Undrafted – The Network
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Undrafted – An Honest Update v.2

Blimey what a journey. I’d like to get into the habit of speaking to you all once a month to update you on our journey, our vision, aspirations we have and where we’re headed. I think it’s important to take each and every one of you with us on our journey. It’s not us and you, it’s we. We couldn’t produce content without you guys. Our podcast wouldn’t excite me so much if it wasn’t for you guys. I think the most important thing i’ve learned to this point is that your businesses community is the most important thing about your business. Without it you have nothing. Without you guys we wouldn’t be able to persist. So thank you. And for everything you do for us we owe you a monthly update. Thank you for your continued support, and wherever we’re going, we’re taking you all with us.

Hi.

How’s it going?

So I did one of these at the end of November, and that being what like six weeks ago, to read it back now is mad. Talking about consistency on the website… check. Talking about writers who love to write. Check check check. Talking about bringing the podcast back… check again. If you’d like to read the original you can find it here!

We really are making fantastic strides as a team, and I’d like to take a moment here to thank our team for their efforts and contributions. We are working on building a meet the team page for the site, so you can get to know our authors and their stories, our business owners and what makes us so passionate about this platform each and every day.

Since the last update, we’ve added Ravens fanatic and knowledgeable author Adam. We have two Adams now. Both with funny accents. But Adam reached out to me and told me he was interested in what we do, and he’d love to be a part of it. I called him, we talked on the phone for half an hour, and I instantly knew that understood our concepts, our vision, and would willingly throw himself into it. Thank you Adam. As I said to him on the phone, having someone believe in me, and our business, is all I need. And since then he’s written some excellent pieces for the site, and is a regular contributor to the podcast. Which you should listen to. Really. Give it a go. Please…

And most recently we added Chris, who’ll be writing english football posts for us, both as a keen Chelsea fan and football (soccer) fan in general, but also an avid Browns fan and keen NFL supporter. Once again, in my discussions with Chris, he gets it. He’s on board. He wants to help, and he wants to be a part of it from a creators perspective. I admire that and I respect it, thank you Chris.

It’s an absolute pleasure to welcome both Chris and Adam to our team. But I must also thank the rest of the Undrafted team for inspiring me to get better and to work harder each and every day. I have a responsibility not only to all of you, our community, but to these people who have put their faith, effort and time into the vision of what we’re building. I refuse to let any of them down, and they unknowingly drive me when I get up every morning to do everything I can to make Undrafted better that day. Thank you all. Tom, Rebecca, Daf, Alex, Adam & Chris. You guys are fantastic, and I appreciate your work and your energy every single day.

Inspired to work hard and allow myself to take more trips. Meet more people. Photo taken at Epcot – Florida. You can just about see me at the back. Great day.

Without this sounding too much like some sort of Oscar acceptance speech, i’d like to finally thank my business partners and life long friends who helped me to lift this thing off the ground. When we sat down the four of us six months ago, and decided we were going to try and build a sports network, we had no idea how to attack it, where it might go, or if it was remotely possible. But looking at how far we’ve come in the last six months is truly ridiculous, and i know we haven’t even got going yet. Doing something you love with your best mates is what life is really all about, and again, these boys inspire me with their own efforts and hard work, to continue to get better on a daily basis. Thank you Ant, Adam and Kyle. You legends.

Time Flies

In October, before we had any writers or a team to work alongside, i remember us setting a daily goal of 25 views on the website. That was what we were working towards. Most days we didn’t hit it. In order to get 25 views a day we would need to be actively promoting our brand and producing regular content. We struggled. There’s so much to do when you’re trying to build a business from the ground. Admin can take hours. Sorting one tiny problem can take a whole day, and that can be very frustrating. It takes time away from being able to do other things, like write a post or record a podcast.

But to look at that 25 views a day mark, which was about 60-90 days ago, blows my mind. Yesterday we had 850 views. In one day. That eclipses the monthly total that we would have hit with 25 views per day. IN ONE DAY. Some might say 850 views a day isn’t that impressive in the grand scheme of things, but when you’re climbing a mountain, every single step in the right direction feels like an achievement, and i’m so incredibly proud of the work our team is doing, in unison with the support and belief from our community.

To every single one of you that’s clicked on a post, read an article, listened to a podcast, told a friend, or quietly supported us from a far, thank you. You guys keep us going, and having a community of sports fans and genuinely good people to interact with everyday is amazing. I love it.

What’s On?

So you may have seen that the podcast is back up and running. That’s very exciting. The boys and I have been getting together twice a week to talk playoffs and the latest news around the NFL. I would recommend giving it a go and appreciate those of you who have given us a listen. You can find it here:

It’s also available on iTunes, and the video format on our main Youtube channel, which is here!

To be honest, it’s been a slow start, and whenever you create something that gets minimal interaction it feels a little deflating. Like, we feel like it’s good, we have some great discussions, but it’s getting people to try it out and buy into it, and that comes with time. While speaking to Ant about it, he reminded me that not so long ago the website was getting 12 views a day, and our January monthly target is now 10,000 views. It comes with time, and I have to be patient, keep working, keep improving. The listeners come with time and hard work. You have to earn that right. And we will. Persistence. It’s bigger than me now, I can’t just give it up.

We’re also about to hit the 200 posts mark on the website. Major achievement. From the 25 posts we wrote in the space of about 36 hours in order to launch the site, we’ve worked hard since, and the site now has daily content going up, with help from our structured planning, teams commitment and the overall organisation of the content creation.

