By Nicole Sharp, Photography by Eagle Magazine Staff
Finding a niche market, creating a successful business, and developing a few franchises is a sound plan if you want to be your own boss. It’s the way many successful businesses have been created. Bubble Soccer Idaho is another in a long list of business plans that have gone right. In fact, the owner has already contributed the maximum amount to his individual retirement account and started a second franchise in Twin Falls this year. There is one small difference between other business models and that of Bubble Soccer Idaho: The owner, Max Pilling, is 14 years old.
The oldest of six children and headed into 9th grade this coming fall, Pilling might have the normal woes of teenage life, only he has added “business owner” to his repertoire. Max wanted a job and needed to start saving money for college. While most teens in his situation mow lawns, a different opportunity found Max. After seeing a video on Zorb Soccer by Devinsupertramp, an extreme sport videographer, Max saw an opening to do something different. There was nothing like bubble soccer in Idaho. With the support of his family, he purchased his first set of bubble balls and began advertising, first through Groupon, and also through old-fashioned fliers. Eventually, this young entrepreneur’s business took off.
What exactly is bubble soccer? The rules are simple. There are two teams of five. Each person then climbs inside what looks like a bean bag size ball of bubble wrap. Team members harness themselves in and can hold on to the bubble in the front. Then, they play soccer, only this time, intentionally running into another player makes the game so much more fun. Inside the bubble, you can bounce and fall all over the place.
Bubble Soccer Idaho is definitely a business. Pilling’s family makes sure that Max understands the concept. He leases the space in the garage where he keeps the equipment. He hires friends who can drive to take him and the equipment where he needs to go. If he is unable to do the delivery himself, he hires someone.
Pilling delivers, sets up, and takes down the equipment for different events. The most popular have been birthday parties, end-of-the -year parties for soccer teams, family reunions, and team building exercises for various corporations. Word has gotten out about this new fun sport, and the summer has been busy, with at least one to two events booked each week.
How well is Bubble Soccer Idaho doing? Pilling has already saved enough money for at least the first year of college. And here is another interesting fact; Pilling started his business in January of 2015. Pilling rents out a set of ten bubbles at a time, “Ten is good for a group of 20 to 30 people,” he told me. As it turns out, bubble soccer is a real workout. Pilling has three sets and can handle more people for an adjusted price.
So what’s next for this young entrepreneur? This ninth grader is thinking about the coming school year and the day he can buy a car.
For more information, visit bubblesocceridaho.com.