Deena Fischer

E-Business Law Group / Just1Group - Managing Partner/ Principal and CEO
Yardley, PA
http://www.ebusinesslawgroup.com
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  • Twitter is a fantastic business tool.  It's helped me grow my business and allowed (similar to this blog) for my followers to get to know me a little.  In case you're not following me, my legal twitter handle is DeenaEsq

    In case you haven't realized it, I'm very different from most lawyers.  I'm very comfortable with the latest technology.  As such, I'm often asked to help colleagues to get started.

    The question I get asked most is why anyone would bother with Twitter.  For lawyers, it's not an intuitive step. 

    The reason that Twitter is valuable to me is that lawyers are generally intimidating to most small business owners. Having people get to know me as a person makes me far less intimidating to approach when they need a lawyer to talk to. 

    Twitter is a very accessible medium for companies.  It's easy to use, easy to start and has a very shallow learning curve.

    Everyone thinks that they can just jump right on and start tweeting their business.  But it's not quite that [...]

  • Hey, the only way we learn is by making mistakes.  Ok, well, that's not exactly true.  You CAN learn by following someone's example that already made the mistake, but if you're anything like me, you never do that...

    Do I get stuff wrong?

    Heck, yes.  All the darn time.

    You think I'm smart?  I'm not.  I've just made a TON of mistakes... LOL!  And I'm still making them.

    I'm so darn stubborn that I even make mistakes that I would advise my clients not to make.  Like the mistake that I made this week. 

    I advise people about how to choose the right lawer.  I even wrote a whole blog post on the topic

    So, what did I do when I wanted to find a lawyer to handle the real estate closing for the sale of my apartment?  Did I follow my own advice? 

    Do you really have to ask?

    Of course not.

    I let my husband ask a friend for a recommendation and went forward without doing any additional checking.  Sometimes, I'm really dumb.

    We were supposed to close Monday.  But no.  We all got th [...]

  • Normally, I wouldn't do this (and I apologize to those of you who read my legal blog on a regular basis, since I just posted this there too).  But it's too important to all of you for me not to repeat it here.

    Just When You Thought That You Were Compliant With Privacy Law

    by Deena Burgess, Esq.

    You're a responsible business owner.  I know that you are.  If you weren't, you wouldn't have stopped to read this blog post. 

    You know that you have to follow certain privacy laws regarding the information that you collect on your site.  You've even read my blog post on why you shouldn't use free privacy policies and hired a great lawyer to write them for you. 

    You're all done, right?

    Sadly, no. 

    The law is an ever changing set of requirements.  And there's just been another change that you should be aware of.

    As of September 12, 2009, a new privacy law in the State of Maine will go into effect about the requirements for collecting and using information from minors in the State [...]

  • I don't always participate in conversations that take place here on STS, but I watch what seems like most of them (though I'm sure that's not true). 

    I see a lot of discussion of Facebook for business and Twitter.  Don't get me wrong, I use them both and I enjoy them (well, Twitter more than Facebook, but still...).

    I think that LinkedIn gets overlooked in the equation, particularly for people who are running service based businesses. 

    Hey, I get it.  You can't be everywhere.  Limited amount of time...You've got to run your business...Blah, blah, blah.... 

    Trust me, I've got the same problem.

    But LinkedIn has been an invaluable tool for my business.  Here's why...

    As a lawyer, I'm not able to disclose the identity of my clients until it becomes public record.  Period.  I get asked for references or representative clients all the time.  And I can't give them any. 

    So, how do people who want to hire me know if I'm any good? 

    I'll tell you how.

    I have some great clients [...]

  • Whoever said it was right.  It's not what you know, it's who you know.

    No, really.  It is.

    When I was in my 20's, I remember distinctly thinking that being smart should be enough to get me where I want to go.  I work hard, I'm a pretty smart cookie... (If I do say so myself).

    When my dad would say that he knew a guy who knew a guy... (you get the idea), I'd look at him like he'd lost his mind and tell him that I appreciated the offer but that I wanted to do it on my own.

    I don't have a lot of friends and I've never been particularly "popular".  I'm a very "tell it like it is" person and that tends to rub people the wrong way.  It's not a good way to be when you need to network with people. 

    So, I didn't have a network.  In fact, I avoided networking like the plague when I was an attorney in a firm. 

    And I didn't really have to.  When you work in a firm, you can coast on being a good worker.

    It was part of what worried me most about launching my own firm was going out and [...]

  • Happy Birthday to Me!

    July 7, 2009

    Today isn't the day I was born.  That's in February (in case anyone's interested). 

    Today is the one year anniversary of me launching my law firm.  Hooray!!!  On July 7, 2008, I launched my website and started marketing my firm. 

