Keirsten Sires Founder of LRT Sports – Small Business Show Episode 278

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Our listeners may not know that both Dave and I have sons that just graduated High School and are headed to college in the fall. We have both discussed the lengthy process of getting everything prepared to help our kids be successful when applying for and ultimately choosing a college. It’s been a bit more complicated with the Covid situation and if you have an athlete that is trying to play NCAA sports, it can be even more difficult this year. 

Thankfully, today we have the Founder of LRT Sports, Keirsten Sires as our guest. LRT specializes in helping student-athletes overcome challenges and find success. Keirsten shares her journey with LRT Sports as well as some great tips to students and parents about the recruiting process.

Join your hosts Shannon Jean and Dave Hamilton as they dive into this fascinating niche business. After the show, be sure to leave us a 5-star review to help support the content we hope you love and find useful.

Read the Full Transcript of the show:

 

Unknown Speaker 0:01
Hey everybody. Welcome to another edition of the Small Business show. How you doing Dave?

Dave Hamilton 0:05
I’m alright Shannon, how are you today?

Unknown Speaker 0:07
Good good I’m excited about the show today we have a unique, a very specialized business with a super smart and enthusiastic small business owner there. Yeah. interested in sharing her story with everybody.

Unknown Speaker 0:24
unique is the right word. I think eventually they will have competition though. Oftentimes, if you have a unique business, that’s not necessarily a good thing if you realize you have no competition, that should give you some pause and ask why is there no like why is no one else? Yeah, could be no demand, no demand night, but who should stop here in the beginning, or it could and it could put a target on your back. You’re right. Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Well, yeah, yeah. at best. It puts a target on your back. And I think here is best case scenario, I think. I think that’s Yeah, that’s thecase. If you thinking along those lines, you need to think, Okay, well, how do we build this moat around us. So where there’s a significant barrier to entry for others that come after us? And maybe that’s the relationships that you build. Maybe there’s some kind of cost structure that you’ve developed that would make it harder for someone else to get in there. But it’s definitely something to think about. And I didn’t even think about until you brought it up. So I’m glad you did. Yeah, yeah. During the interview, I’m like, how come nobody’s doing there’s people doing similar things? Yeah. And so like, it’s not it’s not completely alone on an island, but it’s, you know, it’s it’s out. It’s on a peninsula for sure. So, yeah, that’s cool. really valuable. very timely for you and I with our Yeah, and this is a very valuable service. very valid. Yeah, for sure. Yeah.

Dave Hamilton 1:48
All right. I want to talk though, about our first sponsor, which is PDF pen 12.

You can kind of do your stuff with PDF pen, and you’re in great shape. Very cool stuff. You’ve got to check this out. Go to smile software.com slash podcast. I know that sounds a little generic it is. But um, check out and when you kind of when you’re doing your thing, it’ll ask you where you’ve heard about it. And Chris, I think you know the answer to that. So check it out smile software.com slash podcast and our thanks to smile, and PDF pen for sponsoring this episode.

Alright, man, I’m Uh, I’m eager to share this with everybody. You’re good to go. So am I. Yeah, I’m totally ready. Let’s do it. He is Shannon Jean, I’m Dave Hamilton. And this is Episode 278 of the Small Business show.

Keirsten Sires 3:41
I think if you have like your let’s assume that you have your proof of concept and you know, you know that you’re going to make some money from it and that it’s a valid idea. I think the number one piece of advice is it’s never gonna be the right time. You know, you some people might be sitting back saying, Oh, you know, I have my kids birthday coming up, I really want to wait until after that, and then something else happens. And then something else happens. And the next thing you know, it’s five years later, and you’re stuck on this thing, and it’s it kind of gets ahead of you. So I think, you know, just don’t wait until the right time to do something because it’s never the right time.

Shannon Jean 4:28
So our listeners may not know that both Dave and I have sons just graduated high school, and are headed to college in the fall. You know, we talk all the time, we’ve both discussed the lengthy process and you know, getting everything prepared to help our kids be successful when applying for and ultimately, you know, how to choose a school, all that kind of stuff. It’s been a bit more complicated with the COVID situation this year, certainly. A little bit. Yeah,

Dave Hamilton 4:53
my son, my son has chosen to school that none of the four of us have ever even seen the city that it’s in yet. So there you go.

Shannon Jean 5:00
Gosh, yeah. And And so, in just my son plays lacrosse. I mean, if you have an athlete that’s trying to play, you know NCAA sports, it can be even more difficult, especially this year. So thankfully today we have the founder of LRT sports, kyrsten sires, as our guest. And LRT specializes in helping student athletes overcome challenges and find success wherever they land. Kirsten, thank you so much for joining us today. I’m really interested in learning about your business and your journey as a small business owner.

