Welcome to another Small Business Spotlight, where we highlight successful entrepreneurs. This spotlight focuses on Sara Schoonover. Sara Schoonover is Vice President of of TicketKick, a California company that helps drivers get redlightcameratickets and other traffic tickets dismissed by helping drivers through the trialbywrittendeclaration process. The company, which formally launched in 2010 after providing similar services since 2006, is the leading company in this space and growing rapidly. Read on to learn about her path to success and how you can achieve something similar.
Type of Business: Legal Service
Years in Business: 2+
Contact Information: Office direct (619) 569-1001/ firstname.lastname@example.org
What does your company do? Assist California drivers in fighting traffic tickets.
What made you want to be an entrepreneur? When our President, Greg Muender, brought me on board in 2009, I recognized an opportunity for enormous growth in California alone. For me, the exciting part of growing our business has been finding a way to help massive amounts of people with a service like ours that simply hadn’t existed before. It’s such a joy knowing that we’re filling a need for so many people.
Why did you choose your business? Greg fell into this industry when he himself received three traffic tickets in three weeks and found a way to easily contest them. What began with his own tickets turned into helping friends and family, eventually becoming a legal document assistant, and now helping with about 500 traffic tickets every month for a low fee and a money back guarantee.
What prepared you for entrepreneurship? Having a very diverse work history and learning great customer service early on. In any business, the ability to relate to the client/customer, provide whatever it is that they need, and being willing to do whatever it takes is so key. I feel that success is simply a result of caring and putting heart into the business. Everything else just falls into place if the whole team is in it for the betterment of the customer.
What has been your greatest achievement so far? Every day that we get testimonials makes me feel like what I have contributed has been a success. Regardless of whether or not our customer wins their traffic ticket case, generally people are so grateful for the helpful service we’ve provided to them. I am proud to have established a 100% money back guarantee policy which has contributed to an increase of sales and satisfied customers.
What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur? Overhearing people talk about how great we are, or seeing discussion boards online dedicated to discussing how pleased they were with our service. It truly makes me proud of the company we’ve established.
What challenges have you faced as an entrepreneur? As a college dropout, I’ve gotten in the habit of learning very quickly and using all resources available to learn what others have learned by pursuing a degree. In the end, it’s about caring. If your heart’s in it, you’ll find the answers that you need to make the company successful. On the management end, we’ve also gotten good at finding people who know more than we do about a particular topic and hiring them.
Is there anything you wish you’d done differently? I’ve learned that you’ve got to cut out the things that are holding the company back- whether it be wasting time trying to cater to unnecessarily rude customers, waiting for an employee to change their ways, or accepting subpar service from a vendor. There are appropriate times to cut ties and move forward, and I wish we hadn’t wasted precious growth phase time with things that simply weren’t working.
How can others get started in this business? For us, it was about research and finding a niche that people needed. Up until recently, when someone got a traffic ticket it was either 1) pay it, 2) try to fight it themselves, or 3) hire an expensive attorney. We happened to land a golden opportunity becoming a legal document assistant in California without having to go to law school to start a law firm. We found the right people who had the skill set we needed. For people who want to get into the legal industry I’d say: know your legal boundaries, look for opportunities that help people in ways they didn’t have before, and find the right people to work for you who truly care.
Do you have any advice for future entrepreneurs? Yes-trust in trial and error. Don’t give up the first few “errors” but do learn from mistakes. Figure out where your passion lies other than making money, because there HAS to be another driving factor if you want to experience lasting success. For me, my passion is helping people and success to me is providing a service that people like so much that they tell their friends about us, REGARDLESS of the outcome of their case. There’s no better compliment than word-of-mouth referrals. The money has followed because our number 1 priority is our customer’s needs. Of course, having an excellent product helps too!