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Welcome to another interview in our Stay the Course Q&A series where we interview course creators and entrepreneurs with the focus of learning from their successes, struggles, and tips..
Today we welcome Rachel Brenke. As a lawyer, Rachel has made it her job and mission to help entrepreneurs be protected legally. She has some great advice in this interview and even more great advice on her podcast (which you will hear about below).
Rachel is a lawyer, entrepreneur, blogger and business consultant with over 11 years of experience. As a licensed attorney who also holds an MBA, she focuses on small business law including business formation, contracts, and intellectual property such as copyright and trademarks.
INTERVIEW WITH RACHEL BRENKE
PLEASE TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR WORK
I’m an IP and Business lawyer and have different brands working with entrepreneurs, photographers, and fitness professionals on the legal aspects of their businesses. I went to school and got my MBA and then went to law school. I was doing photography at the same time and realized there was a need for photography-related legal education. That one realization has eventually grown into 3 brands and is still growing.
My mission is to help entrepreneurs be efficient, strategic and legally protected. I have helped entrepreneurs all over the world initiate, strategize and implement strategic business and legal planning. My content is easy to understand from someone who is actually an entrepreneur and in the trenches with the audience.
WHAT IS THE MOST CHALLENGING FOR YOU IN YOUR BUSINESS?
Managing others is my biggest challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to let go of something and let someone else handle it. I have to ask myself all the time if a certain task is something I actually need to touch or if one of my team members can handle it. Also, since my team is virtual, it’s even more of a challenge to make sure we are all on the same page. A few of the things I have done to try to overcome this is having some sort of employee handbook. We use written workflows to help identify inefficiencies and burdens and tweak our processes as needed. I also do performance evaluations and follow-ups. I encourage them to give me feedback, too! If you ask for feedback, you have to be able to take it not be offended by it. Another thing we do is have task lists and daily check-ins so everyone knows what is needed and expected and what the others are working on that day.
WHY DO YOU THINK MOST PEOPLE FAIL TO GROW THEIR BUSINESSES? WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU OFFER THEM TO KEEP GOING, DESPITE THE SETBACKS?
I think a lot of times they don’t know what they need to do next and get overwhelmed. When I started my businesses years ago, there wasn’t as much information available; freemium models didn’t exist or were very rare. Now, there is a lot of information out there, but they need to learn to distinguish the fluff from the gold. I also think that entrepreneurs don’t always give things a chance to work. They may post an ad but get nothing out of it. Instead of trying again, they decide ads don’t work. My advice would be to give things time…some things take a little while. Also, identify your unique selling proposition – what makes you different from others in your area – and identify who your ideal client is. Once you can figure those two things out and focus your marketing on that, you will be able to grow your business.
WHAT RESOURCES DO YOU HAVE AVAILABLE FOR OTHERS?
I have 3 different websites that target different niches. Each website has articles that address legalities that entrepreneurs need to be aware of. They don’t know what they don’t know, and I try to help them navigate through all of that. I also have Facebook groups for my brands with additional information from member posts and educational videos that I post. In addition to the free information, I also have educational courses and products such as contracts and legal guides that dive deeper into the information they need. All of the contracts are attorney-drafted and are editable, so they can be taken to a local lawyer for any amendments, including local laws, that may need to be made. I also do some business consulting.
WHAT MOTIVATED YOU TO CREATE YOUR COURSES?
I recognized a need from seeing the same questions being asked over and over. Entrepreneurs and those wanting to start their businesses needed more information. I can take the information that I offer for free on my websites and dive deeper into it.
HOW DO YOUR COURSES STAND OUT FROM THE CROWD?
I teach my courses from the point of view of someone who is in the trenches with them. I started my businesses when I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. I went to school for my MBA and then decided I wanted a law degree as well. I have taken that knowledge as well as my many years of experience and turned it into practical knowledge for my students. Not only do they learn what they need to do but why they need to do it from a practical as well as a legal standpoint.
WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PRODUCTIVITY TIP?
Actually, I have two! The first one is batch processing. It’s so much easier to do the same kinds of tasks all at once than to flit back and forth between things. You lose your focus if you are all over the place. For example, I also have a podcast, The Business Bites Podcast®. I schedule my interviews and solo episodes so I’m recording more than one on a given day. I’ll also schedule a day to spend writing articles for my websites or to submit to others. For tasks such as email, I’ll spend an hour going through the inbox in the morning, and then shut it down until the end of the day. I’ll spend a little time going through to make sure everything that needs my immediate attention is done right then.
My second productivity tip is task management. We have recently started using Monday.com for our task lists and projects. It helps us stay more organized with our tasks, we can easily see deadlines, and what is left to be done. It’s also color-coded so we can identify things at a glance.
WHAT’S YOUR BEST ADVICE FOR HANDLING CRITICISM?
You have to remember that one person doesn’t mean all the people. I have always tried to inject my personality into my brands. I’ll post some personal things from time to time and let people get to know ME. A few years ago, I got a comment from ONE person about how that was unprofessional, and I did a complete pivot. I stopped posting about my family, my dogs, anything that was personal. And it hurt my brands! I had readers asking me what was wrong because I wasn’t sharing personal things anymore. I finally realized I couldn’t let one person derail what was working for me.
You will never please all of the people all of the time. When you get criticism, see if there is anything that you really need to listen to, such as the same thing being criticized by different people, and evaluate if you need to make changes. If not, thank them for their time and move on.
THANK YOU RACHEL!
Thank you so much Rachel for taking the time to share your journey and valuable insights with others.
LEARN FROM RACHEL
RACHEL’S COURSES AND RESOURCES
Rachel offers a Free Legal Biz Checklist.
As well as…
- BlogLegally Course
- Membership Terms of Purchase Template (For All Industries)
- DIY Copyright Registration Video Tutorials
- Copyright Infringement Kit Template Forms
- DIY Trademark Registration Video Tutorials
- DIY Limited Liability Company Video Tutorials and Template
- Podcast Success Pack Bundle
- Website Bundle (GDPR Compliant)
- Independent Contractor Bundle
- Intellectual Property Acknowledgement
- Non Compete Agreement
- Employer Legal Document Bundle
- 2 hour ala carte Consulting Services
- 1 hour ala carte Consulting Services
- Copywriter Services Contract
- Copyright Transfer Document
- Workshop/Retreat Agreement
- Publishing in Under 30 Days Webinar and Transcript
- Accounting Spreadsheets For Online Entrepreneurs
- Online Workshop Terms and Conditions Template
- White Label / Private Label Rights Agreement Template
- How To Make The Most Out of Your Speaking Engagement Video and Transcript
- FindMe – An SEO Cookbook for Busy Entrepreneurs
- Advertising Agreement for Entrepreneurs
- Coaching Services Agreement
- Giveaway Terms and Conditions Template
- Non Disclosure Agreement
- Collaboration of Work Agreement
- Speaker Agreement Contract Template
- Model Release
- Independent Contractor Contract Template
- Guest Blogger Contract Bundle
MORE FOR YOU
I hope you enjoyed hearing from Rachel in this interview. If you did, please share it with others. We would be so appreciative!
If you are looking to move your business forward, please grab our free guide to 100+ FREE courses and resources. You will find Rachel’s free Legal Biz Checklist featured there, as well as a ton of other valuable training and tools.