IAM973- Legal Practitioner Helps Companies Continue for Future Generations

Podcast Interview with Mitch Beinhaker

Mitch Beinhaker is a business lawyer and estates attorney who runs a solo legal & consulting practice representing business owners, entrepreneurs, executives and professionals. Through his 29 years of experience, Mitchell has handled business development, marketing, firm management, along with business transactional work for clients of the firm. He has extensive experience with corporate governance, commercial transactions, real estate and risk analysis. Using his years of practical experience, he drafts contracts, negotiates purchases and can manage outside counsel for any corporate situation. For business owners and executives, he creates and implements estate plans, along with succession plans to help companies continue for future generations.

  • CEO Hack: i) Integrating technology when it comes to running my business ii) Books- The Referral of a Lifetime by Tim Templeton, The E-myth and Mike Michalowicz's books
  • CEO Nugget: Keep in touch with your clients
  • CEO Defined: Being good leaders and not dictators

Website: https://www.beinhakerlaw.com/

Podbean: https://accidentalentrepreneur.podbean.com/
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mbeinhaker/
Linktree: https://linktr.ee/beinhakerlaw

Full Interview:

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[00:00:27.80] – Intro

Are you ready to hear business stories and learn effective ways to build relationships, generate sales, and level up your business from awesome CEOs, entrepreneurs, and founders without listening to a long, long, long interview? If so, you've come to the right place. Gretch values your time and is ready to share with you the valuable info you're in search of. This is the I Am CEO podcast.

[00:00:55.10] – Gresham Harkless

Hello. Hello. Hello. This is Gresh from the I Am CEO podcast. I have a very special guest on the show today. I have Mitch Vonnager of Vonnager Law. Mitch, it's awesome to have you on the show.

[00:01:03.00] – Mitch Beinhaker

Thanks, Gresham. I appreciate you bringing me on today.

[00:01:05.40] – Gresham Harkless

Definitely. Super excited to have you on. And before we jump in, I want to read a little bit more about Mitch so you can hear about all the awesome things that he's doing. Mitch is a business lawyer and a state attorney who runs a solo legal and consulting consulting practice representing business owners, entrepreneurs, executives, and professionals. Through his twenty-nine years of experience, Mitch has handled business development, marketing, and firm management, along with business transactional work for clients of the firm.

He has extensive experience with corporate governance, commercial transactions, real estate, and risk analysis. Using his years of practical experience, he drafts contracts, negotiates purchases, and can manage outside counsel for any corporate situation. For business owners and executives, he creates and implements estate plans along with succession plans to help companies continue for future generations, and he's also a podcaster. Mitch, are you ready to speak to the I Am CEO community?

[restrict paid=”true”]

[00:01:06.09] – Mitch Beinhaker

Let's do it.

[00:01:07.40] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Let's do it then. So to kick everything off, I want to rewind the clock a little bit here a little bit more on how you got started. Could you take us through your CEO story? We'll let you get started with all the awesome work you're doing.

[00:02:04.09] – Mitch Beinhaker

Yeah. Sure. I was always a business major in college, economics, finance, things like that. And I was always an entrepreneur growing up even in high school and middle school. I would run little businesses all the time, and I had in high school, I had a detailing business. It was the days when detailing was just like a new thing.

[00:02:19.59] – Gresham Harkless


[00:02:20.30] – Mitch Beinhaker

And I, I think I had an uncle or cousin or somebody said, hey, I can't get my car washed. Can you come to my office and wash the car? So we went there. I brought a buddy of mine. We detailed the car. Next thing you know, I got all these people in the parking lot, like, lining up to get their cars detailed.

[00:02:32.59] – Gresham Harkless


[00:02:32.90] – Mitch Beinhaker

Because I discovered that all these executives, they don't have time to, like, go to the car wash. The car should be closed when they are done with work and things like that. So we started this business. We got a distributor of the products that we needed. We started learning about how to do this thing, and we built it with the business. I sold it at the end of college, and then yeah. I mean, at the end of, high school. Then in college, I was always doing something at a DJ company, for the fraternity house I was in. I had a bunch of other businesses going on.

[00:02:58.30] – Gresham Harkless


[00:02:58.80] – Mitch Beinhaker

Okay. So Lyft was created I went to Cornell University in eighty-five to eighty-nine. The guys who started Lyft are Cornell grads. This is after I was there.

[00:03:07.50] – Gresham Harkless

Oh, I didn't know that.

[00:03:08.40] – Mitch Beinhaker

So when I was there, we did we realized that nobody had a way to get home. Like, they're always posting things on the bulletin board. Bulletin boards in those days had, like, push pins, and they were with cork. Like, I have one on my wall here. So we had this great idea. We created this thing. It was called, CRIS, the computerized ride information service. Right?

