I've been a Parkour coach for almost 4 years now and experienced the many setbacks & hurdles faced trying to make a living as an independent service provider in a sector that is riddled with rules, regulations, & government protocol. It hasn't helped that Parkour has always been in a bit of a grey area in terms of its status (at least in the counties of Wales where I live it has). Is it a sport? Is it an art? Is it a lifestyle? Is it dangerous? Should it be taught in a controlled indoor environment or should practitioners be taught outside from the beginning in order to preserve best practice techniques? What kind of business do I run, is it sole-trader, Ltd or partnership? Is it profitable, non-profit or community? Then there are other political (taxes, legislation, policy change etc), economic (recession, fuel costs, competition etc), socio-cultural (trends, demographics, big events etc) , technological (advances in technology, online sales etc), legal (laws, new legislation, health & safety etc) & environmental factors (weather, pollution, global warming, location etc), all of which have an effect on job prospects & funding sources.
It's been a roller coaster ride to say the least & when I first started my journey back in August 2010, I had no idea what I was letting myself in for and I certainly wasn't expecting to learn so much about politics, business and how governments work... and yes it all boggled my brain for some time but my love for Parkour & determination to turn what I love doing into a career has carried me through.
Now, as 2014 starts, and after all my experiences and new found knowledge in the systems and how they work, I feel I am finally ready to take my business to the next level. And, although it's been a struggle for me, I can see light at the end of the tunnel.
So with ParkourUK (national governing body for Parkour) re-applying to SportUK for Parkour to be recognised as an official sport, Parkour Generations and Freemove announcing their partnership (the two largest international Parkour coaching, events and equipment providers/ producers), as well as new innovative - specialist - Parkour equipment (portable indoor & fixed outdoor equipment carrying the British Standard stamp), 2014 is looking to be the best year for me & Parkour yet!