Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Justin Jacobs, Founder of Come Play Detroit, located in Detroit, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Come Play Detroit is the city's largest sports and social club. We organize intramural leagues and events for young adults ages 20-45. Leagues include softball, volleyball, basketball, bowling, tennis, pickleball, broomball, and more!
Tell us about yourself
I was born in New York and lived in Florida and Ohio before settling in metro Detroit at the age of 8. I attended 3 high schools and 4 colleges. Moving a lot can make it a challenge to make friends, but no matter the age, I always found that I could find friends by playing sports. Upon returning to Detroit after graduating from DePaul University in Chicago, I saw a major lack of opportunities to be socially engaged. There were some local softball leagues through the parks and rec departments, but nothing really focused on social opportunities for young adults. I decided to do something about it! We started with a basketball league, quickly followed by kickball, volleyball, and bowling. Within a matter of months, we had over a thousand participants!
I am motivated each day to be able to put smiles on people's faces. Knowing that our leagues and events are the highlights of their weeks. We help create friendships, as well as marriages and families. We have become an integral part of the community.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been our ability to help reshape the conversation about the city of Detroit. When we started in 2010, Detroit was a destination to attend concerts and sporting events. Now there are thousands of young adults from all over the country and the world that choose to move to Detroit for the lifestyle. In a world where you can almost live anywhere to work many jobs, people continue to make Detroit their home because it offers a dynamic lifestyle, which includes opportunities to play!
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is balancing work and personal life. I'm fortunate to have a very supportive wife and family, but the struggle is typically put on myself as most of our leagues and events take place in the evenings and weekends, which for most people is the time they spend with their families. I can't be everywhere all the time like I was when we were smaller and only had 1-2 leagues per night, but now we have 5+ leagues per night, while my kids are starting to have after-school programs that I want to attend. I have found that by volunteering to coach the sports teams that my kids play on, the organizations will work around my schedule since coaches are always in high demand, but I can't expect that to last forever.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The top 3 tips that I'd give to anyone looking to start and grow a business today are:
- Find what's missing from your life. The thing you want but can't seem to find. And create it!
- Don't be shy to ask questions and/or ask for help. You don't have all the answers, and there are plenty of resources out there to assist you.
- It's ok to fail. Not every idea is going to work out, but failure is part of the process. You'll become better and strong at identifying what works and what doesn't. Failing isn't the end; quitting is. Failing is just another step along the journey.
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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