Selected with pick No. 24 in the 2012 AFL Draft, Nathan Wright spent six seasons with the Saints, playing 35 games. After finishing his career at the conclusion of the 2018 season, Wright began working in real estate with Barry Plant Bayside, the largest real estate group in Melbourne’s bayside region. The 27-year-old shared his transition journey with aflplayers.com.au and has offered his assistance to those seeking to enter the property market or with an interest in pursuing a real estate career.
Kavisha Di Pietro: You spent six seasons at the Saints. While you were there, what sort of work or study were you doing away from the field?
Nathan Wright: I was drafted at 18 straight out of high school, like most players are. For much of my time in the game I was doing some sort of study or work experience. The first few years I completed some short courses with a few of the other boys from the club. I completed a management course and a PT course. I thought initially when I retired that I might want to start my own business or go into one of those fields, but then I found my passion for real estate. I was lucky enough to purchase two properties while I was playing, entering the property market. I started researching about real estate and it became a bit of a hobby which eventually led me to start preparing for life after football.
Did you look to actively engage in building some experience and gaining knowledge in that real estate space?
I knew that when I finished my career, I didn’t want to get stuck into a typical 9-5 role and wanted to try to enter a field of work that I was passionate about after football. I was able to finish my real estate agents’ representative course while I was playing. In my final year, I was injured for the last eight or so rounds so it gave me time to study and focus on what life was going to be like after football. I knew at that point another contract was slim, so it gave me a lot of time to focus on finishing my football career and trying to set myself up as much as possible.
I was fortunate to do some work experience shadowing an agent who had a connection to the club and that experience helped me learn the ins and outs of what to expect. I had a couple of months off after my career finished up but then it was straight into work.
It seems like you were as prepared as possible. What was that transition journey like when it happened?
I’ve had a lot of time to think about it and process what my football career was like. I think no matter how well you prepare; it’s always going to be a tough time. I put as much preparation into myself as possible and did the best to prepare for that transition phase, but I think you always have a sense of feeling a bit lost. Like I said, I knew the writing was on the wall and so that gave me the opportunity to focus on finishing my study and the course I needed to do to enter real estate and then also get as much experience out in the field that I could. Not being able to play games on the weekend because I was injured meant I could go to inspections or auctions and really start to understand what it was like.
I think for players who are entering that transition phase, it is always going to be tough and there will be moments that are more challenging than others. If you can find a hobby or passion that you enjoy it certainly helps. That might be travelling, although we can’t do that right now with COVID, or work, study etc. really anything that gives you something to think about for the future.
I read in an article you did previously that you found many of the skills you acquired playing football and being in a professional environment were transferrable to your career in real estate. What did you mean by that?
It’s funny because I think when you’re playing football you don’t realise the skills that you learn from a business sense until you are working. I got drafted out of high school and spent so much of my time playing football that I didn’t realise the skills I was acquiring. Things like knowing how to work in a group environment and operate as a team or being able to work under pressure and in an elite environment. You’re afforded so many opportunities playing football and it’s important to recognise and capitalise on them where you canYou must have a strong work ethic when you’re an elite athlete otherwise you get found out quickly. That is a skill that transfers to any job or anything you’re going to do post football. You know, you always must work hard, be dedicated, and do the small things right if you want to be successful. I think athletes know because of that, things don’t happen overnight and so if you can take that same attitude into your new role or life post-football, it holds you in good stead. I’ve spent my time since leaving football working on the foundations of my real estate career to hopefully help set me up for a successful career and have those dividends pay off in the coming years.
How are you hoping to support current players and Alumni with your current role?
I’m a bit biased because I work in real estate but coming from both angles, I think there’s an opportunity as players to invest wisely in their skillset. By that, I mean athletes can transition well into sales roles. We have so much experience speaking with people from all walks of life – corporate partners through to fans – while we are playing, and a sales role replicates a similar experience.
I know lots of players who have moved into commercial real estate or business development roles, and they’ve been able to transition those skills they learnt in football and their experiences seamlessly into their new roles.
For current players or those about to enter their transition journey,and are interested in entering real estate, please get in touch with me because I’m always available to have a coffee and a chat to support you on your journey.
Additionally, players that have questions about the market or are wanting to enter into their own property investing, I’d be happy to chat with you and offer support. It can be such an overwhelming experience when you’re new to purchasing property, renting, or looking at buying investments and so I think it’s important to have someone in your corner who is able to assist.
I can’t emphasise enough how much I want to support the players where I can, so please don’t hesitate to give me a call, send me a message or whatever it is, even if just to have a conversation.
You’ve had a few years to reflect on your career. What have you learned during this process?
I think if I look back, and it’s probably not the answer you want, but there isn’t anything I would change. When I was drafted, I would have loved to have played 200 plus games and had that sort of career, but it didn’t pan out that way for a variety of reasons. However, my career experiences have shaped me into the person I am today. Football presents so many wonderful opportunities, although there aremany challenges and adversity you face as well, particularly around injuries and those sorts of experiences. That’s helped build my character and moulded me into the person I am today. I think those experiences helped me transition and be successful in my life post football. If my career was different who knows where I would have ended up today.
Nathan has offered his services and support to any AFLPA member who is looking to rent or purchase property, has an interest in the property market or is curious about entering the real estate industry. He can be contacted via mobile on 0478 052 281 or via LinkedIn. You can also find him at Barry Plant Bayside.