Third on the 52 Women Entrepreneurs blog series is Nicole, a California Attorney and online entreprenuer.
I love stories. What’s your story?
I’ve been a licensed attorney in the State of California for 8 years now. I clerked with the former Presiding Judge of the Los Angeles County Superior Court – Family Law Division when I was still in law school and assisted with a high-profile divorce case. Following graduation and being sworn in to the California bar, I was an associate attorney at a prestigious boutique family law firm working 12-14 hour days. I worked there until after having my daughter 3 1/2 years ago – when I discovered that juggling the practice of law in the firm environment with a newborn at home was a huge struggle. I was also battling postpartum anxiety and decided that I needed to make a choice – practice law the way that made the most sense for me and my family or risk missing my daughter growing up. I quit my job and started my own practice.
While starting my own practice allowed me the flexibility to set my own hours, I still struggled with my anxiety. I ended up finding myself in the online health and wellness space after being approached by a Beachbody coach, which exposed me to personal development for the first time. I embarked on a year long self-growth journey and overcame my postpartum anxiety along the way while working with other women to help develop a work-life balance. When entrepreneurial women in the online space discovered that I was a licensed attorney, my DMs began to fill up with legal questions. Whenever I would recommend that they speak with a business attorney in their area, they would either say that attorneys are too expensive or the process is too overwhelming. And my online business was born.
Tell me about your business?
I have my own settlement minded family law firm. I also have an online business – I work with other online freelancers and service providers to ensure their businesses are legally protected either with my easy to use attorney-drafted legal templates or custom contracts and policies if they’re based in California.
Why did you become an entrepreneur?
I call myself an accidental entrepreneur – because my postpartum anxiety led me to make the jump into my own practice. But I’ve always been pulled to march to the beat of my own drum and being an entrepreneur allows me to be a legal rebel.
Who is your ideal client?
For my brick and mortar family law firm, I work with other female-owned family law firms as Of Counsel to assist families through legal separation and divorce, paternity actions, and post-judgment modification actions.
For my online business, I work with U.S.-based women (primarily moms) with their own online businesses as freelancers and service providers.
For my custom business contract drafting and review I work with businesses located or incorporated in California who have no employees (aside from themselves or their independent contractors), and have no co-owners.
As an entrepreneur we face a lot of challenges, what has been your biggest challenge?
Learning to set boundaries. I’ve always been goal-oriented and work doesn’t feel like work – I truly love what I do. So shutting off and carving out family time is something that I consciously do. I function by my calendar and I’m sure to calendar in time with my family. And when I’m with them, I try to be 100% present.
What has been you biggest accomplishment in your business?
Building a legal business in a non-traditional way. It’s rewarding to know that I’m uncomplicating legal for other entrepreneurs. My mantra is protect your business and save your sanity and I do my darnedest to live up to that.
What’s one thing you’ve learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?
That I’m tenacious. Part of being an entrepreneur is failing. But you have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep moving forward. Some of my biggest business growth has come after my failures. I do my best to appreciate the journey.
What advice would you give someone who just started or wants to become an entrepreneur?
Take the step. No matter how small. Those small steps will add up to
something amazing over time.
Share one fun fact about yourself?
I am Disney obsessed. So much so that I have a whole shoulder tattoo on the upper right side of my body dedicated to my favorite characters.
What’s your favorite quote?
“I refuse to live as half of myself because other people can’t handle all of me.” -Rachel Hollis
How can my readers connect with you?
To read more on the 52 Women Entrepreneurs follow these links:
LYDIA GILLIS PHOTOGRAPHY is Denver based and Destination Wedding Photographer, Seniors and Personal Branding Photographer.