Let's put it another way: If you were trying to break into the industry again today, how would you go about it?
Wlodkowski: The economy has really taken a toll on charity golf. The Monday golf outing where you pay too much for an entry fee but you know it's for a good cause when you give them $300 to $1,000 for a foursome has really suffered.
If I was starting something now, I'd look at charity golf. There still isn't one website that does a good job of covering all that. If you're in a region that has a lot of golf courses, I think there's an opportunity to help or manage charity golf tournaments. That might have a little longer curve, but those tournaments make a lot of money for charities, and you could do a good service for people while making a business for yourself.
There is some truth to the fact that people who have a business background can bring some value to something that isn't thought of that way. The charity golf tournaments typically have a committee -- no one person is dedicated to it, and they work at the last minute. A businessperson can come in and tell a committee that they want him to make money on their tournament. Because if you bring in $100,000 and I take 10%, it's still more than the $50,000 you made when I wasn't taking 10%. As long as the person gets paid based on the money they're making for the charity, I don't think anybody would begrudge them that opportunity.
Any last bit of wisdom for people looking to retire into your industry?
Wlodkowski: People need to set their expectations. For some people, the dream or second career -- particularly for someone who's very comfortable in their financials -- may be getting involved no matter how much money they make.
We have a staff of course marshals that tend to be retired people and there are dream marshal jobs out there where you get to work at a private club and golf as a benefit. To me, when I retire, that's my dream. For some people, that's what the goal is.
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