Jodi’s Journal: Inside the business launch

By Jodi Schwan

If it’s possible to feel like everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed, that’s about where I am finding myself.

I no longer have a boss. And yet I have my toughest boss ever.

I can choose when and where I am going to work. I seemingly work most of the time and everywhere.

I’m writing this at approximately 30,000 feet as a flight provides a rare distraction-free window of time.

For years, I worked in fairly self-directed environments, and I’ve always been “all in” at my job. So in that sense, it doesn’t feel like much has changed.

And yet, in the three full weeks I’ve been at this business, the fact that I now make the decisions has become abundantly clear. I’m lucky I’ve generally been comfortable making decisions, but I definitely feel the weight of some of them much more now.

Someone asked me the other day what the biggest surprise has been.

Nothing immediately came to mind, so maybe that’s good. But it didn’t take long for me to find my answer.

“It’s probably just how much I want to deliver on what I said I’d do,” I answered. “I’m not sure I expected to feel like that as strongly and as often as I do.”

I’m fortunate so many businesses and individuals have stood with me – from my clients to those who immediately signed up to follow my news, to those who share our work on social media. I feel pressure to deliver for all of them but in a good kind of way. The constant support we’ve received really has overwhelmed me at times.

More than 600 people watched a launch party we did live on Facebook as I shared breaking business news and gave away prizes. That amazes me. Not just the fact that an audience of that size would gather with me – mostly using their smartphones – but that technology has come so far that it can support a business launch in this manner. I couldn’t have started this business in this way even a few short years ago.

Image of guests mingling at SiouxFalls.Business launch

Guests mingle at the launch of SiouxFalls.Business at Morrie’s Steakhouse.

On three days’ notice, dozens of business leaders made time in their schedule to join me for a celebration of SiouxFalls.Business at Morrie’s Steakhouse. And as much as their presence honored me, it was even more fun to watch leaders who often don’t find time to get together with each other reconnect. At times, our business community feels like it has grown so much we risk losing the personal bonds that have connected us across industries and organizations for years. But I definitely felt them at that event.

I deliberately chose to launch SiouxFalls.Business in the spring, in part because I knew there would be a lot of development news to cover with the start of construction season. I wasn’t disappointed. I walked through multiple impressive projects within days of one another, and I’ve learned about many more to come this year and beyond. It’s energized me to keep rounding up all the news I know is out there.

That’s the part of the job I know best, though. The rest is a bigger learning curve.

So many of my sources and clients are entrepreneurs themselves or lead locally owned businesses, and I’m lucky I have plenty of excuses to keep asking them questions. I’ve always considered every story the chance to learn something new, and lately I’ve been learning almost constantly – including about how other businesses have worked through some of the same phases I’m experiencing.

“Is it fun?” I’ve been asked many times.

I generally pause. Sometimes, I laugh a little. I haven’t settled on a standard answer yet because it somewhat varies depending on the moment.

It’s a lot of work. Starting a business is supposed to be. Running a successful business probably is a lot of work, too. Hopefully, I’ll find out. I’m not sure it’s “fun” in any traditional sense, but in its own way it’s more rewarding than any job I’ve had.

But getting out into the business community and learning about what’s new and what’s next? And hearing from people who genuinely love the product we’re putting out? And learning from clients that they already are seeing a difference because of the work we’re doing for them?

I don’t think it gets any more fun than that.

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Jodi’s Journal: Inside the business launch

If it’s possible to feel like everything has changed, and yet nothing has changed, that’s about where I am finding myself.

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