Crystal is the owner and Principal Attorney at The Gaines Firm, LLC, a boutique law firm offering services in family law and business law for the entrepreneur and small business. She is a Virginia native, yet no stranger to the DMV area. She is a two-time graduate of The Norfolk State University and received her law degree from The University of Baltimore School of Law. Outside of work, Crystal is a member of The First Baptist Church of Glenarden and enjoys community service, spending time with her family, and having brunch with her friends.
- CEO Hack: Knowing what's trending
- CEO Nugget: The definition of yourself will change along the way
- CEO Defined: Being a visionary
Do you want to learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales and grow your business from successful entrepreneurs, startups and CEOs without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place, Gresham Harkless values your time and is ready to share with you precisely the information you're in search of. This is I am CEO podcast.
Gresham Harkless 00:29
Hello, hello, hello, this is Gresh from the I am CEO podcast and I have a very special guest on the show today as crystal gains of the Gaines firm LLC crystal, it's awesome. have you on the show?
Crystal Gaines 00:39
Thank you for having me. It's so kind for that introduction.
Gresham Harkless 00:43
No problem. You're definitely doing some awesome work. So definitely excited to you know, have you on the show and, and some of those things that you're doing. I'm going to read in your bio so people can learn a little bit more about you. And crystal is the owner and principal attorney at the Gaines firm LLC, a boutique law firm offering services and family law and business law for the entrepreneur and small business. She's a Virginia native yet no stranger to the DMV area. She's a two time graduate of the Norfolk State University and received her law degree from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Outside of work. Crystal is a member of the First Baptist Church of Glen. Glen. Glen, Glen Darren, and enjoys community service, spending time with her family and having brunch with her friends. Crystal, are you ready to speak to the IMC Oh community? I am Awesome. Well, let's do it. So. So to kick everything off, I wanted to hear a little bit more on what led you to get started with everything. Can you take us through your SEO story? What led you started the business?
Crystal Gaines 01:38
Sure. So my journey to forming my own business is probably untraditional in that I never thought that I really would own my own business. Although my entire family is our entrepreneurs, everyone works for themselves. And I don't know why I thought I would be the exception. But I started out at a mid sized law firm. And it was great. I met some awesome people, I had some great networking opportunities. But I got really bored with how things were moving in my life and I wanted a change, I was looking for something that would really challenge me that would consistently keep me on my feet. And talking to my family talking to my friends, I figured that one thing that would really do that, that would allow me to continue doing what I love, which is practicing law and serving the community is to start my own law firm. And that saying like, when you don't know what you're doing, just do it or do it scared, do it unsure. That was me 100%. I was literally just jumping into this journey, not really knowing all that it would take. But I'm learning every day more about myself more about my community. And I'm just growing as a person. And you know, the uncertainty of it all the parts that I was so scared of are actually turning out to show me that's the most beautiful part of entrepreneurship. And so that's really my story. And that's really how I got to the games firm LLC.
Gresham Harkless 03:06
Nice. Absolutely love that. I love that. You know that last part that you just said. And that the beauty part, the beautiful part is actually in the journey, because I think so many times people forget about business and entrepreneurship. And you of course having it in your veins and sounds like as well, too. You really always kind of get focused on the destination when in reality, the real present and sometimes opportunities, the growth in the marathon aspect of running a business.
Crystal Gaines 03:29
Absolutely. I'm still learning that.
Gresham Harkless 03:32
Yes, we all are. So what I wanted to do is ask you a little bit more on how you serve the clients that you work with. Could you take us through a little bit more about how exactly you do that and what exactly that process looks like?
Crystal Gaines 03:44
Sure. So we so basically clients come to me, word of mouth, I have a few networking communities that do a lot of good referrals. I'm also heavily involved in the community with community service events, I'm always promoting my business. And generally, I offer services in family law, all things Family Law, divorce, separation, premarital post nuptial agreements, child support, modification, things of that sort. And I also offer services and trademarks and copyrights for the entrepreneurship. The entrepreneurs are and clients come in and you know, there's an intake form and I like to do I like them to fill out the form ahead of time. And then I really enjoy the conversation, that one hour consultation. It allows me to not only hear what my client perceives to be a problem for them, but it also gets gives me the opportunity to get to know them during my consultations. I'm not just talking about the law, I'm not just talking about your problem, you know, when I find those little areas where I can kind of harp on and just get to know you more. I do take advantage of those because what you'll learn is that my firm is really just built on Christian principles and so my motto is person before problem I always want my clients to feel like I am a professional, I am your, your attorney, but we're also a team. And so when you're on a team, you really need to be able to trust the other person and part of trusting the other person is really getting to know that other person. And so I think that's really the main process that I like to instill. Even down to like, you know, my one assistant, you know, I'm always harping on, you don't want the client to feel like they're just the client. You know, they are a person, you're there to help them, you're on their team. And so basically, that's just how our process works. With my friend.
