eMerge Americas

Alex Rodriguez shares his best advice for young entrepreneurs

Alex Rodriguez at eMerge Americas conference in Miami on June 13, 2017.
David A. Grogan | CNBC
Alex Rodriguez at eMerge Americas conference in Miami on June 13, 2017.

After two decades as a professional athlete, former Major League Baseball star Alex Rodriguez is making a name for himself in the business world.

As the CEO of A-Rod Corporation, a holding company for his various investments, which include real estate, property construction and fitness, Rodriguez grew a small real estate company into a huge entity that manages more than 15,000 apartment units in 12 states.

A-Rod will also become the first Hispanic shark on ABC's "Shark Tank" during the show's forthcoming fall season.

When asked what advice he'd give to anyone starting up a new business — "Shark Tank" hopefuls in particular — at the the eMerge Americas conference in Miami, Fla. on Tuesday, Rodriguez kept it simple: Take your time.

"My advice would be: Slow and steady wins the race," he says.

Figuring out how to run a business and getting any new venture off the ground will come with a period of trial and error, and that's okay. Young entrepreneurs shouldn't be afraid to make mistakes, Rodriguez says.

To illustrate his point, he shares — what else? — a baseball analogy:

"I sit on the advisory board for the Yankees with [Yankees owner] Hal Steinbrenner, and I always tell Hal, 'You have to give our young players 2,500 at-bats, which is about five years, before we jump in and over-evaluate these young kids.' These kids get married, they have kids, they mature. We have to be patient with them."

The same is true in business: You need to put in a significant amount of time and effort before you can truly evaluate success or failure.

"You need to acquire your 10,000 hours," Rodriguez says, referring to Malcolm Gladwell's 10,000 hours rule from his book "Outliers," which dictates that if you do something for that long, you'll become an expert. "It takes time, you need to make mistakes. It's okay to make mistakes, especially when you're in your 20s."

Rodriguez also points out the importance of finding a mentor, especially one who can walk entrepreneurs through areas in which they're not as well-versed, such as finance.

When he needs advice himself, Rodriguez turns to people such as fellow MLB player Ken Griffey, Jr. and legendary investor Warren Buffett. In fact, he met Buffett after cold-calling him and asking for a meeting.

So take note, future entrepreneurs: If you want to impress the newest shark, learn to work hard and make mistakes.

Disclaimer: CNBC owns the exclusive off-network cable rights to "Shark Tank."

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