Invest in yourself and your business — Learn new skills, enroll in courses to broaden your knowledge, and hire a mentor or coach. These are all excellent ways to expand your knowledge because, as an entrepreneur, you are constantly evolving. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses and tools that have helped my business scale quickly.
Being a founder, entrepreneur, or business owner can have many exciting and thrilling moments. But it is also punctuated with periods of doubt, slump, and anxiety. So how does one successfully and healthily ride the highs and lows of Entrepreneurship? In this series, called “How To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur” we are talking to successful entrepreneurs who can share stories from their experience. I had the pleasure of interviewing Amira Irfan, Esq.
Amira Irfan is a business lawyer, seven-figure blogger, and coach who helps bloggers and entrepreneurs make money online and legally protect their businesses. In the last 10 years, Amira has helped over 30,000 entrepreneurs make their businesses legal in as little as 30 minutes, saving them thousands of dollars and giving them peace of mind.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your ‘backstory’ and how you got started?
I’m the business lawyer and seven-figure blogger behind A Self Guru.
Even years after working as a lawyer, I still owed 150,000 dollars in law school student loan debt that needed to be paid off. It felt like I was paying a second mortgage every month.
In order to pay off this enormous debt, it was time to start a side business.
So, while working full-time as a lawyer, I founded A Self Guru, an online business dedicated to helping bloggers and entrepreneurs scale their businesses legally.
I worked 14-hour days to grow this business quickly, earning 210,000 dollars in my first year, which I used to pay off my law school student loans.
I knew it was time to quit my 9-to-5 job and become a full-time entrepreneur when my company crossed the seven-figure mark and made 78,000 dollars in a single month!
Now I help other bloggers and entrepreneurs become their own bosses while also safeguarding their businesses with my DIY legal templates.
What was the “Aha Moment” that led to the idea for your current company? Can you share that story with us?
Within the first month of starting my side business, fellow bloggers and entrepreneurs started to reach out to me for legal help as soon as they found out how affordable and approachable I was in comparison to other lawyers!
At first, I helped them one-on-one with the drafting of their website legal policies and other contracts, but I soon realized there had to be an easier, faster and more cost-effective legal solution for their business needs.
That’s when I came up with the idea of creating DIY legal templates that entrepreneurs could download and start using right away without my assistance. This allowed me to help thousands of people at once, which I couldn’t do while working one-on-one.
In your opinion, were you a natural born entrepreneur or did you develop that aptitude later on? Can you explain what you mean?
I grew up helping my father with his company, so you might say I was born with entrepreneurial skills. I also helped him rebuild his business from the ground up after he was sued for 90,000 dollars and we lost everything.
So, I learned the ins and outs of a brick-and-mortar company while still hustling my way through life with numerous side gigs and businesses of my own. I’ve always been resourceful.
However, online entrepreneurship differs significantly from the brick-and-mortar companies with which I was previously acquainted. So, I had no idea what I was doing when I started my online business!
I had to quickly learn a lot of new skills such as starting a blog, digital marketing, list building, creating digital products, and so forth to make money online.
Was there somebody in your life who inspired or helped you to start your journey with your business? Can you share a story with us?
Yes, it’s my husband, who also happens to be my best friend.
I used to be a thinker who couldn’t seem to make a quick decision.
Even when I eventually decided to start my blog, I was faced with a dilemma: whether or not to invest 700 dollars in a blogging course to get started.
I couldn’t determine if the 700 dollars blogging course was worth the money because I kept overanalyzing and going into my “thinking mode.”
Then, as though I hadn’t already punished myself enough, I enlisted my husband’s assistance in making the decision for me, and it was now his turn to share the decision fatigue with me.
However, his answer astounded me and even penetrated my heart a little.
He said, “STOP talking, STOP analyzing everything, and just DO it already. You waste so much time thinking!”
He was absolutely right.