Keirsten Sires 5:29
Yeah, thanks for having me. You know, I can’t imagine what you guys are going through right now with having to pick a school out even seeing what they’re like and the campus and just everything else involved. So I definitely feel for you in that situation. And I’ve been hearing a lot of other similar stories with that as well. Yeah, it’s, it’s crazy. Thank you. Yeah.

Shannon Jean 5:48
Luckily, we saw Yeah, my son. We toured his campus about a year ago before we were just up in the area. So thankfully, you know, that was great. But yeah,

Dave Hamilton 5:58
it’s a lucky one. Yeah, you He gets to it. Yeah, he basically had it narrowed down between one school that he had seen that’s about an hour from home on the East Coast here and one school that he hadn’t seen that, you know, clear on the other side of the country in Portland, Oregon. And, and I told him, I said, well, kiddo, you get to decide you get to pick what story you’re going to tell in 10 years, are you going to pick the safe school that frankly, was going to cost a fortune? Or are you going to go, you know, across the country, and tell the story about how you picked the you know, the unknown, and how you made either one of those work, like you get to decide that either one of those is going to work out. You just get to pick which one you want to tell. And he’s like, yeah, I think I want to go sight unseen. I’m like, that’s cool.

Unknown Speaker 6:40
Let’s go. There you go.

Dave Hamilton 6:41
Yeah. So hopefully off he goes. Yeah,

Shannon Jean 6:44
hopefully. Yeah. So before we jump in to find out exactly what you guys do at LRT. I want to talk about your experience and your motivation for starting the company. have done a little bit of research but would love for you to share a bit of it with our listeners today.

Keirsten Sires 7:00
Yeah, so my journey, especially with starting LRT, sports was very unique. It’s unique in a way, but it’s also not unique in a way. So if there’s any,anyone out there that knows a student athlete or is a current or former student athlete, you know, it’s one of those situations where you hear a lot of times an athlete goes to college, and then they have a situation where they don’t end up liking the school or the coach or the, you know, the coach ends up quitting, or they don’t know exactly what they got themselves into, or whatever it may be. So for me in particular, I was recruited as a tennis athlete to Skidmore College. I was recruited to other schools as well. But Skidmore was the school that I felt felt that I loved the most. And when I got to campus, it was just a situation when it was one of those things that I absolutely loved the school but my coach and I didn’t necessarily see eye to eye on a lot of different things, and I was kind of sold a little bit in my recruiting process that I wasn’t necessarily expecting along the way. Again, you hear this a lot with student athletes go on your recruiting trip, you’re kind of everybody’s a salesperson, student athletes, the coaches, the parents and everybody wants everything to go well and then once you step foot on the campus, it could be a wildly different situation. So I ended up playing my whole first year we won our league championship, we made it to the NCAA’s and no thanks. And it was a great year as far as winning matches were concerned but my just overall satisfaction with my coach in particular mental health, a lot of other things wasn’t great. So I had to make a decision, which was a either stand the team and probably not be super happy for the next three years after that, or be quit and actually try out for another sport at Skidmore since I loved Skidmore so much. I dabbled around thinking about transferring but they had this great business program but I just loved it.

So I actually ended up quitting and trying out for the soccer team. And I made the soccer team. So then I was a soccer athlete for my last three years of college. And I didn’t even play soccer in high school I played growing up. So it was definitely, yeah, that’s a Yeah, yeah, yes, very unusual. And it was definitely a huge learning curve for me. Um, I went from playing like two games my sophomore year, and those were games that, you know, we probably were getting blown out or vice versa. And then I think by my senior year, I ended up playing in 17 games. So it was definitely a huge transition. And I love my coach or even like, you know, letting me have that opportunity. So that story kind of led into this whole you know, just recruiting process information, every college coach ratings platform that we created, but that was how things kind of got inspired along the way. Fast. Okay, so then while you were still in school, you if had this right, you had a project where you needed to kind of develop a company if you will. And, and and is that kind of where the impetus for LRT came together so that you could help other athletes avoid some of the issues that you had? Yes, exactly.

So okay, my senior year, we had an entrepreneurship class. And we were able to create a company of a company throughout the entire semester. And then at the end of the semester, we had to actually present it to venture capitalists, pe firm people, you know, really successful people who are alumni or parents and they basically sat on the panel and determine part of our grade. You know, which is intimidating when you’re a senior in college thinking that you have all the financials figured out, and then you have somebody who’s a venture capitalist, absolutely ripping you apart.

Dave Hamilton 10:48
Same thing happens when you’ve been in business for decades and you go to pitch somewhere, someone just have to assume there’s someone that knows more about what you’re talking about than you do. And they’re going to ask you those tough questions. Yep.

