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Nellie Akalp was the founder of MyCorporation.com which she later sold to Intuit for 20 million dollars. And today, she runs CorpNet.com which specializes in helping small business owners create their businesses.
She’s an expert when it comes to the legal and logistical aspects of setting up a business including the formation of corporations, legal permits, LLCs, you name it.
In this podcast interview, Nellie teaches us how she got started and how she managed to create 2 multi million dollar businesses from scratch.
In addition, Nellie was kind enough to offer MyWifeQuitHerJob.com readers 10% off any service.
To redeem the discount, click on this link and use coupon code: MWQHJ.
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What You’ll Learn
- How Nellie got the idea to start CorpNet.com
- Why Nellie didn’t call it day after making 20 million on her first startup
- How and why Nellie’s strategy has changed with CorpNet.com from when she started MyCorporation
- Why Nellie has taken a much more personal stance with CorpNet.com
- How to stand out in a sea of similar competing businesses
- How to launch a million dollar business with 4 kids
- How to juggle a large family with running a business
- How Nellie validated her business before investing a lot of money
- How Nellie utilizes social media and blogging to promote her business
- Why Nellie reduced her PPC spend for CorpNet.com
Other Resources And Books
Now if you enjoy this podcast please leave me a review on iTunes, and enter my podcast contest where I’m giving away free one on one business consults every single month. For more information, go to www.mywifequitherjob.com/contest. And if you are interested in starting your own online business, be sure to sign up for my free six day mini course where I show you how my wife and I managed to make over 100k in profit in our first year of business. Go to www.mywifequitherjob.com for more information, now onto the show.
Welcome to the My Wife Quit her Job podcast. We will teach you how to create a business that suits your lifestyle so you can spend more time with your family and focus on doing the things that you love. Here is your host Steve Chou.
Steve: Welcome to the My Wife Quit Her Job Podcast. Today I’m excited to have Nellie Akalp on the show. Now, Nellie was the founder of MyCorportaion.com which is a business that she eventually sold for $20 million to Intuit back in 2005. Now after making 20 million bucks a lot of normal people would just call it a day, but Nellie got back on her entrepreneurial feet and started CorpNet.com which helps entrepreneurs start their own businesses and this business is now a multimillion dollar business as well. Now I’ve had a lot of entrepreneurs on the show but here is what stands out about Nellie in my mind at least.
For one thing she has four kids which are her life and spending more time with family was actually one of the big reasons she started to start her own business in the first place, plus her husband is her business partner. Now does this story sound familiar to you? And with that welcome to the show Nellie, so happy to have you today.
Nellie: Thank you for having me Steve. It’s a pleasure.
Steve: So I am curious myself you know, after making 20 million bucks what’s the story behind kind of starting copnet.com which I understand is a very similar business.
Nellie: I was too bored to retire early and I was too passionate and I decided to start it all over again, and really completion is what really drives me, a good challenge is what really drives me and frankly I love the do it yourself business startup industry, I’m good at it. I stated back in 1997 and I thought you know, this is a great challenge to start all over again in 2009 and come up with you know similar services, but you know now we are in a different landscape and do it all over again and challenge myself and see if I can land on top again, and here we are.
Steve: So did you take any breaks after the sale, or did you just kind of jump into it?
Nellie: No, we sold in 2005 and when we sold we decided to take three years off. I was also under a non-compete in that I couldn’t do anything for about three years. So I decided to take that time, focus on my then three growing children, my family and then we decided to have another one along the way, and then after my non-compete run out in 2009 I was crawling out of my skin, so I decided to start CorpNet.com.
Steve: Did you have kids when you started MyCorporation or…?
Nellie: We actually did not. MyCorporation.com was founded in 1997 and back then Phil and I were just actually married, we had just gotten married back in September of 1997 and we were both in law school. And we lived in two bedroom apartment and we founded MyCorp out of our two bedroom apartment, and really put everything we had in it and really there was no risk for us because we had nothing to lose, and then along the way we had our twins in 2001.
Steve: Oh, twins.
Nellie: Yes, my first were a set of twins.
Steve: Wow! Wow! So you know what’s really funny about this is I used to promote MyCorporation.com. Is CorpNet.com essentially the same business?
Nellie: It is, it’s essentially the same business just different people, different time frame, and you know different owners.
