In 2013, when Aaron Davis and Rene Meredith founded Exploration, they agreed their goals and services, as a technology startup in the entertainment industry, did not warrant the need for a brick-and-mortar location and its subsequent costs. Remote work was the solution.

What started as necessity has since proven to be fortuitous with the advent of COVID-19 and the arrival of new resources allowing more folks than ever to work from home.

So, in the spirit of helping everybody in the music business continue to do what they do best, here are some of the ways we’ve found to keep on keeping on.

Invest in a good toolkit.

Remember that box of things your parents got you for your college dorm room freshman year with the hammers, wrench, and tape measure? You swore you’d never use it, but of course, you did. That bed wasn’t going to loft itself!

A wealth of digital tools now exists to help businesses run better.

In short order, these are the ones that we use most:

Google Drive. Exploration’s G Drive allows us to share documents, grant permissions to view certain documents, edit contracts, draft new guides like this one, track royalties, conduct audits, send emails, manage our calendars, schedule meetings, and more.

  • Business Starter $6/user/mo. | Business Standard $12/user/mo. | Business Plus $18/user/mo. | Enterprise (contact sales for pricing)

  • Zoom. Exploration first started using Zoom for highly secure video conferencing and webinars but has since recruited Zoom’s cloud phone system.

  • Free | Pro $14.99/mo. | Business $19.99/mo. | Enterprise $19.99/mo./host

  • Hubspot. Exploration manages contacts for sales and marketing purposes within Hubspot’s customer relationship management software.

  • Free CRM | Starter $45 /mo. | Professional $800 /mo. | Enterprise $3,200/mo.

  • Mailchimp. Exploration uses a Mailchimp account to manage subscribers to the Exploration Weekly Newsletter and to conduct email outreach campaigns.

  • Free | Essentials $9.99/mo. | Standard $14.99/mo. | Premium $299/mo.

  • Zelle. Exploration and its employees use Zelle to send and receive money.

  • Depends on your bank fees and other restrictions.

  • Wise. Exploration uses Wise to send and receive debit or credit payments to and from other countries with various exchange rates.

  • Free | 0.33%-3.56% fee to convert currencies.

  • Wise. Exploration uses Wise to send and receive debit or credit payments to and from other countries with various exchange rates.

  • Free | 0.33%-3.56% fee to convert currencies.

  • Bank of America’s Online Banking System. Exploration uses online banking to cash checks via images, pay clients their royalties, and manage company cards.

  • Business Fundamentals $16/mo. | Business Advantage $29.95/mo.

  • Gusto. Exploration uses Gusto for payroll.

  • Core $39/mo. + $6/person/mo. | Complete $39/mo. + $12/person/mo. | Concierge $149/mo. + $12/person/mo.

  • LinkedIn. Exploration uses LinkedIn to communicate with peers and to stay social.

  • Free | Career $29.99/mo. | Business $47.99/mo. | Sales $64.99/mo. | Recruiter $99.95/mo.

  • Guideline. Exploration uses Guideline for 401K benefits.

  • Core $49/mo. + $8/employee/mo. | Flex $79/mo. + $8/employee/mo. | Max $129/mo. + $8/employee/mo.

  • DocHub. Exploration sends agreements to clients around the world in the music and film industry. DocHub makes it easy to show people where we need them to sign, make amendments, etc. Plus, DocHub automatically sends final copies to all involved.

  • Free (3 sign requests /mo.) | Pro $4.99/user/mo.

  • Basecamp. Exploration uses Basecamp to manage projects in various departments.

  • Free (limited features) | Business $99/mo.

  • HiveDesk. Exploration’s remote staff uses HiveDesk to manage their hours.

  • Ranges from $25 -$100/mo depending on the number of users.

  • Buffer. Exploration uses Buffer to manage its social media accounts.

  • Free | Pro $15/mo. | Premium $65/mo. | Business $99/mo.

  • Buffer. Exploration uses Buffer to manage its social media accounts.

  • Free | Pro $15/mo. | Premium $65/mo. | Business $99/mo.

  • Note: Exploration has no material interest in any of these tools and does not stand to gain by recommending them to you. We like them because they work!

    Make communication part of everything you do.

    Tools are nothing without a team that knows how to use them. In order to maintain structure within Exploration, better serve our clients, and get work done day-in and day-out, we focus on our organization’s internal communication and especially on our external communication with the industry at large.

    Technology grants us the power to communicate with each other no matter where we are in the world via phone calls, texts, emails, video chats, and more. But like any form of communication, remote work also takes empathy and practice.

    Write it all down.

    If a task gets done more than twice in our organization, we make a note to write it out step by step. This creates a sort of operating manual for Exploration.

    It also allows for asynchronous communication between employees working within different time zones and in different geographic locations around the world.

    Trust your employees.

    You hired your employees because you trust them. At Exploration, we take special pride in the confidence we have that all of our employees are kind, intelligent, dedicated individuals capable of getting their work done without supervision.

    Remote work by its nature demands a certain level of autonomy, so trust is a must.

    Take care of yourself.

    Working where you live and living where you work can put a strain on your physical and mental health. It’s extremely important to stay active, take breaks away from your computer, eat well, and monitor your stress levels when you work from home.

    Other recommended precautions for your overall health as you work from home:

    • Drink plenty of water.
    • Get enough sleep.
    • Take vitamin C & D supplements.
    • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
    • Disinfect household objects and surfaces.
    • Stock up on food, medicine, and other essentials.
    • Restrict unnecessary travel.
    • Pay attention and stay informed.

    Keep calm and rock on.

    Remote work offers financial flexibility, travel options, and more. Hopefully, even if you own or work for a company with go-to offices or a shared workspace, this guide inspires you to consider the possibilities of remote work.

    As always, we are happy and eager to help answer any of your questions.

    Want to use this guide for something other than personal reading? Good news: you can, as long as your use isn’t commercial and you give Exploration credit.

    Creative Commons License
    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.