Keirsten Sires 11:00
That is totally true. Absolutely true. So, yeah, you know, we had two of the people come up, up to us after there’s a group of four of us and they said, Hey, this is a really great idea. You should you should go with it. Like, if you ever want to go with it, here’s our card. Um, I had my real person job, which, you know, at the time, I was like, Yeah, yeah, great. This is awesome. But I’m gonna go sit behind my, my corporate desk and have a great time and get a paycheck. Right? Make sure Yes, exactly. Exactly. In a couple months into my job, I thought, you know what, I really couldn’t get it off my mind. It was one of those things. I couldn’t fall asleep at night without thinking about it just a different way that would help and I definitely was more passionate about it than I initially had had thought. So it was one of those things where I ended up just, you know, starting it on the side and couldn’t sustain both and decided to kind of take a leap of faith into the unknown, just like your son is doing with the college a little bit. And, you know, from there, it’s just been a whirlwind of emotions and ups and downs and everything else that any other entrepreneur kind of experiences along the way.

Shannon Jean 12:06
Yeah. It’s a great, it’s a great story. That step from, you know, sitting at the desk getting a paycheck, that steady thing where all your you know, your family was probably happy. Oh, she’s got a great job, you know, this kind of thing. Yeah. And then and then taking that leap is is it’s a huge risk. It was there an impetus, you just were just not excited about what you were doing day to day that pushed you in? to starting LRT?

Keirsten Sires 12:35
Yeah, I mean, I was. So I was working at Morgan Stanley in New York City, which is obviously a dream for most and myself included. And I absolutely loved Morgan Stanley. I loved everybody that I worked with, there was nothing in particular that was upsetting about my job. I could have, you know, I could still be sitting there today and probably would have had a happy life. Um, I think for me, the one thing that I always envisioned myself

Unknown Speaker 13:00
Maybe being a little bit more out there in public and kind of just being more involved with things. I have a father who is also an entrepreneur, he’s started multiple companies, one being a company that’s a manufacturing company that is injection molding. He’s invested in tons of companies, and he’s kind of been on that on the go kind of thing. And he’s always doing 20 different things at once. So I think, kind of seeing him doing that. And then my mom starting her own fitness center, and them always kind of being risk takers. It was one of those things where it was an easy decision because they were super supportive. And I’ve also kind of learned from the best between both of them. So I think just having conversations with them, you know, and then kind of being extremely supportive was one thing and then the second thing being just not totally excited, like jumping out of my seat every single morning for my job And to me, that’s always been, I don’t know if it’s a problem or not, but always been something that’s important to me, especially with school. Even when I was taking classes in high school, there would be certain classes that I wasn’t super excited about. And I wasn’t giving 100% into and I had to work harder at versus the ones that I loved. It almost came naturally to me. So I think as long as I love what I’m doing, I’m always giving 100% which I’m sure could be said for most people, right? Yeah, for sure.

Dave Hamilton 14:20
Yeah. between wanting to do it, and knowing that you have to do it, right. Yes. And, and and if you can, we talked about hacking our brains a lot here. But if you can hack your brain into wanting to do something, then it doesn’t require discipline anymore. You just need to go. So yeah,

Shannon Jean 14:35
I would say, you know, I commend you for it, you really escaped employment, which is a hard thing is lots of people that sit there for 20 years thinking about it, and then realize, oh, wow, you know, I got all i got kids and a mortgage and this and that, and I’m not able to do it. So so that’s great. That’s great. So, okay, about 10 minutes into the show. Tell us what you guys actually do at LRT sports.

Keirsten Sires 14:58
Yeah, so first and foremost. We are a rating and review website for college coaches. So that means that we actually allow current and former college athletes to go on and rate their college coaches. And when they do that they’re verified. on our end, we have a verification process that everybody has to go through to make sure that they are who they say they are, because everybody takes your sports very seriously. And it’s a very passionate topic for most. But on the other hand, we actually post those reviews anonymously on the front end. So when the coach ratings go up again, they’re verified, but they’re anonymous because we wanted to keep the athletes feeling comfortable and safe and not feeling like they could share their story without getting lashed back from a coach or an administration or anything else in between because, again, college sports right now, especially you hear more and more stories of mental abuse or anything else in between. And I think it’s just really important for us to you know, protect the identities of those college athletes out there.