The reality is that I’d run a mental marathon and thoroughly evaluate something until I was certain it was the best choice for me, and even then, the fear of doing something new would prevent me from doing so.
My husband’s words that day struck me like a ton of bricks, and I made a promise to myself that I would no longer allow fear to paralyze me. I’m not going to let fear stop me!
Do you know how to get rid of anxiety and indecision?
It’s a matter of taking ACTION.
I decided at that point that no matter how large or small the decision was, I wasn’t going to waste time deliberating it.
We would not have been able to make 1 million dollars in sales today if I hadn’t taken action that day and purchased that 700 dollars course to start my blogging business. As a result, I’m thankful to my husband for motivating me to “think less, do more!”
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
I help other entrepreneurs make money online and legally protect their businesses, but since I’m also an entrepreneur, I understand their challenges and can help solve their problems better than any other lawyer.
Thousands of customers promote my legal templates for free because they simply loved them and our customer service. They are always surprised by the number of bonuses they receive with our legal templates that they didn’t expect. Those extra bonuses alone are worth the cost of our legal templates. We truly believe in overdelivering and exceeding expectations. In addition, our legal templates are extremely affordable. All of this, according to our customers, distinguishes our company.
That’s why we have over 100’s of 5-star reviews and customers who always send us love notes like, “your legal templates are a lifesaver,” or “your legal bundle was the best investment for my business that didn’t break my wallet,” or “thanks to your templates, I am able to sleep better at night knowing that my business is now protected.”
You are a successful business leader. Which three character traits do you think were most instrumental to your success? Can you please share a story or example for each?
- Gratitude– I’m always grateful for what I’ve in life and choose to look at things from a positive view even when things don’t go my way. I believe this has been instrumental to my success. As entrepreneurs, we tend to be preoccupied with what we DON’T have, but we must turn our focus to what we DO have! When I began to be grateful for what I had accomplished, I noticed that I began to receive more abundance in exchange.
- Perseverance- there were moments in my company when things broke, we lost all our hard work and didn’t achieve our goals. Working 14-hour days on top of my full-time job to run the business was so exhausting that I wanted to quit and simply stick to my regular 9-to-5 lawyer job. But then I remembered why I started this business in the first place, and how I couldn’t give up in the face of failure.
- Creativity — I think this is one of my biggest strengths. I am a very creative person who can think outside the box and bring new ideas to life. When I’m working on something new in my company, I always consider how I can deliver it in a unique and creative way, and that’s how I’ve been able to help my customers with their business and legal issues.
Often leaders are asked to share the best advice they received. But let’s reverse the question. Can you share a story about advice you’ve received that you now wish you never followed?
I was told to start my website with a basic theme and hosting company because that’s what all beginner bloggers do. I wish I hadn’t done that because as my business exploded, six months later, I had to hire someone to clean up the mess and redo things. Instead of making changes later and slowing things down, I wish I had started with a higher-quality theme and hosting company from the beginning.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them create a work culture in which employees thrive and do not “burn out” or get overwhelmed?
I’d say hire multiple employees based on their special skill set. Don’t make the mistake of assigning all of the work to a single person. For instance, hiring a virtual assistant to handle all of your tasks. That will almost certainly result in burnout and overwhelm. Instead, hire employees based on their availability and the number of hours they can work, and then give them work that they can manage.
Burnout was a common occurrence for me as a solopreneur. That was because I was trying to do everything on my own while wearing multiple hats. Things changed once I began outsourcing and recruiting employees, allowing me to live a better quality of life and take vacations without worrying about the company.
What would you advise other business leaders to do in order to build trust, credibility, and Authority in their industry?
Give lots of value for free. It could be through a blog where you post helpful content, a freebie that you give away to anyone who visits your website, or useful content that you share on social media, and so on. The key is to be consistent with your free content and to wow people with it. As a result, purchasing from you becomes a no-brainer for them because they have already seen how amazing your free content is.
