Launching the first businesses in their hometowns of Charlotte, NC and Harrisburg, PA, both Sorzano and Webb found quick success in their passion to inspire children to live fit, healthy lives. The idea of providing kids ages two to eight with a creative curriculum that focuses on soccer skills as well as character development held appeal to many and with a growing interest from parents and former teammates to become involved, in 2005 Soccer Shots began franchising.
The mission of Soccer Shots is to be the premier intro-to-soccer provider across the globe. Last year over 100,000 kids enrolled in Soccer Shots to learn the fundamentals of the sport in locations across the country. This year the company is looking to grow by 50,000 more.
For Soccer Shots, the most important thing when considering a potential franchisee is finding someone who loves kids and has a passion for impacting them positively. Rian and Alyssa Heim genuinely enjoy the concept and see the fulfillment in working with children, a quality that has helped their Los Angeles, CA franchise become one of the leaders in the system.
Meet The Heims
Rian was born in Portland, OR where he lived until attending the Art Institute of Seattle. After graduating with a degree in Graphic Design he worked with several companies freelancing his talent. Alyssa, a native of Southern California, attended the University of Southern California, where she studied Accounting and later began teaching through Opportunities for Learning. The couple met in 2001 through mutual friends, and in 2004 were married.
Content with their careers at the time, both knew they wanted to someday have a family and work for themselves. “I loved what I did, I just didn’t like it as a business. It’s important to find the things you love and if they cross over it’s great, but sometimes they don’t, and for me it didn’t,” explains Rian. “Franchising had never crossed our minds before. We were looking for something, but we didn’t want to force anything. We knew it would come to us.”
Then, while attending a wedding in August 2007, a mutual friend of the couple who had recently purchased a Soccer Shots franchise in Charlotte, NC introduced them to the company. Intrigued by the concept, the Heims began researching the brand.
Discovering the financial security, freedom and flexibility Soccer Shots offered franchisees, the couple were also drawn to the relatively low start-up fee, the low overhead, and low risk. After discussions with Soccer Shots, Rian says the experience was a pleasant one. “They had a good feel to us, they weren’t too corporate or difficult to reach, and we felt we could relate to them. We spoke the same type of language, so that was helpful and reassuring as well.”
In December 2007, the couple decided to take the chance, make the change, and bought their franchise. “We wanted to work with children, and liked working in education, so both those factors were huge selling points for us,” Rian says.
Having never owned a franchise or business, the Heims took a steady approach, growing slowly to ensure their focus was on the quality of their franchise, careful not to over-expand and ruin what they were working towards. “We knew our hard work would pay off and that within the three to five years we would get to where we wanted to be, live the lifestyle we wanted, and have the flexibility to have children and be home with them as much as possible. It really was a lifestyle choice,” Rian explains.
Defining the two biggest benefits of being a part of the Soccer Shots franchise system as the franchisee community and the online registration system, Rian says both of these factors would not have been available to them had they gone into business alone. “We’ve become friends with other franchise owners, and we’re able to reach out and support each other with questions and answers,” he explains. “We also wouldn’t have been able to afford the registration system on our own, but because we’re part of a system and everyone is contributing, we’re able to benefit from it, allowing us to plan projects.”
To all potential franchisees Rian says, “You need to be dedicated, and willing to sacrifice time and energy,” adding that while franchising provides a lot of flexibility, hard work is necessary to succeed. “At the end of the day you get out of it what you put into it. The franchisees that succeed aren’t just lucky, they work really hard, they’re smart, and they take risks. The ones who do moderately well, put a moderate level of effort in and the ones who fail don’t do the work,” he says.
Today the Heims’ Soccer Shots franchise employs five full time staff and 20 part timers. Alyssa is able to be home with their three and a half year old son, Charles, and three month old daughter, Amelia, and she can still put in around 15 hours a week, taking care of the accounting, payroll and business taxes. Rian works a 40-hour week with Soccer Shots but is still able to spend plenty of time with his family.
“Soccer Shots provides a great opportunity to work hard and double or triple your revenue in a year, and that’s exciting,” Rian says. “But business aside, it’s rewarding to work with kids, get to know their families, and know we’re working in a field that makes an impact on other’s lives.”
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