Shannon Jean 15:58
Yeah, no, it makes sense. So, so the coach rating service is, you know, kind of the fundamental thing. Is there other areas that you’ve expanded into? Or is that really the core of your business that you that you offer? Yeah, it’s

Keirsten Sires 16:12
definitely I’d say like our bread and butter, but we we have other offerings as well. So we have a section called the huddle on there, where we actually write articles. It’s a combination of kind of getting stories from other people similar to you guys. So we have a series called recruiting horror stories where people commit too early or they went to an overnight visit and somebody got drunk and lost her. Uh, you know, scholarship offer parent ruined a scholarship offer for somebody or anything else in between. So we have stories like that. Coach advice, so we actually talk to the college coaches on what they look for in a student athlete, talking to professional athletes, Olympians and everybody else just kind of about the recruiting story and their advice and everything else in between, and I think the biggest thing for That too is also we provide resources for current college athletes to if they’re looking to transfer or wanting to know what it’s like to redshirt or just kind of anything to do with understanding college athletics. That’s our tagline. So understanding college athletics is super important to us. And we also offer a membership where athletes are able to go on and kind of organize their recruiting process. There’s a common misconception that we connect student athletes and coaches together, which we don’t. It’s purely educational. It’s all about organization, education, empowerment, working with mental health, and everything else that kind of goes along with, again, college recruiting process, but also just being a college athlete in general.

Shannon Jean 17:41
Yeah, I really found that huddle area fascinating. And one of the things that I read that I had no idea was, you know, the benefits of getting an academic scholarship in addition to you know, trying to get into a sports program. It kind of made you more marketable because you didn’t use up so much of the budget from the athletic program. And I thought that was just brilliant was brilliant.

Unknown Speaker 18:04
Yeah, there’s that. And then there’s things like division three and Ivy League. They don’t offer athletic scholarships, per se, but there’s a lot of like merit based scholarships, academic scholarships and need based and everything else that they kind of work around. And sometimes schools with huge endowments are able to grant student athletes money, depending on circumstances or whatever else. It may be each school League, everything else in between has their own rules. But again, I always tell student athletes and parents make sure that you’re, you’re kind of asking those questions when you’re on campus. And actually, in the point of the process where you can have that conversation with the coach, don’t go out guns a blazing conversation, number one, hey, what can you offer me? But when you start to have those conversations and coaches are bringing up, you know, money or anything else like that. Those are the kinds of questions that you need to be diving into. But absolutely, yeah, there’s a lot of opportunity outside of just that athletics. scholarship and, you know, very, very small percentage of athletes can even receive but also just do receive your traditional division one full ride scholarship, that one thing that everybody wants is such a small, small percentage of athletes. So, you know, we’re here to, you know, kind of teach that information and let people know that there’s ways to get money. It might not be your dream of that full ride D one scholarship, but also there’s a lot of sports that don’t even have the opportunity for that to happen. So that’s what we’re here for. That’s,

Dave Hamilton 19:33
yeah, no, no, that makes sense. I mean, like, as with anything in the college process, you know, you you have some preconceptions, and they’re always either incomplete or simply wrong. And here’s yet another part of this and you fill in this gap. I think it’s great.

Shannon Jean 19:48
Yeah. Yeah. And so you, I think you answered one of the questions I was gonna ask you if your target customer was, you know, just high school students, but it sounds like you also help college you know, athletes As well, once they’re there, they have, you know, if they want to transfer do different things. I want to talk about your revenue model. We’re big fans, what we call a revenue stack here of, you know, finding revenue in all different places. And you mentioned the memberships. Is that your varsity membership that you have on the site?

And is that your main source of revenue for the business? Are there other areas? Or are you planning on adding additional areas? How does that work for you?

Unknown Speaker 20:39
camps, showcases training facilities, and actually just speaking about the recruiting process, setting up a plan, what you need to be looking for in a coach in a school, even in the school outside of athletics, because again, you know, my story is based in I loved my school so much, so I decided to stay so I’m a huge believer in going to the school for the school more so athletics. Um, but you know, doing those speaking engagements has been another really great source of revenue for us. And that actually came up by accident. We weren’t planning on doing it. We were at an athletic director conference, and an ad came up to us and was like, hey, do you guys do seminars? And I kind of said on one, and they were like, oh, like, recruiting process? And I was like, Yes, we do. Yeah, Yes, we do. And they said, Well, how much does it cost? And at the time, obviously, at this point, I have no way I’m 22. I’ve no idea what the market is for that. So I just go, it’s free if you pay for room and board, travel and lodging. Yep, there you go. And the school happened to be in Hawaii. So yeah. Um, so you know, it morphed into after Corona kind of doing these engagements online, so virtual workshops and everything else. And then, you know, you have your traditional ad revenue. And you know, we’ve been dabbled in doing different things, which I also didn’t see this coming. But with our research Susans, we do have a survey with a target market that a lot of people want to get ahold of. There are some companies that actually pay to add an additional question or two to find out a little bit of insight into the student athletes minds. And then when those are on the rating, obviously, we’re transparent with the student athletes. It’s an optional question. They could choose to fill it out or not. And then that’s another source of revenue that we actually never saw coming.

