Taking over the family fencing business in 2001 seemed like the most logical step for Shawn King in his career. He had helped his stepfather build fences since he was young, and at age 19, became the youngest certified fence professional in the industry at the time.
There was one small problem, however — King had never run a business before.
“I knew how to build a fence, but didn’t have a clue on how to run a business,” he says. “I’ve honestly learned a lot of lessons the hard way.”
Today, things are quite the opposite for the husband and father of four. Along with Mr. Fence, Mr. Stain, and KVLLC, King co-owns owns and operates three other businesses in the Tri-State — Schroeder’s Nursery, Uniqu-E-Scapes, and Tri-Corp Fencing, Siding, & Decking — and works full time as a Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Deputy. It’s a life that keeps him constantly on the go.
“People ask me all the time how I do it. What you’ll never find me say when I get up in the morning is ‘Aw man, I have to go to work,’” says King. “For me it is not work; it’s about getting up and going. And I think that is the entrepreneurial spirit.”
While there have been many changes since King took over complete ownership — one of the biggest being after the 2008 recession when his portfolio of eight businesses was consolidated — he says the biggest change for him and his family happened when his wife Jennifer was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2005.
To help with her medical care, King took on a position at the Vanderburgh County Jail. The opportunity would give him a chance to do something some business people had advised him to do before — step back from his companies.
“It forced me to get out of the driver’s seat,” he says. “By focusing on the core of the business and the global picture, things become clearer. I had been told before to treat your business like a remote-control car, you need to get out of the driver’s seat and control it remotely. From the driver’s seat, you make decisions based on short-term gain and not long-term growth.”
Success for King and his businesses lies not only in his commitment and work ethic, but also the trust he places in those around him. His days are a constant movement from one job site to the next, before reporting to his job as a deputy. King also utilizes technology and various apps to be able to view job sites, live track a project’s progress, monitor the communication between employees in all his companies and customers, and more.
“I’m a very goal-oriented, results-driven person. And I think most entrepreneurs are,” says King. “I don’t ever get overwhelmed or panicked. The best thing to do is keep moving forward. The worst thing you can do is stop and hesitate. So just go full throttle.”
For more information about Mr. Fence, call 812-425-3550 or visit gomrfence.com.