Candice Aiston, owner of Aiston Law, LLC is an estate planning lawyer and single mother of two. Candice grew up in Kailua, Hawaii, and moved to Portland, OR in 2006 after graduating from law school.
She was inspired to start her business after staying home with her youngest daughter for two years. “I said to myself, ‘Self, these student loans are not going to pay themselves. What should we do with this law degree?’ At the same time, I had recently finished my estate planning and told my mom-friends that I had done so. I found out that all these parents hadn't done any estate planning, so I agreed to help them. After that, I saw that I had a niche and I went with it,” she explains.
Her office is currently located at 205 SE Spokane Street, in Sellwood, near Oaks Amusement Park, although she may be changing locations in Spring 2017. Estate planning, for anyone not familiar with it, is the plan someone has in place to ensure they and their loved ones are taken care of if they die or are incapacitated. It is estimated that 64% of Americans have no will or estate plan in place.
Owning her own business gives Candice the freedom to work from home, homeschool her youngest daughter, be available to her kids, and participate in volunteer activities. “I spend my time working mainly from home unless I have meetings, hanging out with my kids and driving them all over the place to their bajillion activities, hanging out with my friends, throwing really dorky parties, volunteering doing street outreach and homelessness advocacy, and arguing about politics on Facebook,” she says.
Candice’s biggest struggle will likely sound familiar to other MOBs. “Everything is all me, all the time. I can't let go and let anyone else take over any aspect of my business or my life. And so I get spread thin and feel guilty about all areas of life and business. Because in the past, I have had helpers who struggled with meeting my expectations, when I have tried to hire help since then, I tend to spend more time looking over their shoulder than I do doing other things that I should be doing. This is a very hard area for me that I need to break through soon, because it's driving me crazy,” she explains.
Before starting a new business, Candice advises new business owners to save about six months’ worth of expenses to get them through unexpected hard times or to have a spouse with a paycheck that can cover the expenses. She also says, “Try to cut your budget down as much as you can in the first year or so of your business, and when you start making money, save half and invest half in your business. Don't spend it on getting used to a lifestyle you can't be sure you'll be able to sustain. Spend money on good legal and financial planning. You never know how costly cutting corners is until something bad happens and it's too late to fix it.”
She continues, “I have to say that while it's wise to listen to other people's advice, sometimes you have to take risks, and if you know in your heart that you have to start your business or make a particular business decision that people don't understand, you might have to shut off all the negative voices and just jump in and make it happen. That's probably terrible advice, but I had so many people telling me I couldn't open my firm, that the people I wanted to serve didn't want legal services, that I needed to put in my time suffering with a big firm before going out on my own. But I did what I wanted anyway and was very quickly successful.”
Candice started her business during the Great Recession and in a new town, “I am very proud of myself for starting my firm during the Great Recession, when lawyers were getting laid off by the thousands, in a town where I had no connections and no one would give me a loan, and building it to the point that it's at today.”
She says she enjoys being a part of the mob and connecting with people who are excited about what they've created for themselves and their community. “There's just something really special about entrepreneurs and the entrepreneurial spirit. I think a lot of us are rebels. But we are passionate, perfectionist rebels (for better or for worse). And as women and moms, we face really unique challenges as entrepreneurs. So I love the combination of excitement and understanding.”
Candice loves working for herself because it gives her flexibility and the ability to make her own rules about appearance and public relations. “I have been able to be there for every important kid event, volunteer, take vacations, and sit in my pajamas all day on a day I don't have any meetings. I'm also able to homeschool my youngest. I'm able to help out friends who need help with childcare in a jam. I'm able to participate in social justice actions like protests.” Being the boss of her time and schedule also gives her the freedom to make quick decisions. “If I think something is a good idea, I can just do it. I don't have to convince anybody that my opinions are valuable. I have pretty great instincts that I trust. As a woman, things would be a lot different if I worked for a big firm.”
It also means she has the final say in all areas of her work. “I only have to answer to my clients. I can wear what I want, like colorful cat dresses or my exercise gear. (You can still look like a lawyer if you throw a lawyer coat over it.) I can be vocal about my political views without worrying about being fired. I am in charge of my own risks in this area.”
