Ryan Schachtner is a former major league baseball prospect that suffered a career-ending injury. Using the skills he learned as an athlete he overcame the odds to build one of the fastest-growing financial planning firms in the southeast. When COVID pressed the global pause button he teamed up with current and former professional athletes to write a book to help athletes of all ages understand the basics of personal finance.
“The foundation for financial excellence” became an international best-seller and he began partnering with professional teams, college athletic departments and high school’s to create effective and easy-to-implement educational experiences. This success gave birth to his NIL & Beyond program where Ryan helps develop a customized branding strategy to help athletes in recruiting, NIL sponsorships, and most importantly success after sports. Using data and analytics he develops a personalized social media strategy that highlights the athlete’s unique strengths and creates a level of personal self-awareness typically reserved for CEOs.
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Table of Contents
We are thrilled to have you join us today, welcome to ValiantCEO Magazine’s exclusive interview! Let’s start off with a little introduction. Tell our readers a bit about yourself and your company.
Ryan Schachtner: I’m a former college athlete, average student, a 22 year financial services CEO, sports fan and looking to make more of an impact. This all culminated in writing a international best selling financial literacy book with current and former professional athletes that turned into a financial literacy platform providing solutions to athletic departments and teams that turned into a expertise in Name, Image and Likeness which turned into a brand building program for high school, collegiate and professional athletes using data and science to build massive followings while focusing on positive mental health and authenticity. I wrapped it all up in a company called A Must Win.
2020 and 2021 threw a lot of curve balls into business on a global scale. Based on the experience gleaned in the past couple years, how can businesses thrive in 2022? What lessons have you learned?
Ryan Schachtner: I think the most valuable lesson is to slow down and dream. A Must Win was founded BECAUSE of COVID! When we were quarantined it gave me a break from the day-to-day grind of running my firm and allowed me to slow down and spend time thinking through what I really wanted to accomplish in life and how I can use my talents and knowledge to truly do something meaningful. That’s when the book came out and because of technology we were able to provide solutions that athletic departments and athletes were never able to get before. My biggest lesson is that I need to think bigger!
The pandemic seems to keep on disrupting the economy, what should businesses focus on in 2022? What advice would you share?
Ryan Schachtner: I think the pandemic has permanently altered how we “do our lives”. What was normal a few short years ago is gone. In order to thrive you need to embrace technology to figure out new ways of doing the same things. I think in general we need to take the mindset of, how do I insulate myself when something else happens and how am I positioned to excel regardless of the situation. If you can’t answer those questions with solutions, you have some work to do.
How has the pandemic changed your industry and how have you adapted?
Ryan Schachtner: Technology is literally allowing us to serve student athletes, pro athletes and university athletic departments in ways never imagined. The ability to have relevant content from not just A Must Win but the current professional, former professional athletes and subject matter experts that team up with us produced and pushed out quickly without the hassle of needing to be physically together is vital.
What advice do you wish you received when the pandemic started and what do you intend on improving in 2022?
Ryan Schachtner: I actually received this advice in 2008/09 when the housing market collapsed and it served me well during the pandemic. A very successful individual said, “you have the choice to participate or not, I choose not to participate”. What he meant by that is stay focused on growth and focus on what you can achieve, don’t let the negativity affect you and what you can accomplish.
Online business surged higher than ever, B2B, B2C, online shopping, virtual meetings, remote work, Zoom medical consultations, what are your expectations for 2022?
Ryan Schachtner: I think we will continue to see huge strides in technology and how it is being implemented from industries that have typically been hesitant. I think the Metaverse and the plans and abilities that will bring will rock people’s minds, in a good way. The things they are building out are super creative and super cool.
How many hours a day do you spend in front of a screen?
Ryan Schachtner: Way too many! Zoom meetings, responding to media inquires and producing content all adds up.
The majority of executives use stories to persuade and communicate in the workplace. Can you share with our readers examples of how you implement that in your business to communicate effectively with your team?
Ryan Schachtner: Since we deal in the sports industry and we pride ourselves on simplifying the complex to enhance understanding and implementation, using sports stories and analogies to breakthrough to not just those we sere but our team members is built into our fabric.
For example, when we are talking to a new client/partner we obviously want to “win” or establish a long term relationship with them. But sometimes conversations don’t go like you plan, we need to have a strategy just like in game, if we find ourselves behind when time is running out. What’s the game plan if we are down 3 points with 2 min left, what about if we’re down 7 or 8 with 2 min left. If we know our strategy and we practice it then the odds of coming out with a win are greatly enhanced verses if we are panicking.
Business is all about overcoming obstacles and creating opportunities for growth. What do you see as the real challenge right now?
Ryan Schachtner: A Must Win’s approach to financial literacy and brand building is completely unique to how things have been done in the past. I see us as creating an industry which obviously comes with challenges. But I would say our biggest challenge is our partners rethinking how this information has been delivered in the past. Historically it is a COST they have to bear and so the mindset of what is the least expensive option that allows us to check a box is typically selected which leads to cookie cutter content and poor long term results.
A Must Win’s mindset is we need to create as many wins as possible. That means for out financial literacy solutions we need to make our program a revenue generator for the athletic department, engage new alumni in the creation of it and provide the most relevant content available whenever it is needed while making it entertaining, easy to understand and easy to implement. We do the same thing with our brand building platform. The mindset of making the university or the group we partner with the hero, not us, is what we are focused on.
In 2022, what are you most interested in learning about? Crypto, NFTs, online marketing, or any other skill sets? Please share your motivations.
Ryan Schachtner: NFT’s are continuing to evolve and there are some extremely creative things being done. I’m excited to see how this continues to grow as it relates to athletes building their brand as well as forward thinking teams, athletic departments and club teams. The creativity we have seen and will continue to see is super cool.
A record 4.4 million Americans left their jobs in September in 2021, accelerating a trend that has become known as the Great Resignation. 47% of people plan to leave their job during 2022. Most are leaving because of their boss or their company culture. 82% of people feel unheard, undervalued and misunderstood in the workplace. Do you think leaders see the data and think “that’s not me – I’m not that boss they don’t want to work for? What changes do you think need to happen?
Ryan Schachtner: I think there is a wave of new leaders that get it. They have built and continue to adapt their business to take advantage of the talent that is out there. I think there are many leaders that think their business is too big to be effected by it. They feel that their brand is bigger than their people and because of this we will continue to see big brands lose subscribers, clients and revenue. The idea that “this is how we’re going to do it because this is how it’s always been done” is crumbling and the smart leaders and employees see it.
On a lighter note, if you had the ability to pick any business superpower, what would it be and how would you put it into practice?
Ryan Schachtner: Being openminded! If people could be openminded and put aside their bias on topics there would be more effective solutions in every industry. At the end of the day, we are all part of the same team and if everyone does better, then everyone does better.
What does “success” in 2022 mean to you? It could be on a personal or business level, please share your vision.
Ryan Schachtner: Success is continuing to implement our programs to as many athletic departments as possible but a huge win would be to begin working with a few of the many school districts we are in conversations with to build out relevant financial literacy and life skill content for high school students that is community centered and available for life. In short more impact!
Jed Morley, VIP Contributor to ValiantCEO and the host of this interview would like to thank Ryan Schachtner for taking the time to do this interview and share his knowledge and experience with our readers.
If you would like to get in touch with Ryan Schachtner or his company, you can do it through his – Linkedin Page
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