Can you help articulate why doing that is essential today?
It makes you stand out. You will earn more if you offer more. When you overdeliver and provide too much value to your audience, you stand out and gain instant credibility. Consistent value is recognized and trusted by people. Your target market is aware of what to expect from your free content or paid products. You’ll also be demonstrating your company’s principles and establishing yourself as an expert in your field.
What are the most common mistakes you have seen CEOs & founders make when they start a business? What can be done to avoid those errors?
One of the most common mistakes I see CEOs make is failing to protect their business legally from the start, such as failing to make their website legally compliant, failing to have proper legal pages on their site, failing to use proper contracts when working with others, and so on.
Making your business legal should be a priority, and these mistakes are easily avoidable by working with a lawyer to ensure all your legal ducks are in a row, or if you don’t want to hire a lawyer then grab legal templates written by a lawyer, which offer you similar protections without the hefty prices.
Ok fantastic. Thank you for those excellent insights, Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview about How to Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur. The journey of an entrepreneur is never easy, and is filled with challenges, failures, setbacks, as well as joys, thrills and celebrations. This might be intuitive, but I think it will be very useful to specifically articulate it. Can you describe to our readers why no matter how successful you are as an entrepreneur, you will always have fairly dramatic highs and lows? Particularly, can you help explain why this is different from someone with a “regular job”?
When you become an entrepreneur, you put your blood, sweat, and tears into growing your business, but you give up the security of a regular paycheck. Some months bring in a lot of money, while others don’t, so your income will always fluctuate. You must learn to accept the highs and lows while maintaining your patience and hope.
Demand and the market are constantly changing. Even if you are a highly successful entrepreneur who knows the ins and outs of the business, you will always face some unpleasant surprises and awakenings that will leave you emotionally devastated. The same can be said for pleasant surprises, which will make you happier than usual.
Unlike a regular 9–5 job, which follows a set pattern and schedule, entrepreneurship is an emotional roller coaster. Since you nurtured and watched your business develop like a “baby,” you will take every low and high to heart. Every low will send your heart racing, and every high will send your endorphins into overdrive.
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually high and excited as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
So many moments come to mind. Every time I reached a significant income milestone in my business, where we served more and more people, I was overjoyed.
When I first started my business, I set a goal of making 20,000 dollars per month by the end of the first year, but I was ecstatic when I exceeded that in less than 6 months. After that, I was thrilled when we made 78,000 dollars in a single month and were able to quit my 9 to 5 job as a lawyer. Then, not long ago, we had another big win in our business, earning a million dollars in less than three years. I couldn’t be happier or more grateful for everything we’ve accomplished!
Do you feel comfortable sharing a story from your own experience about how you felt unusually low, and vulnerable as a result of your business? We would love to hear it.
Last year, we accidentally deleted our most important product and the entire funnel associated with it. To put it another way, we lost everything and had no backup. Imagine losing everything on a product that had been on the market for a year. I had to rebuild everything from the ground up, including sales pages, graphics, emails, and other technical aspects of creating a digital product. To put it mildly, that was devastating.
The worst part was that it all happened during peak season, around New Year’s when customers were waiting to purchase the legal templates, and I was scrambling to get everything back up and running as soon as possible.
Based on your experience can you tell us what you did to bounce back?
I’ll never forget how my heart just sank at that time. I didn’t sleep for 72 hours that week and worked nonstop to get everything back up and running. Nobody was available to work on this because of the New Year’s holiday, so I had to work alone to fix things as best as I could. Fortunately, I had created the product myself, so I knew exactly what needed to be done on the backend but it was heartbreaking nonetheless.
Ok super. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “Five Things You Need To Successfully Ride The Emotional Highs & Lows Of Being An Entrepreneur”? Please share a story or an example for each.
- Failure is not an option — Things will break and accidents will happen, as in my example above. You’ll try things that will fail, but look at them as opportunities to improve and keep going forward. Learn from your mistakes and don’t let failure get the best of you.
