‘Let your business be your escape’

After a career that included winning bronze medals in the 10m synchro event at London 2012 and Rio 2016, Roseline Filion has now dived head first into a new life as an entrepreneur. Alongside her brother and two cousins, Roseline launched an escape room business in her native Canada, offering visitors to their two facilities the chance to participate in immersive scenario-based games where they need to find clues, solve puzzles and work as a team in order to escape the room within a set time limit.

  • Canadian diver Roseline Filion won bronze medals at London 2012 and Rio 2016 alongside 10m synchro partner Meaghan Benfeito
  • After discovering a passion for interactive escape room games, she established her own venues in Quebec
  • Read her story and then find out how you could dive into a new career with the Athlete365 Business Accelerator

Becoming an entrepreneur happened by accident really, because I never dreamed of being my own boss or starting a business. But in 2016, before the Olympic Games in Rio, I fractured my ankle so I took that time off to learn about opening a business with my brother. Escape room games were a passion of mine already as I found it was a way for me to disconnect from my sport; you go play for an hour and you forget about everything else. I’d play escape games a lot in Montreal, and even around the world whenever I travelled for competitions. And then my brother had always dreamt of opening his own business, so we jumped in. Two months after Rio, we opened our escape room venue called Immersia.

Being hands-on

We did everything ourselves – finding our site, building the rooms, creating the scenarios, the clues, the puzzles, everything. Leading up to Rio 2016, I would often go work on the rooms at night after training; painting the walls or whatever needed doing. And then after coming back from Rio, I spent entire days there building all the décor we wanted in the rooms and creating the stories. We were really hands-on with everything there.

Escaping the stress

Working on the business leading up to Rio was a way to escape from all the stress of training for the Games. If I was just sitting at home, thinking about my competition, it would drive me crazy, but this gave me the chance to do something else. So I would go there and create a story that people are eventually going to play in and it was the perfect balance for me to have.

I think what athletes are good at is actually the way we learn fast

Learning fast

I’ve never done anything like this before, so I’m definitely learning and I think what athletes are good at is actually the way we learn fast. We try things, we’re not afraid to fail and it’s not hard for us to stand up when something doesn’t work out. That’s an ability in business and entrepreneurship that works well because eventually, something won’t work at one point – but we have the ability to get up quick, turn around and start again. I think that’s an advantage that athletes have.

Finding your passion

If you’re starting your own business, it has to be something you’re passionate about. If you don’t have that passion, you won’t make the effort and when times get tough you will give up. Your passion will drive you to overcome so many difficulties. When I transitioned from being an athlete, it took a while for that passion to grow. Even if I loved my business, I wasn’t passionate about it at first because I was still sad about letting go of my original passion [for diving], which had guided me forever. But now that I’m more hands-on with the business, I’m able to see how happy people are when they play the game and it makes me more passionate about it.

Inspired by Roseline’s story and looking for a place to start your own business adventure? It’s never too early to start thinking about a career after sport. The Athlete365 Business Accelerator will help you develop your own personal business plan from idea to reality, starting with a step-by-step, free-to-use online course.