How One High-Growth Startup Uses Shoeboxed to Sustain Their Momentum

Brandon Gaines started Attorney Prime three years ago, and after receiving some big press mentions his business blew up. Learn how this high-growth startup uses Shoeboxed to sustain their growth,

With Shoeboxed, there has never been one “best” way to use our service to stay organized. And after processing over a billion dollars of expense data since 2007, we say that from years of firsthand experience!

Shoeboxed takes enormous pride in serving clients from around the country and across the globe, all of whom use our service in a myriad of ways to fulfill a whole host of organizational needs in both their personal and professional lives.

As attorneys, our product is time, and Shoeboxed helps us save money by saving us time.

-Brandon Gaines

brandon gainesIntroducing: Brandon Gaines

Profession: Owner, Attorney Prime

Location: Austin, TX

Find them: @AttorneyPrime on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn

Shoeboxed: Hi Brandon! Thanks for taking the time to chat. Let’s start with a little background on you.

Brandon Gaines: Sure! I’ve basically been an attorney my entire life, even though I only became licensed four years ago. Both of my parents are lawyers, so when I was growing up I always worked in their law office. I enjoyed learning the law and talking to clients, and my parents enjoyed free labor. I knew very early that I wanted to be an attorney and work closely with families just as my parents had done.

SBX: That sounds like a solid foundation for you to start your business, Attorney Prime. Can you tell us a bit about it?

Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 3.43.28 PMBG: Absolutely. Attorney Prime is an online legal services provider that is run and operated by attorneys. We give our clients the full legal experience for a low, flat fee. We help people who aren’t comfortable handling their case themselves and need attorney advice for a low price and with all the convenience of an online service. We started the business in 2011 and went national in 2012, and we’re based in Austin, TX.

A few years ago, a couple of family attorneys and I were discussing the rise of sites like Legal Zoom and other sites that sold court documents. Since family law is so specific to every client’s circumstances, those sites aren’t able to do many types of family law cases that a traditional attorney can. Attorney Prime fills that gap, and allows a client to get all of the benefits of actual attorney advice, as well as the ease and convenience of an online service.

SBX: It sounds like Attorney Prime fills a real need – that’s awesome! We often hear from small business owners that when they start their business, they try to handle all the paperwork themselves. Was that the case for you? When did Shoeboxed enter the picture?

BG: Yes, we basically just scanned all of our invoices, receipts and business reports and kept them in files on our computer. That worked okay when we first started out, but after we were featured in an article on Huffington Post, our business blew up within weeks. We immediately realized our hackneyed system needed a significant upgrade and fast. Enter Shoeboxed.

After we began to get a little press, our business basically blew up within a few weeks. We were bursting at the seams with receipts and invoices with no easy way to handle that amount of volume, and we found and integrated Shoeboxed about that time. This all happened about seven months ago.

SBX: Cool! It’s amazing what a bit of press can do for a business. So how does Shoeboxed fit into your daily workflows now?

BG: Everything goes into Shoeboxed. Everything. We love the Shoeboxed Receipt & Mileage Tracker app. So when we run business reports, along with the tally from Shoeboxed, we are far more efficient and accurate on our business projections. As attorneys, our product is time, and Shoeboxed helps us save money by saving us time.

SBX: Do you use any other features of Shoeboxed you’d like to share?

BG: Yes, Evernote is the big partner app that we use with Shoeboxed. Since every client case is different, and requires its own attorney notes, photos, and other work material, Evernote, working alongside Shoeboxed, is irreplaceable.

SBX: Awesome! We’re big fans of Evernote too. So what’s changed in your business since starting to use Shoeboxed?

BG: The level of case volume we have now, compared to before we integrated Shoeboxed, is so much larger it is difficult to quantify exactly how much time and money it has saved us. Suffice to say: we wouldn’t be able to manage our receipts without Shoeboxed.

SBX: Well, we are honored to be able to help! Any other benefits you’ve found?

BG: A major part in our business growth, which means bringing in more attorneys and clients, is that our infrastructure is dependable. If we were still using a file system for our records, it would be impossible to grow since our system couldn’t support it. With Shoeboxed, we have yet to see any limit to how large our business will grow.

SBX: Wow, what an awesome endorsement – we’re blushing! In closing, what’s your number one piece of advice for other small businesses to get organized?

BG: Get organized before you actually need to get organized. Our previous file system worked fine for low volume, but when our work volume exploded overnight, we were completely helpless due to the unexpected demand. If we had planned for success, and used Shoeboxed even at the low volume, we could have avoided that problem altogether.

SBX: Fantastic. Is there anything else we didn’t cover here that you’d like share?

BG: We primarily use lawyer-targeted services because of the unique needs of attorneys. Shoeboxed is so flexible, it fits our needs better than even the serviced tailored for lawyers. Because of that, I have to imagine Shoeboxed would work within any industry.

