Cam Awesome has opened up recently about some of the fights he’s taken on – before he gets in the ring to fight.
The multiple US National Heavyweight and Superheavyweight champion has been recognised for his national and international success but it hasn’t been easy. One of the biggest obstacles has been funding.
Cam has been frustrated by the lack of financial support amateur boxing receives. After recently winning the Nationals in Trinidad & Tobago, a country he is planning to represent in the delayed Tokyo Olympics, he faces a campaign without any funding.
“What screwed me up is that I’ve been recognized in the streets in Russia…but not in my own local Walmart” Cam tells Great Vegan Athletes.
“I do receive product sponsorships. People will send me free stuff all of the time” he says. “But services like training are all out of my pocket.”
Captain of the US boxing team did bring Cam $1000 per month, which he supplemented with jobs such as manual labour – and helping with house moves. Product sponsorships also came in, but despite his sports success and deft handling of social media, this was limited. “It’s nearly impossible to get monetary sponsorships unless you’re a big enough name” he says.
“I received many, many product sponsorships which saved me money, but it didn’t bring any money in. Yes, my array of National Championships are impressive and being admired on social media is nice…unfortunately, AT&T doesn’t accept ‘likes’ as a form of payment. I needed cash.”
Cam has also invested and is distributing a reusable drinking straw which could eliminate the use of millions of disposable straws. He’s distributing and marketing this himself.
The outgoing and colourful character has managed to build an income by public speaking, He’s taken to motivational speaking in schools, His natural flair makes him well suited to these environments, and he’s learned a lot by doing so.
Open to speaking to other organisations such as businesses, Cam has so far focussed on school, speaking to over 500 so far. He’s aware that schools have “hundreds of thousands of schools filled with impressionable minds looking to be inspired. This is why I focused so much of my speaking at schools.”
Now he wants to pass on his knowledge to other athletes.
“I’m releasing an online course teaching athletes how to build a speaking business to supplement their income” he explains.
“I was a little worried about disclosing the things I had to do to stay afloat” the Kansas-based vegan says with a wry laugh “it’s tough for athletes.”
As his plans unfold, Cam, who has been vegan since 2012, is keen to proceed on an ethical basis. He believes a higher price tag could attract participants from well-funded sports but he’s clear that his business has to be run on principles that fit well with him.
“I want to keep the course fee low and sell it to many athletes. I’m sure I could throw a $1000 fee on it ….but I wouldn’t feel good about that” he says.
Cam’s course promises to build the skills required to communicate effectively, highlighting the skills which give athletes success and apply to those in other areas of life.
“The audience is selfish. They’re not going to be there to boost your ego, they’re there to learn about your experience.”
A platform to chase the dream
To many outsiders the scale of success in sports that Cam has enjoyed will not tally with the limited financial support he has received. However, he and other successful athletes will know only too well the difficulties which face up and coming and established sportspeople on an ongoing basis.
“Honestly, I would have sacrificed everything to continue my dream of the Olympics. And I understand why other athletes would risk their lives and freedom to continue their sport because there is no question that I would do it again.
“But I created this course to give athletes a resource so they don’t have to take the same path I did. Sports has done so much for my life and so much for many other athletes.
“I was Captain on the USA National Team for the better part of a decade because I speak up on behalf of athletes. I am the current Athlete Representative on the Board of Directors for USA Boxing Olympic program because I speak up on behalf of the athletes. I started the podcast The Raw & The Real Athlete Show where I speak with a mental health expert to help athletes reach their full potential. I do this because I’m grateful for the athletes that opened doors for me, and I feel I owe it to athletes as an athlete to speak for athletes.
“These are the steps that I’ve taken to build a successful speaking business for myself. Can this course help you make a hell of a living off of public speaking? Yes. Is this course intended for that? No.
“The goal is this course is for people to supplement their income as they chase their dream- whatever that dream may be. My objective isn’t to make athletes into full-time public speakers. This is just a channel for an income on their own schedule.
“I will say that there are many self-proclaimed Gurus that claim they can teach you how to have a pack schedule filled with high paying speaking engagements, but a quick google search will show that they themselves don’t have a packed schedule with high paying speaking engagements. You can follow the hashtag #AwesomeTalks to prove I have book hundreds of speaking engagements in that last two years.”
Hopefully Cam’s unique and optimistic approach will enable him to change an aspect of this. The course launches on May 17th.