May 27, 2016

Why Millionaire Shawn Thomas Gives Back on Periscope


After the multi-million dollar sale of his company, Shawn Thomas started the next chapter in his life — to share both business and life lessons in a multi-faceted way. As an angel investor, he engages as an active advisor and mentor to entrepreneurs in early-stage companies.

Shawn also creates content on social media to guide a broader population towards success through daily live broadcasts on Periscope as well as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. He’s a renaissance man who shares lessons in goal setting, business strategies, finance, customer service, business development, and more.

Small Business Trends first met Shawn at the Periscope Summit in September 2015 and recently spoke to him again via telephone.

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angel investor Shawn periscope engagementSmall Business Trends: Why let anybody ask you anything on Periscope? A lot of people don’t understand why anyone would do this.

Shawn Thomas: When I was in my twenties, I didn’t have a mentor or advisor in my life. One of the things I said to myself was when I achieve success, I would give back. One of the ways I’ve found most efficient for giving back is utilizing Periscope. It allows anyone in the world who downloads the app to converse with me in an open format and ask questions that can help them on their entrepreneurial journey. It allows quick dialogue, and if somebody asks a question, everybody on that scope gets to hear the answer and gets to benefit from that question. This helps out more than being a one-on-one mentor with somebody. Including archived replay views, I can mentor and provide experience-sharing with tens of thousands.

Small Business Trends: So your ebook, The Power of Naiveté, addresses naiveté, but what do you tell people who say naiveté is a bad thing?

Shawn Thomas: I would say they don’t understand the context of the word naive in its true form. Naive is nothing more than the lack of experience, and we all have a lack of experience. Each day we age, we are learning what it feels like to live another day. If you take it in that context, the future has unlimited potential. There are some things that can only be learned by doing. It is important that you do not see a lack of experience as a negative, but rather as an opportunity for experience to be gained.

Shawn Thomas answering viewer questions on Periscope

Small Business Trends: What was a recent angel investment you made?

Shawn Thomas: I just made a 6-figure investment into an entrepreneur named Taylor Bowmaster. His company is named Smoke Cubes.

Small Business Trends: Tell us a little about Uniguest, because it was a life-changing moment for you when you sold it.

Shawn Thomas: Today, Uniguest is a combination of many mergers and acquisitions, but it began as a one-man operation from my house. Years later I sold it to U.S. Hospitality who took on the name of Uniguest. The company that exists today started in 1986.

Small Business Trends: Where can people connect with you?

Shawn Thomas: I’m @askamillionaire on Instagram, Facebook, and YouTube. I’m @akashawnthomas on Twitter, Periscope, and Blab.

Images: Instagram, Katch

This is part of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world.

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Alex Yong


Alex Yong Alex Yong is a staff writer and host of the Small Business Trends Livestreamed Livelihoods interview series featuring sessions with today's movers and shakers in the livestreaming world. Alex was named a must-follow PR resource in Cision North America’s list of the top 50 Twitter influencers utilizing rich media tweets, alongside Guy Kawasaki and Lee Odden.

8 Reactions

  1. I think that it is his way of giving back. I think that even if a person has all the money he or she needs, there is still this hunger to make an impact in this world. I think this is what he is doing.

    • Alex Yong

      Hi Aira. What I’ve noticed is that helping others opens doors, and we become aware of certain doors only through helping.

      In my opinion, if a person has all he or she needs and isn’t strugglng, then doors can be opened on behalf of others, and that in itself leads to more doors for both the helper and the party being helped.

  2. Martin Lindeskog

    Alex: How did you record the interview?

  3. Love to see successful people giving back. Keep it up Shawn.

    • Alex Yong

      Hi Robert! If you want some belly laughs, catch some of Shawn’s live streams or replays. The live ones have that special something because anyone can be part of it. For some reason, his live streams attract some of the most business-savvy, diverse and, uh, colorful Periscope interactive viewers. The discussions can sometimes take on a life of their own; it’s all fascinating to me. Shawn was great to meet in person. The closing night party during the first Periscope community summit in New York City was awesome thanks in part to what he brought to the table.

  4. It really is frustrating not to be guided or no one would, on your starting years. I totally resonate the experience and I learned it the hard way and I’m thankful to that as well. If i had a mentor back then, things would probably be different from where I am right now.

    Keep up the fire Shawn and thanks Alex for having this wonderful article.

    Cheers
    Tom

    • Alex Yong

      Hi Tom, thanks for taking the time to read Shawn’s interview. Each month I’ll bring a new personality from the live streaming world onto here, and not always Periscope. Expanding on your comment: Consider how many U.S. high school kids graduate without knowing what the S&P 500 or the CPI is. It’s symptomatic of a larger problem. As far as teaching what’s the absolute latest, even top accredited schools are having a tough time keeping up. Things move so quickly. Mentors and investors are crucial to the future of the U.S.

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