One of the most common questions we get asked is “What do you do all day when your not coaching?” None of us have yet to come up with a good answer. It is hard for people to understand what it takes to run a small business if they have not done it themselves. It is even harder to imagine supplemental coaching as a full-time job. Without taking an hour to first explain the business, another hour to explain what each of our roles in the business, and another hour to explain how it is viable to work as a supplemental soccer coach, inevitably it is always easier to reply “kick a ball around a soccer field.” What is lost in that response is the commitment, organization, and courage needed to start and run your own small business in such a specialized field.
The biggest and most well kept secret to starting any business is hard work. Big secret right? It may not sound all that complicated but it’s surprising to us that we have managed to grow and separate ourselves so quickly because of this one factor. Starting any small business is tough. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (1) 20% of small businesses fail within their first year, 30% in their second year, and 50% of small businesses will have failed by their fifth year. This means that in order to survive as a business you have to do whatever is necessary to continually grow as a business.
The summer months of July and August are consistently our busiest months. The kids are off from school, so demand for both summer camps and one-on-one sessions increases ten-fold. This summer, each of us worked an 8am-5pm camp followed by either a 5:30pm-8pm prep camp, or a private sessions. We did this consistently for 8 weeks straight. It was great to see so many players wanting to grow and develop, however, doing this took a major toll on both the body and mind. We were willing to do this as we knew working hard now would pay major dividends in the future. Working hard requires no innate talent and every individual has the ability to do it. It is also one sure-fire way to separate yourself from everyone else. Not everyone utilizes their ability to grind day-in and day-out. If you are willing to do it, no matter the industry or field you are in, you can separate yourself quickly. Minimizing time spent watching Netflix and utilizing every hour of the time you are awake is vital no matter what job, industry or field you are in. It all comes down to how hard you are willing to work for it.
Love of the Game
With such huge action needing to take place when running a business, it is important that you love what you do. If it feels like work, it is very difficult to maintain the motivation to consistently do what is necessary. Out of college I worked in finance - I had done well in college and managed to secure a job at a small financial consulting firm as an advisor. At the start, motivation was high and I was willing to work hard. Less than 6 months in however, sitting behind a desk all day, filling out tax returns began to take its toll. I did not like what I was doing, never mind love it. I began showing up late and leaving early. I started to dread going into work the next day. I am not proud of this but it got extremely difficult to go to work each day and work hard. I had no passion for what I was doing and therefore was not willing to do what is necessary to better myself. Working 8 hours a day felt like work. After leaving and going with Beestera full time my hours per week have more than doubled (and my pay decreased) but it doesn't feel work at all. I'm happy. I love both playing and coaching so 12+ hour days come easily. It is easy to take big actions each day because I have a passion for what I am doing. Whatever you do, to work hard enough in order to be successful you have to love it.
In order to build a brand or a reputation it is important that people know who you are and what you do. When starting a small business, one of the major problems is that no one knows who you are. Marketing yourself effectively is therefore essential to continually gain new clients and to communicate what you business is all about. You therefore need a creative sole to create and manage your brand identity. James Beeston takes this role at Beestera. In the field of supplemental coaching a lot of marketing is done through social media, and the website. Everything on the website, he has done. Having an individual knows how to film and edit photos and videos so that each one effectively communicates your brand is vital. James is in charge of all marketing content for Beestera which can include anything from social media to creating flyers and other marketing materials (he only allows me and Mike to chip in with blog posts).
Effectively communicating who we are and what we do has been fundamental to our growth over the last few years. Gaining new clients is essential for any small business to survive. It is therefore essential that you reach potential new clients through effective marketing. While we stress the importance of social media, we aren't tied down to it - if Facebook and Instagram collapsed today we would be okay. Although we utilize social media, there are many industries where other marketing platforms will be more effective. Having an individual or a group of people with a clear vision and strategy is important when communicating to potential clients what your business can do for them. Without continually gaining new clients survival for any business will be difficult. Not everyone will be naturally creative. I'm clueless when it comes to effective creating content. Having someone on your team who can be that “creative guy” will allow you to effectively market your business and grow both your client base and your brand.
It seems strange to a lot of people when I say that the majority of my time is taken up with simply running a small business. I think a lot of people think that because we are coaching soccer that the everyday operations of a small business do not apply to us. In reality in supplemental training, like every other small business, the day-to-day running of the business takes up a lot of time. Accounts work, paying field rental, writing contracts all require time and energy. Just forming a small business is difficult with many steps and requirements needing to be met before you can begin operating. It's useful to have a person who is comfortable with numbers. Like I said in the previous paragraph, I worked in finance for a few years out of college. I hated every minute of it but I wouldn’t have traded that experience. Not only has it allowed me to see what I didn’t want to do with my life, but also for the skills and knowledge I gained from it that could be transferred into running a small business. It is important to have someone in a business that is comfortable analyzing and translating numbers and who is willing to handle the behinds the scenes things.
A Great Team
I wouldn't have been able to do what I am doing now without the support of a great team surrounding me. Each of us at Beestera brings something different to the table. I have already mentioned that James takes care of most of the marketing for Beestera, while I look after the numbers. Mike Matera brings something different entirely to the table. Mike has a background in teaching and education and looks after our soccer clinics and camps, as well as designing curriculums and sessions for teams and clubs. He brings an educational knowledge to the table that neither myself or James possesses and our coaching has only become better because of it.
We each started with coaching individually with our own client base and are often asked why we don’t just do our own thing. Our answer, we would not be where we are now without each other. We compliment each other well - each having our own talents that enable the business to function. It is also far more enjoyable doing this with people you like and trust. When we look to take on new coaches, the first thing we look for is people who get what we are trying to do and who we enjoy spending time with. It is time consuming. If you are around people every day that bring different opinions and are not afraid to share those opinions, everyone benefits. Trust is implicit. Ego is checked at the door and we have fun while we're doing it.
- Matt Needham
Beestera Soccer Training
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