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A DAY IN THE LIFE Sports Xtra's Mark Rowland

Mark Rowland is the Sports Xtra franchise owner based in the Basingstoke and North Hampshire area. Mark has been running his business around his family life for three and a half years now, providing sports and activity provision to children of primary school age. Here’s an insight into his typical working day.

6:30 I always get up at this time, which does grate somewhat with my fiancé as I am always telling her what a flexible lifestyle I have and yet I get up this early every day! I have always been an early bird though and I like to get up and crack on!

7:00 I have a quick shower, make a cup of tea, wake my daughter up and the laptop is then on. While the others in the household are getting ready for their day, I find this a great time to get things done, especially catching up with e-mails that have come in the previous evening.

8:30 With the flexibility that comes with being your own boss, I can now take some time out (well, as much as you can with modern mobile communications!) and take my daughter to school.

9:00 Most mornings are taken up with the organisational side of the business. This could mean meetings with schools, local authorities, regional meetings with fellow franchise owners and even my head office mentor, as well as business development meetings. This time can also be used to ensure that everything is in place to enable all clubs and activities run smoothly throughout the day, the week and the term. There is, of course, good old fashion admin to do as well!

12:00 If there is a slightly less busy time of the day, the lunch period is probably it, but I am a planner and I am always looking ahead, so I like to make the most of any spare time. This can also be taken up with paying bills, arranging wages, going to the bank, workforce management, planning holiday camps, birthday parties and all other aspects of the business.

13:00 As we move into the afternoon, most of my coaches are now at the peak of their work in the schools. I’ll often visit my schools to ensure that I am supporting them in what they are doing and continue to build strong relationship with the school staff.

15:15 We now move into the ‘After School’ activities, which again are a peak time for the business and my staff. Although this is a management franchise and we are encouraged to focus on building a business rather than coaching, I do love the buzz of seeing happy children, so this could also be the time of day where I occasionally dip in to doing a spot of coaching!

15:30 If I am not coaching, and due to the flexibility of being my own boss, I can now pick my little one up from school, which is a huge lifestyle change for me from my previous office 8am-6pm career.

17:00 All of our clubs are now finished, the coaches and equipment are all sorted and then it is back home to crack on with more work. I find this to be the time of day when I will get the most phone calls from parents to discuss clubs or take bookings for our many other courses.

19:00 Although this wasn’t possible in the early days of the business, I do try and switch off, if possible, at 7pm, spend a bit of time with my little one and have some tea. It could be very tempting to carry on all evening, but it’s also very important to have time to yourself, which was probably the main reason that I made the move into running my own business in the first place.

All in all, I have built a good solid business in an area that I have a real passion for, wanting to get more children active. It has been hard work for sure but, from a lifestyle perspective, very rewarding and if I can continue to achieve my projected growth over the next year, it will be even more financially rewarding as well.