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Charne's story on... a quality focussed mindset

“Becoming an entrepreneur took me by surprise, it was not the route I had initially envisioned taking. I later realised that the only way to keep up was to separate from the pack and to put myself out in the wings. It's become so effortless and natural, I regret not having done it sooner”.

Charné never anticipated going the entrepreneurial route when she initially embarked on her journey in the legal profession.  Although she wishes it was something she was more aware of sooner in her career, she also acknowledges the time spent as an employee and how it served in building a good foundation from which to springboard into entrepreneurship.  From building confidence and client repertoire to gaining industry experience and exposure, and fueling a burning desire to change archaic ways, it certainly set Charné up for success. On reflection Charné realises that she was always pushing against the grain, which is ironic being a lawyer - she should be following the rules!  She couldn't help but to push against what doesn't make sense even if it meant going against the status quo in order to solve for inefficiencies and simply better ways of doing things.  A clear indication that she was gifted with an entrepreneurial mindset which led her to today where she runs a legal tech consultancy firm - and there’s nothing traditional about it! A tech enthusiast and web3 law specialist that is dedicated to providing subscription based legal services to startups, tech corporations and growing businesses.

The safety, consistency and monotony of being an employee was something that Charné did not find comfort in.  Instead she was excited and challenged by new businesses in the startup space and new developments such as Web3 and the like.  Being an entrepreneur in a very traditional legal sector comes with its challenges when competing with big and powerful law firms.  However Charné has carved out a niche which is difficult to rival with her innovative approaches such as no billing per hour, and her personable, expert driven business approach where she is more of a partner than a vendor.  Understanding that startups require a very different approach for their legal needs, she has found that these clients deeply resonate with her business.  It goes to show that as Founders we need to focus more on ourselves and less on our competitors - there is always a niche specially suited to our unique strengths. 

“To this day when I tell people in the industry that I have specialised in this niche area, and in the tech space specifically, I find that I have to constantly prove myself with so many odds stacked against me.”

Being a Founder herself, and experiencing the backlash of going against the industry norms, Charné truly resonates deeply with her client base of fellow Founders who are bringing disruption to the industries they find themselves in.  Having gone against the way attorneys operate, very much on the riskier side of things, Charné concurs that we need to consciously stay close to like-minded collaborators, clients, and suppliers who resonate with us, our business, and our mission and less with those who we find ourselves trying to convince about our new ways, approaches, and businesses - this drains an incredible amount of precious energy.  Importantly, when we swim in the opposite direction, we tend to see opportunities that our traditional counterparts would never spot and this has been the case for Charné.  She works hard to adapt her business to how her clients would like to do business, not the other way around.  How many lawyers would accept equity for payment? She showcases how creative Founders can be with their business where opportunities lie in how open we are to feedback.  

Charné goes on to share her views on a challenge many Founders experience in the beginning, and that is how potential customers look for grounds to establish trust from a new player.  For many, numbers seem to be a go to, be it number of clients/customers, financials/sales, size/head count, and so on.  Numbers are often not what early stage Founders have at their disposal, they are still very much IN the journey of getting there.  This is where quality (in experience, service or product, even in how business is set up and conducted) comes in to trump quantity.   One great quality experience can lead to a plethora of WOM referrals. A quality driven practice will breed many collaborators who want to be associated with your firm and this can drive that head count or broaden that service capability.  Charné opens our minds to how a quality driven mindset can pave the way to the quantity we may seek. 

“As an entrepreneur you have to prove yourself, you have to fight so much harder to be heard.  You simply cannot take every no as a setback but rather as a redirection.  If your mindset is ‘I should have stayed in that job with that consistency of a paycheque’, then you will certainly stagnate your growth as an entrepreneur”. 

Charné reminds us to embrace the risk we have chosen to take in being an entrepreneur, to let our purpose lead us on our mission and to try not look back but to push forward.  She cautions us on being a perfectionist on the journey and goes on to explain how much we potentially miss out on when we insist on a perfect product or service or business before we introduce it to the market.  The more time we withhold, the more we delay real progress which only comes through feedback - and there is no feedback when you are the world's best kept secret!  

“I never walk around with Sunday blues, every day is exciting!” So what IS her secret to success?  Charné embraces all mentors around her, from her partners to her clients, all who are willing to share triumphs and tribulations in their businesses which serves as ongoing inspiration and lessons to her and her business.  She considers balance to be the holy grail and she has set up her business to allow for that.  She certainly is challenging all the norms associated with a very traditional sector, her entrepreneurial spirit is unwavering!

“Solving niche challenges Founders face”.

Illustrator: Lisa Williams (Instagram: @artist_llw)


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