Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Antwaun Thompson, Owner of Coach T's Corner, located in Salisbury, NC, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am Antwaun Thompson or Coach T®, and I have coached and mentored young men and women, helping to improve their athletic skills, personal growth, and personal relationship skills, for over 30 years. My basketball coaching covers elementary, middle, and high school, AAU, and college, and I just completed my 10th year at a private school.

Tell us about yourself

My early childhood consisted of my mom, older brother, and I live with a father who was the total opposite of what a husband and father should be. But my mom, being the strong-willed woman that she is, decided that she, my brother, and I deserved better. We left our father and my mom met an amazing Marine, Joe Lewis Thompson, whom she would later marry and add one more son to the family.

One of the first things Joe did after marrying our mom was to adopt my older brother and me and raise us as his biological sons. That decision would forever change my life; I just didn’t realize it at the time. We would not realize the impact of the things he taught us until years later. Words cannot describe the impact he had on me, but I know I can pay it forward in his honor.

My coaching career started in 1985, at the age of 21, when I was asked to coach a 10- and 11-year-old team because there were not enough coaches. That experience was life-changing. I found out early on that I had the ability to teach more than just the game of basketball but the game of life as well. After a successful four years coaching in that league, I was offered the opportunity to coach at Meadowbrook High School. What a dream opportunity because I got to learn from a great basketball mind in Coach Mike Sutton. He gave me the opportunity to coach both the freshman and junior varsity teams simultaneously, an opportunity I jumped at.

The irony here is that what I learned during that time I still use successfully as a coach today. My success there afforded me the chance to coach at the next level, which was AAU. To age myself, during my AAU coaching, I had the opportunity to coach against NBA Hall of Famer Allen Iverson when he was just 15 years old. This opportunity gave me a chance to coach the elite players in their respective age groups. The 14-and-under team that I coached finished 10th in the nation at the national tournament in Kingsport, Tenn., an experience that I still treasure to this day.

Years later, my coaching career took me to the college ranks as an assistant coach at Division III Randolph College. That experience taught me that every level of basketball is challenging, a lesson that I still, to this day, remind the kids that I train. The interaction with college kids also taught me that all kids face similar challenges, just in different environments. So, my coaching and mentoring skills were honed during this period.

And for the past ten years, I have been coaching at a private school, Salisbury Academy, here in Salisbury, NC. The coaching experiences from 1985 continue to mold me into a better coach, but more importantly, a better mentor.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

That is actually a tough question for me to answer. I don't measure my success in the traditional sense because I measure the success of the kids that I have the pleasure of meeting, teaching, coaching, and mentoring. So, I guess you could say that their success is my success.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Staying current on issues and topics related to the challenges facing teenagers and incorporating those into my business model. This challenge is also a huge benefit to me as a coach and mentor, as it keeps me fresh and engaged and helps me hone my coaching skills. Always looking to grow and learn.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

The top three things that I highly recommend for anyone trying to start a business are to keep it simple, give 100% effort, and, most importantly, keep a positive attitude. Do these three things, and success will forever be at your fingertips.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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