Steve: Okay, And then I’m just curious, what the differences that you’ve seen in starting CorpNet versus back in the day when you started My Corporation, what are some of the differences?
Nellie: So when we started MyCorporation.com it was in an era where it was at the birth of the internet and when we started CorpNet the internet was you know at its maturity and we starting during the age of the social media era, and when we started Corpnet.com we were actually at the height of a recession in 2009. So the landscape was much different for us, back in 1997 you could put up a one page website, you would get linked on the search engines. There was no Google. You know we were dealing with Laicos [ph] and EarthLink and…
Nellie: NetScape and AOL and Yahoo and you would just literally, you know put up a one page website and you would get indexed really quickly and the orders started rolling in. I mean you didn’t have to have a credit card type of mechanism on your website. People would just leave their credit card numbers on your answering machine. So it was a different landscape, you know we didn’t have a ton of competitors back then in the online incorporation industry, so it was a much less competitive landscape for us. And it was easy to you know, build the business up and really you know, start making money and the dough stated rolling in really quickly for us, whereas in 2005 when we launched CorpNet.com I was dealing with a whole different ball game.
I had to you know deal with hundreds of thousands of competitors that had now you know gotten hold of the idea of starting businesses online and offering different types of– going after different angles of providing do it yourself services such as the one we provide even you know, free services. And then you know I had to deal with my previous company that I’m now competing with in addition to LegalZoom.com, which everyone refers to as the 800 pound gorilla and the household brand, they have done an excellent job marketing themselves.
So it was a complete different landscape for me and you know I followed my heart, I followed my gut and I followed my mantra which is and has always been there is plenty of business to go around for everybody if you have a model, if you have a niche and if you niche yourself and market yourself properly. And I decided to come out and brand myself as a small business expert who’s done this several times, and has started and sold multiple companies and has also sold a company to a publicly traded company. And by doing that and coming out and launching CorpNet in a very saturated market, you know we were again on top and we did it the right way, and I consider myself, you know, one of the big players out there.
Steve: You know one thing I noticed about CorpNet.com, I went on the website and right from the center is a picture of you, and so it feels a lot more personal to me than some of the other legal zooms and Mycorporations out there was that your intention?
Nellie: Yes, it was. I really wanted people especially small business owners and entrepreneurs to connect with me at a very personal level, and it actually carries through to the way I engage on the social mediums with my friends and followers as well. I’m very personable with my clients, my followers, my fans, and I’m very consistent in doing that because I think we are in an era whereby if you are familiar with that whole zero moment of truth concept about– with Google, you know you can’t hide behind your company. You have to engage with people, and that’s what clients we are looking for, and that’s how we differentiate ourselves from our competitors.
Steve: So does that imply that if I were to call or get on the website I could actually have access to you if I signed up for CorpNet today?
Nellie: Oh, my goodness, so I don’t know if you are familiar with Andrew Warner, he runs the Mixergy podcast.
Steve: Yeah, I know Andrew, yeah-yeah,
Nellie: So if you’ve actually seen my podcast interview with him, he actually challenged me and while we were actually doing the podcast he called here and…
Steve: Is that right?
Steve: And the answer to that question is yes, if you call and you specifically ask to talk to me and if I’m in the office you’ll get me, you’ll get through to me.
Steve: Oh, wow!
Steve: Okay, so I had some questions written down here about why you would a start a competing business, and how you could possibly succeed in such a saturated area, but it sounds like you are standing out with CorpNet by just your whole personality so to speak. Is that kind of accurate to describe your strategy here?
Nellie: I would say it’s my personality, I mean I don’t like talking about myself and tooting my own horn, and that’s where you know, but I feel that people connect with me because I am very genuine and I’m very sincere in my posture, and I truly love doing what I do, and it’s really been something that I’ve been passionate about since a very young age. You know entrepreneurship and having a business for yourself is not in my opinion for everyone, you know. You have to have the stomach and the– in my opinion you have to have the stomach and really the patience to want to do it yourself, and to be able to be so organized and motivated, to bring that motivation from within.
And so in my opinion it’s really not for everyone, but it is for those who can really motivate themselves, they can be organized and be able to make themselves excited and to be able to create, and to really–really not be at the mercy of wanting to get guidance or you know direction from anybody else, and are willing to do it themselves. And in addition to that it’s just you know, in my opinion it’s that drive that I have and what drives me is interest, curiosity, and that passion I have about learning and trying new things and really-really finding out what others are doing and really helping them blaze their trails, because that’s what makes me excited is when I see someone else being as successful as I am, in my opinion I have done what I’ve needed to do.
