Dutch producer and songwriter Rene Kaaij can’t imagine life without music. He began writing songs as a teenager in the Netherlands. In his early 30s he decided to take the entrepreneurial leap and leave his job of 10 years – teaching electronic keyboard at a school – to start his own music production business in The Hague.
Kaaij founded Seafront Music in 2007, and today writes and produces songs for other artists. He covers an eclectic mix of genres ranging from dance tracks to music for a theater group.
One of the many concerns facing new entrepreneurs like Kaaij is the image they want to project for the business, especially if they plan to work from a home office. Do they want clients to see them as casual, fun, offbeat, professional?
Although quick with a laugh, Kaaij is all business when it comes to Seafront Music. He worked from a home-based studio but still wanted clients to feel like they were dealing with a real business. He initially used a separate phone line at home, but soon decided it looked more professional to have a real business number rather than having to ask customers to call his home or mobile. He got an online number from Skype, so now when clients call from all over the Netherlands, Kaaij can answer on Skype no matter where he is – and it’s always a local call for his customers. He also set up his voicemail in case he can’t be available.
Today, Kaaij’s Skype calls don’t always involve conversations – many are musical in nature. On any given day he might be initiating a Skype voice or video call with a client and giving his feedback while they play their music, sometimes from hundreds of miles away.
“It’s a great way to work in music, to work with people, using Skype,” he says. “I even wrote songs with someone (over Skype), while we were both behind our own pianos!”
“Skype gives you the feeling people are sitting next to you,” he continues. “The quality is fantastic. It’s like you’re working in the same room even if you’re miles apart.”
Another big perk for Kaaij is the ability to connect with clients all over the country, without leaving The Hague.
“Skype makes the world so incredibly small,” he says.
In the future, Kaaij is considering expansion beyond the Netherlands. He’s begun talking over Skype with a musician in Jamaica whom he met in a forum.
“We might do business in the future,” Kaaij says. “With Skype, the possibilities are really endless.”