Shon Flaharty is the President and CEO of Flaharty Asset Management in Clearwater, Florida.

At Flaharty Asset Management supporting charities in the Bay area is a way of giving back to the community that supports us. Over the last few years Flaharty Asset Management has made donations and participated in events for charities such as The Arc of Tampa Bay, Salvation Army, Charity Works, Special Olympics, Morton Plant Mease Foundation just to name a few.

Most recently, a Flaharty Asset Management team competed in the Louis “LJ” Piniella Memorial Golf Tournament at Avila Golf and Country Club in order to support a great cause, GiGi’s Playhouse.

In early 2016, a group of impassioned parents and individuals formed a start-up team with the goal of opening a GiGi’s Playhouse in the Tampa Bay area.  After demonstrating the commitment and need in the community, the Tampa location was approved by the national non-profit organization to open an affiliate to serve the estimated 3400 individuals with Down syndrome living in Hillsborough, Pinellas and Pasco Counties.

GiGi’s Playhouse Tampa is fulfilling the dream of the Down syndrome community of having a location where individuals with Down syndrome of all ages have a place to call their own, where they feel safe and can explore their abilities through proven programs with support and celebration.  Parents no longer feel the anxiety of finding a place where their loved one will be unconditionally accepted and offered opportunity to become their best of all.  Each participant will grow with the programs at their own pace and interact with their peers in an environment of celebration and achievement.  No matter the age, individuals with Down syndrome will be offered the opportunity to grow their knowledge and skills.  Families will experience support and learn that they are not alone and are part of an amazing community that appreciates the joys and highlights the positive.

Shon Flaharty and Flaharty Asset Management is proud to partner with and support great organizations like GiGi’s Playhouse.

How did the concept for Flaharty & Associates come about?

Concept- I wanted to start an Advisory Firm where the client came first, where we had no proprietary products to sell and we could highlight transparency (fees/costs, returns, etc). I was also tired of managers telling me what they wanted me to do to further their own careers, with absolutely no regard for my clients.

How was the first year in business?

1st year- crazy, fall ’07, the economy was melting down. In hind sight, great time to start as it fit our style of risk management very well. Manage risk, not swinging for the fences. Allowed us to grow even faster as we were opportunistic and stuck to our discipline.

What was your marketing strategy?

Marketing strategy- centered around our existing clients getting the word out. We are blessed that not only were they willing to do it, they actually did it. I haven’t carried a card in many years, as we are usually introduced to prospects by existing clients.

How fast did the company grow during the first few years?

How did we grow our 1st few years, a LOT of hard work. We made sure everyone involved understood our values, culture and vision.  Once we were on the same page, it was just a matter of executing.

How do you define success?

Define success- Taking your vision and making it a reality.

What is the key to success?

Key to success- no substitute for hard work. Have a plan, be willing to pay the price and be committed.

What is the greatest lesson you’ve ever learned?

Greatest lesson I ever learned- Watching my dad work as a kid, I learned that it is ok to make mistakes if you learn from them. He said if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough. If you get out of your comfort zone and take some chances you are going to make a few mistakes. That is how we learn.

What are some quotes that you live by? What are some of your favorite books?

Favorite quote, Sr. year in college. Professor Rosenberg (was my favorite professor ever) in GBM 401. I asked him to give me one piece of advice that helped him get where he was. His initial answer took me by surprise. He said, “I work a lot of ½ days”. I said no way you got where you are working ½ days. He elaborated, “there are 24 hours in a day, you pick which 12 you are going to work”. Made sense, and I never forgot it.

Favorite books:  How to Win Friends and Influence People (oldie but a goodie), Start With Why, 12 Ordinary Men.

Tell me about one of the toughest days you’ve had as an entrepreneur.

Toughest Day- I don’t know that there has been one in particular, but we all have bad days and I have certainly had my share. Some days things just don’t go right. My first thought is, no need to hit the panic button. Think logically, not emotionally, forget for a minute how or why it happened or who’s fault it is and focus on the solution. There will be plenty of time to reflect once you solve the problem.

When faced with adversity, what pushes you to keep moving forward?

Adversity what keeps me moving- # 1 is my faith. # 2 is realizing that no one ever said this was going to be easy, or as my college coach used to say “if it were easy, everybody would do it”. I love a challenge and I am a fighter. There is nothing wrong with getting knocked down, the only time it becomes a problem is when you stop getting up. It all comes back to how bad do you want it and are you willing to pay the price?

What advice would you give to young entrepreneurs?

I was asked to speak to my daughters Senior High School class and this is what I told them. Be willing to bet on yourself, if you don’t believe in you, why should anybody else? Be willing to take some chances.

Visualize what you want things in your life to look like, having a clear mental picture always helps. Sit down and create a plan, in my case I have written plans for me personally and my work goals. It helps me hold myself accountable.

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