Steve: Yeah, you know there is no doubt that you’re very successful in what you’ve done and I’m just curious for myself, like I have two kids and you have four, and my two kids are already occupying almost all of my time, like I have to kind of find time in the nights and that sort of thing. It sounds like you are very actively involved in CorpNet, so how do you kind of juggle the four kids and the business?
Nellie: You know I take it one day at a time, because you know it’s a challenge and I’m not going to sit here and you know paint this rosy picture of, oh you know, we have the perfect family and the perfect kids. You know my kids are, kids are kids, and I have two kids that are teenagers, so-
Nellie: They are pushing back right now and they are pushy you know we are in this era of social media with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, texting and face timing and you know my daughter pushes me and challenges me on a daily basis. My son is a football player and he’s a complete athlete, so you know he’s got girls following him all over the place and you know they give mea hard time when it comes to just kind of settling down and doing their homework.
And you know at the end of the day I just take a deep breath, I meditate and you know, they know who the boss is and that there is time for playing and there is time where we all have to get serous because at the end of the day mom has her mommy time and moms got to work to provide for the family and I you know I treat my kids like little adults and I always talk with them, and I always try to communicate with them and keep the lines of communications open because you know, what they have and the privileges that they get to have– it’s all a privilege, but they wouldn’t have those if mommy and daddy weren’t able to work.
Steve: So would you generally try to keep your weekends free for the kids and the family?
Nellie: Weekends are specifically for family and friends and just pure fun. I keep my work at work, and I’m very-very– you know one of the things about me is I’m a very– I’m an A type personality, so I’m organized as you’ll ever get. At the end of the day there is zero emails in my inbox.
Nellie: And my desk is clear with everything I’ve had to do for that day, and this has been something that you know I’ve done most of my time that I have been an entrepreneur is that you respond to things timely, and you get things done as they come across your desk. And that really helps with staying organized and staying afloat and you know, I try to do 80% in 20% of the time, and I follow that 80-20 rule and it works for me.
You know I come in here around nine or ten o’clock in the morning. Sometimes I break it up, I come in, in the morning really early after I drop off the kids, and then I’ll take a break, I’ll go to the gym and then I’ll finish the day up with working a little bit more. Some days I’ll just drop them off early because drop off is by eight and I’m in the office by eight, and I finish by three. Everyday I’m normally done by about three or 3:30 which is the time that I need to pick up my kids from school.
Steve: Nice, okay, it sounds very similar to the schedule my wife has. I mean that’s one of the reasons we started, so my wife could get that flexible schedule to be a personal taxi driver for our kids, you know.
Nellie: That’s exactly what- a personal taxi driver, and sometimes we get called even while I’m on a podcast or an appearance, “Hey mom, I forgot my book or text book or my gym clothes, I need you to drop it off,” and for me it’s an honor you know, because kids they group so fast you know. I look at Nadia and Nicholas who are 13 years old right now, and I kid you not, it’s like I miss their baby years, and I probably have just a few more years with them before they are off to driving themselves to school and off to college.
Steve: I know, I know.
Nellie: So in my opinion it’s a privilege to be a parent, and that’s my utmost priority in life and then it’s my business.
Steve: And that’s one of the reasons why I like you so much Nellie.
Nellie: Oh, thank you, well, the feeling is mutual.
Steve: So a lot of the readers, I mean not readers– listeners out there, they want to start their own business and I teach a class on how to do this, and one of the things I kind of tell them is to try and stay away from really saturated areas unless you have a really unique value proposition. So would you advice people out there to and you know starting corporations and helping people start businesses is kind of a very saturated niche, right? You mentioned LegalZoom and Mycorporation. So do you– what’s your thought process involved in going after a saturated niche, and would you advice this for other people out there thinking about starting their own businesses?
Nellie: I think it’s a case by case scenario and you really hit the nail on the head because my business CorpNet.com is in a market that’s as saturated as it gets. I mean what a small world that you used to promote MyCorporation.com.
Nellie: I mean that’s as saturated as we get, and then in my opinion the answer to your question would be to– if you’re really thinking about going into a saturated industry, I don’t want to say, you know not to do it, but if you are going to do it, you better have a plan and you better have a plan and be able to fall back up on a backup plan. So not only have a plan but a have a backup, and you better know your numbers very well and stay close to your numbers because at the end of the day it’s all about the numbers and your analytics, and really if it’s going to be a business that’s going to make you money, you know.
