#BEYOUROWN MEETS CHRISTY WESTERFELD
Meet Christy Westerfield, an attorney who provides excellent legal resources for online entrepreneurs and coaches.
Christy helps to make the legal aspects of running an online business completely uncomplicated, more understandable, and at best empowering. Christy herself has been in the corporate legal world, as well as online as becoming a certified health coach, and understand the legal intricacies of starting and running a business online, especially as a coach. Her goal is to help you learn how to legally protect your business, in ways that are easy, simple to understand, and don’t create another headache for you. Phew!!!
Can you share your journey with us so far Christy?
Sure! I came into the entrepreneur space several years ago as a virtual health coach, which I was planning to do as a side project while continuing to work full-time in my day job, which as an associate attorney at a great law firm.
As I got more familiar with space and kept meeting other entrepreneurs and coaches, I learned there was a huge need for legal help in this area, from someone who knows the online coaching and consulting world. After having numerous people reach out to me for legal assistance, I finally made the leap and switched from health coaching to owning a business as a legal resource for online entrepreneurs. I provide legal templates, file trademarks, and serve clients in California as well while being able to set my own hours and work from home. This is perfect for me as I have a 9-month-old son, and love being able to spend so much time with him.
You help entrepreneurs and coaches with legal resources to help them legally protect their businesses, what is the story behind your journey as an attorney?
I was a successful associate with a great law firm, on track to make partner, and had clients I really liked working with. But I kept feeling like this wasn’t what I was meant to spend my career doing; there was more I wanted to do, and I wanted to be able to help people in a way that could make a real impact while making connections and enjoying my work. It was also really important to me to be able to dictate my own schedule, work flexible hours, and spend as much time with my future kids as possible. I took the leap and started my business after finding out I was pregnant, knowing this was what I was meant to do.
What motivated and inspired you to have a career in this field?
I somewhat stumbled into law school. I graduated college with a communications degree, wanting to work in journalism and sports/entertainment. A friend of mine was studying for the LSATs, which is how I was exposed to the idea, and literally just decided to start studying as well, and that I would go to law school. Looking back at that time, I really think it was the universe putting it in my path, because it was so out of the blue and completely random, yet in my head seemed like such the obvious next step. Once I was in law school, I became obsessed with the law, legal analysis, and drafting contracts. I graduated at the top of my glass, held 7 different internships during law school, and really found my passion and path. It was and is the coolest feeling ever.
What training did you undertake?
I went to law school in Orange County, CA after graduating college, worked at a wonderful law firm for about 4 years, and have been an entrepreneur and business owner ever since.
What are you learning in the business of law so far?
I’m learning that a lot of people approach it as a topic that they feel is going to be scary, overwhelming, stressful, expensive, and/or boring, and I want to change that, especially for business owners. Having a basic legal understanding, and having the right legal documents in place before you start taking clients and growing your business can be the single most important thing you ever do in your business. It could save you the stress, headache, and financial bills of dealing with a lawsuit, or fines/penalties down the road, and can make you feel empowered, confident, and ready to grow your business.
Any common misconceptions about your industry?
I think a lot of people, especially business owners, expect legal to be expensive, boring, or scary, so they shy away from it or avoid it. I’ve also found that a lot of new business owners try to cut this corner by drafting documents themselves, or by pulling things from other people online, which is actually worse than having nothing at all! It’s so important to have your legal documents properly drafted by an attorney, and do not steal or use documents from another website or other people, as this can be copyright infringement!
What about any challenging times you have had to overcome? When were they and how did you learn to overcome them?
I think starting a business is always challenging – a lot of doubts, fears, and worry can creep in, and there are a lot of opportunities to second guess yourself. For me, I was also pregnant with a strict deadline (my due date) of needing to put certain aspects of my business on autopilot so it could run without me for the first few months of my son’s life. I was able to overcome that by staying focused and remembering all the amazing business owners I was working hard to help protect, which was a great motivator.
Have you ever had to deal with any doubts of contention or lack of support from relatives or friends? If so how did you push through?
Not really! My husband has always been extremely supportive and was on board with my business from the beginning (even when I expected him to question it, haha) And my parents and sister have always been extremely supportive as well, and have always encouraged me 100%! My father is an extremely smart business owner and entrepreneur as well, so knowing I could ask him a lot of “dumb” questions about starting and running a business has been awesome, too.
What does success look like in your eyes?
To me, success is being able to enjoy life with the people I love, without having to worry about money or having to ask a boss for time off to go on vacation (or to a doctor’s appointment.) Being able to build a career around what I’m passionate about, and make my “work” not feel like work at all, but a series of fun conversations with women who are changing the world sure feels like a success too.
What outlets do use to market yourself?
A lot of my business has come from organic referrals, as well as Facebook. I’m on a mission to make sure every online coach and entrepreneur knows what they need to legally protect their business, and is able to get it at an affordable price.
What are the top 3 social media platforms you use that are the most effective to promote your personal brand?
Facebook and Instagram are the two main ones I use. Working on getting better on Pinterest and Twitter for business!
What is the best piece of advice you have received to date?
I’ve been fortunate enough to have a lot of great mentors in life and business, who have given me great advice. I think the best advice or phrase I’ve been told, is that if you don’t ask, the answer is always a ‘no’ lot of the success I’ve had in my career is because I was willing to reach out to people, introduce myself, and connect with other people who had something they could offer me, or I had something I could offer them.
People are almost always willing to help others, and there’s no point in not asking someone for help, for a job, or if you can take them to lunch and learn from them. Worst case, they’ll say no, and you’re right back where you started.
Best advice you could give to our audience of women looking to have a future career in law?
Think about why you’re wanting a career in law, and spend as much time interning and learning from others while you’re in law school. I think there are a number of people who become lawyers, only to find they don’t actually like it. Also, take time to make connections with others who are where you want to be – you’ll be surprised how willing others are to help you!
Are there any influential leaders you look up to? If so why?
Absolutely! My mentor Dave Meltzer, who is the most brilliant coach and entrepreneur, online marketing superstars like Amy Porterfield, The Skinny Confidential’s Lauryn Evarts, Oprah (because of …Oprah), Jackie Christie, and so so many more!
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
You are a Badass (and You are a Badass at Making Money) by Jen Sincero should be required reading for everyone. Big Magic by Liz Gilbert is also pure gold, as is The Surrender Experiment by Michael Singer, and of course, Connected to Goodness by David Meltzer
How do you wind down?
Currently, watching “Suits” with my husband in the evenings. When I get time, I love to practice yoga and take time to reflect and plan out the next day. I’m also currently committed to daily morning and evening gratitude journaling, so I’ve been doing that right before bed as well.
Can you give us 1 tip on how to stay motivated?
Absolutely! Picture your life once all your goals have been reached, and your dreams have come true. Knowing that reality is a possibility is all the motivation you’ll ever need.
Lastly what projects do you have coming up in 2018 for you?
I have plans to attend a few retreats and events, my son turns 1 in July, and I’m going to continue focusing on serving my clients as well as online coaches and entrepreneurs to the best of my ability!.
Twitter: @christywlegal Instagram: @christywesterfeld