If you are considering becoming a 1M/1M premium member and would like to join our mailing list to receive ongoing information, please sign up here.

Subscribe to our Feed

Bootstrapping to $10 Million: Lawline CEO David Schnurman ( Part 2)

Posted on Tuesday, Dec 1st 2020

Sramana Mitra: What happens after you come out of law school?

David Schnurman: I graduated from law school in 2006. I did internships each summer at different law firms. It became clear to me that being a lawyer is not that different than being a salesperson, especially if you want to be a lawyer who is trying to get business. This is true because you still have to sell the business.

The difference between a lawyer and a salesperson is that the lawyer has to do the work. The salesperson can pass it on to somebody else. I had this life-changing experience and I wrote a book about two years ago. It’s called Fast Forward Mindset. I tell this story in the book where I was in the office of the lawyer I was working for. It was an internship, and I didn’t like what I was doing there. I told them that I was not going to stay on for the year and he kicked me out and belittled me in front of the whole office and told me to leave that very moment.

I left and I started crying. I was taken aback that I was treated that way. I made a decision that I was not going to put myself in that position again if I can help it. This was in 2004 or 2005. It was the first year that YouTube got started.

My dad also had a TV show called Lawline. For 15 years, that was a public access TV show. It was like the Larry King of law. It helped him with law. I want to be an entrepreneur, so I started a public access TV show called True NYC. I’d interview entrepreneurs to figure out how they started their business and how they run it. I also put that TV show online. It has become the centerpiece of everything that has come after that.

Sramana Mitra: Tell me more about what happens. How did the dots connect from here on?

David Schnurman: I interviewed a lot of interesting entrepreneurs. One of the entrepreneurs I interviewed was Simon Sinek. It was before he became the Simon Sinek that we all know. He was still amazing with the whole golden circle, but he was just getting started. I interviewed some of the really smart entrepreneurs and I started themes of what they were doing.

In 1999, my dad had taken the TV show Lawline and turned it into an online business. The problem was that it was during the dot-com era. He thought that if he could put all his money in his online business, he’d go public, make millions of dollars, and retire.

Of course, the market crashed and the business stopped. He shut it down in 2001. He stopped the corporation, but he still kept the website alive. In 2005, I started realizing that technology is better. I started to wonder, “All these interviews, what if I started doing something with lawyers instead of entrepreneurs? What if I turn those interviews into courses? What if I figure out how to take the name Lawline and start getting accredited and start selling those courses?”

In my third year of law school, I arranged to have only two days’ classes a week and I spent the rest of the time on Lawline. I knew that I had to figure out a way to get it ready and build before I graduated so that I could give it a go over the summer. That’s what I did with Lawline.

There is another connection. A lot of the entrepreneurs I had met were from an organization called Entrepreneurs Organization (EO). I interviewed most of its members and thought that they were amazing people. I remember thinking that someday if I had a business, this would be the organization that I would want to join.

The threshold to join was a million dollars in revenue. It just happened that the year I started Lawline, they had this new program called Accelerator where you only need a quarter-million dollars in revenue.

When they started, I’d just surpassed a quarter-million dollars in revenue. I was accepted to the accelerator program and it was exactly what I was looking for. I became the President of the New York chapter eight years later.

There’s an EO chapter in Barcelona. Some New York members had moved and lived here and then moved back. Following what they did, I moved here and joined the Barcelona EO chapter. I had built a community of expats and I used that moving forward.

It opened up so many different avenues just by doing what you are doing right now – getting on the phone with somebody and asking them questions about their life. They talk about themselves for an hour and they think you are the best person ever because all you are doing is asking about them. 

This segment is a part in the series : Bootstrapping to $10 Million

Hacker News
() Comments

Featured Videos