Jason Edwards has always had an entrepreneurial spirit – from cutting hair at the age of 13 to building websites on the side while working as a webmaster at ohio.com. Ten years ago, he left the security of his full-time job at ohio.com to focus on Shoo.In, his web development and graphic design company, which earlier this year moved into workspace at Bounce.
Edwards is also a recent graduate of the Next Level Business Incubator, which is one of the tracks in Bounce’s GROW (Generating Real Opportunity and Wealth) programming for small businesses with a focus on minority-owned. The Next Level Incubator provides established businesses such as Shoo.In with one-on-one business advising and other resources, as well as low-cost workspace.
“The opportunities through the Next Level program have been nothing short of incredible. It’s great to be part of the Bounce community and network with different businesses,” Edwards said. “One of my biggest challenges is that I’m constantly in the trenches working on client projects, so having monthly check-ins with a business adviser has helped me set goals for Shoo.In and stay on track.”
The workspace at Bounce has given Edwards and his three employees room to grow, as well as space for a new digital press. He’s also found it helpful to be able to host meetings at Bounce or use other areas for video shoots. In addition, he and his team have taken advantage of The Workshop at Bounce, where they have access to equipment such as a 3D printer and other artisan and maker-focused resources.
Ten years after striking out on his own, he’s proud of the long-term client relationships he’s built, based on trust and delivering on his promises.
“I don’t want to just build websites for my clients, I want to build relationships and be the engine that helps drive sales,” he said. “Often clients come to me thinking they need a website, but after getting to learn more about them and their goals, I may discover what they really need is a landing page and a digital ad campaign.”
Along with providing web design, development and hosting; photography and videography services, and graphic design, by adding a digital press, Edwards is entering the printing market to help better serve his clients.
The infinity symbol in Shoo.In’s logo represents the limitlessness of these client relationships, but the name was derived partly from a nickname that his mom gave him.
“My mom, my cousins and other family always called me Shoo, so it was a play on that, with the double meaning that a shoo-in is a sure thing,” he said.
Since starting Shoo.In as a side business more than a decade ago, Edwards says his biggest success is that he’s still here. Most of his clients have been with him an average of six years or more, even as they rode out the challenges of 2020 together.
“It’s all about the relationships,” he said. “Once you make an introduction, the goal is to get to the next meeting, and then the next meeting, and so on, until you get to the point where they are ready to move forward and write a check.”
He also advises entrepreneurs to follow their own instincts.
“Use advice to make your own decisions because, in the end, it falls on you to do what’s best for your business,” he said.
Edwards will be sharing his experiences as an entrepreneur at our Third-Annual Startup Showcase, which will be held on September 30 and features the most promising startups from Bounce’s programs. To learn more and RSVP: https://bouncehub.org/startup-showcase/
About the author:
Jill Wodtley, APR, is a freelance writer and owner of Fine Point Public Relations and Advertising. An accredited member of the Public Relations Society of America, she develops and implements marketing communications, public relations and advertising initiatives for a variety of clients, ranging from health care and social service agencies to industrial/manufacturing firms.