Maria Sharapova's Lesson for Entrepreneurs: Hustle But Don't Lie

Maria Sharapova's Lesson for Entrepreneurs: Hustle But Don't Lie

For a while, it seemed like Maria Sharapova ruled the athletic world. An outstanding tennis player, she commanded the top spot of the highest paid female athletes list for 11 years, making $29.7 million in 2015 alone. But with sports (and really any aspect of life) there are rules by which you must abide. Failing to do so can take you down in an instant.

Maria Sharapova - Failed Drug Tests Cause Disaster

And so it happened to Maria Sharapova too, who on Monday (March 7, 2016) admitted that she failed drug tests at the Australian Open. The drug she tested positive for was meldonium (also known as mildronate), which is used to treat ischaemia, a blood flow problem of the lower extremities. Sharapova admitted to taking the drug for ten years, and said she was taking it because of magnesium deficiency and a family history of diabetes.

The problem is that meldonium also has side effects that can improve athletic performance, including increasing blood flow, improving oxygen flow to muscle tissues and boosting exercise capacity.  After researching the drug's impact on athletic performance, the World Anti-Doping Agency added it to the list of banned substances in September 2015, and it has been officially enforced since January 2016.

As a consequence for her actions, many sponsors are backing away. Nike, TAG Heuer and Porsche have all cut ties with the athlete, which includes losing a $70 million 8-year contract with Nike signed in 2010.

The Lesson for Entrepreneurs

In light of these events, Ramon Ray, editor of Smart Hustle, says there are important takeaways for small business owners and entrepreneurs. More specifically:

"As small business owners, we know we need to hustle. We need to smart hustle - to do what it takes to get us to the next level in business. We need to be nimble, to be creative, to possibly even "break rules" from time to time. However, lying, cheating or participating in illegal activity is not part of smart hustle. When you hustle - you have to hustle honestly."

Ramon is also sharing his insights in the following video. Click play below to hear his insights.

In the end, anything worth doing is worth doing right - and that means that entrepreneurs need to engage in not only the smart hustle, but also the HONEST hustle. Let the Maria Sharapova story be a lesson for what can happen when you cross the line.