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Nellie Akalp, the CEO CorpNet —an online legal business document preparation service, is a trailblazer in the small business world. She has helped more than 100,000 small business owners protect their assets by forming an LLC or incorporate their new ventures and has been recently recognized as a 2012 Top 100 Small Business Influencer. In addition to being a small business advocate and pioneer within her field, Nellie is also happily married with four beautiful children. Nellie took time away from her extremely busy schedule to share her business experience and the secret to juggling family and work to achieve the ultimate balance (without the help of a nanny!).
Nellie recalls always wanting to be an entrepreneur, growing up the majority of her family members were business owners and she had the opportunity to work in different jobs that she always found her self taking initiative and being in charge. However she was not quite sure what field she would ultimately excel in until she met her husband. The two met in their last year of college and both wanted to attend law school. They ended up going off to separate schools but continued to date. In 1997 Nellie recalls being a broke law student and clerk with a job that paid a mere $10 per hour. Her husband came to her with this brilliant idea of providing businesses all over the United States with a quick and easy way to protect their assets and get their business up and running by preparing and filing their legal documents via the internet. She believed in his vision so much so that she give him $100 as an initial investment to launch MyCorporation.
“Our first customer was a business owner from out of Oregon, I had too quickly learn the legal documents and process to file for business ownership in Oregon,” Nellie chuckled as she recalls the beginning. “I was able to get through it utilizing my law clerk experience and after that customer, the calls started to coming in.”
Shortly after the launch Nellie’s husband left to take the bar so she was left to run MyCorporation on her own. “I turned the living room of my apartment into a workstation and hired three law students to assist me. When the orders first started coming in, I didn’t even have a credit card machine to process the orders. Since my mom owned her own business she was able to aid with processing payments until I was all set up,” Nellie reminisces.
$1,000,000 a month…
By 2005 Nellie and her husband were singing to a different tune… a tune that rang out $1,000,000 a month in gross sales. But Nellie admits she wasn’t moved by the numbers, she was excited to get up everyday and play a pivotal (sometimes life-altering) role, assisting new business owners from all over the country realize their dreams of business ownership. So when Intuit approached her with an offer to acquire her and her husband’s business, initially she was reluctant to sell. “How do you sell something that you are so passionate about?” Nellie pondered. After careful consideration Intuit acquired MyCorporation leaving Nellie to oversee the overall operations. Noticing how the control had shifted greatly after the acquisition Nellie knew that it was time to move on. As a true entrepreneur at heart she took time off to spend time with her family and also dabbled in a few entrepreneurial endeavors including; teaching aerobics and kickboxing, and opening a clothing company. None of these ventures inspired her, she knew that her passion was helping small business owners realize their dreams by becoming a company. The non-compete clause in the contract with Intuit would keep Nellie away from her passion for three years.
This post originally appeared on the award-winning Small Biz Diamonds.
Ashley Neal is an entrepreneur and small business advocate that enjoys writing about topics pertaining to small business. She is the owner of Small Biz Writer, where she specializes in providing quality content online for small business owners which in turn increases visibility and sales. Additionally, Ashley is the editor/writer and publisher of her own award winning small business resource blog Small Biz Diamonds. She also writes for Examiner.com as the Atlanta Small Business Examiner, and Future Simple’s small business blog: Growth University.