All around the world there are incredibly talented and passionate Freerunners of which most have to take time away from their passion to get a job.
A job! Wow that sounds scary! Well no, a job is not a bad thing, there are great ones out there, but wouldn’t it be great to make Freerunning your job? Freerunner, doesn’t sound like a job at all!
Did you ever catch yourself thinking about that? Then this is the right article for you.
I was in your position a few years ago and through luck, being smart and dedicated – that’s what I like to tell myself – I managed to live as a Freerunner, make money, travel the world several times, be sponsored by RedBull, make a 7mil-viral video, design for our own clothing label, produce several videos with my team, win a few big competitions, make this blog and keep doing what I love.
Some people might not want me to write openly about this topic or give away this information, but I realize how many people want to chase this dream and I believe there should be guidance available to them! Some of the jobs in here don’t even require Freerunning, but simply keep you in this world of Freerunners. Some of them I don’t like doing or don’t do anymore. But for this article I want to step away from what’s real and what’s not and simply show the possibilities there are.
My name is Jason Paul, I’m 23 years old and you could call me successful or a sellout, but hey here I am after making and losing money in almost all spheres of Freerunning and I want to pass on some knowledge, for which I had to work hard for, so let’s go!
What are you getting yourself into?
First things first, this is a write-up of my opinion, based on my experiences. None of this knowledge is 100% accurate or the ultimate truth, there is a big chance of me being wrong, for the world we live in to change or simply failure. So don’t get mad at me when shit doesn’t work out!
Be aware, if you want regular money, a safe and steady income. If you want to save up for a house, provide for a family, drive a fancy car and so on. I suggest you doing something else, not saying you can’t do that but there are a million safer and easier ways to do that!
The Freerunning world can change every second, it could blow up or die out. Company’s could decide that it’s not cool for their products anymore, the state could apply a new law against it, Youtube can change it’s guidelines, Justin Bieber decides to start Freerunning. There are a million things that could happen. If that makes you nervous this is not for you!
If you want to live as a Freerunner or in any Freelance job you need to have trust that everything is going to work out in the end, you have to stay calm in times of great uncertainty and you have to be willing to make decisions and take risks.
And if you think that being a Pro-Freerunner requires you to only do Freerunning you are mistaken. You will have to work, do stuff you don’t like, sit at a desk, buy expensive starbucks-coffee, all that job-stuff. Which means, maybe you will be more happy to just keep Freerunning as a hobby.
Alright, if you are still here we can get serious! There are many different avenues to chase down and sometimes you have to do several at the same time! Some involve more Freerunning, some less. I categorize them in seven different Archetypes
Part 1 is about The Coach, The Performer and The Organizer.
Part 2 will feature The Stuntman, The Creative and The Athlete.
Part 3 will talk about up-and-coming Jobs, that aren’t quite relevant yet, but might be in the future.
Being a Freerunning Coach or Trainer is probably one of the more obvious choices, with the prime example being Parkour Generations and the many other classes and gyms all around the world.
If you can see yourself guiding newcomers into the world of Freerunning, working with kids and working out games and ways of making exercise and learning a fun experience this might be perfect for you!
Seeing the smiles on a face of somebody who just achieved something he never thought he could do or seeing the friendships grow between participants is very rewarding. You can have an influence on somebody life and see it instantly.
Of course you want to be a good coach, which means educating yourself in methods of teaching and learning, understanding the human body, liability, nutrition and being ready for any questions your students might ask you.
You got all that down, but how do you get started?
If you are parts of a gymnastics or sports club you can ask them if you can use their facilities to give lessons, which a lot of them welcome. It is very likely that this requires a license to be liable when coaching people and setting up obstacles.
Most gyms will support you on your way of doing that! Especially if you want to teach kids a license is very helpful for proving your skill and gaining a parents trust.
Outdoor classes are a good alternative and more true to the roots of the sport. Make sure to inform yourself about liability in case somebody gets hurt, even if it’s not your fault.
After you set up a location and time you will have to promote your classes. Post it on Facebook, build a website, tell your friends, make a video, get creative! There are loads of people out there who want to learn and are willing to pay a good coach for his skill.
Don’t get discouraged if you are off to a slow start, if you are a good coach word of mouth will go around after time and you will be able to build a strong business.
What’s next as a coach?
If you’re able to sustain yourself and you feel like you want to take another step ahead there are many possibilities. Such as seminars for teachers, who want to bring Freerunning classes into their schools, writing fitness-concepts for fitness-studios or even opening your own gym and employing a group of coaches and friends you trust.
Examples? The Airwipp Academy, Tempest and many more!
There are lots of companys out there that want to introduce a new product to their audience or promote what they already do in a different way. Today a lot of them want to use Freerunning for the many connotations that people build to it.
As a Performer you can spend a lot of time working on your skill, have chances of travelling for shows and commercials while being part of interesting choreographies with dancers and all kinds of athletes.
What skills are important as a performer? First things first, you will be on camera and on stage so make sure you look your best and are fit! Period.
As a Performer you want to be an outstanding Team-Player, have a strong stage-presence, be easy to work with, understand choreographies, build stamina and practice a good feeling for music, rhythm and timing. If you have problems with any of these you might want to invest in some dance- or even acting-classes.
Understand what is impressive to a normal person, not to you! For the normal person a standing back-tuck is way more impressive than a double-cork, keep that in mind and use it for your advantage!
You feel like you can do this, but you don’t know how to get work?
Understand that companys don’t like taking risks, thus they want a proof of your skill and expertise before hiring you. You can do this by editing a professional looking showreel, building a website that showcases your skill and by using correct language when answering their e-mails on time!
With this proof of skill you can contact other Freerunning Teams near you who give performances already and offer help or even acquire businesses near you and explain how you can help them.
Start small and trust that your contact will be handed on if you work professionally, are on time and pleasant to have around!
What’s next as a Performer?
Of course you won’t be able to be a Performer until the end of your days and one option of staying within the realm is by building an agency for Performances. Collect the contacts you gained throughout the years, collect a Team of trustworthy athletes and build a strong reputation. Becoming a choreographer is also possible!
If you look for an example or a guide to follow look at what 3Run is doing, how they present themselves and reference it. Maybe you even find a way to improve what the leading performance-team is already doing.
Most Freerunners love Jams, Workshops, Events or pretty much every reason to get together and exchange about what they love. For every Jam there’s always somebody who organizes a venue, sends out invitations and takes care of the whole experience so you don’t have to worry about it. That guy could be you.
Creating a good event requires a lot of thought, practice and skill. People value a great event so they are willing to pay for the experience you create for them.
To be honest I don’t have a lot of experience in organizing such events, so look at the prime example out there which is Filip Ljungberg from AirWipp who manages to pull together sponsors and supporters for their big contest (the Airwipp Challenge) and puts together beautiful WinterCamps. Another one to look at is KrapInvaders.
If you want to get a hold in this business I suggest visiting a lot of events while making notes of what you like and what you’d want to improve, talking to the organizers about what problems they faced and what to watch out for when organizing your own events.
Once you did this I suggest starting with small events and building from there. Value the customer-experience more than anything else and try to offer them a satisfying experience for their money!
What’s next as an Organizer?
As long as there is Freerunners they will always want to meet, jam and learn together. You can create this unique environment and progress to bigger or just simply better events. Get support from Sponsors and go from local Jams to international Events or Competitions that entertain hundreds of Freerunners or even thousands of spectators!
If you made it this far you either got some useful information or you haven’t found what you’ve been looking for yet. Either way you should stay tuned for Part 2 covering The Stuntman, The Creative and The Athlete!