We talked to Tyson Koska, founder and CEO at OnTrajectory on how to chart a course to financial independence and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Tyson Koska: We’re doing okay, actually! It’s challenging having the kids underfoot ALL the time, but the schools are trying their best to keep them engaged — and my wife and I are both lucky enough to be able to work from home.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded OnTrajectory.
Tyson Koska: I’m a Software Engineer by trade, developing software since the late 1990s. I’ve always been interested in personal finance but reluctant to pay someone for advice — I’m very much a DIY sort of guy. I waited decades for someone to create software like OnTrajectory, and eventually, I got tired of waiting. I engaged several other like-minded individuals I knew from various industries, and we created what is now www.OnTrajectory.com.
How does OnTrajectory innovate?
Tyson Koska: We are CONSTANTLY looking for ways to make personal finance easier, even the really hard stuff. Our goal is for our technology to be able to serve both the young people who may not be financially literate — all the way to professional planners and advisors. We also LISTEN attentively to our community.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business and how are you coping?
Tyson Koska: It’s affected us primarily in revenue. We lost several key partners in the beginning because they needed to tighten their belts. Interestingly this was because of their partners. There was a sort of chain-reaction belt-tightening at the onset of the pandemic. One that we’ve not fully recovered from.
Did you have to make difficult choices and what are the lessons learned?
Tyson Koska: Yes, absolutely. We were forced to change our hiring plans significantly (among other spending decisions). Lessons learned is — the world can change on a dime.
What specific tools, software and management skills are helping you navigate the crisis?
Tyson Koska: Not so much tools or software, but certain management skills are definitely key. Those are openness, honesty, and (most of all) optimism.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Tyson Koska: We compete with some big-guys and a few smaller guys who are well invested. I would say the biggest competitors are Personal Capital’s Retirement Planning tool and New Retirement. We plan to stay by making a superior product that people love.
Your final thoughts?
Tyson Koska: There’s ALWAYS something to be thankful for — try your best to recognize that as often as you can. And if that something is a person or group of people, then take the time to let them know.
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