Candice works with people who want to do the best they can to make things as easy as possible for their loved ones if they die or are incapacitated. “I work with a lot of families that have young children, since that's where I got my start. But those clients referred their friends and family to me, and so I have all sorts of ages and asset/income levels now when it comes to clients. I often represent three generations of a family at a time, and that's something that I love to do,” she explains.
You can find Candice online at:
candiceaistonlaw.com -- main website
facebook.com/aistonlaw -- Facebook business page
candiceaistonlawblog.typepad.com -- business blog
Krissie is mom to a young son, a wife, and manages two businesses as well as a part-time teaching job at an alternative school in Vancouver.
Although she is originally from Alaska, she attended college in Colorado before moving to the Pacific Northwest in 2000. She’s been in the Vancouver area for about four years. When she’s not working as a teacher, her businesses allow her to focus on family. “One of my favorite things about working from home is that I can be at home most days with Jacob and design my events and business activities around my family,” she explains.
She is a consultant for two complimentary businesses. The first is Pure Haven Essentials which produces non-toxic body products. The second is Discovery Toys, an educational toy company.
She was inspired to join Pure Haven Essentials after attending a teacher’s conference. “I learned about how bad mainstream products are in the U.S. I learned how thousands of synthetic chemicals come out every year and are not tested or regulated. And that the personal care products we slather on ourselves may contain one or more of the 1,360 chemicals that are banned in Europe, but not the United States. It was a really important time for me to learn about this issue. I had just experienced my first miscarriage (of several) and was looking for a way I could feel empowered to be more in control of my own health. I took it upon myself to learn more and pursue products with no harmful chemicals,” she says.
She found Pure Haven Essentials and was impressed with the quality of the products and the integrity of the company. “Their mission to educate was right up my alley,” she explains.
After seeing how people responded to Discovery Toys at a friend’s booth, Krissie realized they would be a good match for her audience of moms and families. “I watched throughout one particular event the toys virtually sell themselves as people young and old played and played at my friend's booth.” The educational and child development nature of the toys also appealed to her teacher side!
Although she is always excited to share her products, Krissie says her biggest challenge is finding the right balance between selling and helping. “As a consultant, I really want to be seen as a guide, an assistant in helping people get what they need and want. The pressure to "sell" is just not me. I'm not comfortable unless I'm consistently respecting others. In the world of sales, there are a lot of scripts I'm simply not comfortable with.”
She credits being active in The MOB NW with helping her find her comfort zone. “The MOB has helped me see that it's VERY possible to be in sales and to also have the highest level of integrity and respect. This is so important to me. Pretty often I ask myself before following up or making a contact, ‘Is this OK with me?’ This gut-check has been a powerful tool in getting to know myself.”
Despite running two businesses that thrive on connection and communication, Krissie doesn’t enjoy talking on the phone. “I even hate ordering pizza! So, I'm constantly stretching myself to make calls but I'm getting better and that's rewarding,” she explains.
She advises new business owners to “listen to your gut, be respectful, care more about people than sales and the sales will come. Do what you LOVE. Understand your priorities so you can set clear goals. When you write goals, they should also include specific steps that will help you reach them. If one of your top priorities is family, set reasonable limits on business activities to set aside time for the most important people in your life,” she says.
Krissie’s biggest accomplishment is her family. “After my fertility struggles, I CANNOT even tell you how thankful I am for Joe and Jacob. I'm also proud to be a National Board Certified teacher and business owner. I'm proud of the group of friends I've found since moving to this area,” she says.
She loves working for herself because it gives her time and flexibility for family, but she enjoys other aspects as well. “I really get off on the challenge, too. I never feel stuck. There is always another idea I can try, something new to follow up on, a new way of doing something. I relish the way that having my own business keeps me perpetually on my toes. It allows me to be both creative and logical - a lot like teaching. I love how my businesses are in complete alignment with the subjects I teach! My businesses allow me more opportunities to teach about my passions outside the classroom,” she says.
She’s excited to be a member of the MOB NW. “The constant synergy and support I feel by having a group of dedicated, experienced, loving women surrounding me. I think it's so cool how we all do such different things, yet have so much in common,” she explains.
Her ideal referral would be someone interested in hosting a workshop or a party. She’s also looking for local salons or businesses in the health and wellness field who would be interesting in selling Pure Haven Essentials at their business.
You can find Krissie online at:
Pure Haven Essentials -
Discovery Toys -