Inside the Kansas City Shock is a nine part special that will feature all of the Shock staff. Today we talked with owner, Shawn Daugherty. Daugherty is a driven small business owner who has a great story. After losing everything, Daugherty turned to re-building with God. After turning his life around, Daugherty started the Kansas City Shock. We did our first Q&A with him and he did a great job answering the questions.
Q. What motivated you to get the Shock started?
Shawn Daugherty: Divorce and isolation. Prior to the Shock I had literally lost everything. I was divorced, alone, and homeless. I moved back to this area, thanks to some wonderfully loving parents, I was able to start my life over…from scratch. The idea of the Shock was the ability to create something unique, from my mind, and give it to Kansas City. From the people, the faith, and the overall unique complexity of this area I’ve been able to start over, and I want to be sure that whatever I end up doing with my life is a way of saying “Thank You” to a group of people who have been so, so kind to me. That is the Kansas City Shock for me, it’s a unique take on women’s soccer in order to show the community that anyone is welcomed, no one is rejected, and sport and community can be enjoyed by everyone.
Q. How did the idea go from Idea to reality?
SD: Twitter Literally. I just jotted down a tweet that asked what the people of Kansas City thought about a women’s soccer team. The result was positive, so I started planning, people started to ask if they could help [now they are referred to as our Founders], I filed the legal stuff [filing a L.L.C with the state of Missouri], and started pushing the concept extremely hard on social media. The biggest secret was that honesty behind it; anyone who has followed this project can tell you that you can daily get an up-to-date status on our program. People like to see the inner workings of a program.
Q. Being one of the youngest owners, What is the best advice you could give
to teens and young adults about taking an idea to reality?
SD: Physical age means so, so little in today’s world. Want to take your idea to reality? Accept that you’ll fail a few times, always check out your audience, and enjoy taking chances. Remember, whatever it is you’re doing, you’re doing it out of passion. People will tell you that passion doesn’t pay the bills, but those are the people that have lost their passion.
Q. What have you learned the most from the Shock?
SD: I’ve been working on this project for almost exactly one year, without even fielding a team. Patience is the thing I’ve learned the most. From INC. magazine to the Kauffman Foundation, patience is one of the biggest things that young entrepreneurs struggle with. We have the idea and we want to see the result, now. It doesn’t work that way, the moves we made six, seven months ago are just now starting to show fruits. In many ways what my family learned on the farm for years is what I’m learning now in the business world; some days you plant seeds, some days you just water, and eventually one day you’ll get to reap a bountiful harvest.
Q. What has been you favorite part so far?
SD. Traveling. Easily it’s been the traveling. I hadn’t flown in my adult life, minus once, prior to last year. Last year I logged Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and Guatemala while also driving to Dallas…twice. Currently I’m in Las Vegas with another trip to Boston in April. Why? All in the name of growing soccer. I suppose it isn’t as much the traveling as it is the networking; both physically and digitally.
Q. How has others ideas effected the Shocks growth?
SD: Sadly, watching two professional leagues fail helped a lot. It allowed me to see their common error and adjust it for our marketability. Do not overspend and never under market. Being able to use social media as a strong aspect of our marketing is huge. Social media instructors and innovators like Amy Jo Martin of Digital Royalty challenge me to create my own identity in my work. Martin termed it best when she said, “You need to be able to color outside the lines, without crossing the lines.” That’s what we do daily, we’re rewriting the marketability of women’s soccer in our own method, while still be tasteful in the process. As I’ve told people throughout the region, in our stadium I want fans from Truman Road and Independence Ave just as badly as I want fans from Lee’s Summit and Overland Park. The biggest error I’ve watched over the years has been the limitation of enjoyment of this beautiful game determined by the social-economical means of individuals and families. Trust me, if that was the case nineteen years ago; my parents wouldn’t have been able to afford to introduce me to soccer. Doesn’t everyone deserve that ability?
Also, I’ve watched Sporting Kansas City on the business side. Between marketing, business ethics, and community involvement; I’ve been very fortunate to have a solid role model of business to model some of our ideas off of.
Q. Where do you expect the Shock to be in ten years?
SD: I expect them to be a staple of entertainment in Kansas City, Missouri. I would hope on some level as time progresses our standards of social media use, and technology innovation would be utilized by other programs around the country, and the world. We’re so much more then just eleven players on a field, we’re a new identity of women’s soccer in a city that defining itself as a new identity of innovation. My biggest dream is allowing that program to be the first self sustaining, profitable women’s sports program.That’d be a huge honor, and a testament that when you dream big, think outside the box, and never stop creating; anything is possible.