Success on the sports field brings success away from it. Traditionally, that meant working hard, winning big and then being rewarded through things like brand endorsements.
But Chev Clarke, a heavyweight boxer currently ranked #1 in the UK, #2 in Europe and number #3 in the world, doesn’t want to do things the traditional way. Having qualified for the Olympic Games, Chev has also been busy building his own business, clothing brand Level Up Nation, which he works on alongside his sporting career.
“I’m changing the business model,” he told GoDaddy’s third Back to Business Masterclass. “As an athlete, you generally become well-known and then a brand comes to you and says ‘we would like to do a deal with you’.”
“I figured that if I had my own brand from when I started as a nobody, and got it online with the help of GoDaddy, then when I do become a notable athlete rather than signing to another company, Level Up Nation can partner with a company.”
Level Up Nation has its roots in Chev’s belief that the path to success isn’t smooth – there’s always more to do and that the way to win is by challenging yourself even when times get hard.
“Whatever you’ve achieved today, you can achieve better tomorrow,” he said.
“I never get up in the morning and think ‘oh, you know what? I did that last year, so I’m the man’ because, let’s face it, what you achieved last year, no one really cares about that. You have to go and achieve something else.
“That’s why I always say level up. Because I’m never content with what I’ve achieved yesterday or last year. I’m always looking for what else I can do.”
Chev uses this philosophy as part of his training regime and when he started using social media, he noticed that people were beginning to latch on to the term level up.
“Then I got a T-shirt that said ‘level up’ and folks were like ‘oh, where can I get your T-shirt?’ and so every three months I’d create a batch of orders and at the end of the three months I’d ship them out to the people that had ordered them.”
And, just like that, Chev had launched his own clothing brand.
However, although social media is a great way to build Level Up Nation’s profile, it isn’t the best place to actually process sales, and Chev’s website wasn’t cut out for ecommerce at the time.
That’s when Chev joined forces with GoDaddy. “I had a website where it didn’t have a shop on or anything like that, so it made it difficult to sell the clothing apparel.
“Then the opportunity came to work with GoDaddy and, it has been a lot easier. It has streamlined the process.”
Chev’s GoDaddy website also gives him another way to connect with potential customers.
“It’s about authenticity and letting people see who I am. On my website, there’s an about me section that tells a bit about my life story and people can go in and check that out, and then there’s the shop too.
“I’m not looking for people to just come and buy stuff, I want it to be an authentic thing where they follow my journey and, as things develop, they go back to the website and check things out.”
This desire to present the real Chev also translates across to his social media presence.
“There’s an image of social media which says everything has to be perfect,” he said.
“Now, let’s face it, none of us are perfect, so just be honest. Because there are other people out there that are similar to you and all you need to do is connect with that one person and then that one person will become two, and two people will become four and so on.”
But Chev doesn’t dedicate his entire life to social media. In fact, he’s careful not to overshare.
“You’ll be surprised, but I’m not a big fan of social media. I’m a very private person. But I know that there’s people that want to be on the journey with me, so I make time for them.”
“My home life, I try to keep very private, but my training stuff, anything to do with boxing, I’ll share. Or even just going back to previous posts and looking at all the people that liked it and then go like some of their stuff just to show appreciation.”
It’s this level of engagement and authenticity that Chev sees as key to success on social media, in business and in life.
“You’re not going to please everybody. Trying to do that is one thing that will make you very unhappy. So just be authentic to you, be consistent and be persistent.”
As for motivation, Chev looks to his family to make sure he keeps levelling up.
“My grandparents grew up in Jamaica and they had 12 kids. I just want to do them proud. I’ve had the opportunity to live in England and have been fortunate enough to become a Team GB Olympian and I don’t want that to go to waste.”