A Start-Up Story: The Geller Law Group

For years I wanted to create a will and trust to make sure my family, but especially my children, were protected. I had drawn up a will using an online service, but I knew that this was not the best answer. For many years, I let this responsibility slide. Partly because it is not a subject I like to think about. I want to believe I will live a long life and that my husband and I will both be around to watch our children grow. Unfortunately, recent events made me realize the fragility of life. So when I met Rebecca Geller, founder of the women-owned law firm, Geller Law Group, I immediately knew she would be the person to help ensure that my wishes for my children would be carried out no matter what.

My husband and I had a phone consultation with her and she took her time explaining the entire process. She really listened to our needs and our wishes. She made the process easy. She also re-confirmed the importance of taking these steps. On top of this, she is a wonderful example of what happens when you listen to that voice inside your head that says you want more for your family and for yourself. She started her practice in 2011 and has grown quickly on her terms. Please read her Start-Up Story and then enter the rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post. She is offering 25 $250 gift certificates to The Geller Law Group to be used towards creating will, trust, guardianship and power of attorney documents, and customized legal documents. This will not cover the cost of the documents, but it will get you started. This is obviously an investment, but one I highly recommend.

Get to know Rebecca Geller of Geller Law Group

Rebecca Geller, Geller Law Group

Rebecca Geller, Geller Law Group

What is your business and how long have you been in business?

I founded the Geller Law Group in 2011. We are a woman-owned law firm that provides legal services to families and small businesses across the country. We serve as general legal counsel to small businesses, and we help families with legal matters including wills and trusts, education law, adoption, employment questions, and landlord/tenant issues.

Our philosophy is to make the legal system more affordable and accessible to families and small companies. We develop long-term relationships with our clients to become their “go to” lawyer for all of their family or business needs.

Question: What made you decide to start your own business? What was your inspiration?

I come from a family of entrepreneurs. My maternal grandparents were Holocaust survivors and arrived in America penniless. Embracing the true American spirit, they built their own company and became quite successful. My paternal grandfather owned several businesses. My mom owns an educational company for young kids (check out her education blog acorndreams.com) and my dad has a consulting company to help families assess children with autism.

I guess you could say it was in my genes! I really enjoy building something and working with people, and needed to forge a path that gave me increased control over my schedule so I could spend more time with my kids. Unfortunately the traditional legal career is not very mom-friendly. When friends began asking me to help them with their businesses, I realized I knew enough people to try hanging my own shingle.

Two years later, I am truly stunned by the journey. My clients inspire me every day. Helping someone run a successful new business is such an honor and a responsibility I take seriously. A client recently launched a new venture, quickly found success and excitedly emailed me: “THANK YOU for helping me make a dream become a reality.” What could possibly be more rewarding than helping people make their dreams come true?

What were you doing before starting this venture? How long did you have the idea to start your own business before actually taking the leap?

I spent years working at an international law firm with 500+ attorneys providing legal services to major corporate clients including HBO, CVS Pharmacy, T-Mobile, Discovery Channel, and Cox Communications. I enjoyed the work but the hours were brutal and I felt that the legal system was too expensive and inaccessible to most families and small companies.

After my second son was born in 2011, I was approached by several friends who asked me to do work for them. I am very blessed because I had clients ready to hire me before the firm even launched, which was quite the motivation to quickly get my ducks in a row and open doors for business! It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I love my new career and the flexibility it offers me to spend time with my boys and still maintain a career.

I have since hired several other moms to join my firm and they are ecstatic to have found a career that truly caters to a working mom lifestyle. Thankfully, the marketplace has rewarded our efforts. Many clients seek out The Geller Law Group intentionally to support and hire a mom-friendly firm that focuses on families and helping business owners.

What was your biggest hurdle/struggle to overcome when first starting?

Finding balance between my new business and raising a 2-year-old and baby seemed impossible, particularly in the first few months. One of my life mantras is a constant reminder about how to juggle the balls in the air. We all juggle many balls, but not all balls are of equal importance. Some balls are made of crystal and cannot be dropped, otherwise they will shatter. Some balls are made of rubber, and it is ok to drop them because they will bounce back up — maybe a little dirtier than before — but still intact.

We each have to prioritize which are crystal and which are rubber, but at some point, rubber balls have to be dropped and we have to give ourselves permission to drop them from time to time — and not feel guilty about it.

