I began November 30, 2018
Let’s start from the beginning, what were you doing before KB?
I took and currently still take care of my dad who is a disabled Vietnam veteran. I used to work at Walmart, and my mom got really sick with what ended up being pancreatic cancer, so I left work in Dec. 2017 to take care of both my parents. Sadly, my mom passed away soon after. We were devastated and it got to a point where I needed a way to supplement my income, as I had a lot of responsibilities. I worked in direct sales on the side and my wife was working 3rd shift and it still was not enough. I kept seeing ads on Facebook for Knockerball and thought it could be a good way to make money and give me the freedom to help my dad etc. Eventually, I talked to my dad and wife, got more info about starting a bubble soccer business from KB, and decided to try it out. I didn’t have the money upfront, so I took a chance and decided to finance it. I got my equipment soon after and we have been going ever since. I still drive with Lyft and a few other services on the side.
Please tell us about your personal story…what inspires you and what makes you tick? What makes you who you are?
I am a husband of 8 years and have been a dad for almost 6 years now. Absolutely what inspires me is my son. He is the thing that keeps me motivated and has since the day he was born. I really want to build a company that one day I hope he’ll take over and be able to build even bigger. Having that a legacy for my children is what we all dream of, so I just keep pushing to be able to give that to him. Until he is old enough to take it over, my goal is to expand the Knockerball business and get to the point where we can hire someone to run it until my son takes it over. I am not stopping though, as this is my first time being an entrepreneur and now that I have experienced it fully, I want to continue on that path for as long as possible. I hope to take the money I make from Knockerball and open my own bakery once we’re able to.
What equipment and games do you currently have (KB and non-KB) and what are you considering adding on to your business?
I currently only have the Knockerballs, 10 Adult and 6 Youth. But, very soon we will be adding Nerf Wars to our lineup as we want to be able to offer options other than bubble soccer to our customers, so they don’t get burned out. We plan on getting the Nerf guns, ammo and using the Knockerballs as bunkers- we think it will be a ton of fun. We also hope to get one of the Zorb Balls and a small field one day soon. Besides the equipment, we also are trying to figure out how to start a league in our area. We would love to have all of the various Bubble Soccer players and affiliates come out and have a tournament!
What events are your main focus? (Select your top 3)
High Schools, Middle Schools, Elementary Schools
Fairs / Festivals
Corporate / Corporate Team Building
Bachelor / Bachelorette Parties
Walk-In’s at my physical store
Still working on expanding to other facilities and options. Hoping to score a store front for the winter.
How do you go about marketing and promoting your business?
Facebook blasts and word of mouth. We have other social media accounts, but we are still learning how to use them. Facebook is the main one currently, and most of our marketing is on there. I also have been very successful with festivals in my area thanks to facebook, and the fairs themselves are marketing. I spent Labor Day weekend at a local amusement park, I’m scheduled to do the Pumpkin Fest, Craft Fest, Uprise Festival (which is a Christian festival), and the Ignite fest for next year. If you don’t have the money upfront to be a vendor, offer to do a profit share and usually they’re ok with it. I find the fairs and a bunch of others on the events page in Facebook and do it right there over messenger. It’s also good because everything is in writing on messenger which prevents discrepancies. Also, join your local chamber! We had our first meet and greet at the chamber last week, and we met so many contacts- including event planners and local news stations that want to help us promote. I got 2 people from local tv stations that wants to come out and film some of my events, I have been in 3 papers already, and a local radio station approached me and asked me to sponsor a local football game. From that alone I got a commercial that will run 3 times a day for 10 days with credits and live mentions during the game. You just have to learn social media and how marketing works these days because the older ways of marketing are long gone and aren’t going to work anymore.
What is your business plan for the future?
We are hoping to expand our business, hire someone to run it, and then open another business, a bakery, which is what I went to school for and my passion. Once my son gets old enough, I want him to take over the Kncokerball business which will be an empire by then with a whole bunch of super fun games and entertainment for people. Until that point, I am just trying to plant the seeds to grow and expand our name. We currently are the only affiliate within 100-mile radius, so we have a lot of ground to cover and a there is a lot of opportunity!
What would you say are the 3 most important things to remember as a KB owner?
Safety is key…Make sure everyone is following the rules. Know your business….Do your research and know your market! Be transparent!…Don’t try to hide anything, just be honest and upfront. Customers will know when you are trying to “pull the wool over their eyes.” I also learned from direct sales that it’s a numbers game and you cannot forget that. You will get 500 no’s before your first yes, and even though it may seem like you’re failing, you can’t give up, you have to keep drilling it, working it, and start pounding the pavement and talk to every one about it. One of our current employees is going to put on a Knockerball and walk down main street to get attention. You have to think outside the box. And make sure you get familiar with social media because traditional marketing doesn’t work anymore – you have to think of new ways to reach people.
What are 3 pitfalls you would avoid if you could start over knowing what you know now?
Lack of Confidence….the only thing holding yourself back is you. Not Following up… I was horrible at this at first. You should always follow up with people or you could lose potential customers. Waiting…As soon as you sign your name for your equipment, start promoting and let people know what’s coming. I believe you’ll have a much better start if you do this- don’t wait.
What is your most memorable KB moment?
So far, our most memorable Knockerball moment is getting a picture with Dakota, a local 11 year-old boy who has brain cancer. Even through all the radiation and chemo he has had, he still mustered up the energy to play bubble soccer and enjoyed it. We were able to put a smile on his face and that made any struggles we have had worth it.
What advice would you give other affiliates or people considering becoming an affiliate?
Be yourself, get out there and talk it up. Your business will not grow itself, only YOU are going to grow it! Believe in your product and your services and don’t wait for leads, go get them. Post every event and be sure to share it to every group and person you know on fb. Especially if you don’t have the money to do ads at first. Your views will go from 5 people seeing the post to 500 people seeing the post, just be sure to read the rules of each group. As I mentioned before, I also recommend being transparent because there’s no getting away with hiding things these days due to reviews being everywhere. Speaking of reviews, I’ve started taking a dry erase board to every event, and have everyone write a review on the dry erase board because I know not everyone is going to take the time to go to google, yelp, facebook etc. and leave a review. I then take a picture of it before I erase it and put them up elsewhere. You will find what works best for you as you experience more and more, just don’t give up before getting to that point- remember it’s a numbers game.