Moore’s Law says that computer processing speed doubles every 18 months. Applying the law to technology in general, it says that the rate of change in technology is always increasing.
Each new technology that hits the market proves this to be true. From NFTs, the Metaverse, 5G technology, and AI, to Blockchain and Bitcoin – the list goes on.
With each new technology comes thousands of entrepreneurs looking to make a profit. Stories of individuals finding wealth in these new industries are both inspiring and motivational.
Still, some make money the old-fashioned way, according to a 1981 Smith Barney commercial. “They earn it.” One such person is Jason Koonce, the founder and CEO of OTIA Sports, a top broker of high-end sports cards, agents, and athletes for public and private autograph signings and appearances.
Koonce’s story answers the two age-old questions:
- Is the key to building a successful business doing what you love?
- Or is it finding something that is trending and profitable?
Koonce’s love for sports cards started when he was young. He recalls buying and selling sports memorabilia at various sports card shows. He grew his hobby into a profitable business until he left it at 23 years of age. “I decided to sell everything and move my savings into real estate.”
Although many have made their fortunes in real estate, it was not so for Koonce. He lost everything he had invested in the real estate crash of 2007-2008. This failure could have been devastating, but Koonce viewed it as a good reminder that “failure is a part of success, and through failing, you get to learn something new.”
The lesson Koonce learned was to return to what had been successful for him in the best, OTIA Sports. Within several years, he grew his business into a multi-million dollar company.
Koonce attributes his success to three leadership principles.
Find What You Are Good At and Stick To It
In a world where you can be and do anything, choose something that you enjoy – especially as an entrepreneur. Business is not always easy, but it becomes easier to stay focused when you are doing something you enjoy. Koonce still experiences his fair share of failure, but his love for sports and sports memorabilia enables him to push through even when he doesn’t succeed.
Don’t Fall For The Shiny Object Syndrome
Deciding to give up on a business he knew and loved in order to chase real estate profits did not work for Koonce. Even despite the oft-cited Carnegie quote that 90% of millionaires are real estate investors, that doesn’t mean real estate is for everyone. Many, including Koonce, have lost their entire savings to real estate.
In today’s world, we similarly see entrepreneurs chasing cryptocurrency, stock, and other investment profits. Sometimes, however, the way to make money is to “earn it.” Many grow their wealth selling less “shiny objects” such as toilet paper, toothbrushes, and tea.
Business Must Evolve
When Koonce started his business’ first iteration, the only way to sell cards was at shows or by buying television ads. “When I started out, I was going to the post office every day after school, sending exact change in the mail for cards and hoping I didn’t get scammed.” Now, of course, most transactions are online. This has propelled him to grow his social media presence and build relationships to tap into ever-larger markets.
Is the key to building a successful business doing what you love? Or is it finding something that is profitable? Jason Koonce teaches us that the sweet spot is to create a business around something that is both profitable and what you love.