Holly Cook When most 25-year-olds are still deciding what they want to do with their lives, Matt Nelsen has it figured out. In fact, the Centennial …
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When most 25-year-olds are still deciding what they want to do
with their lives, Matt Nelsen has it figured out.
In fact, the Centennial resident knew what he wanted to do long
before he graduated college. He wanted to be his own boss and he
didn’t want to be an industrial engineer.
“I’m an intelligent guy. I’m good at engineering, but I didn’t
have the passion for it,” Nelsen said.
What’s more, the certified professional tennis player would
rather play a leisurely game of tennis during his day than sit
behind a desk in a stuffy suit.
Drawing on those three facts about him, Nelsen started Drop
Shots Tennis; a facility geared toward teaching 2- through
10-year-olds how to play the game.
His long-term goal is to start a franchise bringing Drop Shots
to kids all over the country.
The whole project was set in motion when Nelsen was a college
student at the University of San Diego. He and a friend started a
storage business — picking up, storing and dropping off college
students’ boxed belongings. The business caught on like wildfire,
gaining the attention of 20 colleges across the country, according
It was then that Nelsen’s partner offered him a number he
couldn’t refuse for his share of the company.
“I wanted to stick with it. It was my idea, but I just couldn’t
say ‘no,’” Nelsen said. Accepting the offer gave him enough capital
to start Drop Shots.
Drop Shots kids learn to play tennis on miniature courts with
miniature racquets and balls.
In high school, Nelsen worked for a similar company, teaching
kids proper technique. But the business went under and Nelsen said
he’d always thought it would be a good idea to start one up
Drop Shots opened in February and conducts as many as nine
classes a day. Nelsen’s sister, KT, manages the facility and serves
as head instructor.
Nelsen said his goal was to reduce the dependency on him as an
instructor and a manager. Dependency, he said, was the fatal flaw
of his predecessor’s tennis business.
“I love the kids but I want to make sure they are getting
quality training from all of the instructors,” he said.
When he’s not at the office, the entrepreneur is coaching tennis
at Arapahoe and Chaparral high schools. During the lunch hour he
moseys over in his sweatpants to meet his friends in their stiff
suits to discuss the work day.
“I don’t know what I like more,” Nelsen said. “Being my own boss
or learning all about business,” he said.
Nelsen could have learned from his first business partner in
college, but even he didn’t know what to do, Nelsen said.
“I thought he would take care of all the business stuff while I
managed the operational side,” he said. “Turns out [my friend]
didn’t know much about starting a business. Business majors only
learn about big business. No one teaches them how to start
As a result, most of his business knowledge was self-taught.
Nelsen said he utilized free information from the Small Business
Association, and picked his professor’s brains.
That experience helped him start Drop Shots, but Nelsen will
admit, this business taught him much more than he expected.
“You’d be amazed at the parallels there are to parenting or
relationships,” he said in regard to running his own business.
For more information, visit www.dropshotstennis.com.
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