It’s been almost one year since I officially started up Jon’s Table Tennis Training LLC. Overall, it has been a very enjoyable and successful venture. It is a huge blessing to be able to work at something that I really enjoy. The basic business model is somewhat unique. From the start, the idea was to be able to charge less than most coaches while also providing excellent coaching for beginners and quality training for more advanced players.
Currently, there are eleven players who train weekly, which has me working about 25 hours a week. Two factors have allowed this business to succeed while only bringing in less than a thousand dollars a month. After the initial investment of $12,000 to create the basement training studio, there have been no further expenses for rent or training space. While most businesses like this would require investors, a pension from my past career allows for the flexibility to let Jon’s Table Tennis Training grow without being overly concerned with its financial status. I’ve certainly learned plenty as a coach and as a business owner over the last twelve months, so here’s a list of the top lessons learned:
- Build it and they will come…maybe. Players are not as enthusiastic about training as one might think. Convenient, affordable training still is a niche business and will not appeal to all players.
- Weekends and evenings are prime hours. Some students and retirees may be able to train on weekday afternoons or mornings, but most of the evening and weekend hours will be the first to get booked.
- Allow some time for listening after training. Most people want to chat a little after their training session. Sometimes it’s about table tennis and sometimes not, but it can be very enjoyable and should be expected as part of the experience.
- Learn from your students. Working through weaknesses with students usually is educational for the coach. Learn different ways to present information, since we all learn in different ways.
- Be honest but tactful while coaching. I’ve seen plenty of coaches promise players that they can take them to a 2000 rating. Some players will surprise you with how quickly they progress, but this usually has a lot to do with their determination. On the other hand, some players may not progress quickly no matter how good a coach they have.
- Be confident in your own playing abilities. If you still compete as well as coach, you need to keep your game sharp. Lessons learned in competition will help you as a player but will also pay dividends for your coaching.
- Keep good records. Income, expenses, mileage, donations, and receipts all need to be kept up with. All table tennis expenses are potential tax deductions for a table tennis coach. Once you have a system that works for you, this is actually not too difficult to do.
- Keep a calendar/planner for all your sessions. Keeping up with even a modest number of students is not something that can be trusted to memory.
- Schedule a regular day off every week. For me, it’s Friday. I try not to have any table tennis related activities at all and always look forward to it.
- Have a quality website. This is actually where most customers come from. A table tennis blog can create more traffic for your site and more exposure for your business.
It is quite possible to run a small table tennis business or even a large one. Thanks to everyone who has helped and supported this venture. It’s the best job I’ve ever had.