Originally from Jackson, MS, Carol Thompson-Finn, founder of MyLegalEdge and University of Illinois Law graduate, first had the idea for her business while serving as a Law Clerk for the Mississippi Supreme Court. Previous positions in Chicago, working for several Fortune 500 companies in research writing and compliance, gave Thompson-Finn the knowledge and experience needed to take that idea and turn it into a reality.
"At the time, I was really trying to figure out what I wanted to do with myself," she said. "It was June of 2006 and legal forms were becoming popular. I didn't want to go back to traditional law. I've always taken the alternative route and found my niche in research and writing. I decided to expand on that and moved forward with starting my business."
After her clerkship in Mississippi, Thompson-Finn moved back to Chicago to pursue some consulting work, but continued to build out MyLegalEdge. When she moved to Florida in 2013, she married her husband, who was from the Naples area, but also became laser-focused on ramping up her business. According to Thompson-Finn, it was the perfect time to dig in, roll up her sleeves and look opportunities to grow her business. She joined the Naples Accelerator to get access to resources and support and started networking with as many people as possible.
After 12 years of hard work, the result is a user-friendly, intuitive and informative website that gives entrepreneurs, small business owners, non-profits, and even attorneys, access to a plethora of legal forms for all 50 states. Thompson-Finn shared that, while she's happy with the progress and where things are, the journey was not easy and there's still work to be done.
"I could write a book on all the challenges I faced along the way," she said. "For one, I didn't have a mentor or someone to lean on. As a result, I stumbled many times and was forced to get up on my own. As an entrepreneur, having a mentor is so important. They assist with helping you to make good business and monetary decisions and help you get access to capital. This is especially true in the African American community. As a way of giving back, and to fill that void in the African American community, I serve as a student advisor for the Joseph Business School, headquartered in Forest Park, Illinois. I hope to continue the tradition of mentorship as long as I am needed."
Looking ahead, Thompson-Finn is fully intent on creating a business that will provide careers and excellent professional growth for the citizens of Collier County. To that end, a brick and mortar location is something she's considering. She wants to create a business that's guided by a culture where people feel like they're offering something of real value to the community.
Thompson-Finn offers up some great advice for aspiring entrepreneurs. "Have a good plan," she said. "Make sure you're able to sustain yourself during that initial phase when your business is gaining traction. Most businesses fail because they don't have a plan. The plan should also involve access to capital and how you will start to capitalize your business once it starts to turn a profit. Lastly, your dreams are attainable no matter how hard things get. Just continue to persevere and have faith."
MY SPECIAL OFFER
Looking for high quality legal forms for your personal or business needs? Look no further. MyLegalEdge, LLC has an exclusive offer for FLVEC users. As an FLVEC user, receive a 10% discount off of Florida legal forms. This special offer will give you access to multiple legal forms such as: operating agreements, independent contractor forms, and estate planning forms – just to name a few. To take advantage of this special offer, please contact Carol Thompson-Finn at (708) 289-5181 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
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