Gresham Harkless 05:40
Nice, I absolutely love that person, you know, before problem, it's so funny, as often I'll say this indefinitely, you know, here, you know, interviewing people is that we forget about that human aspect of business. You know, obviously, the numbers have a place and, you know, HR and marketing and all of those aspects. But I think we forget that human aspect. I love that that's a part of your process, but even sounds like the foundation of your process and in the business and how you're running it. I think so many times people forget about that aspect.
Crystal Gaines 06:10
Mm hmm. Absolutely. And that was one thing that, and not to say that my prior employer didn't do that. But I felt like, I wasn't able to really do that, because I was always running from one thing to the next. And, you know, that wasn't really emphasized there. So, you know, it's something that I really very strongly and because we as humans, really should learn how to connect better with one another, because we're not so far different. And we're not so far apart as we think.
Gresham Harkless 06:40
Yeah, absolutely. And a lot of times when we have those conversations, we actually take and create space for that interaction in that connection to happen, that's when we really start to see that. So I love that you do that. And, and we forget that and entrepreneurship, sometimes it's building a better mousetrap, so to speak. So have an ideal having the world the way we want it to be, we have that opportunity to create that as entrepreneurs and business owners in our organization. So I love that you do that. And so I wasn't sure does that? Or does that kind of Christian faith? Do you feel like that is what I would call your secret sauce, if thing you feel kind of sets you or your organization apart and makes you unique?
Crystal Gaines 07:16
Absolutely, um, that is one of the things that I think sets us apart. Because, you know, we're a faith based law firm, and not saying that when my clients come in, I'm gonna hand them a Bible and say, let's worship, you know, but the idea is that so I can remain focused, and I can provide top notch services, you know, so every day, we're aiming to be a voice for those who can't speak for themselves, right? You know, we're dedicated to helping others through the practice of law, mentorship, and community service. And throughout, you know, throughout my Christian journey, and you know, learning the Bible, you find scriptures that really speak to those principles of, you know, being a voice for someone providing mentorship pouring into your community. And so that's what really keeps me grounded. And that's what really helps me build my law firm up on solid principles that I believe in. And I think another thing that really sets me apart is I'm a very, I'm a creator at heart. So I am, you know, I need my different color pins, I need a certain color notebook. And when it comes to trying to, I guess, for instance, with the case, when it comes to really trying to separate the issues, and you know, determine what facts support, what issues, I'm a big component on the whiteboard with the different colors, you know, we go into court, I'm the big component on the slideshow, like I am, I'm very good with pulling out tricks to engage people into the law so that it's not so hard to understand, it's not so boring and dull, because the law isn't just a black box or white box, or you know, just a square thing that you have to stay within the boundaries of I think that's what makes me different is that I know how to step outside of those boxes, and create a creative space where the law is friendly. And it's easy to understand. And it allows you to see the law as something that you can relate to whether you're actually experiencing the problem, or you're listening to the facts and trying to help make a decision. And so I think that's really, outside of the Christian principles, my creativity really sets me apart.
Gresham Harkless 09:33
I definitely appreciate that. And I wanted to switch gears a little bit. And I wanted to ask you for what I call a CEO hack. So this could be like an apple book or a habit that you have, but what's something that makes you more effective and efficient?
Crystal Gaines 09:46
Um, for me, I think knowing what's trending, right. Even though I offer services and family law and business law, it's good to know what's going on in the world because those are other opportunities where you can tap into your network, tap into your resources and provide some help. So I don't do voting law, I don't do anything of the sort related to politics or anything of that sort. But you know, staying on top of what's trending going on with voting, you know, I was able to tap into my resources and reach out to some friends and say, Hey, you know, let's do a voting registration drive in this small town where you know, the numbers are low with registration. And so I think as you know, SEO hack for me is knowing what's trending because that allows you to really make a guess make an impact in your community, because it may not be related to what your practice is, or what your focus is, as far as like what you do for a living. But that community service piece can help you grow your business, it can also help you propel your career. And so it's good to know what's going on around you, even though it's not necessarily related to what you do every day on a day to day basis.
