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🧾 Tax Challenges, Virtual Geek Squad, & Finding Influencers 📸

Brainstorms Issue #19

Join me on Clubhouse today @ 5:00pm MST

Today, a few friends and I are doing a Clubhouse session where we'll be riffing and answering questions founders have about building their business.

If you're looking for advice or just a place to learn more about going from 0-1,000 customers, you should definitely join. 

 P.S. If you need an invite, just reply with your phone number. I'll try to hook you up. Alright, let's dig into this week's brainstorm.

3 Startup Ideas

#1: Tax Filing for Traveling Employees

Source: Connor Gross (Twitter: @c_gro)

The Pain Points

Recently, I was recording a podcast (coming soon) with my friend Connor and he opened my eyes to a huge problem.Over the last year, Connor has been traveling across the US all while being employed with the same company. While this nomadic lifestyle may sound like the dream to most, for the HR department, he was their worst nightmare.The reason? Tax compliance with each new state.US Tax Law 101: In 1902 Congress pa… just kidding. Here’s the gist, as someone working in the US you need to comply with the state tax laws held by the state in which you made that money. This isn’t so bad unless you frequently work in different states.For example, if over the course of 3 months an employee works in 5 different states, the company needs to determine how much money the employee made in each state, find the correct tax laws, and then apply each state’s tax laws to each respective amount. All this is not easy.Note: There’s more nuance to the tax problem, but I figured I’d spare you the juicy details. To learn more, check out this article.

The Opportunity

The Opportunity: I think we can all agree that tax work is tedious, stressful, and unfortunately, very important. Additionally, remote/nomadic work is only going to grow in the coming years. For these reasons, I think this is a perfect problem to tackle.While I don’t specifically know how to solve the problem, I would start by talking to businesses that employ large numbers of traveling employees. From there, I’d find out exactly how they manage this problem and what their workflow looks like.According to Connor, he had to call HR each time he moved locations, and then they’d manually work some magic to get everything straightened out.

Current Solutions

  • Boundless - Boundless is built to solve the tax problems companies face when employing remote employees. I had a brief chat with one of their co-founders, and they don’t solve the tax problems that arise for traveling employees in the US.

  • Remote Team - Similar to Boundless, but also don’t solve the tax problem created by moving between states.

#2: Virtual Geek Squad

The Pain Points

I love my mother to death, but every week, she calls me multiple times asking for help setting up or troubleshooting technology. Whether she needs to download a new app on her phone, set up the Amazon Fire Stick, or fix her WiFi, I’m her go-to person.While I’m happy to help, sometimes I don’t have the answer or am unfamiliar with the technology she’s trying to set up. This results in a time-consuming process that can be frustrating for both of us.

The Opportunity

I’d happily pay a monthly fee so my mom can have an on-demand technology assistant that she can call up whenever she’s having tech troubles.I’m envisioning an app that allows my mom to screen share with a virtual assistant, or give them control to troubleshoot the problem themselves. Also, my mom could upload all the technology she uses so the assistant knows all the tools she’s working with prior to and during the call.With more and more Baby Boomers retiring and technology growing at rapid rates, I don’t see this problem going anywhere for a long time.Fun fact: Geek Squad is Best Buy’s most profitable line of business. It has great margins and has been a very stable line of revenue.  

Current Solutions

  • Geek Squad - Prior to researching this, I didn’t realize Geek Squad offered virtual support. For this reason, I still think there’s room to compete.

  • Bask - Offers on-demand tech support for all technology in your home.

Note: Despite there being large competitors, I definitely think you could carve a niche out and bootstrap this business to a few million - even if you focused on certain geographies or millennial positioning.

#3: Find Influencers Who Are Customers

The Pain Points

Over the last decade, influencer marketing has become one of the best channels to drive sales. The challenge is finding influencers that not only will work with you but genuinely love your products and want to work with you.The best way to solve this problem is to work with influencers who’ve already bought your products without any prompting. Imagine finding out Kylie Jenner or Charli D'amelio bought a pair of your sunglasses - this could be a HUGE opportunity for your brand.This actually happens more frequently than you think. Many brands sell their products to celebrities or social media influencers and don’t even know it.It’s near impossible for a human to keep track of all the customers - let alone cross-reference that with all the influencers in the world. This results in a lot of missed opportunities on the brand’s part.

The Opportunity

There’s a big opportunity for someone to create a tool that solves this problem. I see two ideal use cases:

  1. Create a piece of software that scans your current customer base and then tells you if there are any influencers that you’re already working with.

  2. The tool could also monitor all of your social profiles and tell you if an influencer has engaged with any of your content.

From there, you can reach out to the influencer and leverage that relationship into a marketing opportunity.


Current Solutions

  • Carro - Carro does a few things, but it looks like they are attempting to build a solution like the one I’ve outlined above.

Thanks for reading - now get out there and build it! 

Catch ya next week, 

Keevin ✌