From Mount Everest to Modern Entrepreneur: Anne Shiau’s Success Story - From Mount Everest to Modern Entrepreneur: Anne Shiau’s Success Story
From Mount Everest to Modern Entrepreneur: Anne Shiau’s Success Story
WE Source sits down with Anne Shiau, an attorney, to talk about how and why she went out on her own. We didn’t have space to share the whole interview so we hope to talk to her again next year to catch up with this shooting star.
I finally realized I wanted to be own boss. You’re killing yourself at work for someone else. I wanted to do something for myself.
I dreamed about it for two years, waiting for the right moment. There were always reasons not to. I realized I would just have to do it. On my last day of work at my salaried job, I went from the office to the theater and then the next day left to trek to Everest base camp. It was on my bucket list, but Nepal was like a boot camp for starting my business.
Initially fear. Utter abject fear. It kept me working even when exhausted and now my business is growing and it’s my clients that drive me. Helping protect them from disaster keeps me excited.
I saved up a cushion, but not necessarily for the business. I’m risk averse. For the business, I took a 0% interest card and used savings.
I didn’t create a formal business plan, but wrote out my goals and plan for the first year. I want to grow slowly and I will revisit it at the one year mark.
I learned a lot from the men I worked for, but it was the strong women entrepreneurs I met that gave me the confidence and inspiration to start my own business. My “go to” are women solo practitioners and a few business owners outside of law. My legal mentors are older and have been in the industry a long time. But younger women are also very inspiring.
Lots of little challenges that add up. I didn't know where to get malpractice insurance or what quarterlies are. I asked other entrepreneurs and Google—and used a lot of free trials of software!
There’s no shortage of other women willing to help me and give me advice. Online communities have been really helpful.
Friends, family, co-workers, business incubators, the Chamber of Commerce. A website called www.bossladiesesquire.com, a solo legal practitioner website. It’s nice to know you’re not alone suffering on an island and some have made it to “Paradise Island.”
Failure is ok. I recognize that things won’t always go smoothly. You need to use that experience to grow.
I hope to be celebrating that I feel comfortable taking an extended vacation to the Galapagos Islands. If I’m not here everything will go under. Everything is on you. All the failures. All the good things.
I hope to have an established business with some employees. Have a marketable system that I can use. Paying it forward being a mentor. I mentor a bit now, but I’m too new. I’ll still be figuring it out in five years.
Yes I would. But I wish I had known more I wish I’d done more to prepare like gotten IT skills so I could find out why my emails bounced! I’m very happy with what I’ve accomplished. I choose my clients and that makes it worthwhile.
I wish I had started six months before I wanted to open because you need to do so much prep work. So much hurry up and wait. Building a website, business registration and bank accounts, figuring out how to do e-payments. When I started, I would speak to a client and no one has checkbooks. I can’t take PayPal or Venmo. A secure payment portal and an IOLTA account makes a faster turnaround. Legal is one of the slowest industries to go digital. I’m using Skype, online payments and I use a practice management software to create dashboards for my clients so they have a view into their documents at any time. The software I’m using is intended for photographers, but it met my requirements more than the standard legal ones and I was able to make it what I wanted.
People should know that planning for the future is important. You need to find someone you trust. I hope I have created an environment that it’s friendly, but digital. There’s an initial client meeting in person. I work around them during off hours/weekends to develop that relationship. After that we can do video calls, emails. We do signings in person. I do whatever works best for the client.
Our success story entrepreneur
A seasoned, award-winning attorney, Shiau is a graduate of UC Berkeley and UC Davis School of Law and runs AYS Law, a full service estate planning law firm specializing in trusts, wills and advanced health care directives.