daily is, “I don’t have enough money to see a Financial Adviser”.

Question – Do you have a pension?

If you are employed, you must be put into a workplace pension scheme.

However, what if you are an athlete with sponsorship as your main source of income? OR you are supported by UK Sport – Tax free income is great! BUT, you are not paying National Insurance Contributions, therefore, not contributing to your state pension AND no private pension; double blow! Research shows that the difference between starting a pension at 25 and 40 years of age can be up to £600,000 at retirement age.

What I wish I knew

Any person, no matter their age or working status, can contribute £3,600 per year into a pension.

The individual will personally contribute £2,880, the government a further £720.

This equates to £240 per month which will be topped up to £300 by the state (£60 for free per month). Over a 10-year period, at 7% interest per annum, your £28,800 could be worth over £51,000. I wish I knew about this…

I’d ask you,

  • What age would you like to retire?
  • How much (in today’s money) do you think you will need per year?
  • Do you have a plan of how you are going to get there?

Remember – A GOAL without a PLAN is just a WISH!

Whether you’re Early, Mid, Late career, transitioning from, or you’re getting on with Life after Professional Sport I would love to hear from you! If you would like any further information regarding ISA’s, Pensions, Protection, Mortgages, Wills and Estate Planning and much more, please reach out and let’s set up a free financial MOT to discuss your plans and goals. Remember your sport does not have to define you and there is always opportunity to recreate.


To talk finances, you can reach Olly using the details below. If you’re interested in following a similar path to Olly then get in touch with us! We’ve seen several athletes successfully follow a similar path.

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LAPS Members can discuss Olly’s post on our Community page.