We talked to Susanne Klepsch of MeetFox on how to find simple solutions to interact with clients online and this is what he had to say.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Susanne Klepsch: We are all doing well, thanks. It was a bit hard being in New York and away from my family back in Austria when the first wave hit in March, especially as no one knew the pandemic’s impact and how it will evolve. However, a few months later, I was fortunate enough to see my family, which made it a lot more comforting during this difficult time. The whole situation made me appreciate the small things in life and realize what matters.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded MeetFox.
Susanne Klepsch: I graduated with a Master’sMaster’s in International Management, studied and lived in over seven countries and had experience working at well known automotive companies. The first challenging part of my career started not long after I graduated, when I had to take over my dad’s business – a 120 person plastic production company in rural Austria. Being in my mid-twenties and making quite many complicated business decisions without having the right experience for the role made it quite challenging. Therefore, I decided to seek out a coach. Even though I needed one in that instant, it took five weeks until I found one and finally scheduled an appointment. The process was cumbersome, manual and intransparent that I decided to build an online coaching marketplace myself, which eventually turned into Meetfox. My goal was always to make expertise accessible at a push of a button and allow service providers to offer their services effortlessly and seamlessly. Even though I experienced many ups and downs throughout my startup journey so far, I am beyond excited to see the business finally taking off as video calls have become the norm amid the pandemic. We are now a 12-person team, expanding rapidly and our software as a service solution is used by over 10.000 professionals worldwide.
How does MeetFox innovate?
Susanne Klepsch: We built simple and easy software for professionals to help them run their business rather than focusing on daily admin tasks. MeetFox enables online scheduling, video calls, and instant payments in one product that can be pluggable on any website without technical skills. Our goal was to provide professionals who want to monetize their time, an all-in-one solution that allows them to truly focus on their expertise while MeetFox manages their back office. The gig economy continues to grow 20% YOY. Professionals realize their ability to either create passive income or start their businesses by sharing their expertise and monetizing their unique skill set. Every professional has their superpower to help others succeed, and MeetFox helps these professionals by providing the necessary infrastructure to do just that.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Susanne Klepsch: Due to the nature of our core business (helping service providers interact with clients via video calls), our business has been growing exponentially amid the pandemic. We have seen many new users who lost their jobs, pivoted to an online business, and traditionally interact with clients face-to-face. We have heard amazing stories from our customers and their successes by using MeetFox. We are truly grateful that we can help many service providers and other professionals interact with clients and thrive during these challenging times.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Susanne Klepsch: Of course, as the CEO, I have many responsibilities where I have to make difficult decisions all the time. As a first-time founder, I do not always know whether those are the right decisions, but I have learned to trust my gut throughout my tenure. I have an extraordinary founding team who I rely on for advice and feedback. I must value and respect their thoughts and the support to make the right business decisions. As well, I work with exceptional mentors who also guide the team on challenging issues and me. The biggest lessons I have learned are trusting yourself and finding a team that will stand by you.
How do you deal with stress and anxiety? How do you project yourself and MeetFox in the future?
Susanne Klepsch: Stress is quite common for startup founders in general. Stress is something that you can’t escape, rather than learning how to manage and release it. What works for me is to make sure I have some time for myself every weekend to re-energize and spend time with my husband, friends, and family. While I wish I could say that I was a very athletic person, I try to make a conscious effort to do more activities even if it is a quick yoga session or a walk around the block.
This year, I had a big realization that I trapped myself in a hamster wheel, focusing more on day-to-day tasks rather than the bigger picture or vision for the company. I find it very easy to get trapped in daily activities. However, I am fully aware of the negative impacts this can cause. I started to block off my calendar a few hours a week to make sure I had enough time to think, reflect, and analyze the company on a macro level allowing me to clarify I required to follow our vision.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Susanne Klepsch: As we are an all in one solution, we have competitors in the scheduling industry and as well as in the video conferencing realm. We are always comparable to Calendy or Zoom (and the combination thereof). However, we maintain our competitive edge by providing the end-to-end infrastructure for a professional to run their business.
As most solutions only offer one part of the daily workflow, professionals must integrate a few different solutions to gain a cohesive workflow. It becomes more expensive, time-consuming, and requires a decent level of tech-savviness. MeetFox provides an easy-to-use infrastructure that creates a seamless workflow for the service provider and its clients. We also provide brand customization for all our customers to promote their company and increase its brand awareness.
While most of our competitors focus on making part of the overall workflow seamless, we as a company, like to think that we provide the required software and the overall tools and education to become more successful as a freelance professional in the digital space.
Your final thoughts?
Susanne Klepsch: Startups are challenging but also extremely rewarding. Follow your passion and be determined to reach your goals. It may not be easy, but if it was easy, everyone could do it.
The pandemic has been hard on many individuals in very different ways. Still, I encourage everyone to surround themselves with smarter than you and those who continuously inspire you to become better. My current environment has given me the strength and confidence to continuously fight for my vision and strive to become better in everything I do. Life is a journey, but a fun one!