Now that I have employees and more systems in place, it is somewhat easier – but I constantly remind myself to be more present in whatever I am doing. I work harder for my own business than I ever worked for an employer, but I LOVE the freedom and control I have over my schedule. Yes, there are days when I reach in my bag for a pen and have to rummage through matchbox cars and crayons, but I have more time with my kids than ever before. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, so I try to streamline things as much as possible (Amazon Prime is amazing!) so I can spend my free time doing things that truly matter — like splashing in puddles with my boys.

What is your best advice to someone thinking of starting a business?

Find a mentor to help guide you and be sure to get your ducks in a row. Far too often entrepreneurs have a terrific idea and jump into business creation without having a true business plan, they never consult a lawyer, and neglect to file many of the necessary legal documents (and unfortunately use legal websites for business creation which NEVER take care of ensuring that your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed). Many of these clients come to us when they have a major problem because documents were not filed or the business was formed improperly and it becomes much more expensive and costly to fix the problems than if they had sought legal assistance from the beginning.

The Washington Monument was not built by one person, so why should you expect to have all of the answers to build your business? The further you travel down Small Business Boulevard, you quickly realize how much you don’t know and may be tempted to slam on the brakes (I felt this way too!). Many businesses fail because they don’t know when to ask for or hire help. I hate dealing with accounting, bookkeeping, and taxes — so I hired someone to do this for me. Know your strengths and weaknesses. Leverage your strengths and ask for help in areas you may need assistance.

You don’t need a MBA or law degree to be a successful entrepreneur. Who cares if you have zero business background! There will be challenges and roadblocks, but if you enjoy what you’re doing and work smart, you will succeed. There are plenty of naysayers who will question your business, especially during a recession. Stay true to your passion and you will persevere. As Tom Hanks said in A League of Their Own (one of my favorite movies): “It’s supposed to be hard. If it wasn’t hard, everyone would do it. The hard… is what makes it great.”

What does the future for your business look like? How do you measure success?

We are on track to achieve 500% growth between 2012-2013. The firm now includes 4 attorneys, a senior paralegal, and a business consultant (5 of us are moms!). Success is measured by our clients, partners, and friends referring us to more of their friends to help increase our reach as a “go to” law firm for families and businesses.

As a mom, I also measure success by how my employees and I are able to balance career and family. We work hard but we set our own hours, embrace technology to increase efficiency, and are able to maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle.

We are expanding our work to help Mom bloggers trademark their blogs (including our client Honest Toddler who has received much publicity). We want to help more bloggers and authors legally protect their work.

The firm is also focusing on education law to help families advocate for their children with the school systems. There is a growing need for education lawyers to assist students and parents navigate the education bureaucracy, but many families do not know education lawyers to turn to for help. We aim to fill that void to help families and students succeed in school.

How Can People Connect with You?

We are happy to offer free initial phone consults to all Tiny Steps Mommy followers! Just send an email to Office@thegellerlawgroup.com about what kind of legal services you may need.

Please follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/TheGellerLawGroup, on twitter @GellerLaw, or visit our website at www.thegellerlawgroup.com. I also teach a monthly class at the Springfield Business Development Center about the legal aspects of launching and running a business that may be helpful for budding entrepreneurs.

Thank you Tiny Steps Mommy for this wonderful opportunity to introduce my firm to your followers. Your blog is one of my favorites!

gellerlawgroup

 

Enter the Giveaway here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway: Twenty-Five $250 Gift Certificates to The Geller Law Group to be used towards creating will, trust, guardianship and power of attorney documents, and customized legal documents
Restrictions: This offer is only available to new clients of The Geller Law Group and residents of VA, MD, DC and NC. The gift certificates are valid for 60 days following the raffle. Only one gift certificate per family.

*Disclaimer: I received a discount on the creation of my will in exchange for running this giveaway.*
 

About 

Nicole Dash is a writer, blogger and business owner who lives in the suburbs outside Washington, DC with her husband and four children. She started her career as a journalist and copy editor. She also managed public relations and corporate communications for a national franchise company, but in 2006 started a child care business. In 2012, she launched Tiny Steps Mommy, a lifestyle and parenting blog that quickly gained a following and connected her to an expansive group of women-owned businesses. In 2013, she started a digital marketing consulting business that focused on growing community in an authentic way. Through those connections she was inspired to open Play, Work or Dash, a coworking space that also offers onsite childcare up to three hours per day. It is where like-minded professionals pursue their business goals with the extra level of support parents desire; a place where you "bring your kids to work." She is an active member of the Washington, DC blogger community. She has been published on The Washington Post, Huffington Post, Scary Mommy, Mamalode and Pop Sugar.

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