It was CorpNet CEO, Nellie Akalp’s birthday over the weekend on September 1st, so I thought in honour of her I would post up an interview I did with Nellie a few months ago on Tweak Your Biz which I also write for. Because of this interview I now write for Corpnet.com and I’m really enjoying it. In the few months I have known Nellie, although we haven’t met yet, I can say she is a lovely person, very dynamic in business but also prioritises her family first. We have some fun on email – because of the time difference I’m often just heading to bed whilst Nellie is her bubbly self. I’m so glad I did this original interview and I hope you enjoy it too. Happy Birthday to YOU Nellie!!!
I came across Nellie R. Akalp, CEO & Founder of Corpnet.Com Incorporation Services through her blog writing. Not only writing for her own company she also guest posts for Mashable and Small Biz Trends. Nellie seemed a dynamic and fascinating character, running her own successful business and a family life with four young children so I was intrigued to know more. In this interview Nellie tells me how she enjoys her work life with tips on how to separate it from home life plus how she stays creative and gives us some advice on writing blogs.
How did you get into Business Incorporation and how long have you been doing this?
Helping people incorporate a business and filing business paperwork might sound like a rather mundane, technical field, but this kind of work is a labor of love for me and I have probably formed over 100,000 corporations and LLC’s since 1997 when I founded my first incorporation filing service, MyCorporation.com and then sold it to Intuit in 2005.
At CorpNet, we are in the business of helping make people’s dreams come true. I really believe that. Every day, we are helping someone get their business off the ground, protect their personal assets, and have the peace of mind of knowing that all the paperwork is done right. It’s a wonderful way to make a living, and I have huge amount of passion for what we do and I love coming to work for that reason each and every day even though I am a mother of four (one of which was born a year ago).
What did you do to ensure your Business Incorporation service stood out amongst the rest and has become so successful?
We hands down provide the best email, phone and web support….in fact we even got secret shopped and this was their testimonial about us: “hands down the best, all around email, phone and web support ever.” We always have a live person answering the phone and we have a one page order form where we provide them with up front pricing rather than up selling them and playing a pricing game with them or use any type of bait and switch tactics.
All in all, we provide a personal service and we really try to communicate to each and every one of our clients that we get them, because we are a small business just like them.
You work alongside your husband, how do you ensure that business life doesn’t encroach on personal life?
Here are a few techniques we’ve learned to strike the right balance between being healthy, happy marital partners as well as business partners:
1. Respect each other no matter what: I may not always agree with Phil (and vice versa!), but I always respect him. I understand we each bring our unique talents and strengths to the business. Believe me, I voice my opinion and stand my ground when needed, but I also recognize that there are times when I just need to trust where Phil is headed.
2. Put your ego aside: In the office (well, at home too), it’s critical to put your ego aside and do what’s best for the situation. Adding your pride to the equation is a recipe for disaster…for both your career and relationship.
3. Leave business behind at the dinner table: This is the one time during the day where we try to make a clean break from being business partners. This simple rule helps us stay healthy and multi-faceted both as individuals and as a couple. Of course, with four young children, it would be practically impossible to discuss business at the table anyway!
4. Take date night just as seriously as a big client meeting: Even to this day, Phil and I try as hard as possible to have our own date night each week. When you’re running your business, it’s easy to move mountains to squeeze in a meeting with an important client. And we try to do the same for our own time, too.
5. Separating business and home life is important, but it’s simply not always going to be possible.
How do you best get creative?
Exercising by far is where I get the majority of my creative juices pumping…I also learn through my children; children often see things in its most simplest form and they make it so simple for you so I apply what I learn from them to my business. I also get a bunch of ideas while I’m talking to my employees at work while having our weekly rallies.
How long does it take you to write a post and how often do you blog?
It really depends on how long the subject matter of the post is and really depends on the subject matter of the post that will be writing about and how long it will take me to do the research, in general I would say anywhere from 1-2 hours.
What would you recommend to someone just starting to blog for a business?
Specifically, consider making your blog legal by incorporating or forming an LLC for your blog; this way you are protecting your personal assets against any liability that you may incur as a result of blogging.
In general…to trust your instincts and use your strengths and go for it without any hesitation. It is the most gratifying feeling to be able to work for yourself, earn a living and do what you love and believe in each and every day…..but you have to love what you do and believe in it!
I wish I had a quarter of the energy that Nellie has. I hope you liked the interview and I’m sure you will want to wish Nellie a happy birthday too.