Shannon Jean 22:28
Yeah. Oh, that’s great. So you mentioned the Coronavirus shutdown. So did you? How was that transition for you? Did you just seamlessly roll right into Okay, well, we can do you know, video workshops for your team. I’m sure there’s lots of, you know, athletic directors looking for how do I support my team when we’re not playing? Right. You know, that kind of thing. So, you mentioned that doing that is that that’s what you started working on now.

Unknown Speaker 22:54
Yeah, um, you know, we got really lucky because our entire company is remote. So everybody That works for me right now is remote. So it was a blessing in disguise for us because nothing really changed. As far as our day to day is concerned, the biggest upset obviously was having a lot of canceled events. Some of those were just completely canceled. Others were able to kind of transition to the virtual workshop portion of things, which is great. But yeah, I don’t I’m not sure it was seamless. I think it’s different trying to market a virtual workshop than it is an in person workshop. And not everybody’s fully on the virtual bandwagon quite yet. But for some of those people that were a little bit ahead of the time, or have some foresight into at least seeing like you know what, hey, I kind of have to hop on this bandwagon. So I think there was some convincing to do the marketing was a little bit different, so it wasn’t entirely seamless. But I think it was definitely were way more well suited for it then. A lot of other people only because our entire company by nature is forced to be tech savvy. We’re always trying to see what apps integrate with slack the best or Google Drive and we’re just always trying to stay up on that. So luckily for us, it wasn’t, it wasn’t the end of the world. But at the same time, let you know people right now don’t want to be spending money. We have a low price point of 999 a month for our for our membership. And you know, a lot of the times we’re offering it for 789 dollars because we have run discounts and everything but at the same time, people aren’t wanting to spend extra money right now. And they’re not spending money on sports because all sports are shut down. So it definitely definitely was an impact.

Shannon Jean 24:37
Yeah, it’s a challenge. I think that the opportunity for you with online courses and and setting things up to where people can log in and get I think it’s huge and could could be a whole nother you know, business almost for you guys going forward because, you know, some smaller schools that maybe you’re not going to be able to go out to and have these workshops but individual parents could, you know, sign up online and watch the workshop would be great.

Unknown Speaker 25:04
Right, right, exactly.

Shannon Jean 25:05
That’s great. So one of the things that, you know, when I look at that having gone through all this stuff and the headaches of the paperwork and everything with schools, if I had a student athlete, it just seems like such a no brainer to Okay, who do I get to help? And how do I do it? Your services seem like, just okay, there’s no barrier, but I know there must be and you mentioned, I know, right now, people are a little, you know, tight with their cash. But I mean, are you what barriers do you face when you’re trying to convince, you know, either individuals or athletic directors of schools to use your services? And then how do you overcome those?

Unknown Speaker 25:40
Yeah, I think the biggest thing is not necessarily for the athletic directors in schools, because they kind of get it in the 80s. Especially get all the questions. So anybody else that could take over those questions? They’re happy to give it to us. Yeah, um, but I think you know, just having parents and really parents but also athletes understand that A you don’t need to spend a fortune on connecting with college coaches, because you could do it all for free through, you know, the athletic websites and college questionnaires. But be that we don’t do that, that we’re not the ones that are providing the direct contact between college coaches and the student athletes. I think it’s a kind of quick and easy way to, you know, they I think they think it’s a quick and easy way to Front Load a lot of the work onto those other platforms. But something, again, that I mentioned before is you could kind of do all that for free. Every school has, you know, the information about the college coaches and if not, there’s a recruiting questionnaire up there for each sport that they all get, they want you to fill out anyway. So I think just letting people know that like, Hey, we’re not connecting coaches and players is like the one thing that we almost have to say before we can even tell them who we are. Just because our industry is like pretty slow with just keeping up with the times. Even just like recruiting with statistics in general, and just sports tech and everything else, it’s a little bit on the slower side of things. And, you know, club teams aren’t used utilizing all the resources that they could be using, even from a training perspective, and, you know, those things have a tendency to be really expensive. And I understand that, but there’s just always this Well, you’re connecting college coaches and players, there’s a million websites that do it. We already have 100 pitches from those on those websites. We don’t want it and it’s like, well, that’s not what we even do. Yeah.

Shannon Jean 27:33
Yeah, yeah. Yeah.

Unknown Speaker 27:34
Yeah. So I think that’s the biggest thing for us is fighting that just common misconception of everything to do with recruiting is connect player and coach and there’s a lot of other great companies out there that are also trying to fight that same narrative. And I’ve had conversations with a lot of them. There’s a company called True exposure and then another one called route and they’re actually getting more into using statistics for recruiting and comparing you know, sizes of different players. Seeing Which divisions that you’re actually going to fit in based on your size, weight, 40, yard dash and everything else. Now this is mainly specifically for football because you have all those stats and combine numbers and everything else. And obviously football is a very, we’ll call it body centric sport where it’s if you’re too small for football, you’re not gonna be able to play in a certain division. Um, but I think, you know, as we see a shift into more tech within sports, hopefully that that misconception kind of changes.

