Shelly L. Henderson is a wife, mother, author, and business owner—she is a voice of reason and reality. You can pick up a copy of her book, Starting From Scratch, on Amazon and connect with Shelly on Instagram and Facebook at @shellylhenderson. Check out her weekly Starting From Scratch podcast on all major podcast platforms.
Ever wonder how people arrive to where they are? Well, we wondered about Shelly's journey and asked her a few questions to which she delightfully answered (she really is one of the nicest people to chat with)! Now, let's get to know Shelly's story!
Growing up, what did you want to be?
A teacher... My first six career years were spent teaching with CMS.
Appalachian State! I went there on a golf scholarship and received my B.S. in Elementary Education. It’s also where I first met my husband but our paths wouldn’t cross again until I began teaching in Charlotte.
You have taken a couple of career detours to follow your dreams. What was the first?
A year after I got married, I realized there were goals I still wanted to pursue. Ambitions of being a professional golfer led me to a short stint on a mini-tour. It was a lot harder than I thought it would be and cost a lot more than I anticipated. Looking back, I didn’t give it enough time, but at the same time, I realized I didn’t love it as much as I thought I did. It takes a lot of time and money to play tournaments all over the country.
What did your husband think of your golf pursuits? Looking back, what were your own thoughts?
My husband, Phil, was fully supportive, but I realized I should have gone pro four years earlier. The experience wasn’t all for nothing. It prepared me for other endeavors in life and helped me to get to where I am today. The experience also brings back some nice memories.
Tell us about your next career detour!
I went from golf back to the working world and then had my first child. During that time, we evaluated what I was earning, taking into account the considerations of a young family, and asked ourselves what we really wanted…which led us to realize we wanted to own our own business. At the time we were managing our own rental properties and my husband was traveling for work as a medical salesperson.
And then you had your ah-ha moment!
Yes, it then hit us: why don’t we go into business with what we are currently doing. Phil had his real estate license and turned in his notice for a job he loved. We knew what we were walking away from but took the bold step.
Welcome to the family, Henderson Properties!
Henderson Properties began 21 years ago from a hobby and a passion. At that time, people who wanted to rent usually only had the option of an apartment. We saw a window of opportunity to make rental houses available.
How has your business evolved over the last two decades?
We now have three satellite offices plus a corporate office. The satellite offices are located in Davidson, Indian Trail, and Fort Mill (soon to be Rock Hill).
What started out as property management has now evolved into a full-service real estate firm: sales, HOA, renovations, maintenance, and property management.
What’s your perspective on real estate?
Everybody always needs a place to live whether it be via renting or owning. It’s important to diversify your investments in general. The stock market can be iffy but real estate always provides opportunities. In 2008, our office was so busy because people had to sell.
When the economy tanked, it was a turning point for us personally and professionally because we needed to survive. The shift in the economy led us to a time to self reflect. We asked ourselves, what can we do to not lay anyone off, how can we help people who need our services, and how can we rebuild our brand.
We then became more than a property management company. What sets us apart is how we are trying to do business. We are an intentional company that wants to improve the quality of peoples’ lives every day.
Investing in real estate is easier than people often think. It’s a nice way to invest in your future. And using an established company makes the process even easier.
Why did you decide to write your book, Starting from Scratch?
As a company, we have evolved which led me to write my book. I wanted to let people know that you can’t do anything on your own. If you are willing to step out of your comfort zone, admit when you don’t know something, and build a team around you that supports you, you are in a better position to succeed.
Being involved with the Charlotte community is important to you. How do you get involved?
We try to practice what we preach. We have a relationship with Second Harvest Food, as well as many other nonprofits like the Steve Smith Family Foundation. We are continuously supporting these groups and causes. You can’t keep your strengths and talents to yourself.
Speaking of involved, are your children involved with real estate?
We have two boys. Blake, who graduated from college, is working in rental property management within our rental division. Our other son, Grant, is a senior at the University of Alabama.
They both have literally grown up in the business, so it’s natural for them to join us. When you do own your own business and have children, you don’t just want to hand them something. They interview for their positions like everyone else and we are not their supervisors. My boys have worked every summer since they were able and have worked in every division of our company.
What do you do to get away from it all?
When we first started, if we tried to take a vacation something would always happen (someone would quit, an emergency…)!
In 10 years, we had not taken an entire week off and then decided to finally go away. Our whole email server crashed as we were about to leave. We decided to keep going and relied on our employees to help us through which they did!
This year, the best we could do was a long weekend to the beach. But we are better at self-care now. Work-life balance ebbs and flows. Just do the best you can.
When you’re an entrepreneur, you can get caught up in taking on too much. I have three interns but I still take so much on. Like today, I went and got the office pizza for lunch and signed up for our office corn hole tournament afterward.
You go out of your way to make Henderson Properties a great place to work. Why?
We feel a sense of responsibility to care for our employees. We take it very seriously. As a result, our employees love working here.
How can students intern for Henderson Properties?
Every summer, we have interns who are college-aged students. We ask what they want to do and what they want to learn about. Their majors vary from accounting, business, to finance. More schools like App State are offering an entrepreneurship minor. If a student is interested in a paid internship they need to contact us in January.
What do you do for girl time?
A lot of my friends have work friends that they go have a glass of wine with. It’s a bit different for me, being a business owner. Last year, I was fortunate to get to know many women from the Charlotte community through the Know Tribe.
Lastly, tell us about Ladies Who Lunch!
I am putting myself out there on Thursdays to create a community by stepping outside of my comfort zone to make authentic connections. We have to have a purpose and a platform. My social media team has turned it into a podcast too called “Starting From Scratch” which can be heard on Apple.
People of Charlotte publishes stories about everyday Charlotteans, Carolinians, and beyond. We celebrate YOUR story because YOU matter. It is our mission to promote inclusiveness, unity, understanding, community, diversity, empathy, inspiration, and compassion.
Stories have power—they teach, inspire, motivate, and challenge us.
Stories help us to not only see others, but to see ourselves more clearly, as we connect with the life stories of those in our community; a community that is strengthened by the power that is unleashed by the collective energy of individual stories.
Want to share your story with People of Charlotte? Email peopleofCLT@gmail.com to learn more!
The views expressed here are solely those of the individual featured and do not in any way represent the views of People of Charlotte, CLT. Information on this site may contain errors or inaccuracies; we do not make warranty as to the correctness or reliability of the site’s content. If you own rights to any of the images, and do not wish them to appear on this site, please contact us via e-mail and they will be promptly removed.
Check out Mixed Nuts: A story and discussion about diversity and inclusion for children