January 03, 2021
I wish someone told me that hard work is going to pay off. Because I’ve been just moving. Now that I look back at what I have now accomplished, hard work does pay off. But people will tell you how to do things, but they don’t tell you how much work you may have to put in to get it done. Definitely some entrepreneurs order to be a successful you have to work hard play later. I see it now there is constant work to be done. Constant grind to be done. That’s something that no one really tells you when becoming an entrepreneur, as a kid, they say you need to be an entrepreneur as a young person, you think, okay, own your own company, have people work for you, that is not how it goes. Because in order for me to have people work for me, I have to keep the whole thing running and work for myself. So that’s a pointer that I had to learn very vigorously, because the harder I grind, the more successful the business is and will become.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Antwawne Kelly.
Skates’Out is the brainchild of Coach AK, who, during the COVID-19 lockdown, found himself unable to continue his passion through conventional means. Instead, he turned to the internet and developed a course to teach people how to roller skate safely through videos.
Skates’Out is launching “Skates’Out Virtual Training Methods To Roller Skating.” As roller skating is having a resurgence in popularity across all ages, these online instructional courses will show people how to safely and effectively join in on the fun. By doing a virtual training course, Skates’Out will also be able to expand its clientele and reach more people.
Skates’Out aims to improve their pupils’ balance, safety, and control while skating. The course is available for $77 for both children and adults. Skates’Out will provide instruction on the 3 basics of roller skating. For balance, students will learn how to lower their center of gravity to maintain stability while skating. Control will be taught by doing drills aimed at strengthening specific muscle groups that will allow pupils to change their forms and control their stops. Safety will come through listening to trained instructors, wearing proper equipment, and practice.
Fitness is always good for physical and mental health and roller skating is a great workout, especially after months of lockdown. A nostalgic past-time and excellent form of exercise, roller skating can lead to a boost in endorphins. “Endorphins are only one of many neurotransmitters released when you exercise. Physical activity also stimulates the release of dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. These brain chemicals play an important part in regulating your mood.
The beauty of virtual lessons is that anywhere can be a classroom. Courses can be done in a living room, on a basketball or tennis court, or anywhere one can safely watch the videos and perform the forms and actions taught in the video. “I like to call it a healing skate party,” says founder, Coach AK. “Lace-up those Roller Skates, strap on those wheels, and boogie-to-the beat. It’s a salve for quarantine isolation to take time to learn to put self-first and concentrate on your own wellness.”
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Yes, I grew up in hilltop projects. My name is Antwawne Kelly, as a little boy, wasn’t a whole lot to do. We grew up with not having a lot of money, but my mom strived to do better for us. So as a child, my thing was just going out playing basketball, football, doing sports, and things like that. Our household consisted of my mom, stepfather, my two brothers and my two sisters and me. We grew up in hilltop homes projects. So me growing up in the projects, I have seen a lot of things, understood a lot of things and understood what not to be doing and what I should be doing. I did not know my biological father. As I was getting a little older, I started realizing, life was two things real and reality. When I turned, I say around eleven, my older brother and cousins always went roller skating definitely on Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas day. On different holiday’s, the roller skating rinks in our city, would have all night skate marathons, which of course I wanted to go but I was too young to go with them according to my mom. My mom would always say no every year. Finally when I turned thirteen, this was probably in the late 80s my mom let me go roller skating for the first time, never knew how to skate. I was self taught ( I taught myself ) how to roller skate. As a young man I started learning the value of money, took trash out in the neighborhood, went to a store for elderly people, with that money I saved up eighty dollars and bought me a brand new pair of pacer SP 204 roller skates, my first pair of roller skates I ever owned. I bought them for eighty bucks. I told myself when I was young, a young boy, I wanted a family, I wanted to kids and wife. I have always tried to basically self proclaim over my own life, if you want to call it that, speak it into existence. I grew up in Dayton, Ohio, transitioned to young teenager, meet my wife at the age sixteen. My family and I moved to Atlanta, Georgia when we were twenty-five years of age. My wife and I have been married for 17 years, but been together for 27 years, we have two young men. One is 23 and one is 17. I have been pushing life from our childhood to now I think we’re heading in the right direction.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
