Former i9 Sports employee’s ownership journey: First his mom bought an i9 Sports franchise. Then he took over. Here’s why he is all in.
Colton Wyatt has always been athletic. He played “pretty much every sport” until his high school years, when he specialized in wrestling and baseball. In college, he majored in kinesiology because he knew that’s where his path lay. Colton even worked for i9 Sports, first as a site manager for one franchise owner and later, when his mother bought a franchise, he worked for her. Then he branched off into a stint in the flood restoration industry. When Mom was ready to retire, Colton, with help from his wife, Bailey, took over the family business. He’s loved every minute of it. Learn more about his story in this i9 Sports franchise review.
When did you become an i9 Sports franchisee?
In December 2018.
What were you doing before then?
I started at i9 Sports working with another franchise owner; I think it was right around seven years ago. I worked on Saturdays with him as a site manager for two years and I slowly became a little more involved. Then my mother bought a franchise and I worked for her as a program director for a few years. Then I decided to go on another path into the flood restoration industry and I did that for a couple of years. My mother eventually wanted to retire, so I came back to i9 Sports and took her territory over. So, it’s kind of come full circle.
Where is your franchise located?
The outskirts of Fort Worth and almost into downtown, and all the surrounding cities on the west side of Fort Worth.
Have you been an athlete or a sports enthusiast all your life?
Yeah, I played basically everything, all the main sports and I even wrestled, starting at a really young age up until high school. In high school, I specialized in baseball and I played all four years. I also played intramural sports in college and when I can, I play in an adult men’s softball league. So, I’ve stayed in athletics as much as I possibly can.
Did you ever plan to have a career in sports?
I went to college for kinesiology, but I always had a passion to coach and teach. When I started working for i9 Sports, I started thinking maybe this was the career path that I’d like to go down. After I graduated college, it all kind of just fell into place.
Do you have any inspiring stories from your i9 Sports experience that you would want to share?
Several years ago, there was one kid who was extremely apprehensive about getting onto the field. He was very young, about 4 years old, and he clutched his mother and wouldn’t leave her. We convinced him to get out there and play, when he did he was one of the better kids on the soccer field, and he scored a goal for the first time ever. The excitement on his face and just seeing him succeed in something that he was so scared to do 30 minutes before was awesome.
That’s really cool. So when you saw your mom getting into it as an owner, did you ever envision at that point that you would come back into it as an owner?
Well, I always wanted to be a bigger part of it, but I didn’t know how that was going to play out. When my mother decided to retire, she brought it to me and it was the perfect solution. It was a little over a year and a half ago that it became a reality that I had the chance to own it, and it was a no-brainer at that time.
It became a reality then, and I would not change it for the world.
Does your wife, Bailey, help in the business at all?
She has a full-time job during the week, so she goes out to the fields on Saturdays with me and helps me run the programs.
What have been some of the most valuable things corporate does to support you in that first year?
I speak to my business coach twice a month and we bounce ideas off each other and look at the numbers, look at how everything’s running. We chat about things that maybe I’m not 100% sure about. Monthly, we have huddle calls, and occasionally we have other webinars that keep us informed and suggest how to update our programs and run our programs. They really help us big time by teaching us how to succeed.
How do you interact with the other franchisees in your area?
Just within an hour’s drive, there’s probably three of them. Tom and Micah Nisley, the people that I originally started working for, are about a 45-minute drive from me, in Keller. They’re really my main contact because I have such a good relationship with them and they have an established franchise. I think they’ve been around for 10-plus years now. So, they’re a great asset. I enjoy bouncing ideas off of them. My friend that helped me get the job with Tom and Micah just bought a franchise too and now we chat about once a month or so.
How large would you like to grow your franchise?
We’ve got a pretty large territory and a lot of it hasn’t been tapped into. Part of it is that there’s a lot of territory that is just now really growing as far as population goes. As of right now, my big picture is to have as many locations up in this territory as possible. Then, several years down the road maybe I’ll look into buying another territory.
If you were to get a call from someone who’s looking at buying an i9 Sports franchise, what advice might you give them? What would you want them to know?
First I’d ask them if they’ve ever worked from home before or by themselves with no one else as their boss, because that is probably the number one thing that I have really had to learn — there is no one telling you what to do or when to do it. You really must be motivated and push yourself to work long hours and get everything done that needs to be done in a timely manner so you can run a successful franchise.
Is there anything else that you think would be important to mention to a future franchise owner?
I would say having the freedom to be your own boss, to make your own schedule, to basically having the best work life balance that you could possibly have, i9 Sports gives it to you and that’s the beauty of it.
You’ve got to work hard, but you can also set your own hours and run your programs the way that you see that they’ll be most successful. You’ve got the support and you’ve got the guidelines to follow, but you’ve also got your own way of doing things, which makes it wonderful.
To find out more about the business opportunity with i9 Sports, fill out the form on this page to download our free franchise report. Read more i9 Sports franchise reviews on our blog, and continue exploring the i9 Sports offering on our website.