Hate your job? Love running? When those two thoughts collide, it’s natural that many of us will start to daydream about a shiny new life where we turn our hobby into a job that we can make a living from and enjoy at the same time.
Many runners have done it. They’ve created new events, new services and new products, found a market for their idea and gone on to establish sustainable jobs that both pay the bills and offer that much sought after ‘work satisfaction’.
Could you do the same? Is there a brilliant idea lurking within you and the determination to make it happen? There are a number of key areas that runners, interested in working off their own bat, might consider. We look at some of them:
The world of running has seen an incredible growth in events. And events of all shapes, sizes and hues. Trail runs, obstacle racing, ultras, themed races like colour runs and zombie runs, kids’ events and runs with food and wine packages. Although it’s a competitive area and one that as we’ve mentioned is well-covered in all departments, there is always room for a new concept or approach.
A big deal for any event is the location, find yourself a memorable venue and you’re half way there. But it’s the idea that is crucial, think Pieathlon, Chocathlon, Wineathlon etc which are all now well-established fun events.
Think up the idea, arrange a location that works with the concept add lots of hard work and marketing nous and you might be on to a winner!
This is a fascinating area. Numerous people who have come up with new products ideas have contacted runABC, ideas as diverse as sports armbands with hydration packs, magnetic bib holders that replace pins for your race number and that natty bell that lets other pedestrians know that we're there.
And then there are people like Mary Moran who forsook the rewards of a City lawyer to indulge her passion for health, fitness and fashion. Mary created stylish apparel brand Ilu Fitwear and is now living the dream.
Do you have a technology bent? Is fashion your thing? Or do you simply have a brilliant widget idea? Combine one of those with your awareness of the world of running and you could be taking your first business steps.
This is a big one and possibly the most straightforward route to running employment. Do you have a passion for running? A passion you love to share? If you also have a sense of empathy and good motivational skills then forming your own running group on a commercial basis might be possible.
You’ll be following a well-trodden path, hundreds of people up and down the country run successful groups. There are many groups run by volunteer leaders so if you are charging you will need to offer something special. Individual running sessions will be part of a programme; the leader will provide support and feedback plus advice about nutrition and cross training.
Also it makes sense to have the relevant qualifications. Leadership in Running Fitness and coaching awards will give potential group members confidence in your abilities and experience.
Strong runners tend to have good all-round fitness and many have an interest in other disciplines – cycling, swimming, the gym – so there is the potential to build upon your core running skills and awareness and consider ‘personal training’. Once the preserve of the wealthy, more and more of us are considering investing in one to one support to reach our fitness goals.
Running Tours / Holidays
Are you a keen runner? Do you live in a big city? Why not follow the example of enterprising runners around the globe who have created a route that takes in some of their hometowns’ best known sites and marketed that service to visitors.
But what if you live in the sticks? Even better! Lots of keen locals in places like the Lakes, the South Downs, the Cotwolds and the Dales have teamed up with local B&Bs/hotels to come up with perfect running holiday packages.
Supporting Race Organisers
As mentioned, the whole events thing has gone through the roof. And with it has grown the need for back-up services helping organisers with the minutiae of their race. Entry systems, race timing, photography and catering are just a few support services that have been turned into successful jobs.
The Essential Ingredients
There are some essentials that a budding running entrepreneur needs to have in place before they head to that bright future of running-related prosperity:
- A workable idea/something that will find genuine customer interest. Not just a hobby horse
- Great background knowledge
- The ability to think creatively and package imaginatively
- Promotional/sales skills – this is no place for shrinking violets
- Practical skills and the ability and desire to deliver
- And did we mention – lots of luck!
Pieathlon image courtesy Team OA