[00:03:29.19] – Gresham Harkless


[00:03:29.50] – Mitch Beinhaker

But there wasn't any Internet. I mean, the Internet was gonna come around a couple of years from that. So we had the phone number set up. People would call, and they would, you know, or say I need a ride, and they would like, it was like electronic, board because it didn't have any of that stuff. So we were up and running. About six months later, the university heard what we were doing. They come. They say, you can't run a business out of the dorm room, and they shut us down.

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[00:03:49.59] – Gresham Harkless
Oh, no.

[00:03:51.09] – Mitch Beinhaker

And then ten years later, whatever, this guy invents Lyft. And see, I thought of the idea. I just wanted credit for that. So I've always been an entrepreneur. Then I was graduating, and I didn't know what I wanted to do. I didn't wanna go the MBA route. I should have. I don't know. But I decided, you know, I wasn't analytical enough. I thought I wasn't the best reader. Maybe I'm even a little dyslexic, never been diagnosed, but I have a feeling I am, and I decided to go to law school. So I applied to a bunch of law schools. I took one that was offering me the most money because, my dad was like, basically, look, I gotta take care of your sister, so good luck.

Just joking around. But, so that's what I did. So I went to school in the city and took all the business and tax courses I could as a lawyer, and then I and estate planning too. So I do I did a lot of estate planning coming out of law school. My father was in the life insurance business for a very long time. He's still in the business. I grew up around that stuff. So I used to do a lot of, like, business and estate planning, got interested in it, and business law and writing agreements and contracts and negotiating deals was always something that was of interest to me.

So my my practice has progressed over the years. I've had different partners and partnerships. Now I'm on my own and keeping a very virtual slimline practice, which probably ten or fifteen years ago would be difficult to do. But nowadays with the cloud and everything that's going on where I've landed.

[00:05:09.30] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. That makes so much sense. Yeah. The time for that, and it's always great to hear somebody who has that entrepreneurial DNA, it sounds like, and you have it in your veins, and you've had it in your veins. And, of course, always great to know the true founder of Lyft and all the awesome ideas that you gave to them at the same university. They'll see you play out right here.

[00:05:25.50] – Mitch Beinhaker

Sort of a bad letter from them.

[00:05:27.19] – Gresham Harkless

I wanted to hear a little bit more about what you end up turning your business into and how you're serving clients. Can you take us through a little bit more of that and how you work with your clients?

[00:05:37.69] – Mitch Beinhaker

Yeah. I mean, my preferred way to work with clients, of course, you tell somebody they need help, they call me, they're they need help with the business. I'll help them. But generally, when it comes to marketing and the business I like to develop, I like the monthly ongoing relationship. So I have clients who pay a flat fee every month, and for that, they get a certain amount of my advice. They get they can send me emails all the time if they wanna have questions answered, and they then get discounts for additional work. Like, their contract work may be at a twenty-five percent discount. Their estate planning, which is usually wrapped into their business world anyway, is at a fifty percent discount. They get an online vault where I keep all their stuff in a secured vault. They have some there's some emergency health care features to that.

So this way, I have a client that doesn't lose everything, because I always do. No offense to my clients, but everybody I meet, can't find half the stuff. Like, we just signed this, like, a week and a half ago. I know. I don't know where it is. I can't find it well, is it in your safe? I don't have a safe. Is it in the bank? I don't have a safe deposit back. Okay. So it's gotta be somewhere. This happens all the time. I'm not singling anybody out. It happens all the time. So I keep them online and organized. I do a lot of ad hoc work. You have a business partner, you need your business agreement redone, you wanna form a company, you need your will done. I still do a lot of that stuff, but I prefer to market and work with clients on an advisory basis where they have me on a retainer. Right?

Make sure that they write a business plan. Biggest pet peeve I have, even for lawyers. Nobody's writing business plans. Right? And it doesn't have to be something out of, you know, an Ivy League school with graphs and charts and all kinds of crazy stuff, but you gotta have a road map to run on. We don't remember things. You can't just rely on your mind to just figure it out because it's chaos. Every day you walk into your business, you have the same thing as I do, Gresh. Right? There are ten things you wanna do. You only get five of them done because twenty other things happen during the day that you have to deal with. And you and I aren't running companies with fifty employees, a hundred, but other people are busy.

So they get in, and they get nothing done. So they have to have a strategic framework and a marketing plan. Maybe their business plan becomes multiple types of plans because the marketing and business development is probably the most important part in the early days, then finance behind those numbers. So that's how I prefer to work, and that's really where the podcast came from because I get a lot of clients that come to me. They get started six, eight months later, they're like, I think I gotta shut down. Why? Well, you know, we were an ice cream store and we didn't realize we'd open in the wintertime. It took longer to open and we'd have the right amount of capital, and they don't have a business plan written. And they, you know, they just didn't plan for these things that you and I both know were gonna happen.

So that's the way I like to run my practice, and I like to get the word out by getting people to do things intentionally, not by accident. My podcast is called The Accidental Entrepreneur because everybody's doing, they can't give you a reason why they did something. Well, I don't know. We just had to deal with it and we figured it out. Now there are plenty there's some people who were successful that way, and there are some people not so there are more people who were not so successful, just winging it and figuring it out. So that's the way I work, and that's why I work with clients and the way I've built up my practice. And I can work from anywhere, pretty much.