Shannon Jean 28:29
That’s cool. It sounds like you’re in the right place at the right time to take advantage of that. That technological, you know, swing, if you will. Okay,

Keirsten Sires 28:38
yeah, for sure. And I think I think there’s a lot of ratings websites out there, I mean, we’re rating everything or Uber rides or just products that we use Amazon, you know, encourages you to rate the products that you get and everything else. So I think ratings culture has definitely shifted over the past you know, 10 years as well. There’s rate my professor rate my teacher rate, my lawyer rate, my dentist rate my this right Yeah, that so

Dave Hamilton 29:02
as soon as you explain that early on, it was like, Oh, so this is like, write my code. Okay. I grok like no problem. Yes, yep.

Keirsten Sires 29:10
Yes, exactly, exactly. So that that’s kind of where things come into play. And I think it’s a really cool time to be in this industry. And I think especially with an external push for, you know, mental health and everything else, I think it’s a good time to be here. And I say external because NCAA has no specific rules or indications on mental health or coach abuse or anything else that they have laid laid out in their bylaws. So we’re happy to be here for people to be able to feel empowered to share their stories, but also, for people to read those stories so that they’re aware of what they’re getting into and a time to celebrate those really great coaches out there that might be in some of those smaller divisions at smaller schools. That you know, just you can win championship after championship most winningest coach in d3 or Whatever it may be that we kind of want to celebrate and let people know, hey, it doesn’t matter if you’re not going D one, you could be winning a championship, a national championship, elite championship or whatever else it may be,

Shannon Jean 30:10
well get get out of it, what you’re looking for, right, that experience. I mean, you know, the funnel is so narrow if, you know, athletes that are going to go on to be professional at whatever anyway. Yeah, I think it’s a it’s a great, it’s a really a great thing to point out. So it seems like could be a huge resource. So one of the questions we asked every single guest that comes on the show, is about mistakes, we really love we’re big fans of mistakes, because I’ve made so many I don’t think David’s really made very many but but, you know, they teach us so much. We kind of call them tuition around here, especially when you look back on them. So setting up LRT and you know, getting things going, what would you say was the best mistake you made the one that really stuck with you and taught you a valuable lesson.

Keirsten Sires 30:58
Yeah Great question, by the way, um, I have a story for you, as I know you love them. But when I first started LRT, again, I was 22 years old, kind of going into everything being a little bit naive and decided to kind of hire a company to build out our website that I didn’t do too much research into which, looking back, I’m like, how is that even possible? I don’t know. My brain was not screwed on at that point. I’m not really sure. I made a really quick decision just because I wanted to turn over the website quickly. And I ended up getting just kind of really screwed in the process from a monetary perspective, from a perspective of every time there was a change that needed to happen even if it was like changing the font. It took, like, you know, two weeks and I went into a big meeting, sat down, went to go pull up the website, and the website had actually crashed and I had no proof of the website even existed in this meeting. And it was extremely embarrassing. But from that I actually, you know, was in the meeting contacting the people, hey, gotta get this up ASAP. Oh, it’s gonna be, you know, a couple weeks and I’m like a couple weeks of a website being down that seems a little wonky. Um, and in the meeting, there was a woman who, and she said, Hey, is your is your website housed on WordPress? And at the time it was? And I said, Yes. And she said, Well, my husband is actually a computer programmer specifically for WordPress, but he does other platforms as well. Do you want him to just like take a look like just pop in there, see if he can do anything. And I was like, honestly, at this point, I’m willing to do whatever he got in there and fix it about in about two minutes. And then after that, I kept in touch with him. He’s actually our CTO now and has been our CTO for years. Yes. And all right. Yeah. So he’s been our CTO for years now. And honestly, that’s the best mistake ever. Because if I did some more research into that company, and didn’t have my website crashed for that meeting, I wouldn’t have found them. So that was definitely a blessing in disguise. And it also taught me that I need to actually like, ask for references and do more research into the people that we’re hiring, especially when a website is your product. But I guess, you know, at 22 I just wasn’t really thinking that through, well, 22

Shannon Jean 33:20
you know, you have this, everything’s gonna be awesome, and everything’s gonna work and you’re not gonna have those kind of problems. It’s

Keirsten Sires 33:26
right, exactly, exactly. Everything in that way, too.

Shannon Jean 33:29
Yeah, that’s, that’s great. So I had one when you were talking before a little bit about students and parents and things. And I have one of these questions that what is the biggest misconception that student athletes and or parents have about the process of recruiting and finding the right fit? And you might have already answered it, but maybe you just put a finer point on it. I just think, you know, we talked about no preconceived things at the beginning of the show. What is is there a misconception that that you kind of see Oh, Over and over again.