Show beats the tell, I have always said “show beats the tell” as a young man up until now in my early 40’s that is still my favorite quote. I have been saying show beats the tell in life because you can show me something and you could tell me something. But if you’re telling me something, the belief that is real or true is not like you are showing me so that’s why I teach my son’s show beats the tell. Don’t tell me if I can’t see it. And I say that because it puts pressure on you. Why would I tell you what I’m going to do or what I done if I can’t show and prove? So show beats the tell has always been my life quote because The show is better than the tell or talk. And that’s why I keep that as one of my life quotes. Because show beats the tell are powerful words. But in today’s world, it’s more powerful, because that’s motivation when I can show you more than I can tell you. That is how I always live my life.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
I would say the movie that has and did impact my life, would be Lean On Me with Morgan Freeman as the principle Mr. Clark. I think that’s a significant impact on me. Because as the general manager at a popular roller skating rink for 10 years, the way Lean On Me the movie and the character Mr. Clark had been portrayed, that’s how my role was shaped in the skating rink, we had people come in, wanted to give problems, we had people that wanted to help solve problems, we had people that comes in to bring you their problems and some come in for you to help them solve their problems. I saw a lot of people leaning towards me, leaning on me for advice, young people telling me, you know, in their today’s world, the young generation call someone that they respect and look up to the GOAT The Greatest Of All Time. Because of the knowledge I shared with them, that they probably couldn’t get anywhere else. Young ladies, treat me as if I’m their father, young men treat me as if I’m their dad, they began to take a liking to the principial Mr. Clark in the movie Lean On Me, as well as me the principle of the roller skating rink, with over 500 young kids all ages every Saturday night. I was able to pull them in the office sit down, talk things over with them to come to a solution of the problem instead of doing something that they would regret later. I helped a lot of people in the community, I got a lot of young people jobs. Basically, that movie sums up the impact that it had on me and what I’m doing in life right now. And it resonated with me so much, because he went into a school that was portrayed as a troubled school, from low test scores to low grades, and bad area. Mr. Clark was asked to come in to be the principle to clean up the school because they knew he would be the right person for that position, who would straighten out that school, by being a counselor to all these students, to being a good role model. I was asked to become the General Manager at the roller skating rink as well for that reason, it was a struggle at first, and then everything came together as it was planned and changed the whole atmosphere. That is why I would say Lean On Me the movie has definitely resonated with me and has an impact on me in my life.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Yes, so my career experience, before the pandemic Skates’ Out roller skating lessons started 11 years ago, which was November 11, 2009. I walked away from my day, nine to five drafting job, because I just felt like that wasn’t what I really wanted to do in my heart has always been roller skating, was my passion. So I started with my new career roller skating lessons, which basically consistent of four classes a month, two adult class sessions, two youth class sessions, with at least twenty-five people per class youth or adult at the roller skate rink here in Atlanta. Prior to the pandemic, we were at the peak of our business from first year to last year, which was our 10th year where our classes were in a demand. So before the pandemic, the way we was teaching, in person roller skate lessons, bought a whole unique system to roller skating. When I say that, I say the experience we were giving our customers, was a mental and physical experience, in person experience, we are making sure that your safety is first, that you’re getting what you’re looking for when you come to our class sessions here at Skates’ Out. You leave here from Skates’ Out roller skating, which is the number one thing you came for. By doing that, our morals and values, and our integrity had to be intact for your success. Before the COVID-19, Skates’ Out offered summer skate camp, that we were getting ready to start back up for the Summer time. Our summer camps were always sold out with a full enrollment with 30–40 kids per weeks, four weeks a month each summer, which is one full week of roller skate camp fun, lessons were involved in the camp and all kinds of activities, not just roller skating. All day event kids would be signed in by eight o’clock in the morning until four or five o’clock in the afternoon. We have gave them a full day of fun. The campers had the best time of their life because of the way summer camp was structured. Parents would tell us their child loved Skates’Out skate camp, they would be sleep by the time they leave the parking lot. And they did not even have to wake them up in the mornings, like they had to do with school because they were so excited to get back to camp. That is the type of experience we wanted to give through roller skating, definitely our smaller customers, which is our youth. It has been a great experience and due to COVID this walked me into the whole new room in life, a well oiled machine running on all cylinders.