Career Advice from ESPN’s Bill Simmons

Last month, in a very candid way, ESPN’s Bill Simmons discussed his career on his podcast, The BS Report.  He walked listeners through each step, starting with his childhood fandom of all things Boston, to his first job at the Boston Herald as a high school sports reporter, to his AOL column on the Digital City Boston page, to ESPN, ESPN Page 2, being a writer for Jimmy Kimmel, and launching Grantland for ESPN.

There were a few things he didn’t really mention, like the fact that he conceived the idea for ESPN’s 30 for 30 series of documentaries, his current gig as a studio analyst for NBA basketball, or his two New York Times best sellers, Now I Can Die in Peace about the 2004 Boston Red Sox and The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, which many think is the best book ever written on the sport.

But there was one thing that he said that stuck out for me.  He said that when he’s asked for advice, this is what he tells people: you have to be willing to outwork EVERYONE else to get the opportunity, and then once you get an opportunity, what will you do with it?

It completely relates to any business, but really hit home as great advice for brokers.

Brokers, both young and experienced, work hard to get meetings with potential tenants (the opportunity) and then many times fall short in the preparation for those meetings.  Or worse, brokers get hired for an assignment (again, an opportunity), but don’t go above and beyond for the client. These become wasted opportunities.

I started blogging years ago because I wanted to write like Bill Simmons.  I was telling people about him when he first appeared on ESPN’s Page 2 and was a very early listener to his podcast.  What I didn’t know was that he had been a bartender when he was starting out so that he could write during the day.  Before social media, he would email his articles to friends, colleagues, anyone to increase his readership. 

He was all in, put in the time and effort, and made the necessary sacrifices to get where he is.

It would be hard to argue that Bill Simmons isn’t at the top of his industry.  ESPN pays him $3 million a year.  He’s on almost every one of their platforms and they even allowed him to create his own platform and hire the writers.

He outworked everyone for the opportunity and made the most of the chance he got. 

Do you?


By: Jeremy Neuer

Senior Vice President | CBRE New Jersey

(732) 509-2888

Twitter: @JNeuer19