Mompreneur: Ann Levine
Company: Law School Expert
Tell us about Law School Expert.
I started Law School Expert, a law school admission consulting service, in 2004 (after getting fired from my job as a litigator shortly after the birth of my first child!). I now make 6 figures working from home. I also have a very popular pre-law blog (http://lawschoolexpert.blogspot.com) and have helped more than 1,000 law school applicants as “The Secret Weapon of Law School Applicants Nationwide.”
What inspired you start your business?
Getting fired from my job as a litigator and not being successful pounding the pavement. I had previous experience as Director of Admissions for different law schools and a strong background in Higher Education, but knew nothing about business or using the web and started from scratch to learn. Within 3 weeks of having the idea, I already turned a profit!
How long has your business been in business?
Since August 2004.
What did you do in your past work life?
I am an attorney.
What is your ideal workday like?
I check emails and social media in the morning while my kids watch their favorite shows. I work after taking my daughter to preschool, and either work out during the day or attend a meeting for the nonprofit board that I chair, or have lunch or coffee with a friend, pick up my daughter, keep working until it’s time for me to make dinner (using as much local, organic produce as possible).
What have been some of your major successes?
The money! I have very low expenses.
Really helping people achieve their goals is incredibly rewarding. Learning people’s inspiring personal journeys and helping them convey their strengths to law schools. Every time someone gets into a law school that was a “reach” or gets a great scholarship, I feel triumphant.
What have been some of your major challenges?
Working from home makes e-mail addictive. It’s very hard not to check e-mail and it’s very hard to take a whole day off from work.
Also, I spend a lot of time playing on the web under the guise of working but it’s probably not the best use of my time. These are challenges I make for myself – actually running my business from home and becoming successful is the easy part!
The hardest thing I ever faced was some derogatory chatter on anonymous disgruntled lawyer boards online, but none of those people were my clients so I didn’t take it too personally. Still, it’s hard to read people tear you apart based on your appearance.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
The money! Being home with my girls. Not wanting to work for anyone else. Living in Santa Barbara.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“Good things may come to those who wait, but only what’s left by those who hustle.” – Abraham Lincoln.
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Employing others to help me with my personal life. I have an au pair and a personal assistant. I am also not the mom volunteering for the school PTA- you can’t try to do everything. Pick what’s important to you and make time for the things that matter. Really, you don’t have to be the person who does the grocery shopping. To me, I’d much rather do the cooking so I know my family has healthy meals.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
Start small, build big. Make sure everything you do is quality because reputation is everything.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
I have a wonderful webmarketing therapist (www.webmarketingtherapist.com), someone who runs my PPC ad campaign and other experts who assist me so I can do the real essential work of my business.
What is next for your business?
Working smarter. Charging more but working less.
Your two cents sales pitch?
I never sell. I answer honestly and candidly and I offer free consultations, but I never try to convince anyone to hire me. Oh – and I’m always silent after I tell someone a price. I never add any qualifying words.
Are you a bizzie mompreneur? Would you like to be featured and show of your product or service. Fill out our questionnaire and email 411 at bizziemommy dot com any images you would like to use in your post. Interviews are posted every Tuesday.