NOVEMBER 27, 2012
On March 25, 2011, I returned home from playing my first season of “professional” hockey in Europe. It was after this year of enjoying Belgium beer, travelling and having some fun at the rink that I realized I was ready to start a working career. Like many people my age, I was left with little options. I could move to a big city or try and catch the Kelowna lottery for a career role. My goal has always been to work for myself, but I didn’t think it would start until I was much older.
Inspiration struck me when I was exploring the functions of Twitter. I found the ability to instantly relay a message to the masses intriguing. I thought this would be great for businesses to take advantage of and I wondered how that could be a business for me? At that time, it couldn’t. Within that same week, I took an interview to become a text message marketing sales consultant. During that interview, I learned the value of text message marketing and the unique ability to link businesses with their local market.
I now thought, “I have a plan: I will create a website and database that gets offered exclusive time sensitive discounts and I will charge members to be in that database.” Just like that, the Loop was born. Originally, the idea was to offer an entertainment membership and a golf membership.
After running all around town and meeting with whoever would hear me for one minute, I had aligned some great partnerships. The key to gaining these early business partners was that I had to pitch the idea in person; if I got to sit down and gauge my audience, I was successful. The few telephone pitch opportunities I had were instant shut downs. Although I was discouraged many times, I focused on the wins and quickly tried to forget the unsuccessful meetings. Soon after, I realized I was a one-man show and had a lot to learn. I scaled back the concept and the website launched, focusing on golf alone.
After a few weeks of hard work, GetintheLoop launched in late April of 2011. I can still remember that 22 minutes after announcing the site was live on Facebook, I had my first paying Loop Member! This was a super exciting moment and nerve racking. My first thoughts were “YESSSS it’s working”, quickly followed by the immediate doubt of “uh oh, I now have a customer and I have to be sure they love my product every day!”
My partner courses started to enjoy the communication avenue, giving them an opportunity to make an offering to their local clients.
The members loved the service; it was affordable and included a 2-for-1 to The Harvest, a no-brainer for any golfer. My partners (golf courses) were all very supportive and valued supporting the local golf community; they all were very quick to support the concept and me. Without them, I had nothing but an idea.
During my first year, my membership grew steadily and the company enjoyed some nice milestones. We added more partner courses and sold out the first ever Golf Loop Night at The Harvest. The Loop night included some great prizes and drinks, and of course it was a fantastic deal.
Feedback was positive from both the member and partner side, and for the first time I realized that this is what I want to do. I want to take the chance. I want to work for myself.