Who doesn’t know Maria Sharapova? She is the first Russian women tennis player to win a Wimbledon title. In a career spanning 20 years from 2001 to 2020, she was ranked number one in women Tennis on five occasions. Apart from winning many WTA titles, she is a five-time grand slam winner and a silver medallist in the 2012 London Olympics.
The tennis player retired from professional tennis in February 2020 and is now running a candy company called Sugarpova. Just like any other entrepreneur, Maria Sharapova started this business as a side hustle. The upscale candy company was co-founded in 2012. As a tennis player, she had no idea what she was getting into. However, today she feels that being in the midst of a new career and learning the ropes of the new trade. This can be challenging but not overwhelming, considering her experience as a professional player and lessons learned from them in a long career.
As an entrepreneur and CEO, Maria Sharapova believes in 100percent ownership and decision-making every day, something she did alone in her tennis career. To become an effective CEO, she is drawing all her experience from her tennis career. Her financial acumen to run a successful business comes naturally to her. She handled multiple endorsements deals with giants like Nike and Motorola as a tennis player.
Using all her previous experience of working with coaches, trainers, support staff in countless high-pressure situations in her tennis career has given her the advantage and ability to lead a team. And the interesting thing is that Maria Sharapova believes in hiring a team with whom she could lose.
An interesting perspective
Maria Sharapova believes in hiring people in her business with whom she can lose. As a tennis player, she was accustomed to winning and losing. The experience of standing in front of thousands of spectators and admitting that she lost that day made her feel human. She learned over the years that sharing one’s weakness can be an asset, and one becomes more human and personal when one shares the challenges of a personal journey with the team.
She still believes in authentic human stories even as she gives lengthy business presentations. According to her, she would like to replicate her tennis experience in hiring people she can lose and celebrate with them. Understanding the human psyche, she hired people to practice tennis matches who would give her support when she lost.
As a tennis player, Maria Sharapova understood the logic behind her company Sugarpova, when fitness and brand building went together. However, one thing which she lacked was the strategic investor and advisor. She is okay with that as preparations excite her, just like her tennis matches, and she feels that one’s weakness and strength are human.
Failure is the way to success
As a tennis player for 25 years, Maria Sharapova faced many failures. In the majority of those years, she practiced alone in the backyards without prying eyes, failing and learning with new and different coaches, trying to get the right combination for success. That was the only way to get success, and today she feels that to become successful in business, the same approach will help her through.
Even though Maria Sharapova is in the candy business for quite some time, a new chapter of full-time real-world business experience keeps her grounded. Apart from the core business activities of Sugarpova, Maria Sharapova has launched a women’s entrepreneur program that will assist, support, and supports women business owners.