by Lisa Terrazas
Natalie Egan, a long-time competitive gymnast and coach, dreamed of opening a gymnastics facility of her own that emphasizes positive reinforcement and confidence-building in children. In April 2007, Jump! Gymnastics opened its first location in south Austin – now offering classes for children ages 2 to 12 years old. At Jump! Gymnastics children learn more than gymnastics. They learn life skills. They learn to love to be active.
One of Natalie’s initial hurdles in getting her business up and running was lending. Without the capital to launch the large gymnastics facility of her dreams, she had to start small – initially renting space from a martial arts studio. One of Natalie’s clients recommended PeopleFund, and she obtained a loan that allowed her to expand her first location and build a second one. Natalie appreciates that “when others won’t fund you, PeopleFund takes a small leap of faith if you show heart, soul, and work ethic.”
Seven years later and 600 clients strong, Natalie reports that business is going well – attributing most of her success to focusing on creating the perfect balance of fun and learning for her students. In a fun, positive environment, she has applied a martial-arts-style advancement program to gymnastics skill-building. With progressive skill mastery, students achieve new color levels – culminating with the most challenging level, “Tie Dye.” Jump! Gymnastics also offers two convenient north and south locations, and limits class size – ensuring students get the individual attention they need. All coaches are also USA Gymnastics certified, receive in-house training, and teach from a detailed curriculum.
Natalie aspires for Jump! Gymnastics to someday expand to a 20,000 square foot gymnastics facility and to offer programs for older students and higher levels. Franchising her business is also something else she would like to explore.
Natalie acknowledges small business ownership comes at a price and warns aspiring entrepreneurs to “get ready to be really busy . . . even when you plan down time, you [will] still have the lingering feeling that you should be doing something.” On the upside, Natalie says she enjoys making her own schedule and taking time off when she wants.
All the hard work appears to be worth it for Natalie’s opportunity to pursue her passion. She glows about Jump! Gymnastics: “I love watching students grow in their ability levels and build confidence, so that they begin to perceive themselves as athletic. I love that we help them believe in themselves and encourage healthy lifestyles.”
For more information about Jump! Gymnastics, visit their website at: http://www.jump-austin.com