Odds of Hanging On
Once you've started working at a firm or even have started your own, you've got to remain on your feet at all times (sometimes literally). Athletes burn out, retire, and get injured, and because you and that athlete rely on each other to stay afloat professionally, any of these scenarios can be disastrous for everyone involved.
So what do you do? One thing you can do is diversify (remember that stock market class you took? Here's where it comes in handy). Maybe you're involved with many athletes in many sports on many teams, or maybe it's several athletes all in one sport, in one league. You stay on your game, you hustle, you make sure that you know what’s going on at all times. And you keep abreast of the sports trends, changing laws and up-and-coming young athletes.
And a sad story to convey is one that may not happen often but can happen to even the best: Famed Sports agent Leigh Steinberg, who represented NFL stars Warren Moon and Troy Aikman (among other hotshots) filed for bankruptcy in early 2012. He indicated it was because of his struggles with alcohol and addiction. Although Steinberg was the inspiration for the 1996 movie Jerry Maguire, this story is simply proof that even the high flyers like Steinberg can end up low on the ground due to personal flaws and choices. Sometimes it's about the athletes or the teams they play for and sometimes it's the sports agents or their firms.
(Again, you didn't sign up to be a 9 to 5—or even 7 to 6—desk jockey.)