SBX: We strive to suit the needs of our customers no matter what industry, and we’re thrilled that you’ve found us as a solution that works for you. Thank you so much for taking the time to chat, Brandon!

Are you a Shoeboxed user who has a success story and would like to be featured on our blog? Then we would love to hear from you! Please reach out to Emily at emily@team.shoeboxed.com for more information.

Until next time, stay tuned… and stay organized!

 

How to Get Back What You Had to Give Up to Start Your Business

All those things you give up in the beginning will someday make their way back to you once you start your business and get into a rhythm. Here’s how.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

An entrepreneur makes countless sacrifices to see their dream business become a reality. Often, we forget that opening your own business is not just a career change, but a lifestyle change as well. The days of clocking in from 9 to 5 are over only to be replaced with a sort of whenever-I-can-get-work-done schedule, because running a business is a labor of love. You want to see it succeed, and therefore put as much work in as possible.

Though, thankfully, all those big things you gave up in the beginning will someday make their way back to you once your business gets into a rhythm. Here’s how to get back what you gave up!

Time

Let’s face it. When you first dive into the process of starting a business, you are essentially signing over your life. There is so much to do! Incorporating, trademarking and finding a registered agent- oh my! And when you first open up shop, it doesn’t slow down from there. There are customers to earn and profits to break even on!

So how do you get even a slice of that time back? You hire excellent employees with whom you trust your business. When you have a solid team behind you, leaving a little early some days to pick up your kids from school, or going on a week vacation once every summer is not the end of the world. You don’t want to feel like you can never leave or take time to yourself because you don’t trust your team. Keep this in mind when hiring. 

Money

It’s so easy for new business owners to spend all their money right away. They want their new office to be filled with all the latest luxuries from a vending machine to an espresso maker to keep their awesome team happy. But start slow. The best way to start earning some of that money back is to only buy what you can afford. Start with a mini fridge and work your way up.

Consistency

The life of a business owner is typically anything but consistent, but it is possible to establish some form of routine. A great way to accomplish that is to at least start and end your day the same way every day. I personally like to start my day at the office by making a to-do list of everything I want to get accomplished that day. Then, before I leave for the day, I make sure I’ve tended to all the pressing emails in my inbox. Whatever else happens in between can, and probably will, change on a daily basis. But that’s just part of owning a small business– sometimes, you have to roll with the punches.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.

Keeping Your Chin Up for Your Startup

When it comes to running a startup, it’s important to maintain an optimistic attitude for a variety of reasons. Here’s how to keep your chin up when starting your own business, brought to you by Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation.

This post is brought to you by Deborah Sweeney, CEO of MyCorporation.com.

When it comes to running a startup, the reality of the business more often than not outweighs the expectations. Conventional wisdom is that entrepreneurs shouldn’t expect to immediately pull the same salary running a business that they did while working for another company. During your first, and probably your second, year of business, most of what you earn is going to be invested right back into the company. On a financial level, that can be really disappointing, especially if you left a particularly well-compensated position to run your own business. But if you let pessimism take hold, it can have a very real, and very dire, impact on your startup – an impact that can easily be avoided if you think positively.

Optimists Make Better Leaders

To lead, you need to be enthusiastic. To be enthusiastic, you need to be optimistic. No one wants to work for the sad sack that spends the day mired in pessimism and regret. Your employees are going to mirror your energy, and if you aren’t optimistic about your company, they won’t be either. In fact, they may feel like it isn’t really worth working at all since the business is doomed anyway, creating a bit of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Even if your startup salary is a bit lower than you’d like, you should still stay confident and happy – you are running your own company and get to be your own boss! Enjoy yourself, and look for the light even when it gets dark.

Optimists Cope with Pressure

Running a business involves solving a lot of problems. How are you going to turn a profit? How are you going to find new customers? What parts of your business should you invest in? Pay close attention and put in some thought when it comes to answering these questions. If you take a misstep, even once, your brief stumble could become a full-on free fall off the face of a cliff. That puts a lot of pressure on you, but if you remain optimistic, you can adapt and adjust to any situation because you earnestly believe things will turn out okay. Perseverance is one of the very best ways to handle the stress of running your own business. Meet your problems head on, persevere through the rocky patches, and savor the good times when you can.

Optimists See Opportunity

You started your business because you saw an opportunity. Many of you reading may have, in fact, started your business in the middle of a recession, something most people wouldn’t try. Success as an entrepreneur is dependent on the ability to see the broader picture, and pick up on subtle cues and hints as to where a market is headed. If doom and gloom cloud your sight, you’ll convince yourself that your vision is faulty and thus never see any opportunity.

Now don’t get me wrong – irrational optimism is as useless as irrational pessimism. But running a successful startup requires you to believe in the sustainability of your company. The mere act of leaving a salaried job to chase a dream requires an optimistic outlook, so it is up to you to cling to it and continue to let it guide you. Remember to have faith in yourself, and in your business – if you don’t, no one else will either.

Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @deborahsweeney and @mycorporation.