Hey, I'm Amman Ahmed and I run Music For Pets, a streaming service to help relax your pets. It's relaxing music and TV for cats and dogs—basically, it's the Netflix for pets. We started about eight years ago, building content based on research and now we have about 42 million pets around the world consuming our content. That's 13,173 years of content in 12 months, 181 million views.
How We're Growing the Business
I guess we to got lucky around 2011-2012 when YouTube introduced its monetization program. That helped us accelerate. Then we branched out to Spotify, Apple Music and maybe 25 to 30 other music streaming services. We distributed our content through that and then we also created our own subscription platform where we allow people to consume content ad free and tailored towards them. And obviously we use the usual social media platforms for promotion. We just keeping it very targeted.
We've grown very quickly in America. That's where our biggest audience is, but our fastest growing audience is South America. Brazil, Colombia, Chile, we're seeing big spikes there and we're getting a lot of organic press coverage. There's a rain of excitement and we're being talked about in a very, very passionate way. We love it. And then Australia and Asia regions are doing quite well too.
What's also happening is that a lot of the big vets who are influencers in their own right, and contribute to newspapers and magazines are talking about us. For example, there was a column about us in the biggest newspaper in Brazil. I guess when we grew the business, we were focused on genuinely caring and engaging with every single customer. Obviously, it's not scalable to have a million conversations, but the compound effect, when you genuinely care about someone is they will go and tell at least five other people, and when they do, they'll do it in an incredibly passionate way. You grow from there.
For me, it was fear and frustration, that was the tipping point. Back in 2008, I had an internship at a boring data management center. And I saw these guys getting to work in Porsches. Turns out they were the salespeople, so I thought, I want to be a sales guy. I found a sales mentor and he told me about The 4-Hour Workweek book and that was when I realized that being an entrepreneur was actually very possible. So I started looking into little ventures and side hustles. I almost quit Uni because of it.
After graduating I was working so hard as a recruitment consultant and that's when the pain and fear really kicked in. It wasn't a sustainable job. It's so easy to get comfortable in a career and then realize you're 45 and be like, Oh, what have I done my life? So I took the leap.
Choosing Sustainable Growth
The last business was a huge learning experience because we had investors, advisors, co-founders all that type of stuff. It was doing really well actually in the music space, but I was working to manage politics and investors rather than building a business. I'm very grateful for the experience because it allowed me to figure out what type of entrepreneur I wanted to be. Before you start a business, you have to ask yourself what kind of life you want. Do you want to be CEO, go IPO, and work a hundred hours a week? And I realized I don't want to be like that. I had to be honest with myself. I don't want to be dealing with fundraising and eventually tank.
The biggest turning point for me was going into a meeting room where I drew two paths. I can continue with this business, raise money, exit, work like a dog. Or I can take Relax My Dog and Relax My Cat which was a side hustle, making 60,000 pounds a year at the time, and grow that into a business that makes over a million pounds a year, but I know it's 100% mine. I can do whatever I want with that money. I don't have to answer to anyone. And I can make a million pounds a year if I compound it and make smart investments. I'd rather be comfortable rich rather than stressed. Investors reach out to me, but right now there's no way I'm taking money from an investor. Either I sell the whole business or I'll grow it myself.
So now I have a team of 15 people, most of them are freelancers. And I scale up and down where I need to. I use Upwork and I just write very detailed specs step-by-step when I'm looking for something. Then I interview for a shortlist, hire them, and set a deadline. If there are any disputes, it's easy to manage through Upwork. When you build a big team, you're going to have a bunch of HR challenges and that's just unnecessary stress.
How To Grow An Audience Today
I'd say Tiktok is the best way to start. Right now I get all my advice to invest in stocks by following investors on Tiktok. But the most important thing in terms of growing an audience is that you have to put the work in by engaging directly with people and not sending copy and paste messages. You've got the genuine create and engage with connections. And if you can't, maybe outsource that and hire someone to do it. Offer something of value that no one else is doing.
One of the things I'm doing now—this is definitely not scalable whatsoever—but I'm setting aside some time where my team and I just get on calls with fans to hear their stories. It lights a fire in me and I guess it lights a fire in them. As a brand, when does the CEO ever speak to their customers directly for 45 minutes?
The Competitive Landscape
We seem to be doing quite well, but we keep an eye on all the competitors. I'm always paranoid as an entrepreneur that we can get crushed. We see that a bunch of competitors try to enter the space and give up. I'm very grateful that starting a YouTube channel now is a lot harder than it used to be. So I'm kind of grateful for that in a savage way. I'm also not complacent, arrogant, or cocky because I know this can disappear tomorrow with the right competitor. My objective is to be paranoid and always work as hard as possible. But right now from an SEO perspective, because we have a bunch of brands that we own and we send traffic to all of them and because we get loads of press coverage that gives us huge backlinks on the SEO perspective.
Creating a Space for Gratitude
About six months ago I got a life coach. I started working on it every morning, practicing simple things like gratitude. Just being grateful that you can breathe, walk, afford to eat, really sets your mindset that the glass is half full rather than half empty. Starting your day that way puts you in a very good place.
I definitely have my ups and downs though. Sometimes I feel like I want to quit or sell the business. But then I just reframe my mindset. Even if you create a business that only has an impact on five people, it's still amazing. Be grateful for that. It brings me into a place of sanity. I would get jealous of other successful businesses but you never know how much of it is just press.
I've built the path that I'm comfortable with. I feel happy with that. I don't need to be chasing something else, but there are ups and downs. Just be present, enjoy the journey and be grateful for the small things.
Who and What Keeps Me Inspired
There are two entrepreneurs who have had a huge impact on my life. One is Tim Ferris from The 4-hour Workweek because he was the one that showed me you can be an entrepreneur and still have a good lifestyle. And then the other one was Tony Hsieh, the founder of Zappos. His book Delivering Happiness was incredible because it was all about customer service. Even though he was just selling shoes, people kept going back because their customer service was incredible.
On a personal level, my friend Edwin Broni-Mensah keeps me inspired. We started our businesses at the same time. His energy and positivity are so infectious. He founded Give Me Tap, it's a social enterprise selling sustainably made bottles, and some of that money goes into building wells in Africa.
I don't watch anything entrepreneur related. I listen to Business Wars cause it's written in a very entertaining way and sometimes you can pick up some interesting things, but in all honesty, where I'm right now is around books on meditation and mindfulness. The one that I'm listening to right now is called the Untapped Untethered Soul. I'm listening to more stuff around mental health-related things, but there's nothing out there in terms of entrepreneurial content that I have any interest in. Yeah. It's all around self-development and the mind.
Where To Reach Amman & Music For Pets
Amman originally spoke with Jonny for 'The Go Solo Show' - you can listen to and watch the full recording here...
📺 On YouTube
If you like what you've read here and have your own solopreneur success story then hit Jonny up on Twitter, we'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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