Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in marketing services but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Josie Piper, Founder of Fickl, located in Vancouver, BC, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Fickl is a web app that helps business owners manage all their marketing in one place. Our customers are sole proprietors, small business owners, early-stage startups, and local charities that do not have the financial resources to outsource their marketing and instead need to manage it themselves.

Tell us about yourself

My name is Josie; I am the daughter - and granddaughter- of small business owners. I grew up within a small, local family business, so I have always been very aware of the many hats a business owner has to wear at any time. In my early twenties, I began working within corporate marketing teams. Then, later on, I transitioned into freelance marketing management, providing my services to small, local businesses. However, I quickly found that many business owners who approached me had a restricted budget, meaning they couldn't outsource to me. They asked for recommendations for the marketing tools that I used but struggled to find the time to learn and navigate them all, resulting in them feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.

And so I decided that something needed to change fragmented, niche marketing tools built for full-time marketers weren't practical or realistic for "solo marketers" who only have a few hours per week to dedicate to marketing their business. In 2021 I decided I would build a solution to democratise marketing, so Fickl was born!

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

To keep going even when it's really tough. As a solo founder, there are challenges with overcoming moments of doubt, not having someone to bounce ideas off of -who is as invested in the company as you are - being alone in all of the decision makings and knowing that every choice you make will affect the likelihood of succeeding. It's high pressure, and - like the customers we help - I am wearing a lot of hats. But the fact that we have steadily grown, and we've overcome some really big hurdles almost 1.5 years in now - is a huge accomplishment. I always tell myself, "Yes, it is hard, but you CAN do it." It's just that piece of self-validation whilst also motivating myself that gets me through the really tough moments.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

Responsibility. It is bittersweet, but I am grateful for it, and it definitely has its perks, but also it can be a lot - mentally. I think it's important to grow your responsibilities sustainably - for me, that was concerning hiring a team. You are suddenly accountable and responsible for their career - and income - and that is a real privilege that, as a business owner, you should respect (in my opinion). But it is also challenging; the doubts and fears you have for your own future are amplified as you become responsible for the future of other people. It definitely drives me to work harder, not just for myself - but for our employees and, of course, our customers who rely on Fickl's success.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Be ambitious but realistic. You are one person; if you try to do everything you imagine, you will get burned out. I learned the hard way, again and again, especially for the first year. Try to park like 90% of your ideas, and only pursue what you KNOW (from actual research) will contribute to the success of your business. Don't waste time on "nice to have's". Your time is valuable.
  2. Patience. Be patient with yourself, your customers, your team, and your business. Rome truly was not built in a day, and neither will your business. Most things will take longer than you expect they will, so plan for that. Be prepared to pivot and respect the journey. Keep your mission in mind, and be patient as you work toward accomplishing that.
  3. Whiplash. You will get a lot of feedback - and this is a really, really good thing. Don't shy away from it. The fact that anyone cares enough about your brainchild is a fabulous thing. BUT they will have their own thoughts and opinions that, for whatever reason, might through you through a loop. Respect their opinions, make a note of them, and then park them. If many people give the same suggestion or feedback, then take action. But don't re-work your entire product or strategy just because one person says so.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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