In Conversation with Fatima Zaidi of Quill Inc.

Fatima Zaidi_Blog Header

Describe your business in a few words?

Quill is the world’s first marketplace and full service agency for podcasters.

What made you take the leap to start your own business?

I was born and raised in the Middle East to Pakistani parents who invested their life savings into giving their children a world-class education. I feel incredibly lucky for my diverse cultural background. The last four years I was running an agency and one of the biggest requests I kept getting were from companies looking to start their own branded podcasts. So I decided to productize the services that we were offering and that’s how Quill was born.

What was your background prior to starting your own business?

Tech sales! I’m so fortunate that I had a background in sales as it’s such a transferable skill set, and the backbone of any early stage company.

Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?

Yes. I’ve always known I wanted to at least try working for myself. I used to naively think that if I could be my own boss I wouldn’t have to be accountable to anyone but that couldn’t be further from the truth. Through this process I’ve found as the founder of your company you are accountable to your team, your clients, your investors- the stakes and pressure are at its highest.

When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?

Being in sales is always an emotional rollercoaster, especially as an entrepreneur. There are days when I’ve felt on top of the world, and others when I’ve hit rock bottom and become convinced I’m a failure. After the constant grind, doors slammed, and the no’s you get on a daily basis people often struggle from a fear of rejection and an inability to put themselves back out there after having hit a roadblock. It can become a hard pattern to break, so that you end up missing new opportunities over and over again. Good sales people never fear rejection and never take it personally and have the ability to keep putting themselves out there. Instead they approach their sales quota analytically and remind themselves that getting ducks in a row takes more work than simply commanding those ducks to line up. So my advice there would be when you are looking for a salesperson for your small business, find someone with true grit, hustle, and resilience. Those traits matter much more than the fancy resume with bells and whistles.

How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Like most early stage startups we felt the pain points of covid-19 with our LA conference getting pushed to 2021, and investors pulling out on final days. It’s forced to become creative in keeping the lights on, and we’ve had to prioritize staying cash flow positive from day 1. Nonetheless we feel very fortunate to be in an industry that is on an exponential growth curve, and are looking forward to supporting brands/indie podcasters who are navigating this emerging medium.

What’s next for your business? What can we expect to see over the next few years?

Much like entrepreneurship and entry into the startup world, the barrier to starting a podcast is quite low; however, the resources and support available to podcasters are scattered and limited. Because of this, many podcast hosts enthusiastically launch with a great idea but are soon overwhelmed by the technical aspects of production and post-production. Quill aims to make entry into podcasting more streamlined and to become the go-to platform for help throughout a podcaster’s journey. Just like you had a phone number for you business in the 1980s, a website in the 1990s, social media and an app in 2000s it’s forecasted that most companies have their own podcast or be advertising on them in the next 5-10 years

What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?

Now the pre-existing barriers to business which female founders face are further compounded by the pandemic which is a lack of access to finance, lack of networks and mentors, and competing gendered priorities. Biggest lesson I’ve learnt is how to pivot, adapt and repurpose my company in the immediate short term.

What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?

Your problems will never go away. It’ll just be a whole new set of challenges so get comfortable with the uncertainty as it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

How have you managed to stay grounded this year?

By prioritizing all the things that keep me mindful: Meditation, wine, journaling and my cat Charlie who loves listening to podcasts. His favourite shows are Cattitude and Purrcast.

Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?

First and foremost I’m big on taking care of myself- I need to get my 8 hours of sleep, and disconnect often so when I’m pulling my usual 14 hour days I can be fully productive and engaged. Unfortunately thanks to many business icons who constantly promote the hustle 24/7 mentality that leads to burnout people think they can’t achieve balance or shouldn’t be striving for it. I think one of the ways I manage my time so effectively is because I’m very intentional about making time for my mental health, the gym, travel, my friends and family. And of course there are some weeks where I pull ridiculous hours and I’m okay with that – balance to me is balance over time.

What’s something our audience would be surprised to learn about you?

I was on a panel with Beyonce’s dad.

What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?

1. Meditation 2. Routined breaks 3. Surplus of coffee

What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?

It means advocating for yourself, taking credit for your ideas, and unapologetically asking for what you deserve.

Share it!