    That's kind of like my birthday.  I mean, I am my firm.  (Hmm, I wonder if that means that I should ask my husband whether I should expect presents... Probably not... LOL!)

    And it's been an unbelievable year.  I owe a lot of that to you Savor ladies.  Thank you so much!

    Not only because many of you have become clients and friends, but also because of the many things you've helped me learn along the way. 

    In honor of my firm's anniversary, I've decided to donate 5% of my profits from July to a great cause, the Children's Aid Society

    For anyone who would like to join me in supporting this great charity, you can either hire me in July (LOL!!!) or you can click on the form on the front page of my site and donate money to this great charity.  At t [...]

  • What Is Your Why?

    July 1, 2009

    I went to a NYC Entrepreneurs event/conference last week mostly because I thought it might be a good place to find business.  That turned out not to be the case. 

    Oh well, you win some, you lose some.

    The event wasn't a total loss for me though.  I got to hear a very interesting speaker named Simon Sinek.  He has a book coming out in October called "Start with Why". 

    He talked about why companies like Apple Computers, Harley Davidson and Southwest Airlines have such loyal customers.  They buy them even when their products are more expensive and not necessarily better than the competition. 

    He said that there are three elements to a business (which he represented as concentric circles), what you do, how you do it and why you do it. 

    Most companies start with the what.  What do you do?  You sell makeup or jewelry or widgets.  You offer legal or consulting or public relations services.

    The how is easy.  It's how you deliver the product or service that you offer. 

    Why is [...]

  • When you're a service business, all you have is your reputation.  And part of the way that you gain a good reputation is your level of professionalism.

    You would think that this would be common sense to most service businesses.  But it's apparently not.  Not even to lawyers.

    (Then again, the problem with common sense in general is that it's apparently not all that common.)

    Let me tell you a story about what happened with me last week...

    I've been working on wrapping up and dissolving a company for a client where there was no operating agreement (ARGH!) and the parties are no longer on good terms. 

    It's been an arduous process, to put it mildly.

    And to throw another wrench into the mix, the opposing party left the country for several months to someplace where access to fax machines and the internet is sporadic at best.  The other attorney assured me that he would have power of attorney to sign on her behalf and asked me if I wanted a copy.  I said that I did.  You can see [...]

  • As many of you know, I'm in the middle of my Inertia Project Challenge, which is meant to get me out of the galloping inertia that I've been experiencing. 

    I've started a café for all those who would like to join me on being accountable for overcoming the inertia.  Join us.  The more, the merrier. 

    It has come to my attention that part of my problem (I don't know if it's that I'm a woman or it's just me) is that I often like to try to take on big projects and don't finish them as quickly as I'd like. 

    Then I beat myself up about it. 

    Then I decide it's not worth doing anything if I can't get things done.  It's a vicious cycle.

    I've come to realize that I need to take baby steps.  I need to take large projects and split them into bite sized bits.

    In addition to (or because of) all my work, marketing, taking care of my kids, grocery shopping, meetings, trying to sell my apartment and everything else, things are falling through the cracks.

    For example, I need to clean my [...]

  • If you read my last Savor blog, you'll know that I've been having a hard time getting over the inertia in my life.  Apparently, I'm not the only one...

    So, I've started a Savor café called "The Inertia Project".  The point is to get over our inertia by making ourselves accountable to others, setting out our plan and checking in and let everyone know how we're doing.  If you'd like to join, I'd love to have you.

    I'm not going to list all of my accomplishments and failures for the week here (that's what the café is for), but I wanted to share a couple of thoughts that I've had over the past week that might help you to push past your own inertia.

    And if not, they're certainly something to think about. 

    The first is from Tim Ferriss' book, "The Four Hour Workweek" (which I got in the gift bag at the Savor The Success Rock The World Event.  See, you should sign up early). 

    Now, I know that it's not possible for me to have such a thing.  Not with the business model that I current [...]

  • Being a Body in Motion

    June 2, 2009

    I need to ‘fess up. 

    I have a gigantic case of galloping inertia.  I don't feel like doing anything.  Except sleeping. 

    I spent weeks running at 100 miles a minute getting ready for the play that I was in.  So, I neglected other things. 

    Now, I'm not talking about not working.  I've been doing work as it comes in.  I'm not talking about my kids or my home either (though, admittedly, my floors and bathrooms could really use a cleaning).  I've been taking care of them as well. 

    But I've been falling behind on all of the other things that I need to be doing.  Bad, bad me. 

    Self flagellation aside, I've really been slacking.  I haven't blogged here or at my legal blog in weeks.  I haven't posted on any discussion boards in a long while.  My filing backlog is astronomical.  Even my Twitter use has dwindled. 

    Here's the big problem though.

    It's not that I'm not doing these things because I don't have time or that I don't know that they need to be done.  I know that they do and I [...]

