Interview with Tisha Dodge

start-up-greater-good-tisha-dodge

How long have you been in business?
In 2006, there was a great opportunity for me and I took the leap of faith and started my own business, a law firm! By the end of my first year, I was able to double my income. My business is law firm specially designed to serve startups, both for-profit and non-profit. I realized I was able to provide legal advice as a lawyer and practical advice as a fellow business owner and as a Texas Department of Insurance Property & Casualty General Lines Agent. In 2014, I started my second business, StartUp Greater Good.  It started as an educational part of my law firm.

If you’re interested in knowing about my degrees and experience as a lawyer, click here for my official bio.

How did you become an expert in Texas Social Enterprises?
Thanks for asking this question.  I actually don’t like the word “expert” because I don’t think anyone is an expert at this point.  Texas Social Enterprises Laws are too new for anyone to really be an expert.  I do have practical experience in creating and maintaining Texas Social Enterprises.

In my law practice, I created all sorts of business entities and was one of the first to start working with Social Enterprises. In fact, I converted my own business into what I believe is the first Social Purpose Corporate Law Firm in the State of Texas.

I realized I could teach others what I learned and started training others. I was selected to assist in national conference training for small business development professionals from across the U.S., Canada, and Latin America in 2012-2017.  I am the only lawyer selected to train these professionals on Social Enterprises on a national level.

My clients asked me more and more questions about the Texas Social Enterprise so I decided to make this information available to all Social Entrepreneurs in Texas and Start Up Greater Good was born as an educational part of my law firm, Dodge Legal Group, PC. We became a leading authority on Social Enterprises so StartUp Greater Good has evolved into an entirely separate business! As of January, 2018, StartUp Greater Good is the first and only Texas Public Benefit Corporation designed for Texas Social Entrepreneurs.

How is StartUpGreaterGood.org different from other websites with information on business entities?
We’re not a “one size fits all” type of website. No cookie cutter forms or legal information intended to somehow explain the laws of all 50 States in 400 words or less. We know every business is different. Our mission is to seek out emerging social entrepreneurs and help them get started. By help, we mean more than static information on a website.  We offer a program to support Social Entrepreneurs called RISE, Revolutionary Inspiring Social Entrepreneurs.

What kind of personality do you work best with?
I love working with start up business owners who believe in making a profit and who want to serve the Greater Good. I like to work with those who are serious about making money and serious about making a difference in this world!  But you gotta have a sense of humor too.

What kind of personality do you not work well with?
I don’t work well with those who are not willing to take chances. It’s necessary to take some level of risk when one starts a business. There is NO guarantee that your business will always be 100% bullet proof from all liability and all mistakes. While I’m big into minimizing risks and making informed decisions, I also believe sometimes you just have to take a leap of faith and take imperfect action to move forward or you may never start your business.

Can this really work?
Yes, this can really work. StartUp Greater Good is  is based upon my knowledge of the law and business in real life. I’ve been a lawyer since 1996 and a business owner from 2006. The information provided is based on training I’ve been selected to provide to U.S. Small Business Counselors, Chambers of Commerce, Community Colleges, Small Business Development Centers, and nonprofits designed to help start up businesses.

Why do I need this stuff? Can’t I just do this on my own?
I’ve had clients try to do it on their own and they just couldn’t find enough information to understand Texas Social Enterprises with a level of comfort, which is why they came to me with questions. I started researching Texas Social Enterprises and realized they were right—there’s not enough out there to truly assist you on your own. I made the conscious decision to offer this information so that no one would have to pay huge lawyer’s fees to learn about Texas Social Enterprises.

Also, the problem with going it alone is, well, it’s lonely—and it makes it seem hard. But when you realize you’re not the only one with a question or a concern, and you get the answer, you realize you are part of a community of people with the same struggles and triumphs when building your own Texas Social Enterprise!

Being a Social Entrepreneur requires a special balance of a business mind and kind heart.  But it is a tricky balance and that’s why we created RISE.

If you have started your business or you are attempting to startup, one of the biggest challenges is that it is very easy to get distracted, to give up, and to react in the moment. It gets overwhelming to be constantly guessing—or maybe you don’t want to guess so you never move forward.

Creating success means to surround yourself with people–positive, supportive colleagues who understand startups and provide you with meaningful advice in the best interests of your business, not your well-meaning but worried BFF. Creating success means support systems that allow you to do more of what you love and putting the daily grind of running your business on auto-pilot.

With RISE, you will be educated to make informed decisions, elevated to take action like the enlightened business owner you already are, and encouraged to do your Greater Good with monthly support.  RISE will establish a foundation for your business to grow, construct a custom plan of action, and keep you on track to your business success.

I’m really busy and overwhelmed. How much time is involved in getting results?
RISE is a year-long program where you spend one day per month working on your Social Enterprise.  RISE is NOT about listening to “experts” bombarding you with information that sounds great but you’ll never actually implement.  No sitting around listening to long lectures with hours of “homework.”  We work on your business in the moment.  You apply as you learn. That’s why it works.

How can I get the very best results fast?
Ironically, the very best results are achieved by taking it slow: one step at a time! While it’s very tempting to try and do it all at once because it feels like everything needs to be done NOW, that’s the fastest path to frustration and burnout. When we go too fast we start to get overwhelmed. When this happens it means you might be trying to do everything at once and not finishing any part of starting your business completely!

How can I justify this expense before I’ve even started my business?

I totally understand because I used to think this way too. Sometimes we try to save money by spending our own time to set up our business. We search the internet for answers, talk to other business owners, read books— and in the end we just learn that there is so much conflicting information! We end more confused than when we started. In the end, how much do you really save wasting all that time?