Posted in
Tags

Leave a Comment





Randi Shinder on how SBLA explores the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns

Describe your business in a few words? SBLA uses the intersection of science and beauty to create skincare products that address universal aging concerns. The non-invasive wand-delivery-system skincare line is clinically proven to build collagen, smooth, lift and tighten the skin while targeting the most fragile areas of the face and neck to deliver a…

How Heather Ouida and her co-founders are amplifying women’s voices in the gaming industry through the*gameHERs

Describe your business in a few words? The*gameHERs is a media platform and social networking community that connects, supports and amplifies women who game and who work in the gaming industry. Our mission is to advance the role, voice, image, and power of all women, femme-identifying and non-binary gamers who are comfortable in spaces that…

Creating a smarter swaddle with Hindi Zeidman through her company The Ollie World

Describe your business in a few words? It all started with an amazing infant named Oliver. I was a single foster parent and he was my foster son. When he came to me he was on the verge of being labeled failure-to-thrive because he struggled with the basics of eating and sleeping. He was also…

Jen Fuller on how Etta Loves delivers both babies’ cognitive development and calmness for parents through uniquely-designed baby products

Describe your business in a few words? Etta Loves baby essentials are uniquely designed with science to support babies’ visual and cognitive development, delivering wonder for babies and calm for parents in the everyday. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had an idea that I couldn’t ignore when my…

How Jessica Jackson is achieving better sleep for both parents and their babies through The Mookabee Swaddle

Describe your business in a few words? The Mookabee Swaddle is committed to helping babies (and ultimately their parents!) achieve better sleep by utilizing the proven power of a parent’s scent. 10% of all profits are donated to Saving Mothers- a non profit dedicated to improving maternal health worldwide. What made you take the leap…

Stacie Stanley on empowering women through her swimwear brand STAYkini™

Describe your business in a few words? STAYkini™ is a swimwear revolution created to empower women through high-quality, backless, strapless swimwear that lets us move freely and soak up the sun while avoiding unwanted tan lines and accidental exposure. What made you take the leap to start your own business? I had the idea for…

Healing Trauma and Getting In Touch With Your Power with Kimberly Ann Johnson, Author of Call Of The Wild

What made you take the leap to start your own business? I’ve always worked for myself (beside when I waited tables and a brief foray into public school teaching). But I took the leap from a calling to a career when I became a mother. What was your background prior to starting your own business?…

How Nicole Boyd used her maternity leave to create Prept, a personal style and beauty help service delivered to consumers virtually so that everyone can feel Prept

Describe your business in a few words? Prept is an on-demand style + beauty concierge that matches women in need of style/beauty help to experts that can help in an affordable, personalized, and digital way. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Having TIME OFF from my corporate job while on…

Daniela Schiliro & Heather Kamback on co-founding inBodi Swim, a swimwear brand inspired by different places of the world the duo has traveled together

Describe your business in a few words? Each collection of inBodi Swim has been thoughtfully created based on different places around the world that we’ve been fortunate enough to see and experience. Along with the environments, colors, textures, cultures of each place; we are most inspired by the unique beauty that each and every woman…

Women Making Bold Moves In Business

Your next read: Ali Kriegsman, co-founder of Bulletin, has released her debut book How To Build A Goddamn Empire. We can’t wait to check it out!  🎉 An exciting partnership: Rocksbox, founded by Meaghan Rose, was acquired by Signet Jewelers, making their $1B service business goal that much closer. 🎉 Top sellers: The Jills Zeder Group, a women-led…

Jasmine Carter on how her own obsession for engagement rings led her to create Balacia, a custom bridal jewelry brand that allows shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams

Describe your business in a few words? Balacia is a custom bridal jewelry brand allowing shoppers to create the engagement and wedding rings of their dreams within their budget. We use diamonds, moissanite, and gemstones so buyers have endless options for colors, shapes, and sizes for their rings. In addition to rings, we also make…

How Julianne Fraser is creating meaningful dialogues with Dialogue New York, a global digital marketing consultancy that specializes in influencer marketing

Describe your business in a few words? Dialogue New York is a global digital marketing consultancy, that specializes in building influencer marketing strategies for luxury and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Over the last decade, I’ve watched as the Wild, Wild West of Influencer Marketing took shape,…

Tiffany Buzzatto on pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty with her brand DEW MIGHTY

Describe DEW MIGHTY in a few words? We are pioneering unbottled, undiluted, and uncomplicated slow beauty. We plan to always deliver effective skin care products without fillers, sans water, free of nasty ingredients, and without plastic or trashy packaging to always USE LESS. DEW MORE™ What made you take the leap to start your own…

Molly Fienning on how Red Clay turned her into a hot sauce fanatic and CEO

Describe your business in a few words? Red Clay is a cold-pressed, made-for-foodies hot sauce and hot honey brand, named “Tabasco for the 21st century” by Food and Wine Magazine and “a hot honey to elevate your meal” by The New York Times. Crafted by a talented Southern chef, we focus on delicious flavor, sustainably-sourced…

Jhoanna Marissa, founder of WILLA Creative Agency, on creating her dream women-led digital creative agency in the fashion and lifestyle space

Describe WILLA Creative Agency in a few words? A digital-first creative agency working with beauty, fashion and lifestyle brands. What made you take the leap to start your own business? Not being able to find my dream job. I wanted to work in the digital e-commerce space specifically in beauty and fashion. And back when…