  • Eenie Meanie Miney Mo...

    April 29, 2009

    I hate pictures of me. 

    No, really.  I do.  So, I don't have any. 

    All of the pictures that you see of me in my profiles here, on other boards, on Facebook, Twitter, etc. are all pictures where I've cropped someone out of the picture (or, in the case of my STS picture, left the other person in).  Or I just use pictures of my kids.

    The thing about that fact which is most shocking is that I always used to have headshots around.  I've spent a lot of my life in the theatre and have always had professional headshots.  But I don't do as much in the theatre as I used to. 

    Speaking of theatre... **SHAMELESS PLUG ALERT**

    I am, now that I think of it, in a production of The Music Man which opens here in NYC on May 13th and runs until May 17th.  (I'm also in charge of the hair, makeup and I created all of the hats.) 

    If you're in town (or close enough to come in for the evening), you should definitely come.  It's going to be a great show (which would be my opinon even if I weren't [...]

  • I know, I know. 

    You're probably thinking... Why is a lawyer talking about green office policies?

    Well, other than the fact that today is Earth Day and I like to try to be relevant, I think that this might be a topic where lots of businesses have trouble.  Happy Earth Day, by the way....

    As a lawyer, I can tell you, it's HARD to get rid of all that paper. Have you ever been to a lawyer's office?  It's rows and rows and rows of file cabinets. 

    Do you ever wonder what's in those cabinets? No, of course you don't.  Don't lie. 

    Seriously, do you have the time to think about how much paper is in your lawyer's file cabinets?  Of course you don't.  And if you do, you might want to consider focusing more on building your business.  Really....

    As lawyers go, I have very little paper in my firm.  And I like it that way.  But even I would like to have less paper. 

    I figure if I'm an entrepreneur and I would like to reduce my use of paper, maybe you would too.  So, I want to tell [...]

  • Exciting News!

    April 16, 2009

    My ebooks are finally for sale!  My new site (http://www.why-the-heck.com) is finally up and running!  I'm so EXCITED!!!

    Ok, calm down, Deena.  Breathe.  Whew! 

    Now explain...

    As many of you know, I have been working on an ebook series called "Why The Heck Should I do That?" for quite some time.  (Actually, I've been finished with the first two books for over a month.)

    I've been waiting for my tech guy to build my site.  Ho hum...

    Have I mentioned that my husband is my tech guy?  And that site design is not his full time job?  Right.  So hard to get good help these days…LOL!  (Actually, he's really great and I'm grateful that he's able to help me.)

    But it's done!  YAY! 

    For those of you who haven't been following the saga here on STS, let me fill you in...

    How did "Why The Heck" happen?

    I saw a need that wasn't being filled. 

    How many times have you been told as an entrepreneur just starting out (or even not just starting out) that you needed to do X to protect your [...]

  • Making Lemonade...

    April 14, 2009

    So, I was about to make a huge announcement today.  Then my website, email and everything else crashed.  Grrrr.

    As Angela always says, "Give, give, get."  So, instead of that, I've decided to give you a present... 

    In honor of Passover and Easter, my mom's recipe for Super Duper Macaroons (though scrumptious any time of year).  They're also super easy to make and fun to do with kids.

    **Legal Disclaimer:  These are NOT diet friendly in any way.  Please don't blame me if you gain weight from eating them (but they're worth it)**

    Super Duper Macaroons

    (easy recipe - no mixer needed)

    Ingredients:

    2 egg whites

    pinch of salt

    2 - 14oz bags of sweetened, shredded coconut

    1 can sweetened condensed milk

    2 tsp vanilla

    Directions:

    Prepare cookie sheets by lining with parchment paper.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. 

    Wisk egg whites and salt for about 2 minutes (until light and frothy).  Using a rubber spatula, fold in vanilla and sweetened condensed milk.  Add coconut. [...]

  • Change Sucks!

    April 7, 2009

    I know that this is probably going to be an unpopular opinion, particularly to you life coaches and other eternally optimistic folks out there, but I hate change.

    I think it sucks.  Truly. 

    My baby is turning 2 on Saturday and I'm not liking it, not one little bit.  I was thinking about it this morning as I baked the cupcakes for his birthday party tomorrow and I'm quite certain. 

    I actually started thinking about this blog post when I gave him his first haircut last Thursday and there's no doubt about it.  My baby isn't a baby anymore and I don't like it.  

    My Liam with his baby hair

    Liam with his new haircut (apparently he doesn't mind it).

    I know it's inevitable (as are most changes) but I hate it nonetheless.  

    Now, I know what you're going to say... You really should be more positive about it.  You should look at it as a step forward not as a step back. 

    Blah, blah, blah.  

    I hate it.  That's probably the only thing in my life that's not going to change.  Don't [...]

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