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As a GB International hurdler and under-23 European medallist, Gianni Frankis wanted to use the skills he’d honed over years in athletics to build his own business, 110% Beyond Your Limits, to provide coaching and related services.
Can you introduce yourself and your business?
My name is Gianni Frankis. I'm a former GB athlete and used to run the 110 metre hurdles. In retirement I wanted to use the skills that I learned. Becoming a coach was an obvious thing, so then I set up a company, 110% Beyond Your Limits.
Obviously, 110 metre hurdles were my thing, and 110% is a really good sports mantra. So it made sense, and I also did it with my former coach, Tony Jarrett, who was also a famous hurdler. It’s predominantly athletics-based, but athletic development is a big part of all sports as well. So, it’s coaching from a multi-sports angle, and generally targeted towards elite sport.
What sort of clients do you work with?
We are very lucky that we deal with a lot of good athletes that are at the top level. Most of our athletes are in the top 10 in the country in their age groups. What makes it great I think, is the ability to try and bring someone who has got talent to the professional level. And that’s what we always aim to do.
What led you to start your business? And what challenges did you face?
It’s quite well documented that professional athletes and sports people struggle in retirement, to find a purpose, after that nothing ever feels as good as what you used to do. And then if you’re trying to set up your business, that’s something that you have to learn. I never grew up with the sort of education – to know everything about the ins and outs of business. So that was a learning process, particularly in retirement.
A lot of it was done from online learning. It was discussing with other people that have made the transition and learning from other industries that are closer to what we do. Other sports weren’t always as close to athletics as you think because football, rugby, they’re team sports and then to have contracts or services under employment. So, I was looking more at creative industries and how they run their stuff.
How did the IPSE and the member community help you get started?
That was where I got a lot of ideas for some of the free-market relaxations that I wanted in our sport. In IPSE, they do a lot of that sort of thing. That’s why the membership’s important, because I started to see tutorials and talk to other people. And I started to think how I could turn this volunteer or generally hobby work into something a bit more professional, more formal and more expansive. And that’s really what I wanted to do. Because I wanted to keep to the elite level.
How has your business changed since you’ve started?
In terms of our own expansion, we obviously can’t be everywhere coaching every athlete in the country. And we want to offer it as much as possible. We talk to coaches all the time, we share information all the time, we work under the same conditions. And you know, people ask questions. So why not formalise that a little bit more and make that into something that we can offer on a bigger scale?
We have started in the last year or so to offer workshops to other coaches. And that’s something we advertise as CPD. And so, we’ve done a lot more at schools now working with PE staff. It seems to go down well, because things that seem basic to use are real golden nuggets to PE teachers. And it made a natural progression to think if we’re going to spread the word about how to coach and get more athletes involved, naturally the business side is going to grow. And they will also need help with that.
It's not just about the actual service that you’re providing. Most coaches I found were passionate about what they did. But it took hours of learning how to run the business, and not everyone has access to that. So, it’s a service (virtual business support) that I could also offer to other coaches. Workshops are working on the passion and service side of coaching. The virtual system works on the business side of coaching.
What has been the best thing about having a self-employed business?
When I had the opportunity to move out of self-employment once retirement happened, I still wanted that flexibility, and I still feel like that’s the best thing about it. And I’m still doing something that I want to do.
I tend to come from a social rights background. I care about people’s rights, and want to try and improve the situation as a whole rather than just for myself. So to improve the actual landscape, so people can flourish that bit more. That’s also where helping the coaches came from. It’s not just about myself – I care about the rights of other coaches, I care about helping them, and improving the whole landscape. That’s generally where my passion comes from.
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