Keirsten Sires 34:01
Yeah, honestly, I think there’s a lot unfortunately and again, that’s something that we’re trying to fight against on a daily basis. But, you know, we mentioned it earlier, so I won’t get too much into it number one thing being everybody’s going to get a full ride scholarship. Mom, that’s number one. But you know, since we already talked about that, I think the second biggest thing is, um, you know, it’s kind of a two pronged thing but a that you have to, like commit to a school early and be that that school has to be like, a total like name brand school that you think that you were like born to go to, from, you know, childbirth, and you know, people could be huge Clemson fans, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that that that Clemson is the right school for you. clemson on TV is very different than Clemson in person. And any school is very different than what your preconceived notions are of it. Schools changed throughout the years schools will be different from when your parents went there. There’ll be different from when your cousin’s went there, and they’re always evolving. They’re always adapting And I think there’s very few schools out there. And you know, I could argue in the Ivy League, but there’s very, very few schools out there that actually stick to their same traditions year over year. And technology plays a huge role in that. But I think when you’re looking at a school, especially for athletics, just trying to be as open minded as possible, I hear all the time. student athletes who ignore coaches have divisions that they think that they’re too good for leagues that they think they’re too good for. And, you know, the one offer that they have that they’re hanging on to coach ends up, you know, getting fired, quitting, stops recruiting them. A parent does something weird on a recruiting trip, and you know, the relationship is ruined, and then they’ve ignored those coaches. And then it’s like, oh, I’ve kind of burned all my bridges. And now I’m not getting recruited anywhere because I’ll tell you what coaches are talking all the time in between divisions in between leagues, and they know what’s up with all the players because they’re kind talking to each other to like, Hey, are you going to take this kid? Are you not? Um, so they’re always talking as well. I mean, there’s one girl that I know, um, I talked to a coach one time, and she said that she went to a showcase was recruiting her for soccer, shows up, all these coaches are sitting around to watch her good player, they sit down and watch her they’re talking. Next thing, you know, they’re all kind of sharing, like, Oh, she sent me this in the email. And it was like, That’s weird. She sent me this in the email too, and ended up copying and pasting the same email to like, let’s call it 10 different, you know, programs, all 10 of them got up, walked away, went on to the next player. So I think just like the common misconception of like, I’m supposed to go to this place, or I have to go to this place when there’s so many variables and college sports, um, that, you know, that’s not that’s not gonna, it’s not how it’s gonna roll. And

Shannon Jean 36:49
you know, it’s great advice.

Dave Hamilton 36:51
Okay. Makes sense. Yeah, totally. Totally.

Shannon Jean 36:54
Yeah, it’s huge. It’s huge. I want to make my son Listen to this.

For sure. You know they’re all they’re just so into it I’m gonna go here he forever he was going to Maryland there was just no way you know anywhere else and I’m gonna play lacrosse in Maryland I’m like dude you’re eight you know? Yeah

Keirsten Sires 37:10
and that’s not to say trust me I mean look at Baker Mayfield there’s people out there that are just destined to do those things and yeah system and be that underdog and I’m never saying don’t shoot for those goals if you’re on email that college coach try and get in contact with them go to a showcase that they’re at, but if they’re not recruiting you after that, or they’re not talking to you, you can’t like quite literally go bang down on their door and say hey, you have to recruit me because they just might not be interested and again, that’s okay. Um, there’s you know, so many

Dave Hamilton 37:41
a lot of things in life. Yeah, you if you get yourself emotionally committed before you’ll know that it’s a done deal. Well, that that shifts the leverage picture of course nest right you know, is now you’re, you’re no longer in control. And that’s not a good position to be in either. There’s a life lesson to learn about. But right

Shannon Jean 38:01
now, yeah, no, it’s really great. It’s just some awesome information and some great information. Today, I want to ask you one more question. I want to kind of take you back to the beginning, when you were just on the edge of jumping off and starting your own company, we have a lot of people that listen to this show that are really at that stage, aspirational. You know, so for those listeners that are that are thinking, Man, maybe I shouldn’t do it. I don’t want to take the risk. What would you tell them? You know, if you had to give yourself some advice, when you were thinking of, you know, starting out, if your parents, you know, these folks, parents, maybe weren’t entrepreneurs, and they’re, you know, awesome, just, you know, paycheck folks that got it and look at them go, you’re crazy. You know, what, what, what tidbit of advice would you have given yourself?

