Bruce Fikowski of Get Assist: “Give to a cause in which you believe, or better yet, give your time; It is the most rewarding feeling on the planet!” With Marco Derhy

Give selflessly and often! No man or woman is an island. We’re all part of the human race, and we’re all struggling to get by. Regardless of how miserable we might feel in our darkest moments, there is always someone worse off. Give to a cause in which you believe, or better yet, give your […]

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Give selflessly and often! No man or woman is an island. We’re all part of the human race, and we’re all struggling to get by. Regardless of how miserable we might feel in our darkest moments, there is always someone worse off. Give to a cause in which you believe, or better yet, give your time. It is the most rewarding feeling on the planet!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Bruce Fikowski. Bruce is the CEO of Get Assist, Inc. Founded in Calgary, Canada, GetAssist is the online network that harnesses the consumer trend toward private and purposeful online social interactions. Bruce started his career bussing tables at a resort in the Rockies to eventually become Controller, with significant challenges to overcome including twice beating cancer. He passionately supports small businesses, local philanthropy and reclaiming the power of social media. He offers extensive lessons learned and a perspective based upon a lifetime of personal and professional successes and failures.

Thank you so much for joining us, Bruce! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

GetAssist started with my attempt to hang a light in my dining room in 2015. After putting it off for the longest time I searched for a service provider on the internet, but no companies would come out to do the job.

Even after hearing “no” so many times, I knew there were thousands of small businesses that would be happy to do the work. Small businesses needed a platform to connect with those that needed them, that’s where GetAssist comes in. I decided to create my own social network. And I decided to do it differently.

Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?

The more I give the more I receive. We are creating markets that didn’t exist before. I find that entrepreneurs don’t wait for a demand to undertake a project. They fulfill a need that’s not being met. They fix things you may not even have known were broken. In many cases they create demand.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you started? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

Funniest mistake? Ha! Creating GetAssist has been the most sobering experience of my lifetime. All I can say is don’t underestimate what can go wrong, and don’t stress when it does. Work through it as though success is inevitable. Be relentless.

What makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?

We are the only platform that connects business and social on a single network. We’re purposeful social media.

Second, other networks profit off of collecting and selling data, but we’re 100% dedicated to protecting user privacy. Private means Private at GetAssist. We don’t collect any personal information, we don’t share or sell any personal information to third parties and we don’t run advertisements anywhere on the platform.

I grew up in a rural town, and I’ve seen how the world of business leaves small enterprises behind. I want to change that. In Calgary alone, there are 56,000 small businesses that mostly rely upon referrals to get work. GetAssist stands up for them and gives them a voice. We reject the pay-to-play system and instead built a business model on grassroots affordable pricing.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out?”

Take a holiday, a sabbatical or whatever’s necessary to rest and shed all baggage prior to committing to an endeavor. There’s no turning back once the wheels are in motion, especially after you accept investment money. Your investors, your employees, and your family demand that you succeed. If you’re not prepared to sacrifice everything in pursuit of your dream, then you’re not cut out to become an entrepreneur.

On the other side of the coin, to the victors go the spoils. Celebrate like Lindsay Lohan when you finally achieve what you set out to do. Never, ever apologize to anyone for your success. There’s a massive reason why some people do better than others. It’s called commitment and the willingness to tolerate risk. They somehow know when to take their foot off first base and race to second at full speed without ever looking back.

None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a person to whom you are grateful for helping you to get where you are? Can you share a story?

None other than my gorgeous and charming wife, Kim. It requires a special person to put up with the hours, the travel and all of the fits and starts that come with building anything of value. Kim has stood by me with her unwavering support since Day One. I would be nowhere without my co-pilot and best friend.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

Giving back is an unequivocal part of supporting small businesses. GetAssist donates 3 percent of its revenue to local causes. We also host charity events such as our “Fill-the-U-Haul” for new immigrants in Winnipeg and partner with the #BetheChangeYYC homeless advocacy organization in Calgary.

I give back both in and out of my business whenever I can. There was even a sales gal a few years back who had her car break down on her way to work. I needed her work and she needed a car, so I bought her a new one.

Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote?” Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?

Teddy Roosevelt’s “The Man in the Arena.” “It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

It’s so easy to criticize the efforts of others, but until you walk a mile in their shoes… For every great accomplishment in my career, I suffered many more devastating setbacks. All the while we’re operating in a fishbowl watched closely by investors, employees and the public. The pressure to win the day in and day out can almost become unbearable at times, but we plow through the hardships and generally come out on top.

What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why? Please share a story or example for each.

  1. You can’t do anything without a plan. A poorly planned project takes four times as long to complete. Do the hard work of sketching out a path to victory, or it might not ever happen.
  2. You can work less and probably earn more through another employer than starting your own business. Entrepreneurs are willing to accept risks — and all of the heartburn that goes with them — for their business.
  3. Don’t be afraid to be the least-experienced person in the room. That’s how you learn.
  4. Get a notebook on day one. Write everything down, even the bad ideas. There could be a book in there one day.
  5. Overcapitalize. Figure how much money you’ll need to stay in business for the next three years and then quadruple it. Only then do you stand a chance of coming out on top. Running out of capital too early is the top reason that businesses fail. At some point, investors will stop pumping money into a distressed company.

Finally, you are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

Give selflessly and often! No man or woman is an island. We’re all part of the human race, and we’re all struggling to get by. Regardless of how miserable we might feel in our darkest moments, there is always someone worse off. Give to a cause in which you believe, or better yet, give your time. It is the most rewarding feeling on the planet!

How can our readers follow you on social media?

You can find us @GetAssistApp on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. Of course, check out our GetAssist Social Community on GetAssist.

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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