Friday, June 7, 2013

Tennis Pro, Business Pro or Both?

Just because I know or it is public knowledge that someone is good at something, a sport, an occupation, a hobby, I have never made the assumption this same someone is good at teaching others their craft, skills or the knowledge they possess.

Many experts I know either can't or don't have the desire or means to effectively and coherently pass on tips or even reflect on their experiences in a manner for which another would benefit. There is nothing wrong with this at all, nor should there be, unless they are placed in or gain a position of authority on a subject.

Then there are others who aren't experts at what they do or have done, but have the insight, the mentoring and coaching skills, the passion and the patience to be wonderful teachers in their fields. And then you have both.

However, how many of you teaching pros wanting to take teaching full-time as your lifetime career and primary income are still finding that ball getting further from your racket each time you take a big swing at it, looking for that opportunity and assurance (or predictable sense of) to do so?

How many of you full-time teaching pros feel that if you lost the employment and prospect/lead generation of a club, center or organization, would be struggling severely as a teaching tennis pro if this went away tomorrow?

On the flip side, do feel you could be doing more to generate your own prospects and maintain a healthy and growing relationship with your students and clients? I am not implying you take advantage of your club or center to increase your sole business, but making yourself more valuable to your club or center. If nothing else, this is a time to learn and prepare for the day when you may be involuntarily on your own or choose to be so.

So how does this tie into the title of this article? Okay, you are good at what you do. And, you are good at teaching tennis. Are you good at promoting this, managing it and building the relationships with the various means of communication?

I have been in the communications industry in some fashion my entire adult life in a variety of formats, with many technologies. Now we are inundated with a plethora (more like that junk drawer somewhere in your home) of ways to get our message across. The ones you use are the ones that bring results, the ones on the kitchen counter (not under it), on your desk, in your pocket. Many of the associated applications and software are at your reach or in your hand right now. You purchased, signed up for or downloaded some of them awhile ago, but that may be about the last time you have any recollection of them.

The devices for communicating will continue to increase and evolve, while selected software, whether in the cloud or on the device itself, will probably be of greater importance because most people probably use less than about 30% of what their smartphone or computer is capable of out of the box - understandably so if you've been on both sides of the industry.

Okay, that's the technology side and I originally wanted to compose two separate articles, but I thought the following could not be overlooked.

Earlier I mentioned managing the business (new prospects, clients, students) you create or perhaps stumble upon, and yourself as well.

Over the next few weeks we will be providing some articles or links to experts who address many such situations as yours, those who provide support from more of a business aspect and hopefully some experiences of those entrepreneurs who have lived in the world of truly sole proprietorship. And I am not speaking of some long-winded gurus espousing the obvious. Or I'll just do it myself. You need some simple tools because I know from personal and business experience, some of you are good at promotion, some are good at managing, a few at both, but most of you would rather not do either.

I've dealt with artists, musicians and athletes, and many share the same "I just want to do what I do best" persona. Wonderful, but increase your odds of being rewarded substantially or at least in greater volume (more art commissions/sales, more music gigs, more tennis students/clients respectively) and doing so for a lifetime becomes more a reality.

I've had a lifetime relationship with one of the most dedicated (to his craft and music), and if not most talented, most learned jazz musicians I have ever heard or met. I watched over decades, without any intervention (would have been a futile attempt), as he assumed (not with arrogance - he's a true artist/technician) that if he was as good he was, he would be performing for the rest of his life, living well financially by means of what he loved most.

Some many years later, in conversation, he said, "If I only would have been more open-minded and learned how to address this as a business and promote myself, I would still be doing only this for a living".

Fortunately as a teaching tennis pro, you have the opportunity in some fashion, in part or whole, to treat what you do as a business (if not already) and if not now, but later, as your own business. Unfortunately, you have to begin thinking and believing as a business, but this is probably a minor task compared to what you learned to become a sound and effective teaching pro. Right?

We will follow through on providing you with more insight and resources in future blog posts so please follow us by e-mail (on this page to the left) or subscribe to our RSS Feed (on this page to the left as well).

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This is not some subscription service you sign up for, forget, and it forgets you. This is where you have your own Web site with pages, posts, communications, pictures, videos, contact forms - I'm dumbifying it. There is much, much more

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