We had the good fortune of connecting with Shaun Boyce and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shaun, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
During the craziness that is 2020, Ankle Biters ExtraCurriculars was put out of business and my personal Tennis coaching business was shuttered as well. Since we work mainly with children in school systems and clubs, everything was canceled. We pivoted first to online calls with our kids to help them mentally and emotionally deal with the lockdown. Knowing our demographic as well as we do, we quickly realized that since summer camps were at risk of closing down we started offering Private Summer Camps. Utilizing a “We bring the camp to you” style, we offered to entertain children inside or outside of the house but staying inside of the neighborhood. Families could personally choose their trusted neighbors to join or simply appreciate the feeling that their children were having a great time but were not completely breaking quarantine so they could still visit their grandparents. Once summer started winding down, we pivoted again toward helping families with their ‘at home’ schooling. We would rent some space at the local clubhouse, keep the groups to less than 10 kids, and our Education Support Network was born. Whether or not we worked with the families who called on ESN, we were always helping and encouraging them in the knowledge that everything was going to be ‘ok.’ We were just as often consulting with families as they set up their own at home logistics as we were helping directly. Now that school has settled in, my business partner and fiancé are going back to basics and promoting what we know and love; that is fitness and Tennis. We started reGeovinate as an online studio for personal training, fitness, Pilates, and yoga. And I have more incoming requests for small tennis groups than I can handle so I have started building the Ankle Biters Tennis business back to full steam.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Business is hard. We often look at the most successful among us and find a spot of jealousy and wealth envy. The things we miss are the late nights, long days, and the hard earned skill of getting back to work after failure. Anyone who has attempted to start a business by themselves knows how important it is to have support of friends, family, and colleagues. We all make mistakes and we certainly spend way too much time comparing ourselves to others. I have had quite a few great ideas (I get that from my father for sure) that never went anywhere. I invented new furniture (petendtables.com) and didn’t put in the work to promote the product for long enough for others to enter the niche industry and allow myself to give up. I had many books that I wanted to write and only got around to writing one. The main reason How Not to Play Tennis was ever completed was because I was out of work and had no idea what to do next. The challenges that 2020 brought were often seemingly unsurmountable. We all have friends out of work and know about businesses struggling to keep afloat. We stay focused on what we have to offer and do everything we can to fit it into the new needs of our community. Quite a few businesses are attempting to adjust to a ‘new normal’ and having a hard time of it. We stay in contact with our neighbors as well as former and current customers and clients to stay apprised of their specific needs. Within each of our small businesses we stay customer focused and always ask what they want even if we can’t provide it immediately. Keeping ourselves healthy and living the lifestyle that we promote to others, not only allows us to believe in our products but we also gain the appreciation of those who want to do business with us.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Since the virus hit we have not visited a restaurant but we certainly enjoy the 110 Octane Hot Sauce we acquired from a personal connection associated with Mondo Italian Kitchen in Milton. Hopefully we will feel comfortable again to go out to eat in the near future but until then we will be using delivery services and remember fondly the morning breakfast visits to the Chic-fil-a drive through and our all too often nights out at our local Duluth restaurants like Carrabbas, Marlows, and (if our friend Danny hooks us up) we got to make the rare visit to Kyma, run by Buckhead Life Group. We certainly prefer to visit spots owned or operated by friends in the industry. When we don’t have a connection, we prefer iconic spots like Fat Matts and The Varsity. And it seems strange to say but I agree with a friend of ours, who has extensive experience eating prime rib all over the world, that California Dreaming in Duluth has a phenomenal prime rib.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
For years I was working on my own. Or at least it certainly felt like it. I knew then that the support of my friends and family was the main thing keeping me going. It was through the exhaustive efforts of my best friends, especially Craig, that helped me give up my drinking habit which jump started my ability to stay focused and actually put in the real work to get my businesses running at full speed. And then 2020 happened. Once I found my personal partner (we are getting married this November 2020), we were able to hold each other accountable for deadlines, production, and follow up necessary to start three new businesses. The loving support of a real life partner has been the underlying component to my successes. Geovy helped me offer the Private Summer Camps promoted through Ankle Biters as well as start a new business concept called Education Support Network. As a Pilates instructor and a fitness trainer, Geovy now runs reGeovinate.com which is an online studio for fitness and wellness support for those who are no longer interested in large gyms. None of this would have been possible alone for either of us.
Other: petendtables.com shaunboyce.com regeovinate.com educationsupport.network anklebiters.info hownottoplaytennis.com patreon.com/shaunjboyce