And in addition to that, I mean passion of course you know I talk about passion and how whatever it is that you do you got to be passionate about it, but if your passion lies in launching a product or service that’s in an extremely saturated market, then my suggestion is to test it out and see what sort of a commitment you are going to be getting from ultimately the potential clients that are going to be buying your products or services, because if they are going to ultimately write you the cheque, you might as well test
it out with those people who are going to be ultimately writing your cheque and supporting your business, so…
Steve: Okay, can we talk about CorpNet specifically? So what was your plan? How did you validate your business before you are starting and what was your back up plan? That’s the three loaded question there.
Nellie: So with CorpNet and truly, there is no BF about this, we started CorpNet because of my boredom, I was bored, and I was crawling out of my skin. My husband was not ready at all to jump back in, and I really-really wanted to start all over again. And I had tried everything from a clothing line in addition to dabbling in some you know fitness types of businesses, and I often found myself sitting at my friends businesses and trying to excite them about building their business.
So when my non compete run out I literally went to my husband and said I got to get back into this you know because this is really where my heart and passion lies. So we went online and we searched for domain names on the internet, and there was not many available. Inventory was really low. So we came up with the shortest name possible which was CorpNet seven letters, two syllables.
So we decide to go with that name, launched it, and really-really thought that we could launch a business following old models and old behaviors, and really follow it to the T as to how we started our first company, soon to realize that what worked then would not work today, and what worked then would not work now.
Steve: Let’s talk about that. So the year is 2009, what’s your strategy for getting customers in the door?
Nellie: Today well, I can’t give all of it out because I don’t know who’s listening, and most of my competitors you know follow me very closely, but again you know our strategy is we take a very-very strong social media strategy with CorpNet.
Nellie: And it’s all content based.
Steve: Okay, so let’s– can we get some examples? So when you mention social media that encompasses a lot of things, so what do you focus on? Is it Facebook, Twitter, blogging, what’s your– what have you been focusing on?
Nellie: All of the above.
Steve: All of the above, okay.
Nellie: All of the above. I mean I have a very-very-very strong, you know stand, a strong-strong presence across the board in every small business related website ranging from Mashable to TechCrunch to Huffington post, Entrepreneur INCs, Small business trend, all business, Forbes, Fresh books, you know, I write for the majority of the blogs out there. In addition I have my own blog, startup starting line, which really serves as a place for entrepreneurs to come and whatever they need, whether it’s motivation, inspiration, tips on how to start a business, tips on how to market their business.
Anything and everything as related to small business, they can come there and they can find really great tips. My blogs is one of the highly read blogs out there right now, and in addition to that you known, I run my own brand Nellie Akalp and under Nellie Akalp, I speak a lot. I’m an author and I’ve written several books that are in the process of being published, and I speak nationwide you know as a blogger, as a motivator and then you know I do my own you know, social posts on Facebook, on Twitter, Google plus, you know anything and everything you can thing about.
I try to do, I mean even from the stand point of running a small business and giving my ideas as to on my spare time for example what do I do? And so just last week I was on this real estate blog you know. So I try to stay very active and stay very consistent with my social media efforts, but I also I’m not picky you know, I think that arrogance can really-really bite you big time you know in a negative way.
I’m very humble and every opportunity that comes across I take it you know, and I don’t say no, I mean if I’m not here, if I’m not travelling or speaking or you know have another commitment, I will take on the opportunity and I will participate in that opportunity, because my motto is, you know, I was once that small and people gave me chances. So I’m going to give it back, I’m going to pay it forward, I’m going to pay it back to somebody else you know and right now you know I’ve made a very strong brand for myself and you know, I’m in a very-very highly frequently visited outlets, but I stay true to my core and I stay true to who I am as a person.
Steve: Yeah, that’s a really great attitude to have, and a lot of times you never know, you know someone who’s just starting out may become big someday as well and so-
Nellie: Yes, I always say don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Steve: So you mentioned a lot of things, now if I were to start out with a business, which one of those outlets would you kind of focus on first, and which one’s would you kind of put off till later?
