Interview with the Entrepreneur Behind Corpnet
Full Name: Nellie Akalp
What is your business called and what do you do?
My name is Nellie R. Akalp, CEO & Founder of CorpNet.com® Incorporation Services. CorpNet® through its website, provides business filing services required for a variety of business needs such as forming a Corporation or Limited Liability Company (LLC), filing a DBA/Fictitious Business Name, Trademark Search and Registration services, conducting business in multiple states (Foreign Qualification Filings), modifying a business name or address (Amendments), Closing a Business (Dissolutions), Registered Agent Services, Corporate Compliance services and supplies in all 50 states.
I am an Internet entrepreneur and CEO & Founder of Corpnet.com, my second incorporation filing service based on the simple philosophy of truth in business and my strong passion to assist small business owners and entrepreneurs in starting and protecting their business. Through the various “Do-It-Yourself” and “Business-Startup” services I have founded since 1997, I’ve formed over 100,000 corporations and LLCs for small business owners.
My last company MyCorporation.com was acquired by Intuit in 2005. Today, my husband Phil and I, operate Corpnet.com where we help small business owners establish their businesses and submit their legal filings in any state across the U.S.
As CEO of Corpnet.com, I am a strong advocate in educating small business owners and entrepreneurs about the importance of protecting their personal assets. I enjoy discussing legal and business issues concerning everything from business startup through acquisition. I am also responsible for overseeing and managing the daily operations of the business.
I am a popular blogger at a variety of small business outlets, including: Small Business Trends, AllBusiness.com, and Mashable.
Tell us how you became an entrepreneur and how long you have been one.
Ever since the age of 13, I have been managing and running my parents’ businesses (from ice cream parlors to restaurants…always a service business) and liked being my own boss; I never liked working for others (although had to for necessity at some points in my life) and always excelled at growing the business when I was managing a team and working for myself. So in a nutshell I’ve considered myself a true entrepreneur since the age of 13.
How did you fund starting your own business?
My husband and I funded our current company in addition to all of our previous companies with funds from our saving account; we have never had any outside help from any investors or venture capitalist firms.
How many hours do you work in a week?
Being a working mother of four (3 elder and 1 newborn), I work 30 hours per week in the office and about 20 hours from home…so a total of 50…
What has been your biggest business challenge as an entrepreneur?
Aligning the business tasks that I enjoy doing the most with the “must do” business tasks that make the business profitable… Also another challenge would be sometimes bringing my work life into my home life because I am so passionate about what I do and not being able to shut off my mind after work hours, but I have been working on it and its getting to be more manageable.
How did you or do you overcome your biggest challenge?
I rate my success based on the fact that I love what I do each and every day by assisting small business owners and entrepreneurs make their dreams into reality which is very fulfilling for me. What I know for sure is and like Oprah Says….”that if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant – and the success will naturally follow… If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. And, I truly believe, that the reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money. I would do this job, and take on a second job just to make ends meet if nobody paid me. That’s how I know I am doing the right thing.”
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
I would say if you want to have success, you can’t make success your goal. The key is not to worry about being successful, but to instead work toward being significant – and the success will naturally follow… If you do work that you love, and work that fulfills you, the rest will come. And, I truly believe, that the reason I’ve been able to be so financially successful is because my focus has never, ever for one minute been money.
In a nutshell, here are some tips for any start-up:
1. Live within your means and don't be afraid to start small
2. Don’t dwell on your least favorite tasks
3. Learn to say no
4. Don't overlook the legal bureaucracy
5. Don’t forget to celebrate each success
What has been your most successful marketing venue?
Networking through organic methods and heavy social media marketing through various social mediums such as Facebook and twitter, blogs and feature posts and through word of mouth due to our excellent service and high customer satisfaction.
Anything else you would like to share?
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!
What would you tell new business owners to do to make sure they are legal?
It is VERY CRITICAL for any entrepreneur to incorporate their business; any small business owner or entrepreneur running a business should consider incorporating or forming an LLC for their business for liability protection thereby separating their personal assets from their business.
There are numerous nuances to incorporating a business; here is a list of few things that entrepreneurs should know before incorporating a business.
–Why should I Incorporate or Form an LLC?
–Should I Incorporate or from an LLC?
–What is the difference between the S-Corporation and the LLC? –Where should I incorporate or form my LLC?
–When should I incorporate or from my LLC?
–I already have a tax ID number for my business; do I need to get a new one after I form my corporation or LLC?
–Once I incorporate or form my LLC, is my name protected in all 50 states?
Lastly, there are big differences between a sole proprietorship, an LLC and a Corporation? The Sole Proprietorship is the simplest form of business entity. However, without the protection of a corporate shield, personal assets are exposed to business liabilities. And, even where a small business owner doesn’t have assets today, a judgment against that business owner can last up to 22 years. The LLC and the Corporation (C Corporation or S Corporation) protect the owner’s personal assets from any liability of the company. That is, if your company happens to be sued, your personal assets (i.e. property, savings accounts) are shielded from any judgment. Of course, lawsuits are worst-case scenarios and there’s a slim chance you’ll ever run into legal problems. However, if you’re sued as a sole proprietor, you’ll be sued personally. The difference between the two is that the LLC offers the liability protection that a corporation affords an individual but without all the legal formalities and paper filings to maintain the corp.
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