An athlete from the age of eight, Roz Richards remembers her routine-like weekly sports massages fondly, but she never thought they’d be such an integral part of her livelihood and business.
Growing up in Wales and representing the country internationally in the 800 metres, she tells SmartCompany her myotherapist at the time was “outstanding”, and became someone she trusted and, in turn, was inspired by.
Today, Richards is not only the head myotherapist for dominant AFL team the Western Bulldogs, but she’s also recently launched her own mobile myotherapy business, Roz Sports. Launching the business has been a goal of Richards’ for the past five years, but she has only recently been able to make it a reality.
“When I was in Wales I worked with the Welsh Rugby Union and I also ran my own personal training business. I moved to Australia because I wanted to experience working in a different country, so I basically rocked up one day with nothing but a 20-kilogram suitcase,” she says.
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Richards first landed work with the Melbourne Rebels rugby team and with the St Kilda Football Club, before a colleague she worked with at St Kilda contacted her to join the Western Bulldogs medical team because he highly respected her work. She’s now been with the club for five seasons, managing a team of therapists who tend to the players at games and at training.
“I have been thinking about my business structure for the past 5 years, but I had to wait to receive my permanent residency to launch it,” Richards said
Today, having been awarded permanent residency, Richards was finally able to launch her business, kicking it off just weeks ago with the goal of offering a quality, tailored and mobile myotherapy service for competitive athletes.
“I’m providing a team of hand-picked therapists who have experience working with athletes, and have a true understanding of an athlete’s body,” she says.
“I want to offer a niche service, to provide that quality service and peace of mind I had when I was growing up.”
Richards devised the business to fit in alongside her full-time job with the Bulldogs, meaning she acts as an agent for other therapists and organises their sessions. She says she received fantastic support from the football club to help her launch.
“I felt that I needed to have support from my current employer, so I was completely open and honest about what I was doing. I think if I didn’t have that support, I would have found it difficult,” she says.
Word-of-mouth a winner
Despite just being a few weeks old, Roz Sports already has a few clients on its books. Because of the industry she works in, Richards says she’s found it easy to spread the word about her services, with the business relying strongly on word-of-mouth advertising.
Having testimonials from much-loved former Bulldogs captain Bob Murphy and Melbourne Rebels captain Tom English helps too, with Murphy praising Richards’ “energy and passion for people” in a testimonial on her website.
“Word-of-mouth is essential, so if I’m offering a service to a triathlete I’m counting on them talking about it to other fellow athletes. As long as we keep delivering an amazing service I’m confident we’ll be front of mind,” she says.
The business is a relaxed side project at the moment, and Richards says she’s happy for it to be a “slow burner”. But she also notes there’s potential for her to grow Roz Sports significantly, with an eventual goal of launching the business in Wales as well.
Having worked in the professional sporting industry all her life, Richards says, fittingly, the key to success in the industry is an ability to be flexible and to understand sportspeople’s needs.
“In a sports team, an athlete’s day is structured so they’ll have training, meetings, and lunches, so you need to be able to work around that. Sometimes things will shift, so you need the flexibility to be able to deal with anything that happens,” she says.
“Mainly, you should feel confident in what you’re delivering, and have a back-bending dedication to making it work.”