Today we are interviewing Danielle Liss, lawyer, speaker and all-around savvy entrepreneur. Her business success with Hashtag Legal proves that when you fully understand your client’s needs, you can create a unique business opportunity that makes you stand out.
Tell us a little bit about how you grew up and how that impacted what you are doing today?
I grew up in a little town in south Jersey. When I was growing up, my family stressed that my education was incredibly important and that I could be anything I wanted when I grew up. I knew that, but I lacked self-confidence. I went to an all-girls high school and it gave me a chance to blossom and find my voice. That experience was critical in who I became as a woman and a business owner.
Do you have children? How do you prioritize all the elements in your life?
I have a toddler, a tween and a teen. It can get really chaotic, especially if I am traveling to speak at conferences. My husband and I do our best to communicate constantly about the schedule to make sure everything is covered. I am completely lost without my to-do list. I have a nice planner and a whole bunch of apps to keep track of everything, but I cannot live without my spiral notebook that has my daily to-do list.
For me, family always comes first and I feel extremely lucky to have a schedule that allows some flexibility. I won’t lie – I wish that my schedule didn’t involve carpool, but owning my own business has given me the ability to make it all happen. I am usually able to work my schedule around whatever we need to do for our family. It may involve a little bit of work in the evenings or weekends, but it makes it a lot easier to deal with our weekday schedules when everyone is in school.
Why did you decide to start Hashtag Legal? What needs were you looking to fill?
For four years, I worked as Chief Marketing Officer and General Counsel of an influencer network. I got to know the needs of the influencer marketing industry really well during that time. When I talked to both influencers and those on the hiring side, like brands, agencies, and influencer networks, it was obvious that there was a niche in the legal field that was not being filled. Lawyers didn’t understand the needs of the community and it required a lot of effort from clients to educate their lawyers (while being billed for the time!) on what they needed.
Our goal at Hashtag Legal is to fill that empty space. We work with influencers, brands, agencies, networks and other online businesses to achieve their goals. We understand exactly what they need, so we are often more efficient and cost-effective than a more traditional firm. In some cases, we also work in tandem with their existing legal teams to help them better understand the needs of their clients and to help with specific projects.
Primarily, we work with our clients on contracts and negotiations. We also do a lot of work with website policies, such as terms of service and privacy policies. And, of course, whenever we’re talking about influencer marketing, you can’t ignore the FTC. We’re passionate about helping our clients achieve success in their businesses and feeling confident that their lawyer has the skills to help them reach their goals.
What are some of your top marketing tools? How are you most effective reaching new potential clients?
Our top marketing tools are word-of-mouth recommendations and conferences.
For us, word-of-mouth often comes through social media. When people reach out to their peers online regarding their need for a digital-savvy lawyer, we’re frequently recommended. We also do our best to ensure that we are interacting on social media, answering questions and talking about how to handle problems that may arise in someone’s business.
We also do a lot of speaking at conferences. This has been extremely effective way to market the firm and it allows us to build a rapport with potential clients.
What recommendations do you have for entrepreneurs starting new today?
Generally, seek support. Being an entrepreneur is not easy and can often feel lonely. Find peers that you can bounce ideas off of. Find professionals who can guide you within areas that may not be your strengths. A good CPA, a knowledgeable lawyer, and a great tech person are important for any team. Remember: you may not be able to wear every single hat in your business, but you can figure out where to get the help that you need. When you have the right support, it gives you time to concentrate on your passions.
On the legal side, make sure that you set up the right business entity for you. Then, get everything in writing. So often, when you are starting out, you may make a deal based on a handshake and then regret not having a written contract. Remember, a contract protects both parties. If money is changing hands, make sure you have something in writing to outline everyone’s rights.
How do you overcome the challenges facing female entrepreneurs?
I think one of the biggest challenges that face female entrepreneurs is the elusive notion of balance. I don’t think it’s possible to achieve a perfect balance, particularly between family and work. You will always have to prioritize what is most important to you. For me, I know my priorities at any given time and I know what I will need to do to achieve my goals. So my house might not look Pinterest-worthy all of the time, but I know I’m on the right track for me. I think the key is to have confidence in what you are doing and then some of the guilt lessens.
How do you use digital marketing techniques to your advantage?
Most of our clients are in the digital marketing world, so these techniques are critical for us. Since it is their business, we have to make sure it is fueling our business too. We love using social media to give people a glimpse into the more personal side of our lives. It’s a great way to get to know someone without having an in-person meeting first. Building a rapport with future clients is a big benefit.
Digital marketing also helps to position us as experts. People know that they can come to us for questions about the specific needs of their business and it’s easiest to do this digitally. If you had to wait to do something offline, the information may be dated by the time it reaches your audience. Online marketing can give the instant gratification that clients often desire when they are looking to hire you.
How can readers get in touch with you if they have legal questions?
You can reach me anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’d like more information on what we do, our website is http://hashtag-legal.com.