Under the Lid at TaxJar

by Mark Faggiano October 17, 2016

From day one, the TaxJar team has been incredibly committed to the concept of transparency.
With our customers, this means that we are open about our product, or capabilities and limitations, and our pricing. We publish our uptime and response time. If we make a mistake, we own up to it. If we’re not familiar with an arcane point of sales tax law, we tell you that (and then we point you to a resource that can help.)
Today, we’re starting this new Life at TaxJar blog because we want to be transparent about something else – TaxJar’s awesome company culture.

TaxJar is Distributed and Proud of It

Fun fact you may not know: TaxJar is a totally distributed team. We don’t have a central headquarters. Instead, our 13 TaxJar team members are distributed all over the U.S.

We’ve proven that you don’t need to get together in an office every day to create a successful company, and we’re committed to this style of working and living.
Here are some of our “secrets” to making remote working work:

  • Extensive communication – We talk to each other all day over Basecamp and each of our teams have separate rooms to discuss what’s necessary. We meet daily in individual team “stand ups” for 15 minutes to go over the team’s plan for the day. We use Zoom to meet as a company weekly to go over priorities, and every month we have a company-wide social/cultural get-together just to talk. We do all this because we know we need to keep the team “together” even when some of us are thousands of miles apart.
  • Total transparency – There’s that word again. We’re totally transparent on important aspects of the company like how much money we currently have in the bank, or how and why we make any team changes. Everybody at TaxJar knows our amount of runway and how many customers we currently have. We all waited together with baited breath during the run up to celebrating our first profitable month. We all agree on high level goals and vision for the company and all work together to take us there. Total transparency makes us a better, more cohesive team.
  • True work life balance –  Birthdays are mandatory holidays at TaxJar. We have unlimited vacation, with a mandatory two-week minimum. We work hard, but also know that spending time with family and friends, or taking some time away to recharge, is vital to health, balance and well-being. Because we’re a remote team, we don’t miss our kids’ soccer games, and we don’t have to make a choice between “going to work” or being with loved ones. We value building an awesome company and having a life away from the laptop.
  • A safe place to fail  – Every single TaxJar team member is an ultra-high achiever. So if someone wants to take a calculated (metrics-driven!) risk, and that risk doesn’t work out, they don’t have to worry about being voted off TaxJar Island. We try a lot of things, and if something doesn’t work, we take that learning to heart and move on. At TaxJar, we put our trust in team members to give it their all and make the right decisions.

TaxJar is a Team of Entrepreneurs

Fun fact #2: Nearly everybody who works at TaxJar has owned a business in the past. We want to help businesses solve the pain of sales tax. And we can relate because we’ve been where are customers are.
Some of us have created and sold other businesses in the tax space. One of us has sold a video game company, and another started a handmade jewelry brand. Our VP of Sales and Marketing got his start selling designer shoes on eBay out of his garage. We’ll post more about our various businesses (and their fates) in future blog posts, so stay tuned.
At TaxJar we understand our customers because we’ve been our customers.

What’s Next?

Upcoming blog posts are going to detail TaxJar history, our culture and values, and a whole lot about how we negotiate work and life as a totally distributed team.
Next up will be a story from deep in TaxJar’s archives that has helped make us who we are today. Subscribe to be notified when we post again!


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