For this Lubbock entrepreneur, business and family go hand in hand.
Every day starts the same way for Shawn Vinson: in the dark. When he walks into the kitchen to make his morning coffee, the house is quieter than it will be all day. The swing set affixed to a tree in the yard and the plastic toys that line the fireplace in his Lubbock home are indicative of the life within the house. Shawn is a successful businessman and a doting father of 3, perfectly balancing his career and family. So perfectly, in fact, that he and his wife are expecting their 4th boy at the exact same time he’s on the hunt for his 4th property.
For a man who thought he was too busy to go into business for himself, Shawn seems to have no issue managing a full-time job, a growing side business and a growing family. He attributes some of this success to Lubbock, Texas, his adopted hometown.
“My wife and I have been married for 10 years. We met in summer school. I was at Texas Tech, she was at Lubbock Christian, and we decided that we wanted to make it our home. For a family, for a husband, for a father, Lubbock is a great home.”
Lubbock is more than a great home for Shawn and his family. It’s also a surprisingly lucrative rental market, with Texas Tech University on top of a breadth of industries serving as year-round draws for students and jobseekers alike. As a Texas Tech alumnus himself, this was not lost on Shawn.
“My friends and I rented a house back in the day when we were at school at Texas Tech. I realized that our rent was more than I would think it would be for a mortgage, so I thought that’s a good way to make a little bit of money, but come to realize that it was more than just making a few hundred dollars a month, it was actually getting someone to help you invest in something that would be your own in the future.”
The idea was promising, but it got parked for awhile as Shawn began his career and then returned to Tech for an MBA. He toyed with the idea of purchasing a rental property off and on, remembering what he’d been taught about retirement and residual income. He just didn’t know where to start, so he asked around town and was pointed in the direction of Centennial BANK, where he met a great banker.
“Not only was he my banker, he was more of an advisor. He’s telling me tools of the trade that may have taken another person years to realize. I found it out in a matter of months. He simplified the ins and outs of it to build my confidence and I thought, you know what, I’ll try one house.”
With a loan and some guidance from Centennial BANK, Shawn bought his first property. But it wasn’t long before he was ready to grow his business again in tandem with his family.
“We had one house and we had one child. It was maybe about 3 or 4 months, and I was looking for the second house, and before you knew it we thought, well, it’ll be good to have a house for every single child to pass on, to help them grow, and maybe supplement income to fund their college careers. Now we are up to 3 houses, 3 children, and expecting while looking for the 4th.”
Every morning, Shawn wakes each one of his children up himself, one after the other. While his wife Melaney gets ready for work, he makes breakfast, changes diapers, and ties shoelaces. The mornings he spends getting his boys ready for school are his favorite bonding moments, second only to searching for potential properties with his oldest. At only 6 years old, he already has a mind for business.
“We’ll look at different houses and he’ll say, ‘Oh daddy, that’s a nice house!’ He now knows what to look for—it’s a 6 year old’s perspective but he helps with it and he gets excited about it. My son sees it as an opportunity to help someone that may not be able to purchase a home. And that’s exactly what it is.”
Shawn didn’t grow up with a family member to teach him the tricks of the trade like his sons will. With a deliberate, discerning personality and a knack for business, he learned everything he could in school in order to get ahead in his career.
“I felt like my education should match the experience. I not only want to build a business for my career, but for myself on a personal level, because that’s something I would pass on to my children. I want to show them what it’s like to be smart enough and have the educational tools to build a business for yourself.”
He leads by example, teaching his children the value of integrity, family and curiosity each and every day. Shawn takes every opportunity to be there for his family just as much as he is for his business. Whether it’s dropping his youngest boys at daycare each morning, making breakfast with his oldest or having dinner with the family each evening, he is committed to raising his boys and his business together.
“The truth is, you don’t manage a business, you build relationships with people. And if you do that, then the business will follow.”
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