April 8, 2019

Advice on running a "remote" business

Mutinda Boniface @bmutinda

Hey Indie Hackers!

Mid last year, I embarked on a business venture (selling the forgotten African music genre Benga) that runs from my home country while I reside in another as a full time employee.

I launched successfully - well signups were 80%+ of the early access list but conversion wasn't that good - first reason?? product catalogue was very small and the payment process was waaaay to complicated - I had 4 artists with about 50 tracks on the launch date.
For sure I needed someone on the ground, either an employee or a partner but the partner option at this level seems like someone whom I can easily rely on to help me on marketing.

A friend of mine introduced me to his friend who had several chats with him about the same idea but after 2 months, he couldn't commit or do
anything and I had to let him go.

After another month, I got a very good guy who is a DJ of the same kind of music and has several entities attached to this kind of music but the only challenge I found was, instead of being a solo partner, he wanted to use family business which was a big red flag to me.

Its been almost a year now and I am struggling to get a very good business partner as my business runs entirely on my home country and am not there all the time - just fly there like once a month or 2 months.

Is there anyone here who had such kind of an experience and how did you handle it???

  1. 1

    I have run a few businesses remotely, and the answers for me come in the form of tons of Skype chats. (Video always). A premium Skype telephone # which gives me a worldwide accessible phone #. An account with EarthClassMail which scans all my snail mail. And a willingness to make/take middle of the night calls when necessary.

    A more specific answer isn't possible because the answer would probably be very specific to your type of business, and it's not clear what it is exactly.

    Is your business online? Is it even possible to run this business remotely? Is it a local business? What are the revenue streams? Do you need to be abroad? What is the role of the on-location partner/employee and why does he need to be on location? Is this a high-touch business? Etc.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your feedback.
      This is actually the product - https://www.kambamusic.com/ - Its basically a music platform (just like Spotify) but with other pivoted features that seems to be working in this market. E.g. single track audio file paid downloads seems to be working better than streaming.

      To respond to your questions

      1. Is your business online? The business is online but a physical office is required for other music related operations.
      2. Is it even possible to run this business remotely? - I would say 95%. 5% can be reduced by improving on the brand awareness as majority of my target artists trust more of a physical office presence before signing up contracts.
      3. Is it a local business? - Yes Its a local business
      4. What are the revenue streams? Subscriptions, paid downloads, advertisements
      5. Do you need to be abroad? For now yes. Reason? full-time job contract for a few months plus the product hasn't reached a point where it can sustain itself.
      6. Role of the partner/ employee. - Follow up to close or hunt for more deals, coordinate for brand presence and partnerships on music events.
      7. Why they need to be on-location. Some deals can't be closed in a single day, they need someone around to do the pushing. I tried this over the email and phone calls but there seems to be more trust in physical presence.
      8. Is this a high-touch business? Yes