Overall, I’m so pleased with how it’s going. If we hit 10,000 views in January, we have to improve on that amazing number each month this year, I won’t settle for less. What a benchmark to kick off 2021, and again, we couldn’t do it without all of you. Writing, podcasting, editing, uploading, interacting, boxes of sports cards, admin, accounting, background work, networking, sharing, promoting certainly keeps us all busy, but it never feels like work when you love what you do. And I plan to love what I do full time, because lifes too short not to.

Sports Cards

We’re getting back on track. We’ve hit a couple of walls that have set us back in the early weeks of this year. Firstly PayPal throwing us out on the street and holding our funds, that was an issue, one which stressed me out heavily for about an hour, but then we gathered ourselves, found a solution, and we moved on. A small hitch in the road, tackled and eliminated. We’ll face many more.

The breaks are back, weekly at a minimum, and we aim to continue to strive to be the best, most friendly, most efficient, and most accommodating break group in the country. That’s our goal. We will continue to bring you all variations of breaks, doing everything we can to provide something for everyone, no matter your level of collecting. I love introducing the hobby to new people, and if you are new, or have any questions, please reach out to us. There’s whole sections of useful info here on the site!

The Undrafted Sports Cards team. My partner and best ol pal.

Perhaps most excitingly right now, the convention is beginning to draw near. Which is our opportunity to give back to each of you for supporting us during our first year as a brand. You can read all about the convention right here. Every detail about what it entails, how it’ll run, how you can be further involved, and what to expect on the night. I have every hope that it’ll be a great community event, and I hope to see you all there!

Just one of the many beauties we’ve pulled on stream so far

Next year, we aim to run the event in person, at a venue, accessible to all around the UK. That’s the ambition. Something that’s not been done like this before. I’m pumped at the thought of it, and here at Undrafted we’ll do everything we can to make that a reality.

We’re also doing a lot of work in the background to bring you some very exciting news around collecting cards and grading them, and we’ll have more info on that during the convention. VERY exciting.

We aim to continue to work our tails off to raise awareness to this amazing hobby and it’s wonderful community in the UK. If we can be recognised as a brand for playing a small part in that, then i’ll be very happy. I want packs being sold in supermarkets, and the NFL to recognise the UK community of collectors far and wide.

What’s next?

Well honestly, who knows. We have so many plans, hopes and dreams for this business. We’re just taking it day by day, trying to improve. Taking advice and feedback from our community. Each blog will get better. Each podcast will improve. We’ll slowly weed out technical issues and hitches along the way. We’ll grow as a team. But to give you an idea, here’s just a few things both short and long term that we aspire to achieve.

Draft Content – In the form of player profiles, mock drafts, and content on the night of the draft, we have plans to bring you unholy amounts of content covering the draft, and making sure you’re all well equipped to enjoy it as much as we do.

Player Interviews – Rebecca, our content writer across the pond in the US is lining up interviews with a few college athletes. Which is amazing. We are also starting to reach out to athletes in the hope they will join us for a podcast, particularly those who went undrafted or are under appreciated and have to work everyday to earn a spot. After all, our brand name was built on the idea of being overlooked and having to work hard to reach those heights.

Improved Podcasting – Our graphic designer, TaylorEllle is working on a great looking layout to make our podcast recordings that much better, and i’m excited to create a visual that stands out and gives us a better chance at intriguing more listeners

Collaborations with small businesses – We have a platform now with a fairly substantial amount of viewers on a regular basis, so I’ve been reaching out to small businesses that we might be able to help, and offering them free ad space on our website. Things like male grooming, mental health, physical health and others. I’m sure you’ll see some of that coming through soon!

Summary

Those are just a few of the things we’re doing. Look, life is short, you only get one shot at it, and I will always be motivated to make mine as great as it can be. I want to talk sports for a living, and I know we can achieve that. I want to build a community of sports fans that not only allows me to interact with great people each day, but allows all of you to interact with each other too.

You’ll never have to question my reasons for motivation. I think about it everyday. Life is about building a strong position for yourself so you can improve the lives of those around you. What motivates me? Being able to do the things I love as often as I wish to do so, with the people I love, and being able to better the lives of everyone around me. The people that deserve it. If you only do it for yourself, you’ll give it up, that isn’t enough. When you teach yourself that your actions, work ethic, and achievement, allow you to do things for others, and improve their lives, then it’s easy. I think about my sister, the most important thing to me on this planet. My mum and dad, my grandparents, who taught me manners and that I musn’t lie, (my grandad still calls me ‘Billy’ to this day, which came from Billy Liar, i like it, it’s a special thing between he and I) who i owe everything to, and my family of friends. When I think about them, I have enough fuel to keep myself grinding for a lifetime.

My dad has always wanted a 1967 Mustang. The year he was born. He’s spoken about it my entire life. Do you know how often I think about the opportunity to surprise my old man with the car of his dreams? Do I need any more motivation than that? I want to be able to help my parents as much as they helped me. I wouldn’t be who I am without them. Then I want to be give my own family the best possible life too. To take my kids to Florida as often as I can, to work around my family life because I have a business that allows me to do that. I’ve never wanted anything more than to be a good father and husband. And for the Undrafted team. Super bowl tickets. An office that allows people to talk sports, enjoy them together and to thrive in that environment. To improve the quality of life for the team we have. And finally, the community. Both our community and the extended. Philanthropy. Continuing to give back to the world. Making a change. These are the things that give me the drive to build and improve every single day.

So from me, and the team. Thank you for supporting us. You have no idea how much it means. I am truly grateful, and no matter where this goes, my gratitude will never waiver.

Best,

Alex

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