Today we’d like to introduce you to Jamie Monroe.
Jamie, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I got into event management- primarily in endurance sports because of my background as an Athlete and former Navy SEAL. After the Navy, my dream was to be a professional athlete. I was a good distance runner and endurance athlete in the sport of adventure racing and participated in 3 Eco-Challenge Races in Borneo, New Zealand, and Fiji (5-10 day ultra-endurance competitions). After moderate success and with the World Championship event cancelled in 2003, I knew I needed to make a living and wanted to do so in sports.
Having experience with detailed planning and organization from my time in the Navy and loving events, I decided the best fit for me was if I couldn’t compete- I could put on events so others could. My first job in the industry was the national race director for an event called Muddy Buddy- a 2 person team obstacle race in 2003 well before the current craze in these types of events. We put on an average of 10 events a year all over the country and I got the opportunity to hone my skills in event planning for events between 1500 and 5000 people.
As my career progressed, I eventually became the Director of Special Events for Competitor Group. The company that owns the San Diego Rock and Roll Marathon. My role included overseeing every event that was NOT a marathon. From obstacle course races to triathlons, sports award shows, and even 5K running events for 11 NFL teams. Annually I was overseeing about 20 events. As my former company grew and changed ownership, they divested themselves of every event that wasn’t a marathon. When this happened the special events department was laid off and I had a decision to make. Go work for someone else or make my own way. Coincidental Competitor Group was just purchased by the Ironman Triathlon Corporation and is looking to expand into other endurance events.
I started Easy Day Sports 3.5 years ago. I was a reluctant entrepreneur. I knew sports event financials and small business- having a stint of starting a small business with my wife (a hair salon 5 years prior). It’s a tough go and I knew it. I also had a few clients that wanted me to continue producing their running events- for example The New Orleans Saints 5K gets over 5000 runners annually and they wanted me to continue putting it on. With a few commitments from some former clients and some contract work from other event companies to fill in the gaps I launched Easy Day Sports and have grown every year to now having 4 employees and about 12 events a year.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
The biggest obstacles in the event business are deadlines. As a small company you have limited resources so you find yourself wearing a ton of hats and trying to prioritize what is most important. Once an event date is on the calendar and you are promoting and selling race entries, it kicks off a to-do list that is probably over 200 items long. Many of the to-do’s have to be done in sequence or at a very specific time, so it becomes a balancing act.
I’d say the biggest challenge with this is also managing a company, Since it’s not a 9-5 job, HR, IT, accounting duties for example are things that usually have to be done on the weekends (when we aren’t putting on an event. We’ve been most successful at managing financial risk and taking chances based on past history. We try to put on tried and true events that we know people want. That said, there can be big swings in the success of events so we continue to diversify and work incredibly hard to stay successful. I know that I have a company in its infancy so I stay on guard and focus on what keeps the business growing to avoid the tough times. We do this by always trying to serve the consumer who is looking for a well-organized, professionally managed endurance event. We want the athletes to remember the great experience they had with their friends and family, or the achievement they attained. Not the inconvenience they had because we missed an important detail in the planning.
Please tell us about Easy Day Sports.
Easy Day Sports has become known for producing fan 5K events for NFL teams- we’ve been fortunate enough to do runs for the Saints, Chargers, Cowboys, 49ers, Seahawks, a run for Super Bowl 50, and we may even do a London NFL Run next year. We have also gotten a good reputation for meeting our clients or sponsor’s needs. We try to say yes before no and look for solutions.
Our latest project is a new San Diego Half-Marathon for Kaiser Permanente- the Kaiser Permanente Thrive Half Marathon and 5K. As a company I am proud that a large local corporation like Kaiser trusts us to represent their brand.
We set ourselves apart by our experience and ability to produce high quality events on a national scale. We don’t limit ourselves to San Diego.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
I started the business on my own and have cash flowed the business with $0 in loans and no investors. This probably keeps our growth very modest and prevents us from taking risks that require financing. I’d like to say I would have tried to have an investor or more funding to start and that is what I would have done differently, but I also know our success to date has been because we are careful. So for now, I’d say I wouldn’t do anything different.
- Address: 124 Orange Avenue
- Website: http://easydaysports.com
- Phone: 6199969002
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/easydaysports