Introduction and Interview by David Wagstaff
As part of our series of articles providing stories and insights to entrepreneurs, I met Shannon through his application to the Entrepreneur’s Network/EntrepreneursNet.net. He participated as part of the first group of entrepreneurs in our PeerConnect Group.
Reading Shannon’s profile, an interesting fact jumped out at me. He is a fourth-generation entrepreneur. In other articles we have explored how people became entrepreneurs. I imagine that after four generations it must just be in your blood.
During the interview I was intrigued that Shannon began his career by selling candy in middle school. This is an experience we had in common, as this was my first real taste for entrepreneurship as well. I loved the challenge of growing my candy business and of negotiating with stores, and then with the ice cream man, for lower prices. I cut my costs by over a third and dramatically increased my profitability.
I like that Shannon focuses on helping others, both in business and in life, and I felt his commitment. As a business consultant his personal experience of starting and running businesses is essential. Direct hands-on experience building your own business provides significant lessons in a wide range of the skills necessary to successfully run a business. Experience is a teacher like no other.
If you’re an aspiring entrepreneur, or currently starting your first business, drawing from the experience of those who have already walked this path can speed your process and mitigate some difficulty.
As an entrepreneur you need to have at least basic familiarity with all areas of business: finance, accounting, taxes, legal, regulatory issues, human resources, marketing, operations, customer service, and technology. Most people who have not run their own business simply don’t have this all-encompassing experience. Having a coach or mentor who has direct, hands-on experience is invaluable.
Another reason why having a business consultant, coach or mentor can be helpful is that most small business owners can’t afford to hire a full-time experienced person to co-lead their business.
The expression, “Its lonely at the top,” points to the periodic need for someone to provide an experienced and objective view, and who can be a sounding board to think through everything from pricing, through hiring the right team, and on it goes.
It’s interesting that Shannon’s other business is a yoga retreat business. Already in this interview series we have had numerous entrepreneurs express the need to have balance in their lives due to stress-related issues, caused at least in part by starting their own business.
Combining yoga and travel seems like the perfect addition to bring balance, become mindful, and to get exercise while taking time away. Yoga is truly a great way to de-stress after a challenging day of sorting out all the issues that starting and running your own business entails.
1) What led you to become an entrepreneur?
I guess you could say I was born with it in my DNA. I’m a fourth-generation entrepreneur. I’ve watched my grandfather and father start businesses, struggle, overcome those struggles, and become very successful. I started selling stuff in middle school.
My dad has a candy distribution company and I would take boxes of candy to school and sell it. I later opened a bakery serving the gluten-free community in the Mid-Atlantic region. We served grocery stores, colleges, hospitals, and restaurants.
Sadly, due to circumstances beyond my control, it ended up closing. After that I went back into the working world and quickly realized that working as an employee for a company just wasn’t for me.
2) A brief description of your business and what are your aspirations for it?
I currently have two businesses. My focus is Business Consulting and Coaching, I want to see others be successful both personally and professionally. I have had a few businesses and have watched and studied others. I wish I would have had the help I’m offering to others that are just starting out, or who have reached a point where they don’t know what to do next. My business is online at Shepherds Consulting Group
My second one is called Yogi Expeditions. I started doing yoga a year ago and it’s transformed my life as an entrepreneur through being much less stressed and I want to bring this experience to others. I’m an outdoor enthusiast and wanted to combine the two. That business is at Yogi Expeditions
3) What have you done with your business that you are proud of or that has worked really well?
Being vulnerable and knowing that I don’t know everything. Being transparent about who I am and knowing my strengths and weaknesses. I’m willing to learn, and if I don’t know something I’m not going to pretend that I do.
4) What were some of your biggest challenges along the way?
Being patient with the process. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. When that marathon is over, the next one starts right away. Good things take time and planting seeds along the way is key. Being able to accept failure and know that it’s not the end just because you have a setback.
5)Have you overcome the challenges? If so how?
Challenges are everyday in business, from how you are going to afford to pay yourself and live when you’re starting out, all the way up until you have employees and worry about whether they are doing their work.
Challenges and setbacks are going to happen, but you need a mindset of being so focused on your end goal that nothing is going to stop you from getting there.
6)What have you learned and what would you like to share with other entrepreneurs?
It’s a mental game. That’s where I have built my current business helping entrepreneurs and business owners overcome their own mindsets. Things are going to happen that aren’t planned and some days will just absolutely suck.
But you need to have the mental strength to continue. Another suggestion is to read. Reading has changed my life and I try to read a few hours a day. It gets your creative brain thinking.
7)Is there someone or group of people you would like to meet? For example, investors in the electrical industry, mentors in the publishing industry, a knowledgeable SEO person? Specific is helpful.
I’m a positive guy and like surrounding myself with positive people. I like listening to and watching Gary Vaynerchuk or Tony Robbins. Both have changed my perspective and mindset.
Shannon Peffley | Business Consulting and Coach.