- Build a supportive community — Entrepreneurship can be a lonely experience, and you will require the support of others in times of need. For example, whenever I’m feeling down or simply in need of assistance, I turn to my Facebook community of entrepreneurs and friends for advice and support. This is the same community that helped me recover from a major surgery that left me unable to work on my business for more than a month.
- Celebrate your wins, big or small — Celebrating your wins with others will motivate you to do more. For me, I enjoy celebrating my customers and how my legal templates have alleviated their fears and concerns. This, in turn, motivates me to work harder.
- Invest in yourself and your business — Learn new skills, enroll in courses to broaden your knowledge, and hire a mentor or coach. These are all excellent ways to expand your knowledge because, as an entrepreneur, you are constantly evolving. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on courses and tools that have helped my business scale quickly.
- Indulge in self-care — Give yourself the permission to indulge in activities that make you happy. For me, it’s getting my hair and nails done or going on vacations. We often feel guilty about spending money on ourselves and neglect self-care because we are so focused on the business. But entrepreneurship is supposed to be a fun and enjoyable journey! So treat yourself.
We are living during challenging times and resilience is critical during times like these. How would you define resilience? What do you believe are the characteristics or traits of resilient people?
For me, resilience is the natural ability to get back on your feet faster than you think. It is a remarkable human quality to be able to overcome adversity. I believe resilient people have the willpower to get back up after a bad fall on their own. A resilient person is concerned with the future “solution” rather than the present “pain.”
Did you have any experiences growing up that have contributed to building your resiliency? Would you mind sharing a story?
In my life, I’ve had to be resilient in a number of situations. My most recent example was when I had stomach pains and ended up in the emergency room, where I was told I had 12 fibroids on my uterus and a major ovarian cyst that was causing me to lose a lot of blood. I ended up in the hospital for days, undergoing a major hysterectomy surgery for 6 hours that I had no idea was coming, and losing my ability to have children for the rest of my life in an instant.
Through my emotional and physical suffering, I learned that it is not what happens to you that matters, but how you react to it. You are stronger than you believe, and you can choose to be happy and bounce back even in the face of adversity!
In your opinion, do you tend to keep a positive attitude during difficult situations? What helps you to do so?
Yes, I consider problems to be blessings in disguise. Whenever I face a difficult situation, I know it’s a lesson I need to learn, and things will eventually improve! I see the glass as half full rather than half empty. I envision the well-known “light at the end of the tunnel” scenario. “It could have been worse,” I tell myself, “there is no problem without a solution,” or “you’ve got this.”
Can you help articulate why a leader’s positive attitude can have a positive impact both on their clients and their team? Please share a story or example if you can.
Being a positive leader will eventually influence your clients and team. It is, in some ways, an act of resilience. Clients and employees look up to and admire positive leaders. It also has a lot to do with your problem-solving abilities.
For example, when one of my employees makes a mistake, I don’t react negatively because I know it won’t help. Instead, I see the situation as an opportunity for all of us to learn. Similarly, as a lawyer working for my clients, I am confronted with many negative situations; however, it is my responsibility as a lawyer to bring hope and solve my clients’ problems in a positive manner.
Ok. Super. We are nearly done. What is your favorite inspirational quote that motivates you to pursue greatness? Can you share a story about how it was relevant to you in your own life?
One of my favorite quotes is, “Magic happens outside of your comfort zone,” because it always reminds me to face my fears and push myself. When I was afraid to do anything in life, such as start a business from scratch or put myself out there, this quote encouraged me to push my boundaries and be limitless!
How can our readers further follow you online?
You can follow me on social media everywhere @ aselfguru.
Finally, you can sign up for my free legal guide here and learn about the three legal mistakes I see entrepreneurs make and how to avoid them.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for the time you spent with this. We wish you continued success and good health!