Written by Ashley Hart, Joy Crook and Stephanie Lane, the co-founders of She Plays, the first US fantasy sports platform exclusively for women’s professional leagues. All three graduated from Wake Forest in 2008. To learn more, check out www.she-plays.com.

Three Wake Forest alumnae entrepreneurs of "She Plays"

Photo courtesy of She Plays co-founders

Remember that time you had a crucial group project at Wake? You booked some time at ZSR and spent several late nights between Campus Grounds and the Green Room. You and your team drifted into countless side conversations about the upcoming KD crush party, the football team’s bowl chances, and the regular praise of just how good those Pit cookies were.

But you also worked. A lot. You counted on your team to get vital things done because, even though you thought four hours was a full night of sleep, you knew there was no way you could get it done yourself. And in the end, when the final words of that presentation were uttered and you saw the proud gleam in your professor’s eye and the inspired – yet slightly worried – faces of your classmates, you knew it was all worth it. And that team?

That team is one you still remember.

Now those late nights and that group project are distant memories. The Green Room isn’t green anymore and those team members moved on to graduate programs and careers of their own.

So now that you’ve left Wake Forest, those glorious group project days are just distant memories…right? Not necessarily. While launching She Plays, we’ve learned a lot about working with our dream team. Here are three simple steps to move you closer to having the dream job with your dream team.

  1. Find Your Passion

She Plays was born when Founder Ashley Hart (’08) figured out what she really loves, what drives her. How do you know what you love, what you’re passionate about? An easy way is to ask yourself:  Where do I spend my time and my money? The answer to that is what’s most important to you.

And as basic as it may seem, your “dream job” is going to be something that lets you do more of that –  pursue that thing in some way. So for Ashley, she knew she loved sports, and spent time and money watching, following, and engaging with sports – particularly women’s sports. As she was leaving one career and deciding where to go next, Ashley thought, “Where would I want to make a difference? What do I want to spend my time focusing on?” As a perennial interest, sports came to the forefront. Women’s sports in general became the idea and specifically figuring out a way to combat the lack of media exposure, sponsorships and pay that women’s professional leagues receive. What first started out as an idea for a sports news website quickly turned into a site dedicated solely to fantasy sports.

  1. Find Your Players

So now you know what you’re passionate about. Who should join you in the game?

Ashley knew when she wanted to start a company that it would be a dream to get to do it all with some of her best friends. Who else would you want to have to schedule meetings with?! The nice and convenient thing about potentially working with her circle of friends is that they are all gifted in ways that she is not. Creating a company with people who have expertise in all different veins is so helpful – management, finances, marketing, etc. It helps you cover all of the bases from the start. So, for a reunion weekend in late January, Ashley prepared a pitch and gave it to her friends in a hotel room and, about a week later, two jumped in!

  1. Remember That Dreams Do Come True — But Always in Reality

We do think a dream job with your dream team is possible. But even when you are working on something amazing with your very best friends, it’s important to recognize reality – namely, that even the best, most energizing ideas take work. Lots and lots of it. Thankfully, if you’re reading this, you’ve most likely survived Work Forest and wear it like a badge of honor. You know how to work hard and you probably enjoy it.

Along with putting in the work, it’s good to go in with eyes wide open that even your very best friends and dream teammates are human. Yes, humans that need more than the four hours of sleep that sufficed in dorm rooms. Humans dealing with complications and struggles, whether it’s just normal #adulting, family obligations, or financial realities. And humans who will fall short of idealistic expectations. With this in mind, by assuming the best, committing to honest communication, and showing a lot of grace for those alongside us, it will go a long way — and make achieving the dream truly possible.

We’re not saying you need a team of Wake Forest alumni to have the dream. But it also doesn’t hurt!