Keirsten Sires 38:45
Yeah, I think if you have like your let’s assume that you have your proof of concept and you know, you know that you’re going to make some money from it and that it’s a valid idea. I think the number one piece of advice is it’s never going to be the right time. You know, you Some people might be sitting back saying, Oh, you know, I have my kid’s birthday coming up, I really want to wait until after that, and then something else happens and then something else happens. And then next thing, you know, it’s five years later, and you’re stuck on this thing and it’s, it kind of gets ahead of you. So I think, you know, just don’t wait until the right time to do something because it’s never the right time. Again, as long as you have your concept proved and you know that you can make money generate leads and, and kind of actually create a viable business for yourself, then I think just go for it as soon as you can. You know, it’s just one of those things that you just kind of have to take the leap and throw all of your eggs into one basket and there’s going to be plenty of people listening where, you know, they’ve had failures are going to have failures, but your your guy’s point. That’s kind of like a really good currency. I think you called it tuition, to have and to have those failures, and you’ll learn and you’ll pivot and you’ll do a million different things, but don’t wait for the right time. Because I’ll tell you What there’s never a right time to do anything.

Shannon Jean 40:03
There’s really great advice. You know, Kiersten. I mean, you’ve given us so much information not only just about, you know, your business experience and everything, but just, you know, anybody who’s got a kid or, you know, into sports, it’s just invaluable. Thank you again for coming on the show. What’s the best way for listeners to connect with you and learn more about LRT sports?

Keirsten Sires 40:25
Yeah, you could just go to LRT sports comm We’re also on like every social media platform ever tik tok being our newest one that we’re learning about LRT sports is for everything. And then if you just go to LRC sports comm and scroll down to the Contact Us that’s a great way to just fill out that quick little form, shoot, shoot us an email, or you can kind of dm us on any platform. We’re very responsive crew. So we’re always on all of our social media. So whatever is easiest for whoever’s out there, to be honest with you. But yeah, social media and YouTube, whatever it may be.

Shannon Jean 40:59
Yeah, and Go check out the huddle up there at LRT sports comm there’s some great information I found, like I mentioned earlier, there’s just a ton of great info up there. It’s a great resource. So, thank you again, we really appreciate you spending some time with us today.

Keirsten Sires 41:14
Thank you so much. I really appreciate you guys having me.

Dave Hamilton 41:18
And that was awesome. Gosh,

Shannon Jean 41:20
yeah, she was great. I loved her enthusiasm, and I loved her passion, but I also really respect backing that up with the data and the and the realism about you know, oh, you know, we’re trying to tell these kids and parents don’t you know, focus in on just one school a coach, right? Especially if they’re not, you know, turning your calls or all that kind of thing. I really learned a lot I think especially right now with somebody with program shut down schools. This will be a great show for people that have gone through this and are going to be going through it you know, in the fall those next year,

Dave Hamilton 41:57
those poor people that have to you know, as much as it sucks for you and me and our kids more. So having to kind of make their final decisions. Some kids are going to have to make all of their decisions based on what they can see online and via video conference and phone calls. I mean, yeah, you know, those apps are doing the fall, and they may not be able to do those college tours either. So that’s like, that’s right. All of this stuff is crazy, man. Yeah.

Shannon Jean 42:25
I’ve got a question for you, Dave. Yes, it cost What does it cost our listeners to hear this show?

Dave Hamilton 42:29
It costs you nothing. All you got to do is listen, subscribe, and

Shannon Jean 42:33
there you go. And the one thing we would ask of you is to go leave us a review. Leave us a five star review at the apple podcast or wherever you listen to us. It helps us tremendously to keep delivering this content that we hope you love. Go to business show co slash reviews, wherever you listen to the show. Lastly, we have a returning guest coming back with us next week with a brand new idea and a brand new company. You don’t want In this update, if you’re a serial entrepreneur, this guy has, you know, and if you have anything if your business needs anything to do with logistics, this guy is a master. So we’re happy to welcome him back.

Dave Hamilton 43:13
Awesome. I’m looking forward to it. All right, folks. Well, that’s a that’s a wrap for this one. Thank you so much for listening. Thanks for visiting our sponsor for us at smile software comm slash podcast, another cost of the show and keep living that charmed life!

Read Transcript
  • 00:00:00 Small Business Show #278 for Wednesday, May 27, 2020
  • 00:01:49 SPONSOR: PDFpen and PDFpenPro is your ultimate PDF viewing and editing app for the Mac.
  • Keirsten Sires from LRT Sports
  • Growing up a risk-taker, makes the leap of faith easier.
  • LRT Sports: Rating and Review Website for College Coaches
  • A mistake turns into a hire!
  • Guess what? It’s never going to be the right time.
  • LRT Sports, even on TikTok!
  • LRT Sports Huddle

 

The post Keirsten Sires Founder of LRT Sports – Small Business Show Episode 278 appeared first on The Small Business Show.

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