February 2023 AOTM: Keith SconiersFeb 01, 2023
Welcome back to TWN’s Athlete of the Month! Each month we are highlighting athletes in our network to share what they have accomplished outside of sports, their contribution to the athletic community and more. Make sure to check out our weekly newsletter to learn more about the athlete, what motivates them, and how to contribute to their cause.
Our February Athlete of the Month is Keith Sconiers!
Keith Sconiers is an entrepreneur, storyteller, and catalyst for change. Despite difficult early years, Keith was accepted onto his high school basketball team and went on to play at Portland State University from 2002 to 2006. After graduating, Keith struggled with the transition from sports to the business world. He eventually realized that his true passion goes back to his roots: supporting entrepreneurs, athletes, and at-risk youth through coaching, storytelling, and mentoring.
In 2016, Keith formed PaySuite, a financial services firm recognized as a premier brand helping businesses navigate the credit card processing industry. In 2020, Keith launched Catalyst Training & Development to fulfill a dream of helping former athletes transition into business after their sports careers.
Today, Keith's mission is to help current and former athletes proactively plan ahead to maximize their experience above and beyond the world of athletics. This starts by helping them embrace their own stories, hook into a supportive network and become catalysts in their own lives. Learn more about Keith’s work at his website here.
He is also the host of the Purpose Podcast. On the show, he interviews successful people that have overcome adversity to live their purpose. The goal of the podcast is to help others align their path with their purpose.
The Purpose Podcast is dedicated to real conversations about life, business, personal trials, and victories of entrepreneurs, athletes, and modern-day leaders from all walks of life and industries that are living their purpose.
Through the show, Keith has brought to light advice from successful people through topics like how to think and feel when you get laid off, to how obstacles are necessary for success, to escaping your limiting beliefs and perfectionism, to how your personality could be driving your failure and success.
Check out the Purpose Podcast here.
KEITH x TACKLE WHAT'S NEXT
Keith was a part of our 2022 Athlete Entrepreneur Summit back in October and spent some time with us sharing his journey. He exposed some of the realities of entrepreneurship that nobody really talks about.
Keith shared his key thoughts about starting a business and how to go about maintaining it.
"Figure out your core values - what you’re going to build your business and life by. You need that to filter every single thing, decision, and relationship you find yourself in."
Thank you Keith for being a part of the summit and for sharing your insights and experience with us. We know it’s made a meaningful impact on others.
OUR FULL INTERVIEW WITH KEITH SCONIERS:
Why did you decide to become an entrepreneur?
"I grew up being exposed to people who, in some way, had their own hustle or business - starting with my mom and my dad. My mother was very hard-working and when I was very young, I saw her working multiple jobs so she could save up enough money to get her real estate business going. My father, even though he battled incarceration, addiction, and mental health challenges, was well known as one of the most talented carpenters in my town and I was blessed to have the opportunity to go to work with him at times. The people that my dad served were often real estate investors and entrepreneurs. I also had relationships with them or would spend time on the job site hearing them argue or “negotiate”, which looking back is pretty funny.
I can’t say I knew I would become an entrepreneur though, or that I truly consider myself one yet. I left my corporate job because I felt like I was dishonoring my last employer by working there. I wasn’t 100% committed to working there and I started to feel guilty that I was taking up space that someone else would be excited about. I also had picked up two consulting clients and knew that if they called me, I’d pull myself out of a meeting to help them and it wouldn’t have been fair to my client or my employer to be in that situation. So I resigned and decided to become a solopreneur and figure it out along the way."
What inspired you to create the businesses you have created?
"PaySuite, my payments consulting firm, was the first business I started. It was the first industry I found in my post-athletic career that was intriguing, challenging, and fulfilling for me. I’d say I started it because I enjoyed helping business owners streamline their operations and increase their profitability. Catalyst, my coaching & consulting company, was started because of my desire to help entrepreneurs build better lives and businesses beyond just the technology side of their business. I’ve also always wanted to help athletes find paths into entrepreneurship, so Catalyst Training + Development is my path to making that a reality."
What did being an athlete teach you about the work you are doing now?
"Business ownership, much like athletics, takes everything you have emotionally to be successful. There is a tremendous amount of mental, emotional, and physical work that must be done to compete in the global marketplace today. I think that athletics prepared me with the proper mindset from being part of multiple championship programs during my athletic career. I’d say it is why I didn’t quit along the way during the early days of entrepreneurship when I could barely pay for dinner."
What is the most important thing you did for yourself to start planning for life outside of sports?
"I didn’t prepare and that is why I had 17 jobs in 11 years. I had no clue how I was going to take care of myself after my sports career was over. The pain and embarrassment I experienced on a personal and professional level could have been avoided had I taken the steps to prepare to build a successful life beyond sports."
When and how did you decide you were ready to make the transition out of sports?
"I played my last basketball game, went back to my dorm room, and went to class the next day. As I look back on how I decided to transition, I remember being disinterested in playing for another coach or trying to go overseas to play basketball. I didn’t want to do that. It wasn’t part of what I felt was right for me. I would say I was burned out from playing in the wrong systems in college and wanted to focus on having more control over my future success instead of leaving it in the hands of another coach, so I started looking for work."
What advice do you have for athletes around moving on from sports to their next chapter?
"Figure out what your life’s definition of success will be. Then surround yourself with people who honor, respect, and embody what you want out of life who will also help you accomplish it. You don’t have to be a social media influencer, entrepreneur, real estate agent, investor, or anything else for that matter. Figure out what YOU are all about and go pursue THAT."