Occasionally my wife forces me to go out and socialize. So, I do my duty, go to the function and try my best at small talk (not my strong suit). Inevitably I meet someone new and the conversation goes to discussing livelihoods. The conversation goes like this:
“So, Steve what do you do for a living?”
“We run a small youth sports business.”
“Oh? Doing what?”
“We operate leagues?”
“Oh. That sounds fun.”
Silence ensues, followed by: “That’s a great hobby, but how do you make a living?”
“From our youth sports business.”
“Really. You can make a living at that?”
I can’t prove this, but I am guessing that the guy later tells his wife: “Yeah, I met Laura’s husband. Kind of sad. I think he’s having a mid-life crisis.”
It is hard for people to wrap their minds around the idea that you can make a living running youth sports leagues. They see the world through the lens of the local parks and recreation programs that are largely run by volunteers and cannot imagine a private business being successful in that environment. They fail to realize that the world has changed.
Today’s parents are busier than ever because in most households both work. Additionally, we live in a world where all of our kid’s activities are scheduled and supervised. Parents are constantly looking for new activities to engage, educate, exercise, and entertain their kids. Today’s parent also demands great service, a great product, and great communication AND is willing to pay for it. Meanwhile, legacy youth sports leagues operate the same way they did twenty-five years ago. As in any industry today, there is room for an innovator.
So, what I really want to say to my at the party interrogator is: “Yes, my friend you CAN make a living running a youth sports business and I do. In fact, while you are scurrying out to the rat race on Monday morning, thinking about your first conference call, I will be working at home in my shorts, doing something I love, contributing to my community, and experiencing a quality of life that only the independence of business ownership could bring. Have a nice evening.”