Andy Rahn – Montana Land Source
Meet Rock31 Member – Andy Rahn!
Andy is the founder of Montana Land Source, which tracks and maps all available sources of large-acreage farm, ranch and recreational land for sale in Montana daily. This includes all major Multiple Listings Services (MLS’s) in the state, broker websites and property advertising outlets, as well as direct contact with many brokers and sellers.
We asked Andy to answer a few questions to help us get to know him, check them out below!
Where were you/what were you doing before you started your business?
I was and still am an Accredited Rural Appraiser (ARA). My work before was doing rural land appraisals.
What sparked your passion/the idea for your business?
I came into the appraisal business as a GIS (Geographic Information System) mapping guy. After spending over a decade developing a database of mapped Montana properties, I saw an opportunity to create a new business making this data available online.
Give a brief timeline of your startup:
I made a web map app commercially available in 2013 and started offering it to key industry players. It was called the Rahn Land Map Viewer. I changed the name around 2017 to Montana Land Source, and since then I have developed an entire website with many other features and resources, including live Montana land market statistics.
What was/is the nitty gritty of starting a (your) business?
Initially, in order to have my GIS data available online, I had to hide my data “in plain site” on public servers. Commercial GIS server services were cost prohibitive, and the companies were not good to work with. I moved to open-source software, which is much better, but then I needed specialized technicians, which can be hard to find. Since then, learning marketing and sales has been my toughest challenge. Managing a complicated website and finding the right administrators is an ongoing challenge as well.
How did you overcome/brush-off the nitty gritty?
Going open source where possible has been huge in getting past the frustration of working with difficult commercial tech companies. Finding the right people to work with is an ongoing struggle. I am currently trying to find more resources for getting help with what I don’t do well, so I can focus more on what I do do well.
What are some of your hobbies/interests (outside of the office)?
Skiing, hiking, hunting, fishing, travel, live music and dancing.
What are you most excited about for being a part of Rock31?
The collaborative environment with other entrepreneurs and start-ups. Most of my work is done in isolation, which is not the best match with my personality, so the social and collaborative environment is a great benefit to me.
What is the best book you have ever read?
Probably Iron John, by Robert Bly.
A genie grants you the ability to have an infinite amount of one item. What is it?
More wishes, of course.
If you’d like to learn more about Montana Land Source, check out their website www.MTLandSource.com, or find them on Facebook and LinkedIn.