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
What I did to pivot, when you’ve been doing something so long, there’s nothing else really to change when everything is moving well. Like I said the machine was well oiled. But this pandemic snuck up on us so fast. I had to make a choice between going back to work, which I was a general manager at the roller skate rink. Because my last roller skate class session was March, the middle of March I shut down the rink. We were about to start a brand new roller skate lesson classes which was supposed to begin in April. We had four classes waiting for the April class session to start. So walking away from a well oiled machine and having no say so on how to save that machine was hard. As a result of the pandemic, and as the owner of Skates’ Out I had to pivot my business in a new direction. By the end of April, they was wanting to open the rink back up by the first week of May. I felt that it was too early. We did not have a grip of what is actually going on with COVID 19 and putting us in a hospital. So I felt the pressure. I was at home wrestling mentally, I was telling my wife, I don’t want to quit. But they want us to come back to work. My mind was everywhere. My wife and I had a serious talk basically, she told me, you know, you might as well leave, prepare to leave, because you’re not going to be able to go back to work right now. Definitely my son has underlined health issues. So it’s kind of like, I’m thinking of my family, and I have to make a sacrificial choice. And that that sacrificial choice was either I leave, but I’m losing my skate lessons, if I leave, I have to refund all these people back their money, or if I leave, I have to still try to take care of my family. The money that was helping take care of my family is about to be stopped. So I left when my wife said, you know that you’re going have to just quit meaning she was behind me walking away. But I wasn’t behind myself 100% of walking away, because I’m walking away from something we built 10 years ago, that’s at its highest peak right now.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
So I wrestled with it for probably three days or so of my decision of quitting, a little pause of calmness came over me. After I made that decision, only thing I’m thinking as a man is what am I going to do, I have bills to pay, I have to take care of my family. All of that was running through my head. But when I looked at TV and spent time seeing how Good Morning America started doing things, how ESPN, how different corporate shows on TV was going virtual. That is all you heard, was virtual, even schooling had start talking about virtual reality. All I kept hearing, and then my lightbulb popped on. I said we’re going to do virtual roller skate lessons. I’m going to teach people virtually how to roller skate. We did not have a vision of what we’re going to do. But in my head, I understood what that word virtual meant because this is where we are in today’s life VIRTUAL. This is where we’re going to be in the next year, this is where we’re going to be the year after that. Because we have transitioned our regular thinking mind to do something totally different. A lot of people had to walk away from their meat and potatoes, their favorite, their love and passion but now had to come up with some new solution. Definitely entrepreneurs. So that’s how I came up with skates out virtual. I basically took my in person teachings, my mental part and my physical part of my in person teachings. And I made a roller skating course out of it from A to Z exactly the way I teach them in person. But the only difference is this is virtual. So therefore, they’re not missing nothing but me standing right there face to face coaching. But virtually, I’m actually right there, teaching them. Now we can no longer do in person, face to face. So that’s the reason why we had to pivot skates out to skates’ out virtual, so that people can learn to roller skate in the confront of their own home and their own family, to keep it more personal. So that was my main pivot point was to come up with a course that was safe enough for people still to learn how to roller skate. Once you learn how to roller skate, then you can go to trails, you could go to tennis court, you can go anywhere basketball court and enjoy yourself, grooving to your own beat. That was my main purpose of trying to pivot my in person business to a virtual reality.
How are things going with this new initiative?
