Ben Durbin had always been passionate about training and athletics, but didn’t expect to turn that passion into a career.
Then, in 2015, he decided to take a leap of faith.
Ben quit his career in event management to pursue his dream of wrestling in the Olympics. In order to even be eligible, however, he would need to be ranked 3rd or above in the nation. As a relative “nobody” in the sport, he had his work cut out for him, but hard work is what Ben does best.
He has moved up the ranks steadily and is currently ranked 10th.
Building a business to meet demand
As he began training Ben quickly realized that, despite the support of several sponsors, he still needed a way to make some extra money. He started working with youth athletes on the side.
The idea for this side hustle came to Ben after noticing that as a kid growing up in Iowa, he had to travel outside the state to receive the extra training that helped him excel in his sport.
“I really wanted training beyond what my school could offer and I couldn’t find it anywhere in Iowa.”
To compensate, his parents spent long hours driving him out of state to attend special training centers.
When Ben started advertising his training services to youth athletes in his area, he quickly realized the demand was there and decided to found Premier Athlete Training to train local kids in the universal movements all athletes need to excel.
“We teach everything from sprinting mechanics, to balance to agility and conditioning. We want our kids to be true athletes in every sense of the word, not just in one sport.”
What sets Premier Athlete Training apart, however, is their focus not just on elite athletes, but kids of all skill levels. Ben says that what he is most passionate about is building confidence that can be transferred to all aspects of the kids’ lives.
“The best part of my job is when a parent comes up to me and says, ‘my child didn’t feel like they fit in because they struggled with sports, but now that’s changing!’ We’re great for elite athletes but we’re even better for the kids that just need to learn to learn basic skills.”
The struggle behind the scenes
But the struggles of setting up a successful business, while training rigorously to reach the #3 or better U.S. ranking he would need to complete in the 2020 Olympics, made it difficult for Ben to focus on the passion for helping kids that originally got him started.
“The hardest part about setting up our business was the behind the scenes stuff — creating a website, bookkeeping, figuring out how to accept payments. That all takes up a ton of time.”
Accepting recurring payments online proved to be the biggest challenge. Ben never thought it would be so difficult to set up a payment system that was simple for his staff and his customers.
“In today’s world, people expect everything to happen instantly and easily. The second there’s a barrier to signing up or paying, they start to look elsewhere. That wasn’t a risk I wanted to take.”
Because the majority of Premier Athlete clients are on monthly training plans, a user-friendly system that allowed for recurring payments was essential. With the original payment system, Ben says he and his staff spent countless hours per month contacting clients, following up on payments and trying to determine the correct amount owed by each client.
“We were losing thousands of dollars a month on missed payments because we didn’t have a system that worked for collecting dues. A lot of our clients would make note to pay on time, but I knew it was a pain for them too to remember to pay each month.”
Making matters worse, Ben didn’t feel like he had enough time to spend on building relationships with his clients or finding ways to grow the business because he was constantly drowning in billing issues.
The magic of recurring billing
A recurring payment software sounded like the answer so, Ben took to the internet. After researching extensively and taking numerous phone calls, free trials and demos, Ben landed on PaySimple.
“It says it right in the name. Everything about PaySimple was simple and easy to understand for me and my customers.”
Ben says convenience was a non-negotiable and he loved that PaySimple’s payment forms easily capture clients’ information and create a profile for them so they don’t have to log into an account to pay each month.
“These days you need to create a profile and a password for everything. I didn’t want to put that on my clients. I wanted to make it easy.”
Premier Athlete Training uses PaySimple to book new clients, register clients for training camps and sign up new kids on the spot thanks to PaySimple’s mobile features.
“My customers just put in their name, email, phone number and payment info and the system creates a profile for them. If they need to pause or restart their membership, all they have to do is give us a call and we can activate them again immediately.”
Getting back to what matters
With Ben’s customers now on recurring billing, Ben says he’s had way more time to focus on growing his business by building rapport with his employees and customers, investing in marketing efforts and learning new skills.
And now that his website is completely streamlined, Ben is confident that online marketing efforts can result in more sales, as people can sign up and pay for service directly on the site through the online payment form provided by PaySimple.
While setting up a payment system and updating a website can be intimidating, Ben says he felt supported every step of the way thanks to his customer success manager, Tommy, who has been working with him since the beginning.
“Our revenue has grown by nearly 400% since signing up with PaySimple because of all the time we’re saving on billing. Before, I would be calling customers trying to track down a check, now I can call and have a meaningful conversation about our service and how it’s helping their children.”
With his business running smoothly, Ben says he is excited to get busy expanding into new areas and bringing his services to even more kids throughout the state of Iowa as he follows dream of competing in the Olympics.
If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of using PaySimple to collect payments online, give us a try.
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