We had the good fortune of connecting with Jonathan Schultz and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jonathan, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When thinking about risk, I probably look at it a little differently when it comes to the business world. I definitely take risk…you must if you are going to start a business and raise money, and try to grow on a national scale. I just don’t see it like many people see risk. To me, starting a business wasn’t risky. Staying with a large corporation seemed a little risky. In a large corporation, you have no control over what is really happening. The CEO or the Board of Directors decides if the company is going to be sold, or if they are going to change direction as a company. Therefore, the risk becomes whether your position will be eliminated, or the company makes a bad decision and gets terrible PR, or maybe the company gets purchased by another company. All of those things are out of the control of most employees, and to me that is risky. By starting and running a company, I mitigate that risk because I am able to make the decisions with my team that will ultimately lead to positive outcomes (hopefully). That seems like much less risk to me. The biggest risk in running a small growing company is if it stops growing. That aspect of risk is probably what keeps me so motivated. When it comes to risk in other aspects of life, I am pretty risk averse. I love to ski in the trees, but I don’t like to jump off cliffs (like my 19 year old son). I am just getting into mountain biking and taking it pretty slow (I don’t have much interest in going over the handlebars which I have done). I try to teach my kids the same thing…try to take control without being a control freak. If you can create some control over the possible outcomes, then you have a much better chance at success.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I can say that I have had a varied and interesting career path. I started in a management training program for a large logistics corporation and spent several years with that company. I then decided to go back to school and entered a full time MBA program at Case Western Reserve University’s Weatherhead School of Management. From there, I spent many years in the investment world. At some point, I realized that I wanted to be in a small growing company where I wasn’t one of 10,000 employee which is when I joined a pet insurance startup. That was when I really determined that seeing and helping a company grow was what excited me. It still does, and that is how I am here with my own company. Building and growing a company is extremely hard, and sometimes you want to quit, and sometimes, you can’t think of anything else you would rather be doing. That is probably the excitement of it all, and when things click and you get those wins, you feel so good and motivated. The challenges don’t stop, but they do get a little easier to overcome each time because of the lessons learned from the previous experiences. I think our product and brand is much like our philosophy. We make simple syrup and make gourmet drinks simple. Everyone could use a little simplification, and there is nothing more simple and pleasurable than the feeling we get in our backyards…wherever those may be.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I am a huge food fan, and a huge live music fan. I miss both of those things so much. The food has been a little easier to come by with outdoor dining, but the lack of live music has been really tough. It is what my wife Leah and I love to do with our spare time. So, if we could start our day on a Friday afternoon with a couple of beers at New Terrain Brewing and then head to Red Rocks for a show, that would be idea. Saturday morning would include brunch at Sassafrass in Highlands Square or Denver Biscuit Co on Tennyson, then hope there is a great visiting exhibit at the Denver Art Museum. After the DAM, we would be able to head over to RINO to walk around Larmier and tick off a few breweries. We would then head to Super Mega Bien or Cart Driver for dinner and over to Cervantes for a show. Finally on Sunday, it would be great to wake up, head to Evergreen for a hike at Three Sisters or up Bergen Peak. Sunday afternoon would have a late afternoon show at Red Rocks again to finish up the weekend. Music and art, delicious food, great beer, and the wonders of nature is what this city does so well.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My wife Leah and anyone that has worked with me in any of my startups deserve a ton of recognition. Leah has been a partner in all of the businesses, and at the end of the day, she has so much that she does day over day for the operations. I love strategy and I also love the marketing aspect. I am good at operations, but she is great at operations, and simply knows how to get things done (mostly that are unfun, tedious, and absolutely necessary tasks). In addition, I have worked with great employees over the years that know marketing, sales, and customer service. The team is such a key aspect. You can have a great product, and if you don’t have the right team, don’t plan on getting very far.

Website: www.backyardsodas.com
Instagram: @backyard_soda_co
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/jmschultz74/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BackyardSodaCompany/
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=il1GrnmLbDg, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgjLQmxFyVw, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07lyPGpVvQw

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDenver is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.