Marshall Faulk: When People Copy You, You Know You're Successful

As an athlete, Marshall Faulk has long been established. He's a Superbowl champion, a two-time NFL MVP and now two years removed from being enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. As an entrepreneur, though, the former St. Louis Rams star is essentially just getting started after teaming up with workaholic Nicole Bradley in 2010 to form 8nine, a  philanthropic-based agency.

Despite his lack of years in the game compared to his NFL career, however, the legend has still managed to garner a pretty good grasp on the standards by which one measures entrepreneurial success.

In an interview with Business Magazine Inc., Faulk said, "I believe a lot of people like to us money. I like to use 'how many companies will be doing what we do after we start this?' That's success... That's when you know you've done something that no one else is really doing."

The former running-back, who now also works as an NFL analyst on the league's official network, is no stranger to punishing fellow athletes on the field, making their lives miserable with the endless array of moves that made him so elusive. Now, as part of the 8Nine agency, he's helping them not only get involved with charitable organizations, but also with branding themselves in ways that he feel are unique.

"Everything that we do, no one's doing this," he said, before asking the key question that he uses to judge his company's fortune. "So, how many are there going to be five years from now? That's how we know that we're successful."

On the way to attracting the haters and imitators, the former NFL star says not to only be wary of failure, but to expect it, then implying it's your response to such situations that ultimately defines you.

"In business, you will fail," he told Inc. "And the question is, just like in football when you get knocked down, are you gonna get up, are you gonna be scared, are you gonna take the hand-off are you gonna plow into the guy and try to get another yard? That's what business is all about."