Last January when preparing his tax documents, Parker Agee of Lebanon, Tennessee, had a random thought: “If I were to pass away, my wife would never know where to access any of the stuff I was gathering up,” he says. “I think that there should be a simple way for loved ones to keep each other informed of this important information in case of an emergency.”
And that was the start of Audiebox, which securely stores and shares important information such as online passwords, financials, etc. with your loved ones in case of an emergency. And don’t spend any time pondering the meaning of the name—it was a domain name Agee bought years ago because he liked the sound of it.
The venture is currently a side gig for Agee, who also works as a software engineer for Emma in Nashville, Tennessee.
“Running Audiebox aside from my full-time job has been challenging,” he says. “For business development, it’s hard to attend meetings, etc. during normal business hours. So, starting out, you kind of have to attend those meetings via email. For product development, I basically work from 8 or 9 p.m. until 1 or 2 a.m. every night completing the tasks that need to be completed. There really is no substitution for putting in the work.”
In other words, business is progressing—but slowly.
“As a solo founder, I’ve been spreading myself thin with product development and marketing and sales,” he says. “The more I market the product, the more I can find a way to tweak the product to make it a better fit for my target audience. But because I’m a solo founder with a full-time job, it’s been hard to find time to market the product effectively.”
Within the next year, he plans on creating strategic partnerships to help boost the growth of the company without having to add employees. “My plan is to bootstrap this startup for as long as possible,” he says.
And this is not his first attempt at starting a business. Which is why he says product validation is his No. 1 tip for other entrepreneurs just getting started.
“Many times before, I’ve created products that I thought would be cool, but cool factor does not translate into a product being needed,” he says. “For any new entrepreneur, I would highly suggest validating your product idea as cheaply as possible. Don’t be afraid of someone stealing your idea. Ideas are worthless and execution is everything.”
As a software engineer, he falls squarely in the tech founder category, which has its benefits and drawbacks. “My current gap that needs filling is that dedicated marketing role that would also be able to handle sales. Marketing and sales are two completely different things, but when you’re trying to be as scrappy as possible, you kind of need that person or solution that fills both of those gaps. Right now, I’m currently filling this gap by performing these duties myself until I’m able to grow the revenue enough to hire someone dedicated to the job.”