Teacher Entrepreneur Profile: Fred Fields of Coach’s Angle Charters
This week’s Teacher Entrepreneur profile is Fred Fields of Coach’s Angle Charters www.coachscharters.com. Fred was a career educator and outstanding basketball coach. During his 10 year tenure at Huntington North High School in Huntington, IN he led the Lady Vikings to two State Championships, three State Finals appearances, six regional championships & 10 sectional championships! He was inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011 for coaching.
CS: What is the name of your business and where is it located?
FF: My business is called Coach’s Angle Charters. I’m a fishing guide in all the area waters in the Traverse City, MI area. We are fully licensed for inland waters and the big waters in Lake Michigan.
CS: How long have you been an educator, and what positions have you held?
FF: I was an educator for thirty seven years altogether. I taught High School Business Classes and Coached basketball at various levels.
CS: Why did you want to become an entrepreneur?
FF: I guess I had been dabbling in it for many years all the way back to the 1980’s. I did a little guiding in local reservoirs and did some tournament fishing. It was a natural transition.
CS: Why did you choose your particular industry?
FF: It really wasn’t much of a choice, it came natural. I had a knack for it.
CS: Tell me a little bit about your business?
FF: We take charters for mostly Smallmouth Bass, but we have expanded into Lake Trout, Whitefish, Cisco, and Walleye through customer demand. We do lakes within a 40 mile radius of Traverse City.
This is my fourth year of running the business as it now exists. It has grown a little more rapidly than I would have thought. I had some customers early on that had connections and they sent friends. Since then it has blossomed. It wouldn’t work at all if it wasn’t a good area for this kind of thing. Traverse City is a great vacation destination and it gives people something to do when they are up here.
CS: What is the best business advice you have ever been given?
FF: The best advice I ever received was from my first job working for a sporting goods store when I was a kid. The store owner always said, when you think you’re done for the day, do some more.
CS: What is the greatest challenge of being a Teacher Entrepreneur?
FF: Having the business teaching back ground was very helpful. It really wasn’t much of a hindrance being a teacher and not coming from a traditional business background.
CS: What advice would you give to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
FF: I certainly wouldn’t avoid doing something just because it was intimidating. I would talk to people that are doing it. I think people that don’t have a business background may be intimidated. It’s like anything else. Once you run a couple of cycles of it, you get better at it.
CS: What books or resources would you recommend to other Teacher Entrepreneurs?
FF: With the internet there is so much information available at your finger-tips. I would still go back to picking the brains of the people in similar businesses. I think that is the most valuable. Before I started I talked to people that had other entertainment type businesses in the area.
CS: What is your vision for your business?
FF: I’m probably a little bit different than a lot of people. With me having to be hands on, there isn’t a lot of room for expansion. I’ll probably do it for another three or four years and then that will be it.
CS: How will you know when you have achieved your vision?
FF: Mine is more of a time than any other measurement. Basically, it was a five year endeavor, now we’ve kind of made it go to six or seven but that will be it.
CS: What would you do differently if you were to start another business?
FF: If I were to start another business it would probably be something that I wouldn’t already have advanced knowledge of. My research would have to be much more intense. This is something that I have been doing my whole life. It was not a tough entrance into this field.