Despite battling on-field demons this year, Tigers half-forward Chris Knights is kicking goals off-field.
Following a season-ending knee injury in just his fifth game for Richmond last year, the clever left-footer has spent his time on the sidelines wisely; Knights has turned his focus to his second passion, business.
The 100-gamer took a hands-on role at his media company, Zib Media – one of Melbourne’s leading SEO experts – which launched four years ago when Knights recognised a gap in the market.
“Zib Media was formed through the realisation of an opportunity in the online space,” Knights says.
“Four years on and we’ve grown from a team of three working in the back of a Ray White office, into a national company with more than 20 employees, 500 clients and offices in two states”.
Zib Media operates in both Melbourne and Adelaide, building websites and performing search engine optimisation. The company is currently diversifying into application-building and software development.
This month Zib Media gained industry recognition, becoming a top ten finalist in the competitive 2014 Australian Startup Awards.
“I’ve always believed it’s important to do something outside of the game because an injury can be just around the corner, and you could be finished.” – Chris Knights
Knights believes it’s important to plan for life after football, even though the hectic schedule that comes with being an AFL player can be difficult to manage at times.
“Hopefully the nomination demonstrates to other footballers that they can get involved in a business and do well whilst playing football,” he says.
“I’ve always believed it’s important to do something outside of the game because an injury can be just around the corner, and you could be finished. There is a short life span in football and I myself have suffered adversity during my career, which has given me time to focus on other areas”.
The former Crow believes it’s all about finding a good balance between his two passions.
“At times it involves sacrifice and hard work,” he admits.
“I feel now I’ve got a really good work balance and I’m not scared about when football might finish”.
With Zib Media on the up, Knights is looking forward to a return to AFL in the latter part of the season.
“I’m really excited about the last part of the year because my knee is feeling really good.
“I’ve got another year on my contract to go and I’m hoping to play really good, consistent football and that the team plays really well next year”.