Nellie: You know as a small business owner as a startup you know, in my opinion for those people who don’t have a lot of you know money to start a business with, you really want to start it on a shoe string budget and go after you know types of marketing that really doesn’t cost you much. So in my opinion you know, start with Facebook, start with Twitter. If you are you know someone who is good on camera you know, why don’t you start by posting some videos of you yourself talking about your products and services and create a You Tube channel for yourself.
Nellie: I mean there is a ton of things that you can do that don’t cost anything, you know start a newsletter, you know if you have a base, if you have a customer base, so have your hands on you know network of email addresses that you can market your products and services to, you know start that way. Another option would be to offer your services, you know by speaking somewhere for free you know, network with people. I mean back in 2009 when I started, I would just go to trade shows and you know, start networking with people without purchasing a booth, or you know paying those horrendous types of dollars in marketing ourselves. We started very-very-very lean and made some mistakes along the way, and learned very quickly from them.
Steve: Okay, so how did you get your first CorpNet.com customer?
Nellie: My first CorpNet.com customer was through paid advertising.
Nellie: Brand advertising on Google.
Steve: Okay, so let’s talk about that a little bit.
Nellie: Which was a big mistake by the way.
Steve: It was really? So okay, let’s talk about that. So do you use paper click today?
Nellie: Very minimally.
Nellie: We were at one point probably spending about a 100-$150,000 a month Steve on paper click advertising. Again this is something that we learnt very quickly, in that again what worked then will not necessarily work now. And what we realized is that I have such a great following and such a huge following from a social media aspect that CorpNet has really created a brand for itself.
So my New Year goal was to cut my advertising budget to literally 1% of what it was last year. And not only we’ve increased revenues and units last year, but we’ve also increased our bottom line and increased our profitability and profit margin as well.
Steve: Interesting, so with paper click, we run paper clicks campaigns and they are profitable, so when they are profitable there is no reason not to max it out, so does that imply that your paper click campaign started showing diminishing returns?
Nellie: Again you are– you can’t compare paper click in my industry to paper click in your industry you know.
Steve: Sure, of course, right.
Nellie: It’s two different ball games and in our industry you are dealing with hundreds of thousands of people that are offering similar services to what we offer, and they drive prices high you know, by competing over key words.
Nellie: So we decided that it just wasn’t cost effective to us, it’s not that it doesn’t work, off course it works and it brings you the traffic, but at what cost? You know and that’s really the question you have to ask yourself, is at what cost are you willing to spend money on paper clicks? For us we decided that there was a ton of other ways that we can bring traffic to the site at a much less costly way than paper click advertising.
Steve: Okay. So to make up for the lack of paper click traffic, what did you guys focus your efforts on to make up for it?
Nellie: We focused our efforts on increasing our publicity out there, our public relations, our networking, again putting more focus on content and building out content and publishing it on the internet.
Steve: Okay, okay and then public…
Nellie: And content creation.
Steve: Content creation on your own properties or just spread around on all the other properties that you kind of listed earlier?
Nellie: A little bit of both.
Steve: Okay, I mean I can tell you now just you know before I didn’t know a whole lot about you prior to this interview, but once I started looking around and just looking at your competitors, I have come to realize that CorpNet.com, I feel a lot better about your business because you are so friend centered. It feels like a lot more personal than some of the other services which would incline me to use you as opposed to someone else, and I think that was your goal because you’ve done a pretty good job at that.
Nellie: Yes, that was the goal and you know in addition we really don’t hide ourselves, you know. We are very-very intuitive with our clients and you know we are constantly engaging with our clientele and asking for clients to share their experience about CorpNet with other people that are considering starting a business. So you know if you haven’t been on our review sites you may want to check out the raves that you know people talk about CorpNet.
Steve: You know, and I mentioned I have promoted a lot of these type of businesses in the past because I teach this stuff, and I had kind of stopped over the years because I have gotten bad reviews from people who I referred over, and so I kind of stopped all together.
Steve: It sounds like that’s what the industry kind of needed, someone who is more personal who would actually be more actively involved in helping someone start up a business so-
Nellie: Yes, and you know Steve, really I want to touch on something that you just brought up, you know any company in my opinion is going to have a customer that may not be satisfied with their products and services. And at the end of the day it’s how you deal with that client to make them whole and make them feel happy, because I think clients, even unhappy clients at the end of the day will become happy as long as the service provider took the necessary steps to really validate their dissatisfaction with whatever it was that they were having or feeling, and what it turned out like? How did it end?
