LegalShield is a company that works to ensure everyone has affordable access to the legal services they need most. How do they do it? The law of large numbers―some 1.4 million members and counting to be exact―makes it possible for LegalShield to negotiate comprehensive legal services with reputable law firms nationwide at a fraction of what they would traditionally cost. As a result, the company’s services are now available in 49 states, as well as four provinces in Canada.
Given the pervasive need for legal services of all kinds in today’s ever-increasingly litigious society, LegalShield Regional Managers Mike and Cherie Theodore are offering prospective Independent Associates with an entrepreneurial spirit the outstanding opportunity to embark on their own new careers in the field. They are seeking dedicated, hardworking and caring individuals who want to make a good living while making a positive difference in the lives of others.
Mike and Cherie recently took some time to talk with BusinessOpportunity’s Entrepreneur Exchange about everything from how they got started in the business to how just 30 minutes a day could change your life:
We have been married 20 years this year and enjoy raising our two awesome boys while living a simple life on a family farm in the lakes and mountains of New England. We love to travel and build our business nationwide, but do our best to raise our children to live as close to nature as possible while reflecting on how thankful we should be for what we have. Our business is a simple, home-based "franchise," without the high cost of entry, licensing, and all the red tape and restrictions. We protect families all over North America while making a great living. After trying MANY other business ventures, we are grateful to have finally found our home with LegalShield.
Mike and Cherie then had this to say in response to some of our most commonly asked reader questions:
How does someone know if they have what it takes to own their own business? Tell us a bit about how you made the decision and why.
We find that if someone has a willingness to learn, anything is possible. In working with our new associates over the years, the few that have not really achieved much income are the ones that don't commit to a slight “learning curve.” Just 30 minutes a day is all we ask. Commit to that amount of time to educate yourself on this industry and the marketplace, and we'll work with you all the way to the top!
What was the biggest challenge you faced in your first six months in business? How did you meet that challenge?
I think balance was the biggest challenge. We had several business efforts in the works, so a strict schedule of key activities and not neglecting our health and the family was challenging. We started out working VERY part-time, and over five years have come down to just LegalShield.
What do you think is the greatest challenge facing business owners today and why? Any suggestions for how to address those challenges?
We feel that providing the best service possible is the key. Your relationship with your customers and associates starts with what you are willing to give them first, before any reciprocity happens. Add value to those you contact, and you'll enjoy your work and succeed.
What is the single strongest piece of advice you would have for someone just starting out in business for themselves?
You have to be willing to commit and be patient. Nothing worthwhile comes without effort and sacrifice. If anyone tells you different then they are being dishonest.
What would you say is the one thing that new business owners forget about or overlook when they’re just planning/starting out?
It’s the human factor. We all have ups and downs in life, activity and emotion. Commitment begins when the positive emotional push that moved you to take action has left you. Now you must persevere out of commitment to the vision without the emotional high. You must plan with that in mind. Get a clear sense of your big “WHY?”
What marketing strategies have you found to be most successful in growing your business?
Connect with people wherever they are―network groups, blogs, forums, etc. Mix it up. Don't get stuck in a rut. Then stay consistent.
What is it about the business/industry you are in that made it so attractive to you?
We make a living, part-time from home, while making a BIG difference. I firmly believe that the average person today doesn't have a shot at justice without LegalShield. We provide them access to their rights. If you don't know what those are, you don't have any.
In an increasingly litigious society, regular people like us are priced out of the justice system. We make $30 an hour, and lawyers get $300!
Dr. Bach, Dean of Harvard Law School, said it best: "There is far too much law for those who can afford it and far too little for those who cannot."
We are part of a one-of-a-kind revolution in North American legal history, while at the same time creating lifetime "willable" residual income, and we like it.
After the initial start-up phase in business, what obstacles do business owners face as they try to grow their business and remain successful? Any advice for how to overcome those obstacles?
Number one would be distractions. The old proverb says, "Chase two rabbits, and both will get away from you." You must keep a detailed ongoing journal of IPA―or income producing activity―then you must learn and apply the Pareto principle, which states that we need to spend 80% of our time on the top 20% of IPA.
What on-line, software or other resources have helped you the most in managing all aspects of your company? Why and how have they been helpful?
Find a good, reputable contact manager with notes updates and email marketing functions. A good one will remind you of vital dates and even allow you to plan automated follow-ups, etc. We have a favorite after trying many, so contact us if you'd like more information.
What did you do before you decided to become your own boss, and how have those skills helped you in your current business?
We tried corporate sales, running companies for others, etc. We learned a lot, but wish we knew back then what we know now. The bottom line is that you will ALWAYS be building either your dream or someone else's. You can't really do both successfully today.
What process do you follow to successfully close on a lead and make the final sale? Any tips?
Don't push information. Make follow-ups a learning process. Every time we speak with a prospect we attempt to learn something that is important to them and to find some way to add value for them...NOT to "sell" or "close" them. They are not sales, they are people.
If you work from home, what are the greatest benefits to doing so? What are the drawbacks, and how do you manage them?
The benefits are ongoing and include everything from family priorities to tax advantages. We personally love a simple life. Office buildings and employees are not simple.
If you own more than one business, how have you integrated your businesses to juggle it all successfully? Any suggestions?
We recently sold our last "side venture," but while we were in that phase, the only way to win was through preparation and a commitment to scheduling. Business 101: Plan tomorrow before tomorrow begins―week, month, quarter as well. The number one waste product in America is TIME. Be frugal with it!
If you bought into an already existing business opportunity, distributorship, licensee opportunity or small franchise, how and why did you make that choice?
We chose our franchise after looking at several "residual income" services (insurance, telecom, etc.). However, true residual has standards. You really need a service that is affordable, not a monthly "nut" to crack in a customer's mind. You can't have a phone book full of competition, or attrition is way too high. And most importantly, you need to provide MUCH more value than you ever collect in cash. LegalShield was the only one that fit this bill in our opinion, and we looked at many options. In fact, we tried several other businesses that cost far more to initiate. In our opinion, LegalShield could charge as much as the top ten and still be a value.
What is/are your favorite motto and/or quote when it comes to business? Any final words of encouragement and/or inspiration for the budding entrepreneur?
"Give me six hours to chop down a tree, and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe." ― Abraham Lincoln
It has cost us hundreds of thousands to sharpen "our axe," mostly in costly lessons learned. Don't despise failures. Let them tutor you, and you WILL succeed.