Aubrey Shaw

How one woman ensured her best life through life insurance

By April Blake

The path to success is a long one, especially if you’re running 13.1 miles to get there, the way small business owner Aubrey Shaw likes to do. Shaw, who owns and operates LifeTime Insurance Agency in Cayce, South Carolina, describes herself as an independent soul, and that shows on her journey to becoming a small business owner and in her choice of hobbies to combat the ups and downs that come with both life and entrepreneurship.

An unexpected career

Working in insurance is not at all where Shaw saw herself ending up. In fact, she actively tried to stay out of it. After college, uncertain of her next steps, she signed on with a temp agency and told them the only industry she didn’t want to work in was insurance. “They had to convince me to just go on an interview for a part-time admin assistant job at an insurance company,” Shaw said. “I was so young I didn’t realize insurance was more than just sitting in a cubicle.”

After a promotion from her initial part-time administrative position, Shaw quickly moved up in the company, becoming the sales manager before buying out one of the partners ten years ago. “It was more of a God thing than anything else, but that’s how I ended up here!” she joked. “But seriously, I learned that insurance is a way for me to help people find solutions to problems.”

LifeTime Insurance sells personal lines, including life insurance, long-term care, income protection, group and individual policies, Medicare products, plus dental and travel insurance. As a 20-year-old company, Shaw said it is stable, but she is aware changes are likely to come for the industry as a whole. “There could be changes, but it takes so long for legislation to pass and take effect,” she said, pointing out that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) took six years to implement. “As a business owner, there is a lot of pressure and risk, and there are times you have to weigh decisions.”

Shaw sets her own life and work styles

However, after 10 years of working for herself, she can’t even think about doing anything different, much less working for someone else. The ability to set her own schedule and have the business work around her personal life is one of the biggest benefits of small business ownership.

One way Shaw works her business around her life is scheduling her business responsibilities to allow time to meet the needs of her very active lifestyle, to meet her needs, which includes traveling to running races and martial arts competitions. She has a first-degree black belt in jiu jitsu, and is ranked in judo, too. She has trained in the martial arts for nine and a half years after watching from the sidelines as her ex-husband trained for ten years prior. “I said I’d try it one day,” she said. Coincidentally, she took up martial arts shortly after becoming a partner in her business. “It allows me an outlet to deal with life in general in a healthy way.”

In addition to her ongoing jiu jitsu training, Shaw also picked up running more seriously in 2019 after some on-and-off-again attempts at the Couch to 5K program through the years. It took her listening to a running podcast to really pick it up regularly, and she has since embraced the runner’s lifestyle by hiring the podcast host to be her running coach. She went from a beginner runner to someone who ran a half marathon on New Year’s Eve in Jacksonville, and so ended the year 2020 with an adrenaline rush and 13.1 miles of sunshine on her face. A full race schedule for 2021 is on her mind after many canceled races in 2020.

Shaw as a leadership role model

Beyond her exercise goals, she involves herself heavily in her community in the City of Cayce — serving in leadership roles in the neighborhood association and the newly formed art guild in the city. After graduating from the University of South Carolina, she made her home in the Midlands 20 years ago, but visits her family on the West Coast frequently.

Shaw finds that her exercise and work philosophies heavily influence one another. “I am a fiend for learning,” she said.

“You’ll only be able to rise in leadership to your highest level of education. So keep reading and learning — you always have to be seeking to improve yourself”.

Whether it’s learning about leadership, adopting a running mentality or combining both by listening to a leadership podcast while taking a leisurely six-mile run, Shaw said learning has changed how she handles herself and how she sees people interact. “It allows me to serve my clients better, too,” she said.

Aubrey ShawIn addition to self-learning, she works with a life coach to figure out what to change to be successful. “It requires time to evaluate and be thoughtful about how things might go,” she said. “I like to write out what went wrong, but also celebrate my expertise and remind myself of the positive, since our brains are hardwired for survival and to look for the bad.”

Then, of course, there’s good, old-fashioned trust in yourself. “I’m a firm believer that a woman’s intuition is a real thing,” she said. “If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. So, there’s that balance between thinking and feeling, and sometimes you have to trust your gut to let you know when things are or aren’t a good thing.”

Whether it’s running a business or running for meditative bliss and future strength, there’s no doubt Shaw is putting in the hard work to achieve her dreams, both in and out of the business world. And she will use the strength she finds in one world to become even better in the other.

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