24Slides from East to West: Our first steps in the US

This article was written by Robert, Partner & Global Head of Sales, USA, as part of 24Slides’ Storyteller’s Program.

“Congratulations, you’ve been approved.”

Hearing those words from the woman at the Immigration desk at the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen was the start of one of the craziest adventures I have had so far.

24Slides has always had a lot of great clients in the United States, and we have always known that getting closer to them would be a natural step at some point. That time came in July 2022 with the opportunity to relocate to Florida with my family and open up 24Slides U.S. Inc.

This move meant I could finally travel and meet our American clients in the real world.

I knew that building a business unit in a new country would come with challenges. But there were things that no books nor corporate experience had prepared me for.

Here’s a quick recap of my first months setting the ground for 24Slides in the US:
The sorrow of saying goodbye to your old life

What does moving your family to the other side of the world mean?

My wife and I read a lot about this so we could also understand what our kids would go through. And many people described it as “a funeral without a dead person.”

On one end, we were so excited about going to the United States of America – a really fun experience.

But at the same time, we were leaving an absolute dream life in Denmark behind. The kids were happy at school; we were happy with our friends. We had a lovely house and stable work routines.

It was hard saying goodbye to all that and selling our stuff to go to the US on an adventure filled with unknowns.

“Then why do it?” you might wonder.

I always said there is no growth in the comfort zone. And I know deep down that we would have regretted letting this opportunity pass us.
Adjusting to the American life

I had great expectations, and I was also super nervous.

As a company, this was the first time we sent somebody to the US. We didn’t have a relocation program to figure things out once I landed. So everything was planned and executed by me, which means I had no clue about basic stuff like how to get the internet, open a bank account, or rent a car. Finding our first apartment here was a journey in itself.

But one of the most challenging things was that we couldn’t apply for schools until we were actually in the US. Plus, would my kids be okay in a school where they do not speak the language?

I didn’t know if we’d end up with somebody that was not happy going to school for three or six months. And as a parent, that is just incredibly hard. If you put that on top of the stress of building a business, things can get really tough.

I had to learn fast and on the go. For those who may need it: First, you open a bank account, then apply for a social security number, and once you start the process, you can get all the stuff.

Another thing I noticed is that every time kids are involved, Americans go out of their way to help, assist and support, so that was nice.

We finally got a school for our kids, and the fact that they quickly liked it made all the hassle worth it.
Going from having colleagues to sitting by myself in the office

Something you should know about me is that I like people. I like hanging around people. It gives me a lot of energy. So, of course, moving and not having colleagues feels strange.

While I have more focus time for myself, I still miss the Danish team daily—that close connection at the office and the face-to-face interactions. I keep working with my sales team but in different time zones now.

Hopefully, we will hire new colleagues soon to work on the different paths to grow the business over here.

All in all, these past months have been a learning journey for the company and me.

I have spent quite my time talking with people from the industry. Now that I’m in the US, it’s easier to investigate the American market and to meet our customers in different states.

Making sure we can build a strong team here is our next step. And I believe hiring experienced talents in the US to care for our American clients will be a much bigger win than we anticipate.

In the meantime, I’ll keep reporting on this adventure from our office in Florida – if you’re around, drop me a message to visit us.

Until next time!