Could you introduce yourself?

I’m a B2B SaaS founder and marketer with a special focus on bootstrapped remote-first businesses,  SEO, and content marketing. I’ve worked in different startups in different roles for the past 8 years and probably aged like 20 years through that. I enjoy working in remote leadership roles and getting underdogs to dominate niche markets via strategic growth marketing. I also believe that remote work is the next big paradigm shift of our work lives and I want to contribute by trying to solve some of its problems - like isolation, increased burnout, etc.

I started my startup marketing career in Toggl in 2012 where I built the first marketing team and grew the user base by almost 2 million new users during that time. After that, I became the CEO of Toggl’s spin-off company - Teamweek where I worked on getting it profitable and managed to generate 100% revenue growth over a year. On that high, I decided to jump into the unknown waters of being an early-stage startup founder and I’ve been on this pretty volatile journey for the past 3 years now.

pic of Teamweek team during a company meetup

What are you working on?

I recently launched a new remote work tool called Armadill. It’s a simple daily goal-setting software that you can use with your team to see what everyone’s working on. The product is very robust right now and free to use. We’re gathering feedback about the direction we should take with it and hoping that we can ultimately disrupt the online productivity tools market by offering solutions that are designed for remote-first companies.

I’m also consulting some B2B SaaS businesses on the side and helping them implement ambitious growth strategies. This work is mostly focused on SEO-driven content marketing and I’m helping the companies to streamline their marketing processes and to pick better tactics that would generate more leads and revenue.

What are the challenges and successes you’ve faced in your current role?

I’ve found plenty of success in my previous marketing and leadership roles but my current role as a CEO and founder of Armadill has come with a totally new set of challenges and successes. I knew that I wanted to come up with a SaaS product that would be valuable to millions of people and would help them enforce a healthier workday structure than the current norm seems to be. Finding a technical co-founder who would be excited to build a free tool and to bootstrap it (instead of going the overhyped VC route with some novel AI-solution) was a fun challenge and in hindsight not as hard as I imagined it would be.

pic of Armadill screen

Since we’re not working on this project full-time, we have to be very mindful of our focus and efforts. The challenge is to work on the right things and to pick the right KPIs to improve. I’m very proud of the fact that we managed to build and launch a viable solution after a few months as a side-project. We followed the “lean startup” methodology and so the biggest decisions were not about what features to add but what features to leave out.

Personally, the biggest challenge of this current role is evaluating the opportunity cost vs following your passions and having fun. And the most rewarding part of it is the constant learning and growth that happens when you put yourself in novel situations where you have to have a beginner’s mind.

Do you have a mentor?

No I don’t have a mentor, but I have a good founders’ network around me that’s very helpful whenever I need to ask for advice.

Do you mentor anyone?

I’ve been mentoring startup founders and marketers during several Salto Growth Camps and Latitude 59 and I offer ad-hoc advice to new founders and marketers (especially female founders) whenever they need it.

pic of Annika moderating a marketing panel during the 2018 Latitude 59 conference
Annika moderating a marketing panel during the 2018 Latitude 59 conference

What could society do to better foster female talent?

I think everyone should acknowledge their inner biases and act against them. I’ve noticed that most of us (both men and women) see men applying for leadership roles as competent by default while the opposite is true for aspiring female leaders.

What advice would you give to people getting into your field?

For new startup marketers, I would advise you to pick companies that value and understand marketing. Most of the early-stage startups are founded by tech people and a big number of them undervalues marketing and have the mindset of “if we build it, they will come”. This could lead to lots of headaches and I wouldn’t advise you to go through with it as your first job in this field.

Also, if you are not sure what channel to focus on, SEO and content marketing have the best ROI by far (for self-service SaaS businesses at least).

What’s the best and worst advice you have received?

Best - there are things you know, there are things you know you don’t know and there are things that you don’t know you don’t know. Aim to learn more about the latter.

Worst - you have to be an asshole to be a good leader

Who do you follow? What blogs do you read?

I follow a bunch of Silicon Valley startup people on Twitter to be in the loop of what is going on there, but I don’t take that content very seriously. It’s just good to know the general moods, trends, etc of the VCs and top founders.

I don’t read any blogs religiously, instead, I read specific articles that other founders are recommending to read. There’s some consistently valuable content on Ahrefs blog (about SEO and content marketing) and First Round blog being published though.

What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re doing?

If you want to work with me or to get marketing advice, I recommend checking out my SaaS marketing consulting business. I haven’t written about much there yet, because I have been busy working with some cool companies, but I’m going to make an effort to start a blog there as well and to share all my knowledge about how to make SaaS businesses successful through SEO-driven content marketing and good processes.

For more personal stuff, you can also follow me on Twitter and on Medium.