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Who am I? How’d I end up here?

My name is Shawn Hines. I am 37 and I am on a journey to freeing my entrepreneurial spirit. This site is meant to be a written account of my successes and failures and a resource for those that are on their own journey. I will detail a few things to let you know how I ended up here.

I struggled through school. I struggled with everything. I did not know how to develop good study habits and had no idea about the rewards of doing good in school or excelling in extra-curricular activities. In fact, I never got an A in anything other than wood shop or gym. And through all of my years of little league baseball I have never gotten a single hit or caught a fly ball. Should I go on to say that on my elementary basketball league I never made a single shot? I don’t even know if I even attempted. Sounds really silly but it was never conveyed to me the “importance” of doing any of those things well. I just skirted through life developing a sense of humor as my shield and creativity as my outlet. Life is funny that way. Even if I could go back and study harder and take the shots I don’t know if I would because I’m glad about where I am and the thoughts that are in my head.

“Shawn has so much potential” was the repeated line from each and every one of my teachers to my parents at every parent/teacher conference. In my younger years I took that as a good thing but only recently have I taken it as “Shawn could be great, but he’s not” or even better “Shawn has great ideas, but no action”.

And here is where it all changed.

Leaving high school was so tough that I had no interest and no idea about how to approach college. So I just skipped it and went straight to work. I was involved in computers so I started to do odd and end IT jobs. After several years of contracting and working at places for a year then leaving I started doing IT work for a very large mail order pharmacy company. I was “excited” because this could be the company that I work for the “rest of my life”. Kinda makes me want to puke after writing that. Well, I was there for 8 years and on the 10 foot long timeline of success I had moved about 2 inches. I was going nowhere and I didn’t really realize it. After all, I didn’t go to college and for some reason that meant something.

While I worked there I did a lot of things on the side. I was building ukuleles, arcades and jukeboxes, writing music and making beer. I’m sure there was a bunch of other stuff but I have forgotten a lot (everything fascinated me but I was captivated by nothing). Then I received a call in October of 2012 that kicked me in the head and made me question the direction I was going.

My father’s friend who is a successful businessman said he was looking for a technical person that was good with there hands to come work for one of his companies and possible partake in the ownership. He said that he knew that I did IT work so I could think technically and he saw one of the ukuleles that I made and that’s how he knew I was good with my hands. He wanted to know if I would come in for an interview. Funny enough, I asked “What will I be doing?”, he replied “everything”. This was hard for my little 9-5 brain to wrap around. This happened at a very unique time in my life because one of my good friends had let me borrow the book “How to think like Leonardo DaVinci” by Michael Gelb and I just happened to be on the section about Sfumato which translates into embrace ambiguity or embrace the unknown. So I went for it and interviewed. This was my opportunity to be an “entrepreneur”, be it a small minded entrepreneur but it sure beat sitting in an office working for somebody else all day.

I was chosen for the job and it has been the best decision I have ever made for my career. The decision to work for myself. I couldn’t believe that this could happen to a guy that didn’t even go to college. I didn’t need college.  I just needed information. I needed to learn from others successes and mistakes. So I began to read books about, business, motivation, organization and personal growth.

So here I am, 3 years into owning my manufacturing company and every year things get better. I am currently working in and on the business at the same time. I hope to eventually have a process in place and then step out of my role as the “run everything” guy. This was my inspiration to start the other businesses so I could have a little more breathing room as I make this transition.

I look back at who I was 3 years ago jumping into this role and I kinda laugh at who I was. If I would have kept the same mindset then I would have been happy that I “bought” myself a job that I could feel secure in. Now I look at it as though I bought myself an opportunity for freedom and creating whatever future that I wanted.

That was a little excessive for an About Me page. Don’t you think?