In today’s post I am featuring someone who has accomplished just what I am trying to persuade retirees and soon to be retirees to achieve. His name is Joe Thomas. I don’t know Joe personally but I feel like I do. Through the wonders of the internet, I was searching for a golf league management software solution to help me manage my own golf league. To my surprise, there were at least 10 solutions I could choose from, right there on the first page of the Google results page.
Naturally, with my technical background, I proceeded to check out all of these solutions. I created a spreadsheet with the features, membership costs, pros and cons etc. Since I had some very specific requirements for my golf league i.e. two divisions, net scoring, handicaps, match play points, automated scheduling etc., I then contacted the top 5 software providers to see if I could try out their software. Some had online demo capabilities which were helpful. Some had expensive solutions for the number of golfers in my league. In the end, I couldn’t really pull the trigger on any one solution, so I put my decision on hold. Besides, it was in the middle of a cold winter and I had time to figure this out later.
Then, out of the blue, I get a follow up email from this guy, Joe Thomas. He wanted to help me figure out how to use his golf league management software to meet my requirements with only one exception. I figured why not give a try. Well, after an exchange of 14 emails with Joe, I was convinced this was the perfect solution for my golf league.
I was so blown away with the incredible customer support I received, I asked Joe if I could feature him in this blog and thankfully he agreed to share his story.
Why is Joe Thomas so Unique, you Ask?
Well Joe Thomas is a retiree, just like me and you perhaps, who was looking to do something creative and challenging after his retirement.
Joe is 67 years old who spent 33 years in the outboard marine plant where they made Johnson and Evinrude outboard engines. When Joe retired in 2001, he wanted to do something entirely different than what he had done in his previous career. Being an avid golfer since the age of 35, it was natural to want to do something related to golf. He dreamed about creating a Golf League website. Although he knew very little at the time about what it would take or how to go about it, thankfully his son had chosen Internet technology as a career and his knowledge would help Joe get the golf league management software solution launched in 2005. Joe has continued over the past 10 years to add new functionality to the point where the product is fully featured and very price competitive.
Learning New Skills
Joe’s son, Joe Junior, was much too busy raising a family and developing his own career to spend a lot of time with the business. But he agreed to help Joe learn coding and did all the intricate work needed to set up the website and its associated programs. Today, Joe Junior is an IT manager for a lighting company in Waukesha Wisconsin. There is no doubt that being in business together, with his son over the years, has created a close relationship with many common interests.
Today Joe is a fairly competent coder, who enjoys the work and interacting with customers to help them set up their golf leagues. Today Joe’s Software as a Service (SaaS) www.golfleague.us has 6930 registered members and is growing annually.
How amazing and inspiring is that? Congratulations Joe and thanks for sharing your story.
Software as a Service
Note that Joe and his son developed a software solution as a service (SaaS) to customers. This is very different than publishing a blog, offering a free lead magnet to obtain email addresses and then selling these customers digital products down the road.
Developing a robust and responsive online software solution as a service takes a lot of skill and experience. Joe and Joe Jr. provided the right amount of collaboration to deliver this solution. Not everyone will have that combination of talent.
However, if you have an idea that would require a software solution, this can be outsourced to qualified software developers. The software solution could either be a standalone software product or a software as a service solution. The challenge is finding the right kind of skilled software developers to complete the work required. Thankfully, there are websites (www.elance.com) that will match your requirements to developers who are offering their services.
The huge benefit of a SaaS vs. a standalone software product, is the whole idea of recurring revenue month after month, year after year, assuming you continue to provide a quality product with continuous improvements.
Call to Action
Keeping in mind that turning your passion into a business doesn’t automatically guarantee success. However, with the appropriate market research with a strong focus on who your potential customers are, then an only then, should you commit to launching your business idea.
The www.golfleague.us membership site provides a fully featured golf league management solution to a niche market of golf league administrators. Golf is a growing business and new golf leagues are always being created. Golf league management can be very tedious and time consuming. Offering a software solution to reduce the overall effort is a fantastic idea. Golf league administrators will gladly pay for the right kind of software solution.
Your challenge is to think of at least 10 business ideas. Then do the appropriate market research. Be sure to pick a business idea for a niche market where you will have a chance at success. You don’t want to be devoured by the bigger guys in a non-niche market. Get those creative juices flowing and commit yourself to deliver.
Joe’s advice to retirees or soon to be retirees who are contemplating a challenge – “Do something you enjoy, put your whole heart into it and it will be a worthwhile endeavor”.