Gresham Harkless 11:01
So, I wanted to ask you now for what I call a SEO nugget. So this could be like a word of wisdom or a piece of advice, it might be something you would tell a client or if you happen to a time machine, you might tell your younger self,
Crystal Gaines 11:13
I will say just going back to just my co story, I would say your definition of yourself will change, you may start off thinking, you know, your life is going to look this way you're going to achieve these things by a certain age, you're going to be successful by this age, and so forth. But as life goes on, as life happens, as the world evolves around you, you too will evolve and your you know, your definition of yourself how you see yourself how you perceive your future will change. And that's perfectly fine. That's something I too had to come to terms with is that, you know, if I actually stopped writing down, I don't even have a business plan. And I have like, you know, certain plans I need. But as far as like these, I'm going to be married by this age, I'm going to be I'm going to have kids by this edge. I'm going to do this by this age, I stopped doing that. It's so much pressure that you put on yourself for absolutely no reason. So I guess the CEO nugget and the one thing, the worst piece of advice that I would give to my younger self in any entrepreneur, especially entrepreneurs, your you know, your definition of yourself will change. And it's beautiful, because evolution is beautiful.
Gresham Harkless 12:27
Awesome, awesome. Awesome. So now when it asks you my absolute favorite question, which is a definition of what it means to be a CEO, and we're hoping a different, quote unquote, CEOs on the show, so crystal, what does being a CEO mean to you?
Crystal Gaines 12:40
Being a CEO, to me definitely means being a leader. But I think more importantly, it means being a leader with a vision. Because when you're a CEO you're creating, you're always creating and so you know that vision being that visionary, and being able to kind of adapt and change with the times is important, because you want your business to continue to grow, you want the people working around you to continue to believe in you. And so to me, being a CEO is really just about being that visionary.
Gresham Harkless 13:14
Nice, absolutely love that. And I love that kind of leadership piece. And I know we had talked a little bit, or you mentioned a little bit about COVID. And I think obviously, we're going through a very transformational time where everything that was up is now down and everything that was on the left side is on the right side. So if we don't, you know, transform, we don't respect that we don't understand and pay attention to trends and do all those things to be aware of what's happening, but still have that fluidness I guess you can say and what we're doing and our actions, then we're doing again, ourselves a detriment, but a detriment to the world and the society as a whole.
Crystal Gaines 13:47
Yeah, I agree. I totally agree.
Gresham Harkless 13:50
Awesome, awesome. Awesome. Well, Crystal truly appreciate that definition. In that perspective. I appreciate your time, even more, what I wanted to do is pass you the mic, so to speak, just to see if there's anything additional, you can let our readers and listeners know and of course, how best they can get ahold of you and find out about all the awesome things you are working.
Crystal Gaines 14:06
Sure. As far as anything additional, I think your questions were like really dead on. And I think they gave a good insight as to me, as an entrepreneur, as a CEO, as a business owner. If I could just add anything additional, I would just say that if you are on the fence about jumping out jumping ship and starting your own business, there's absolutely nothing that should hold you back. The one thing I will tell you, that could really benefit you if you're on the fence is getting a mentor in that field. And really tapping into your network. You'd be surprised how many people met whether they may not know what you they may not be able to give you advice on what you're actually doing, but they may know somebody that can and so it's good to really use your network and tap into that. One quote that I found the other day it said that if content is king, then connected Are the queen. So make sure you stay connected with people make sure that everyone knows what you're doing. Everyone knows how you're moving and what products you're putting out there so that everyone can refer people to you because referral is a good source. And the best way to get in contact with me, you can visit my website www.cs games law.com. Or you can give me a call at 240-241-7955 awesome, and I'm on Instagram. So my Instagram is DMV, that s q. And my business Instagram is the games firm that LLC.
Gresham Harkless 15:46
Awesome, awesome, awesome. I truly appreciate that Chris. So we will have the links and information in the show notes as well too for your Instagram and your website and your contact information. So I truly appreciate that. I appreciate that last kind of reminder as well to anybody who's played chess knows how powerful the queen is. And I love that connection space and how that goes right in line with that is one of the most powerful pieces on the chessboard of not being powerful, most powerful pieces. So really understanding how your network is right and aligned with what we can do on the chessboard with the Queen pieces is so huge. So truly appreciate that reminder and their perspective and I hope you have a phenomenal today.
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