It’s rare for athletes to know what they’re going to do when they exit or retire from their sporting professional careers. 

A couple of weeks back Serena Williams announced that she’s retiring from sports to spend time with family and to dedicate more to her growing portfolio businesses. 

The 23 Grand Slam titles holder is one of the lucky few athletes who got her ducks in a row while still playing professional tennis by starting a business and investing in a series of early startups through her venture capital firm, Serena Ventures.

Williams’ venture firm which she founded in 2014 is one of the well-respected VCs in startup capital Silicon Valley, California, today she’s a proud founder and managing partner of the company [SV]. 

As a world-class athlete, businesswoman, philanthropist and mother, Serena Williams knows what it takes to win. She invested in several startups and some of those early startups are today’s unicorns. 

Next month she will be speaking at the TechCrunch Disrupt Event, taking place on October 18-20. She will also take part in a fireside chat at the event to uplift and encourage fellow women to take risks and start their own businesses.  

There are a few lessons to learn from Ms Williams’ winning streak. 

1. Don’t wait until is too late to start your business. 

2. Select your partners carefully and do your due diligence. 

3. Build a brand, it will help you when the body can’t anymore. 

4. Don’t be afraid to re-invent yourself.

5. The money you get paid and receive from sponsors channel it into your business, not shiny toys. 

6. Build a legacy for your children and family.

By Rethabile Mohlala

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