Wearing Ruby Slippers In The Matrix

Melissa Jacobs, Main Line Tonight
How I launched Main Line Tonight.

by Melissa Jacobs

There I was, at 1:47 am on a chilly October morning, bundled in a hoodie and leggings, hair up, make-up off, speaking out loud to my computer. On many days and especially at night, that laptop has been a trusted comrade on my journey to launch Main Line Tonight.

Except Main Line Tonight was not yet launched. We were 13 days past the Oct. 1, 2021 date I’d set three months earlier. I’d made great progress. Website designed? Check. Writing team acquired? Check.  

There was just one problem and it was a doozy. The domain name – mainlinetonight.com – was not connected to the new website. I’d bought the domain name a year earlier, but transferring it to WordPress was causing technical delays.

The first draft of the website. The photo didn’t work, but when I saw this, I got all vrklempt. The dream was becoming reality.

By Oct. 14, I was out of time. Later that morning, I had a Zoom with a major potential sponsor. So there I was, in the wee hours of the morning, talking to my computer in calm, professional tones. “Show me how to do this. Please tell me. I know you know.”

Of course, I was talking to myself. I do that a lot now. For 25 years, I was an employee. Now, I’m the boss and it is lonelier than I imagined. I make a lot of decisions about a lot of things – everything, really – and not everyone agrees with me. But not everyone has access to the information that I have, including the strategic plan for Main Line Tonight.

I hadn’t shared my business plan, even fibbing about its existence. Feigning ignorance, I told people that I didn’t have a plan. People believed me. They knew my name as a byline or a social media account, always in conjunction with the media company for which I worked for 10 years. Why would anyone think of me as a business person? I hadn’t been a boss; I asked permission for everything.

Take 9 … and my hair was getting frizzier by the moment. Some things don’t change.

There was no one to ask on that October morning. My computer hadn’t given me the answer, nor did my dear digital guru Katie Nails when I started blowing up her phone at 8 am. The Zoom with the potential sponsor was at 10 am. Katie suggested delaying that meeting, a reasonable recommendation because we’d hit a technological wall.

I refused to give up. To be an entrepreneur, especially in a digital space, I’d have to solve these and many other technological problems without waiting for a Wizard Of WordPress to save me. I’d already conquered a lot of social media, content management systems and hardware realms. If I could stop panicking, I might be able to fix this problem.

I shut down the matrix, logging out of everything. I sat cross legged on the floor of my office and did a very un-technological thing. I sat still, closing my eyes, emptying my mind and breathing deeply. After about 10 minutes, I went back to my desk, turned everything on … and saw the button that had to be toggled. Just like that, the domain name was activated and Main Line Tonight’s website was live. The button had been there, in plain sight. I had the power all along. 

Main Line Tonight

With seconds to spare, I logged onto Zoom and, in the video monitor, I saw a different version of myself. She was tired and a bit haggard, but she could not stop smiling. I was so happy. I’d met my first big entrepreneurial challenge and kicked its ass.

My business was officially launched. Main Line Tonight is my new home. There is no going back. Thank goodness

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