So you know CorpNet had– most of the time we have really happy clients, but there has been times where a client may have been dissatisfied with our products and services, but for me and what differentiates us from the rest is how we deal with that client, and how that client is dealt with. So you know if I get a not so happy email over the weekend, every email comes across my phone, and I see it, I will personally respond to that client and I will make sure every step is taken to make that client happy at the end of the day.
Steve: Yeah, and often times once you resolve that they became raving fans of your business, right?
Nellie: Every time, every time.
Steve: Yeah. Okay, I want to switch gears a little bit because this question has kind of been on my mind. Now, your husband has always been your business partner, right?
Nellie: And my best friend.
Steve: And your best friend.
Steve: Okay, so I’ve worked with my wife for the past eight years, and let’s just say that it hasn’t always been smooth. So how do you work…
Nellie: We’ve thrown tables at each other FYI. I mean we are best friends, we are business partners, but it doesn’t mean that we always agree.
Steve: Yeah, what are some of the methods that you use to kind of work effectively with your spouse, like especially when you kind of disagree on some sort of direction or strategy?
Nellie: Okay, so working with your spouse again is not for every small business owner. For Phil and I it works because we are both only children and our relationship started when we met in college, finding that we had similar interests. In fact we graduated you know, both under the same major and then decide to pursue law together. So we had very similar interests and the foundation of our relationship was we met as study buddies you know, as classmates.
Nellie: And what works for us and now as married individuals, married for over 18 years, been together for over 20 years, having been parents of four children is a lot of hard work, a lot of therapy. I told you, I’m very honest, a lot of therapy and you know what I’ve realized is that when I actually met my husband, I didn’t love him as I love him today you know and how close I am to him today. But really it’s about validating each other’s feelings, leaving egos aside, and really when you are a partner in a business working towards one goal is really to look at things as to what’s in the best interest for the business, because I’ll tell you, Phil and I are very different people. He is a very nice individual, you know very-very nice.
Steve: So does that imply…
Nellie: I, you know most people would refer to me as the bad cop, him as he good cop, but I’ll tell you this, if things get to a point where he needs to step it up, he will step it up you know. He just doesn’t come out that way when you first meet him, but at the same time he– I would not be here if it wasn’t for my husband you know, and I– he’s my best friend, he’s my biggest supporter and he’s my greatest supporter, my biggest critic.
He always pushes me out of my comfort, but it’s respect. We respect each other, you know, when you work with your spouse there has to be respect. You have to be working in linear type rules where you are not above each other, and frankly at the end of the day you got to look at what’s best for the business. You can’t always win you know, and that’s what comes first.
Steve: I never win, I don’t even know what it feels like so. So actually one thing that you said was very key, you have to work linearly which means people– each of you have to work on kind of separate projects and be the owner of that project, that’s kind of what has worked for us. But just the other day we had this argument about how we were going to run our Valentine’s Day promotions, so sometimes it still happens. That’s the only thing we fight about is the business, we don’t fight about anything else.
Nellie: Yes-yes linear roles in a business especially when you are running a business with your spouse in my opinion is my first tip if you want to have a successful business running it with your spouse, and in addition with that have a healthy marriage. My second tip is that you have to keep it separate. You got to keep your business separate from your personal life because ultimately it’s going to creep in if you let it creep in, and for us we mandate date night every week [Inaudible] [00:39:43] because we are together literary eight hours a day at the business, and we have meetings that are together with different team members.
So we are always in work mode when we are in the business. So we try to keep work at work and our home life very separate because otherwise you literally become business partners, and that intimacy, that feeling of love and passion kind of gets a little bit blurry along the way.
Steve: Okay, yeah I know, that’s great advice and something that I wish you had told me before I got in all those arguments but…
Nellie: I’m sorry it’s not too late Steve.
Steve: Okay, so switching gears again, so let’s say I want to start a business today, it’s 2015 what would be the very first step that you would have me take to kind of go out and promote and decide which niche was the correct one for me to pursue?
Nellie: My first suggestion to you is test the idea.
Nellie: Test the idea, talk to people. Talk to people who– listen everybody is going to come up to you and they are going to give their opinion and two cents. Some people are going to just tell you it’s a great idea because they want you to have you like them. Some people are going to tell you your idea sucks, at the end of the day none of those suggestions matter. You have to go people are going to ultimately write a cheque for your products and services. So test it out.