Going pretty good, basically what we have done, matter of fact, last week, which was 11–11–2020, last Wednesday, we launched our beginner virtual roller skate course. I was on the highway, headed to a funeral. And I launched it, that Wednesday morning, while traveling out of state to go to Ohio. My PayPal start dinging again, I haven’t heard that sound in the PayPal, since March of this year. So just pictured the gap from you not hearing that money sound coming through for your lesson program. So when I heard that PayPal, ding, me and my wife instantly driving down the road, high fiving each other hard, meaning it was successful. Already. The same day we launched, we had customers buy the program. I think we’re into the new direction. And we were on point with the new timing of the direction. And I think this is going to be successful for Skates’ Out.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
Yeah, I would have to say that particular person will be my wife, not just because she’s my wife, but she’s been my business partner, my accountability partner, as well as I’ve been hers. But as far as when these ideas come to me, we sit down, we go over these ideas, she always talks from a customer’s perspective. I’m talking from the coach perspective, or the person who’s trying to invent the situation. She’s talking from the third party situation. That is what I needed beside me in order to prefect what I’m trying to do, which with this virtual roller skate lessons, she’s been an inspiration to me, because when I’m stuck in certain spots, I tell her exactly where I’m stuck, we can talk it out and an idea or a new concept may come out of the conversation and now I have a new direction of moving forward where I may have been stuck, for instance, the same way I had to make a decision to leave that skate rink. If I never had an accountability partner like her, my wife, and I would have stayed there. I don’t know where I would be because of the situation of the pandemic right now. People would not be trying to do in person roller skate lessons. So if I would have made the choice to stay there, in my mind, that could have been a bad choice. I wanted to stay I didn’t want to leave because I loved what I do. But the way she broke it down and discussed it with me. It was like I had to leave and I have to move on. That is how we transition this and she’s been hands on with this whole roller skating virtual courses. She’s been hands on with the business to help me formulate exactly what’s in my head out to the people that I think is needed. So yeah, I will say my wife is definitely that person.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
Yes, so the most interesting thing I feel that happened was the older you get dealing with computers, the less your brain wants to cooperate. But what happened to us was, time got involved. We were limited on time. November 11, 2020 was our official start date for our new Skates’ out virtual roller skate course, so time was at an essence for us to get this program done no matter what. The most interesting thing was learning how to put this website together by myself in a professionally fluently manner, so that the customers can easily navigate it. Also, not just the website but the online skate shop. I started writing a book. I’m creating my courses. It was so much I had to do. But I felt like it was so much pressure on me that I was basically whipping myself to get it done. When I look back, I didn’t know I had it in me to understand how to link my courses to my website, how to link pages to go certain places, how to build online store, the roller skate shop, just skates out going virtual period. I created this, my brain, I had to figure out and navigate all of this to create something new. I think that’s the most interesting story that I could share in my new direction is learning how to put all of this together in one package, which is a website the way we did. We were stuck on certain things for two weeks, one week on this, and when you get it you are like I should have been done this earlier. It was a five minute thing you had to do or less. But I was learning so yes it took me much longer. My new direction is here. Everything is here, even with the Google. I did it a long time ago when I first started up Skates’ Out roller skate lessons. We happened to get a call come this weekend from a Google Voice. Because we set our business up through Google answering service, where we can find our potential customer base. That is how we connected our business and I saw this new direction, and it’s happening.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
Five things I wish someone would have told me is how to structure my businesses, One: because I had to go back to restructure certain things. It’s a simple structure. I started my skating lessons before I started the skating lessons parent company, which is Inside Out Consulting Systems LLC. If I have multiple businesses, then I learned I didn’t have to have separate businesses, I could put them under one umbrella. I understand it now, but I had to go back and restructure the business. Two: is managing your capital, we learned that, but no one told us how to do it. We had to understand how to manage our capital from a business aspect, how to keep our business finances separated from our personal finances. Three: I wish someone told me that hard work is going to pay off. Because I’ve been just moving. Now that I look back at what I have now accomplished, hard work does pay off. But people will tell you how to do things, but they don’t tell you how much work you may have to put in to get it done. Definitely some entrepreneurs order to be a successful you have to work hard play later. I see it now there is constant work to be done. Constant grind to be done. That’s something that no one really tells you when becoming an entrepreneur, as a kid, they say you need to be an entrepreneur as a young person, you think, okay, own your own company, have people work for you, that is not how it goes. Because in order for me to have people work for me, I have to keep the whole thing running and work for myself. So that’s a pointer that I had to learn very vigorously, because the harder I grind, the more successful the business is and will become. Four: The mental part of being an entrepreneur is very important. Being an entrepreneur, it calls for skills, definitely. But your skills are only