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15 minutes with member Vanessa Emilio

Friends told Vanessa Emilio she was crazy to leave corporate life, but she’s relishing her freedom while making legal support more accessible.

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Describe your “aha” moment; when did your business idea first come to you?

I was one of the first lawyers to start an online law firm over 9 years ago and all my friends and colleagues thought I was crazy to leave my career behind. I even had job offers made and ready for when I decided to ‘come back’ to the professional world.

I started as a one stop shop for all personal and small business needs and ended up now with 90% of our business helping online startups and traditional bricks and mortar businesses move online and grow- which I am much more passionate about. We have some amazing clients. To watch them grow, evolve and to be part of their expansion has been fantastic.

Describe the “why” of your business

We are not scary lawyers, we want to help and that is what we do. We tried to address general issues and provide solutions for most business owners in a clear, concise and easy to understand manner.

Our  Legal123.com.au legal services are not expensive. We have been doing this for years so we try to use our experience and templates to keep costs down. If you take away the overheads of expensive downtown offices, lack of experience and make it easy for your clients to access you, you can offer a value for money legal service which is an enjoyable experience!

"I even had job offers made and ready for when I decided to ‘come back’ to the professional world "

List your three biggest business goals; which of them scare you the most and why?

Top goal is to continue to grow my business.  As an online entrepreneur, three goals is perhaps too many. We find if we focus on one and move on the next, we see progress and results. At some point the business will grow beyond myself and our great team, but at the moment we are happily enjoying our clients and work.

Has anything surprised you about working for yourself?

I thought I would be lonely and miss the corporate world: the excitement, the buzz, the people. Nope! That surprised me the most. I still have the business contacts, I have the buzz and I can control when I have lunch, am home or go for a run. I work with a great team of lawyers and have good tech support, who are all happy to be able to have the same flexibility.

I cannot believe how much time is wasted for standard office jobs; we are much more productive in our own office environment and team arrangement.

Once you became a soloist, what about your life changed almost immediately; and what changes have been slower to come?

The sudden immediate non-requirement to get up at 5am, run, shower, gulp a coffee and leave for work. It was an epiphany to be able to have all this extra time in the morning to do emails, run in the daylight, and by the time I was normally at my desk in the corporate world, I can no have completed 2-3 hours of work at home.

The thing I have struggled with most is that I am still too hands-on and to some degree that limits the speed of growth of the business. But having a great team is changing this and I can concentrate more on responding to clients, marketing and growing our business.

What’s the best part of the life you’re living now you’re a soloist?

We now take longer holidays! We still work on holiday but previously, in my corporate role running a team of lawyers in-house, I was limited to when we could go. No, we are able to plan longer fantastic holidays where everywhere generally has great WiFi!

Got a tip you’d like to share with our community about soloism?

You need to focus. You cannot set up a business if you are trying to manage a full time job, homelife, etc. You need to devote A LOT of time to setting up (it always takes longer than you think it will!) and once you are up and running, put your head down and work on it solidly. Do not get distracted worrying about what the competition is doing. Just concentrate on being the best business in the market and standing by your products and services.

Lucy Kippist

is an experienced Australian editor with experience in writing, podcasting radio and television, with previous senior editorial roles at News Corp news.com.au, Kidspot and Kinderling Kids Radio. In her current role as editor of Flying Solo, Australia's #1 website for solo business owners she is pursuing her passion for women in the small business space. Connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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