Being born in England, Ron’s passion for soccer started at an early age, and now he is using his entrepreneurial skills to start the first professional soccer team in Albuquerque, New Mexico – the Albuquerque Sols.
Ron: I started out as a sales person when I was 21 years old, selling cellphones in Phoenix, Arizona. My dream had always been to go to the World Cup – soccer has been part of my life forever – I’m a life-long Liverpool FC fan – and I finally got to fulfill my dream in 2006 when I got to go to Germany for 10 days to see England play in the world Cup (that ticket alone cost me $700). Everyone i met there was an entrepreneur and were there for 2 weeks, while I was only there for 10 days (I still haven’t figured out how to take 2 or 3 weeks off as an entrepreneur, but they had it figured out).
I had a great time, but when I got back my boss said I had only been approved for 7 days away, not 10 – but it turned out a blessing in disguise because I got together with a friend from high school and ended up pursuing that entrepreneurial bug that I had always had. We started a food delivery company called JustDineIn – a multi-restaurant delivery service for restaurants that didn’t have their own service.
I have been doing that for nearly 8 years, and earlier this year we merged with a company called Delivered-Dish, and now we are in 5 different states – that’s my full-time business.
With the soccer team – just like with JustDineIn – I saw a gap in the market – though this was a much more passion-based pursuit. But with any passion, if you are going to make it into a business, you have to know whether there is a market for it or it is just a hobby. So you need to know what the costs are, what revenues you need to bring in, and you have to be realistic – don’t be swayed by your passion, do the research, and talk to as many people as you can to find out what they want.
I’m not doing it for the money – I pay myself just $1 a year – I’m doing it for the love of the game and the ability to give back to the community, and the ability to give kids what I experienced back in England when I was a kid. In New Mexico, soccer is the biggest sport played by kids by far – 20,000 kids are registered for youth soccer – the nearest to that is football, which has 5000 kids. Soccer is a true co-ed sport and doesn’t have the safety issues that football does.
And interest in soccer in the United states is growing year on year, and the World Cup every 4 years only helps grow that interest. Its only our first season with Albuquerque Sols but we have big plans for the team.
Favorite Book: That’s When It Hit Me by Ron Patel
Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson
The E-Myth by Michael Gerber
Want to get a free audiobook version of the book recommended by this week’s guest? Click here to download it.
Ron Patel co-founded JustDineIn.com in Albuquerque, NM with his long time high school friend Jared Thrapp in 2006. After a successful career in the wireless and retail industry, he moved on to form a service business, which markets and delivers for restaurants that don’t typically offer delivery. In 2014 he merged with Delivered-Dish and now operates in 5 states.
In November 2013, in pursuing his number one passion in life, soccer, Ron formed a minor league soccer franchise in New Mexico called Albuquerque Sol F.C. which begins play in the United Soccer League’s Premier Development League in May 2014.
Ron is the Past President of the Restaurant Marketing & Delivery Association, an international non-profit trade association dedicated to the growth of the rapidly growing restaurant delivery industry. He servers on the board of the Young Professionals of Albuquerque, assists as a volunteer with the NM ALS Association along with some other non profits & charities.
[smart_podcast_player url="http://ic.instantcustomer.com/instantcasts/feed/podcast/b73e1c68b8dcbd3a779ada4e46c02210" color="3B9400" show_name="Paycheck To Passion Podcast" ]