Nellie: If you- if it’s a go and if you are passionate about it, you are going to have to ask yourself, “Am I really cut out for this, am I cut out to have obstacles in the way that come up unexpectedly?” Am I going to have the stomach for ups and downs with the business? Do I have the financial backing to fall back on? And a lot of it goes to talking with your family. If you are having a household that you are have to support, talking possibly to your significant other, to your wife, to your children and really making sure that everybody is in because running a business, starting a business in my opinion is like giving birth to a child you know.
When you give birth to a child, you have feed them at every given minute, you know night, day, middle of the day, afternoon, the business is like that too. When you start a business you have to roll your hands up, and you cannot have your lifestyle dictate that business. That business in its infancy just like a child is in their infancy, it needs that love and care and that you know, day and night kind of TLC from you as the business owner. And if you have that in you then I would say go for it, and then otherwise– other than that would be the legal steps that you have to take to make sure that the business is properly getting off the ground.
Steve: Okay, and then you mentioned, you know, you focused on validating your niche, any particular methods that you recommend? Landing pages, legwork, anything that you could suggest or maybe an experience that you did when you started out with CorpNet?
Nellie: Again you know I would suggest for you to do a competitive analysis out there on what niche, what market it is that you are trying to enter depending on what your industry is and what products and services you are trying to market out there, and you know talk to people, get a mentor, if you have a friend who is a running a successful business. If you know people in the same industry, start talking to them you know.
Nellie: And just to a lot of soul searching fact finding and then come up with a business plan, and a backup plan as well.
Steve: Okay, hey Nellie you seem like a really driven person, but are you influenced by anyone through either a book or presentation, like who’s your idol?
Nellie: Wow! I think for me you know, the entrepreneurship again is something that has you know been in me since a very young age you know. I am an only child, I come from a set of parents that were divorced, so I always had to take care of myself and I always had to, kind of had that survivor mentality, but you know I always align myself with people that know more than me and I can you know take direction from both good and criticism as well.
My husband is my best friend; again he’s one of my idols. I think he is very inspiring to me and in my opinion he’s amazing at what he does, and he has a very-very innovative mind, and I consider him my idol, my best friend and someone that I would probably want to be partners with for the rest of my lie. In fact that’s my rule, I never partner with anybody else, but I love reading books and Tony Hseih, he is the– he’s actually the CEO of Zappos.com. His book really inspired me at the inception of CorpNet.com, and that was something that really pulled me through and really-really gave me a lot of tools and tips as to how I want to model CorpNet and how I want to run CorpNet.
Steve: Yes. It shines through, I mean customer service is everything and it just feels like CorpNet.com is a very– it feels like a family business as opposed to a large corporation so-
Nellie: It is, it is, it is and we like it that way, and we like to continue growing it that way.
Steve: And so Nellie we’ve been talking for quite a while now. I want to be respectful of your time. Should I just suggest that people just dial your phone number to get a hold of you, or are there other ways to get a hold of you as well?
Nellie: Absolutely, the best way to reach out to us is by obviously visiting our website at www.CorpNet.com. You can always reach out to us by calling us toll free at 188-4492-638 or email us to firstname.lastname@example.org, you can visit me on Twitter, follow me on Twitter @Corpnetnellie or @Corpnet, and I will make sure that your business is set up legally and professionally in any state that you want to set up in.
Steve: That sounds great Nellie, thanks a lot for coming in the show, really had a great conversation.
Nellie: It’s a pleasure Steve, thank you for having me.
Steve: Okay, thanks.
Here is what I love about Nellie. She already made enough money to retire when she sold MyCorporation.com to Intuit, but instead of resting on her laurel, she got back on the horse, started another multimillion dollar company with CorpNet.com, and I just overall I just love her passion for helping others. For more information about this episode go to Mywifequitherjob.com/episode62 and if you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave me a review.
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Thanks for listening to the My Wife Quit her Job podcast where we’re giving the courage people need to start their own online business. For more information visit Steve’s blog at www.mfwifequitherjob.com.
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2 thoughts on “062: How Nellie Akalp Started CorpNet.com To Help Entrepreneurs Launch Their Businesses”
Wow! Thanks for that very informative and motivating podcast, Steve. Nellie is very inspiring and you asked some really practical questions. Great work.
Nellie, thanks for your tips. Great information.
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