Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com which provides online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, startup bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent services, DBAs, and trademark and copyright filing services.
Read on to see how this attorney turned her job into a business endeavor.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.
I am an attorney by trade. I was a partner in a law firm based in Los Angeles and MyCorporation.com was one of my clients. After having my first son, I was given an opportunity to go in-house at MyCorporation and jumped at the opportunity of having a more flexible schedule and more time to spend with my son.
Within one year, the company was acquired by Intuit. I was originally legal counsel at Intuit and was thereafter appointed to run the MyCorporation.com division. It was an incredible opportunity to work with phenomenal experts in their field. Intuit was an incredible place to work with highly talented people – I learned a ton.
When the economy was rough, there were a number of divestitures at Intuit and I saw an opportunity to potentially purchase the business from Intuit. In 2009, Intuit agreed to sell the company to me and I took over running the business outside of the corporate framework. I became 100% owner of the company and we really had to right-size the business.
It was quite a journey in that we spent a number of years re-assessing needs, allocation of resources and focusing on profitability. It’s always a ‘journey’ when you are an entrepreneur. Every day of that journey is fun and a learning process as we continue to grow and thrive as a business.
What do you believe has contributed to your success?
I believe that my can-do attitude has contributed to my success. Since I was a child, my parents instilled in me the importance of hard work, commitment, and an unwavering belief in myself.
It’s not that I am successful at everything I do, but I am certainly willing to try. I also think that my parents focus on doing right by others and being kind has led me to garner respect from others. I believe you can be successful and treat others well and that often treating others well leads to success.
How are you currently growing MyCorporation?
MyCorporation is focused on maintaining an ongoing relationship with customers. We recognize the importance and long-term value of customers. When entrepreneurs form a corporation or LLC with us, they often ask us to do their annual filings, store their documents, to remind them when tax documents are due.
Our biggest growth at MyCorporation is through providing ongoing support and services to entrepreneurs. We do not want a customer to come in the door, incorporate with us, and then find an alternative for the ancillary business services.
We have focused immensely on being that service that provides for a business owner at the business’ inception and throughout the life cycle of a business.
What is the biggest mistake you see new entrepreneurs make?
I think the biggest mistake new business owners make is to fail to focus on ROI. When business owners lose focus on what is bringing in revenue and the return on investment of expenditures, they may continue to do the wrong things. Business owners often try many different things in pursuit of success – marketing, new products, new hires, etc. If they do not know what is yielding success and what is not, it can be devastating for a new business.
What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business?
Sometimes starting a new business is just about starting. Once the business is started, women are often extremely persistent and diligent. It’s getting off the ground and just having the confidence to do it. Talking with other woman-owned business, focusing on the light at the end of the tunnel and surrounding yourself with the right employees and team members are critical to success.
On those “don’t feel like it days”, what motivates you to keep going?
It’s pretty rare that I just “don’t feel like it” – I must admit, though, that I’ll go take a walk to grab a coffee or I’ll go to Pilates mid-day. This gets me away from the office, gives some perspective and helps me to think more clearly.
I really, truly enjoy work. I must say, though, that my favorite time of day is when I pick my boys up from school. I usually take to soccer practice, piano practice or religious school and then come back to work. BUT, every day, I’m so excited to see them at pick-up, get their download of the day and spend a moment. I’m not sure they even notice that I go back to work for a couple of hours while they are at their afternoon ‘event’. This balance, plus working close to home and school, is what makes it work.
As a mom of two boys, how do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
It takes a village. I have an entrepreneur-husband who also has flexibility and incredible grandparents who will help with different events if needed. Curiously, though, entrepreneurism and business ownership often afford more flexibility than less.
I am fortunate to be on the school PFA, room mom, and team mom – to go to all their games, performances, and even practices. I can do this because I no longer work in a law firm or in a corporate environment. I definitely take work home with me – it is a family business in every sense of the word. We all talk about what’s going on at work, what I’m working on but we also spend a lot of time together to talk.
I wouldn’t trade the busy-ness for the world!
Thanks to Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation for sharing her story!