We had the good fortune of connecting with Coach Cliff and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Coach Cliff, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I wanted to use my gifts and talents to secure a future for myself and my family but I wanted to do it on my own terms. I also wanted to create opportunities for family time.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Our company was started in 2009 as an after school chess and athletic program. We incorporate activities that exercise the mind and the body while developing cognitive skills, positive sportsmanship, life skills and conflict resolution. We work with students from 3 years old up to college students. I would say that for us to be where we are today took a lot of commitment and consistency. I am most excited about our programs partnering with over 50 schools since we’ve started and we are still growing. I now have my former students working for our company making an impact on the next generation. Our students also compete on a local, state, national and international level. Some of the challenges were introducing the chess programs to inner city schools where chess is not known or popular but some of the greatest success has come from our at-risk youth. It was not easy in the beginning. Starting out was kind of learning as you go. We struggled financially for a while. Sometimes the schools after school funding would get cut and the programs fall by the wayside, so we had to learn how to adjust to the unpredictable. To overcome it we had to become creative, host summer camps, tournaments, we have merchandise, books, etc. I’ve learned patience with the process.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would say the third ward area of Houston. There’s such a rich history there full of culture. Both major universities are around the corner from each other. (Texas Southern University and University of Houston). Health Conscious cuisines, a landmark park (Emancipation Park), thriving social settings and events and a booming opportunity for entrepreneurship.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My relationship with God is the most important. So after I was fired from my job, I immediately prayed over my next moves. My wife, Alethea (B.O.S.S. Graphic Designs) was the first person that I shared that I was starting my own business with. She not only supported my ideas, she designed my website, created my business cards and social media presence, (all of the tech stuff). She made it to where all I had to do was go out and market to the schools, create a curriculum, secure the contracts and do what I love doing, working with the youth. Both of my parents have also been supportive and vital to our success. I also have a mentor, Phillip Plummer. He is an after school karate instructor that is in his 70’s, he has been teaching karate in the school systems for over thirty years. He gave me the blueprint on how to get into the after school business.

Website: https://kingchessandathletics.com

Instagram: https://instagram.com/kingchessandathletics

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/KING-Chess-and-Athletics/589454851151283

Image Credits
K.I.N.G. Chess + Athletics

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