as powerful as your mental. As an entrepreneur, I teach the mental and physical part of rollers skating. So that mental part is basically is what’s opening up my business more and more. But if I’m not in tune with the mental part of this business, which no one ever told me about that, no matter what business you have it is mental. Yeah, some of them are physical. But for the most part, we have to put this business together mentally. We have to make sure this business is here to stay longevity. By doing that, we have to have a plan. And that plan takes a long time of thinking, understanding, concentrating, studying, crafting, and getting it. I definitely wish someone would have broken some of that down to me that is going to get very challenging at times. Five: I think it is like keeping the machine oiled no one tells you how to keep your machine oiled or no one tells you to keep oil in your car when you buy it. That is what I see what business now. If I’m not getting in, this is the truth. If I’m not marketing, through Google through emails, or in contact customers for a whole year, do you think my website would stay where it should stay in Google, there would be no traffic going to the website. So it’s very important that I keep the machine oiled keep in mind machines or when I say keep my machines oiled, I mean, keeping my program updated, keeping my marketing updated, keeping my website updated. So those are my five things. I wish someone would have told me when I was starting my organization.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
Yeah, so I say I have anxiety, anxious. I just recently told my wife yesterday. I feel like anxiety is coming, I feel it because my chest begins to flutter. It’s like I’m getting excited for no reason. But it’s for a reason, because this happened to me before when I first started my skate lessons. When I first started being a general manager at the roller skate rink, I’m mentally so excited that my body is doing something that I’m not in control of. So with this whole new cycle, definitely when I saw people are flocking outside to roller skate. That right there gave me a mental wellness that we’re headed in the right direction. Because if people are flocking outside to roller skate, people are looking for something to do. Roller skating happens to be the first choice, because there has been a shortage of roller skates across the world right now as we speak. So if people are looking for roller skating to do, I’m coming up with a virtual roller skating lessons course. I feel like now, I don’t have to have my brain running and figure out what should I do? That’s why with the mental part of roller skating, the wellness is there. And with how we formulated this skate course, it made it easy for me to be less stressful because everything that the virtual program needed, we already had, we didn’t have to create. When I say create, create how to teach someone how to roller skate. To create, how to teach someone how to backwards skate, we already know how to do that. Only thing we had to do was create our virtual visual, which was easy to me, but definitely seeing what was going on how the news was talking so much about COVID how it was effecting people and hurting jobs, roller skating was becoming popular, on blogs everywhere, from tik tok to Instagram, hashtags, you just see people roller skating you see a lot of people learning how to roller skate. That’s when my stress level went down and I began to understand. We were walking into something that’s about to formulate, and people needed it. And I think we’re there now. Leaving that legacy.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
The Skates’ Out movement. It’ll be a culturally community based movement. The reason why I say that is because through the years roller skating is a culture. Meaning all like minded people loving roller skating or the way it makes you feel while roller skating. When I say that, I take you back to what I said about the movie lean on me and what was happening at this rink that , me being a General manager of the community and embracing them changed me. That’s why you have so many people at rinks because we love music, and those that fall in love with roller skating is now a community. It just brings you all together as a family reunion, a happy place, a happy space. When you do that, and the way we’re teaching it the mental part of roller skating. Meaning the mental part breaks down certain things, and showing your brain a whole different avenue that you never knew your brain could do. Because our brain is always working, always controlling us. But we never pay attention to it because it always doing what it’s supposed to do. But in my virtual roller skating course, I stop your brain’s way of thinking, then we start connecting with your brain mentally, so your brain can mentally connect with your feet and physically get you roller skating. That’s basically would be my movement. Because when you have a movement, these same morals and values and principles that I’m teaching in skating lessons, my Skates’ Out movement will have all of these parts of the particulars to help influence people, push people, and open their minds up to something larger, to just helping one another to help the movement GROW.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
The person I would love to have a conversation with over lunch would be Google’s CEO, because he has figured out the formula to connect to the people/customers.
How can our readers follow you online?
Please feel free to contact me www.skatesoutvirtual.com
Sign up and learn to roller skate at https://skatesoutvirtual.com/
Or follow me on
PO Box 2416
Woodstock, GA 30188
Contact | SKATESOUT | P.O. Box 2416 | Woodstock, GA 30188 | 404–484–5277
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!
About The Interviewer: Karina Michel Feld is the Owner and Executive Producer of Tallulah Films. Karina has 20+ years of experience in TV, film, and print and is a respected member of The Producers Guild of America. The mission of Tallulah Films is to bring together directors, entrepreneurs, film investors, and screenwriters to produce award-winning TV and film projects. Tallulah Films continues to be drawn towards films that are meaningful, influential, and uplifting. Karina is also Co-Owner and CFO of Fresh Patch LLC (as seen on ABC’s “Shark Tank”).
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