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Nyanza Shaw, Esq | California | Consistency!!

By the time I was 9 years old I knew I wanted to be an attorney, probably around that same time I also knew I wanted to be an entrepreneur. I enjoyed problem solving, figuring things out, and also helping others. I also always had an appreciation for the arts that continues today. I love movies, music, and especially books. So while I didn't feel that I was necessarily a creative person I researched ways that I could work in the creative industries. I discovered as a lawyer that I could use my passion for the arts to work with artists and protect their rights. A book, poem, screenplay, song, etc. are all tangible creative properties and also have a value as intellectual property. It is now my job to protect those rights and also help businesses in the creative industries as well as media and technology industries.The lesson is...if you have a passion for something, there is a way that you can make it into a profession!!

What ignited the spark in you to start a new business venture or to make significant changes in an existing business? How did the idea for your business come about?

As the entertainment and media industries have evolved, my business and the services I provide also had to evolve. When I began practicing I handled mostly music law transactions, however artists began acting, launching their own labels, becoming brands, so I began to handle more business transactions in order to serve my clients in all of the areas that they were expanding into. You have to be willing to change in order to grow and scale. Pay attention to how businesses are changing in your industry and ask yourself how you can implement some of these changes to help your own business grow. In doing this, don't lose yourself. Growth and scalability must be strategic and authentic.

What were the biggest initial hurdles to building your business and how did you overcome them?

The biggest hurdle initially as a solo attorney is getting clients. However, if you do great work and have great relationships, you will get referrals. Satisfied clients will always refer other clients. A majority of my business comes from referrals. I also attend a lot of networking events and participate in speaking engagements as well as use social media to promote myself and my business. Relationships and professionalism are key in any industry. People will want to do business with you, buy your product, etc. based on your reputation. Strive to have an excellent professional reputation!

Did you ever deal with contention from your family and friends concerning your entrepreneurial pursuits? How did you handle it? What would you do differently in hindsight?

I never dealt with any contention concerning my entrepreneurial pursuits as my family and friends are super supportive. However, there were definitely concerns in the early years when I was struggling to get my practice up and running. Even then, they never questioned my desire or intentions. They respected my focus and determination. If you are committed to what you want to do, you can never let outsiders (even the ones who are related to you) deter you from that goal. Be steadfast!

What would you say was the single most influential factor in your business success?

Consistency is key! If you believe in yourself, your product, your service, you must be consistent in pushing it forward and you will gain success.

What do you know today that you wish you would have known when you first got started as an entrepreneur?

I think the most important thing that any entrepreneur starting out should research is who already does what you do, identify how you can do it better or different. Also, find out what they are doing well in how they run their business and replicate it as applicable to your business. You must know your competitive advantage - what makes you stand out and above from your competition.

What advice would you give to an upcoming entrepreneur locally and internationally?

You may have great product or service, but you must research and learn how to run a business. The definition of an entrepreneur is "a person who organizes and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so." Accounting, marketing, business management are some of the important skills that you need to actually operate a business. If there are business skills you are not good at, make sure you hire someone who can handle that task. Don't try and do everything yourself.


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