We had the good fortune of connecting with Kevin Nevels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Kevin, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Ha! This is a great question. I wish I had more thought process when I decided to take the plunge into the world of the entrepreneur. What I knew is that I didn’t enjoy my current job. I worked in a petroleum plant doing quality control testing on gasoline and diesel fuel. It was a boring job that was VERY repetitive. I’ve always considered myself a very dynamic person who loves being around people. The lab life was not for me. I knew that I had a passion for teaching martial arts and I felt very strong that I could be successful becoming a martial arts business owner. It was very simple for me. Martial Arts made me happy so my wife and I opened our business!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The decade of small business ownership has been an amazing rollercoaster. The first hardest thing we had to do was figure out how to take a passion and turn it into a business. I love martial arts. I started training at the age of 9. I never got my Black Belt when I was a kid so it was always something that lingered as incomplete for me. When I turned 19 I was able to start training again and I’ve been doing martial arts ever since. Taking a passion and turning into a viable business definitely came with its challenges. The first year was very rocky because we had no business systems. All we had were martial arts systems. We knew what to teach and when to teach it but all we knew was that we needed to charge a monthly tuition. That was pretty much it in terms of financial systems. After about a year and a half we really started to find our groove. We were able to pay all our bills and I had just become full time in the business which was a HUGE accomplishment. At our second year anniversary we were able to bring my wife on full time. After two and a half years, we realized that we were outgrowing our current leased space. Luckily, we had a three year lease so we were able to move into a larger facility. This was an AMAZING step for our small little company. We moved into a GIGANTIC 3,000 square feet facility that we built out. It was fantastic and allowed us to grow to over 300 members. For comparison, according to the Martial Arts Industry Association, the average martial arts school in the United States has about 75 members. The next challenge was understanding how to properly monetize our business. I can not stress this enough, GET A COACH! Our business coach helped us take our business to the next level. Having someone who has been what you are going through has been an invaluable edge that we have over other schools. The best part of having a coach is that they have helped us get to where we want to be financially. They have also allowed us to provide career opportunities for our staff. They have also helped us change through martial arts. By teaching us how to own and operate multiple locations and be successful, this has allowed us to share martial arts to more people in our area. This is the thing I’m most proud of.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Coppell is such an amazing community in the DFW area. I’m proud to serve as the Chairman of the Board for the Coppell Chamber of Commerce. Coppell has really come together to support the local business community and I’m proud of the work that our Chamber has done to help our businesses. I would say that the best places in the area are our local parks, restaurant scene, and our trail systems that allow you to bike and walk the city.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My shoutout goes to my family. I would not have been able to succeed in this endeavor if it wasn’t for the support of my amazing wife, Amanda. She is the cornerstone of our business success. I’m the face but she is the grinder. She gets it done! I’d also like to thank my parents, Terry and Shari Nevels and my In-Laws Dan and Maria Jagow. They have been amazing support systems through our decade of small business ownership. Lastly, I’d like to thank our children, Claire and Lucas, for always being flexible while mommy and I have to work so much. We do it all for you!
I own the rights to all the images provided