Entrepreneurship: Augusta Sports League
This article was originally published at The Clubhou.se
Augusta Sports League is operated out of theClubhou.se by member Keith Edmondson. ASL organizes adult sports leagues for the Augusta area. If you’re looking to get out and active, and meet some new folks, check it out!
1. What is the business?
Augusta Sports Leagues, LLC. We offer sport and social experiences for adults in the CSRA.
2. When and where did you found it?
Out of my home in Evans, GA, in February of 2013. It started with an idea in November 2012 and filed LLC paperwork in Feb 2013 and started our First leagues in April 2013 after Masters Week.
3. Where is the business now?
At theClubhou.se, 540 Telfair St, Augusta, Ga.
4. What were you like in school?
Very Shy, until college, Chemical Engineering Major with music minor, very involved in my Fraternity (where I developed most of my social skills and confidence), hadn’t done much athletics in high school, until playing just about every sport including wrestling with fraternity intramurals.
5. Any extra-curricular activities?
I love the outdoors from my experiences as Boy Scout/Eagle Scout, a love all sorts of social events, from music to spoken word to community celebrations, and very involved with my church and my faith.
6. Any significant experiences/skills that (with hindsight) influenced your business?
Community is very important to me. People need community, the events with the greatest impact in my life involved getting others together. In college I helped throw parties, plan community service projects, and a lot of work organizing and inspiring others, and this carried on through my 20s and early 30s with my church and work. After living in Augusta for 4 years I realized that the CSRA needed more opportunities for Adults to build that community.
7. Any previous entrepreneurial experience? Lessons learned?
I owned a lawn care business in my late teens, ran a network marketing business (on the side) for a few years after college, and was mentored with an entrepreneurial mindset for 8 years working with Dave Ramsey in Nashville. The biggest lesson I learned was you can do all the planning in the world, but nothing happens until you execute. Sometime jumping into the unknown is the action that must be taken before you can do anything else. I also learned that all people fail or make mistakes, but you have to pick yourself off, and try again.
8. What appealed to you about entrepreneurship?
I have worked in several small businesses and would always get frustrated when my boss’s vision or priorities and mine didn’t line up. Since it was their business, I had to abide by their direction, decisions, etc. I finally had enough and decided in late 2012 that I wanted to do something that mine.
9. How did you get the idea?
While living in Nashville, I was invited to play on a kickball team, and only knew one person on the team. It was so much fun and I really enjoyed meeting new people. When I first moved to Augusta, I got connected to other adults through Young Professionals of Augusta, and realized that there weren’t many opportunities in Augusta for young adults to connect.
10. How has your idea progressed over time?
We started with two sports, kickball and sand volleyball. After two and a half years, we now offer 11 sports, have 2000 members and are linked with seven other similar leagues across Southeastern U.S.
11. How did you find your co-founders (if applicable)?
No cofounders, just mentors. When I first had the idea, I reached out to the owner of Nashville Sports Leagues where I played kickball and asked about franchising. He hadn’t really developed a franchise model, but was working with guys in Greenville SC and West Baton Rouge LA to develop Sport & Social Leagues there. He was meeting the guys in Greenville the next week, and I drove up on a Friday morning to meet them and discuss over breakfast.
12. How did you fund the business?
The biggest up front expenses were the development of the website, field rental, and equipment. The website was developed off of the platform that Nashville/Greenville were using and I agreed to a contract to pay them back over the next year. I didn’t have to pay for equipment or field rental until we picked up enough teams to host a league. I reffed all of the games, without pay, in order to begin building up capital for the businesses.
13. How did you market your business?
We started with poster and flyers in any place where young adults would go, bars, restaurants, gyms, even barber shops and hair salons. We also added social media and a few ads on Facebook to get the word out. Word of mouth was extremely valuable and my connections/relationships in the community that I had developed in the last 3 years helped too. When I would tell people about an adult kickball league, people would get almost giddy with excitement. It was definitely and idea that filled a need in this community.
14. How did you choose who to hire (if applicable)?
As we added more sports, I needed more officials as I couldn’t be everywhere. Some were players who were injured and still wanted to be involved, others were persons I found through part-time job posts on Craigslist. We now have a link/application on our website for people looking for good part-time income in officiating, or promotions.
15. Who are your main competitors?
There very same month I started, a competitor from another major city in GA started a website, and began looking for local support. They are still around but we have grown much faster with a local presence and different business model. I would say our biggest competition is the couch, as in couch potato. There are a lot of young adults in Augusta who go to work, maybe also go to school, and then go straight home. We want to get people off their couch and active, making new friends, and getting some exercise in the process.
16. What have you learnt from your competitors (both successes and failures)?
You have to offer a consistent product that people can trust, you have to offer great customer service, and you have to market yourself every day. With so much digital noise, getting your message out, even in a local area, can be difficult. Last thing, word of mouth is invaluable, because people trust it more than any other form of advertising.
17. What does a typical day involve for you? How does that compare to your team (if applicable). How has this changed over time?
Up by 7 am, doing admin answering emails, mid day is working on Marketing and developing business relationships, and hiring referees, around 3 pm I head out to the fields to do maintenance or set up, then officiate sports until about 10:30 pm. The stop by our bar/grill sponsors to check in with teams, players, and sponsor staff. I have slowly been developing reliable part-time staff so that I can go home by 6 or 7 pm to spend time with my wife.
18. Favorite books?
The Bible, How to Win Friends and Influence People (Dale Carnegie), Entreleadership (Dave Ramsey), Total Money Makeover (Dave Ramsey) The Magic of Thinking Big, (Swartz), Richest Man in Babylon (Clason), Who Moved My Cheese (Johnson), Run with the Horseman, The Chronicles of Narnia, Lord of the Rings Trilogy, Complete Works of Shakespeare, and lots of Biographies (especially business/sports leaders)
19. Favorite movies?
Braveheart, The Fighting Temptations, Back to the Future, Enemy Mine, Some Kind of Wonderful, Star Wars, The Princess Bride, The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) Renaissance Man, Passion of the Christ, Stand By Me, Soul Surfer
20. Favorite entrepreneurs?
Andrew Carnegie, Walt Disney, Bill Gates, Henry Ford, Blake Mycoskie, Sam Walton, Mark Burnett, Marcus Lemonis
21. Best piece of advice?
From different sources: Start a business with passion, build it with people, and do it all with focus and organization.
1. You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.-Zig Ziglar
2. Anyway Poem – attributed to Mother Teresa
22. Common misconceptions about your business/entrepreneurship in general?
I think a lot of people just think it is about being competitive at sports. sports is just the medium. It is about people connecting through a common activity and developing community to improve over all quality of life in the area.
23. What is next for your business?
Continuing to add new sports and new events, and eventually grow to other areas of the regions/state.
24. What next for you?
Learning to get more organized, develop patience, and lose some weight (working 12 hours days you really need to plan meals to eat healthy)
25. How has working out of theClubhou.se benefitted your company?
Getting out of the house has helped me to avoid distractions, given me an opportunity to share with others when I need feedback, and also provide motivation with the success of others at theClubhou.se.
Are you interested in membership with theClubhou.se? Visit our website.