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[00:08:34.29] – Gresham Harkless

Well, let me ask you. So I was gonna ask you for what I call, your secret sauce, which could be for yourself or your business or your podcast or a combination of both. But ideas are what you feel sets you apart and makes you unique. Do you think it's that ability too?

[00:08:59.20] – Mitch Beinhaker

Well, I mean, it certainly gives me an advantage. Right? If I've got a I get we're up to a hundred and fifteen people on the podcast. They're not all business owners. Some of them are influencers and authors or whatever. But, yeah, I've I have the advantage of having spoken to them and heard all their stories. But I think my secret sauce looks. I deal with everything just like you do where it's hard to see the forest through the trees and you lose that and you gotta go back to it. And then that's why I work on my business plan all the time and rewrite things, and I constantly read stuff hearing what other people are doing all the time, both for my marketing purposes.

But as a lawyer, I feel that because I'm a small practitioner now, I feel that I should spend I spend eighty percent of my time marketing, business development, and connecting with people, and twenty percent of my time doing the work. And people say, well, how do you do that? Well, because I know that if it's fifty-fifty, the business is gonna go down and it's gonna be a roller coaster ride. So I would rather spend eighty percent of my time on business development and then slowly offload things to virtual assistance and things like that. So my business will keep developing, and then I squeeze in the work.

Because I can always hire somebody to do the work. And I think a lot of, professionals, not just attorneys, but a lot of professionals, they fall on the laurels of, oh, I'm busy. I'm finally busy. Oh, I wanna do my work. They don't wanna deal with the stuff they don't wanna deal with, like developing business and talking to people and stuff like that. And then the work stops and they're in trouble. So that's the formula that I try to use because, over the years, I've been on the roller coaster, like all the lawyers.

So I wanna always be on the development train and squeeze in the work. I get so busy that I am off and I still do. I offload some of the work to other people, but it's, you know, that's gotta always be going up or or or you just too stressful a way to live back up and down and up and down. You know, you gotta build up your base. So that's probably the formula that I use.

[00:10:43.89] – Gresham Harkless

Awesome. Awesome. Awesome. So I wanted to switch gears a little bit, and I want 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?

[00:10:53.79] – Mitch Beinhaker

Integrated technologies when it comes to running my business. I mean, I try and one of the things that I do is I try to control my schedule during the week both for productivity and my peace of mind. So I use my calendar completely online, not for somebody to see, but all of my appointments are made online. So if you introduce me to somebody, hey. This is John. I think you need some help. I connect with John through the email. We haven't even spoken yet. I sent him a link, and that link is tied to certain days and certain blocks of time depending on what it is. If it's an initial consultation a pre-podcast chat or podcasting, for example, you can only, with that link, schedule a podcast with me on Fridays. That's my podcasting day.

[00:11:30.20] – Gresham Harkless

Well, awesome. Well, so I wanted to ask you now for what I call a CEO nugget. You might have already touched on this, but this is a word of wisdom or a piece of advice. It might be something you would tell a client or somebody on the podcast, or it might be something if you hopped into a time machine you would tell your younger business self.

[00:11:45.29] – Mitch Beinhaker

I told you I'm a big reader. Yeah. If the books are audible, I listen to them more than I read. I probably because I'm always reading contracts and things. It's Yeah. Makes me crazy. But I probably have something on my Kindle, a book on my desk, and an audible book. I'm in the middle of all three. But I'll give you some of my favorite books that are for business owners and CEOs running your business, small business owners. I love the book Referral of a Lifetime. It's, it's a Ken Blanchard series book coauthored with a guy named Tim Templeton, I think. It's all about keeping in touch with your clients and building a keep in touch program because I find that if you don't keep in touch with me and you tell me you do x y z, I can't remember when Right?

Whatever it is comes up. The guys that keep in touch with me, I stay in touch with, and I stink of them when I need their services. Right? Mhmm. I love the Go-Giver series, a very good book series. Bob Berg was on my podcast. That's a good one. And very much so, I'm a big fan of Mike Michalowicz. I like his books, Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and The Pumpkin Plan, and I think every business owner should run their business on profit first. It's just great I don't get paid for that. I'm not a profit per first professional or anything, but I run my practice that way. And I find that's the trouble that business owners get into.

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They get in trouble with taxes, And like you said before, they get in trouble with not working on their business, the e mister. They can't step away from what they're doing. They're not making any money. It's just it's a lifestyle biz. And I think during a pandemic, a lot of people realize that, like, cash flow hides a lot of things, you know, and oops, no cash flow, and then the smoke clears. You're like, oh my god, we're making no money running this business. They gotta think twice about it. So those are the things that I like. Those are the valuable things I found over the years from other people who have recommended them to me.

[00:13:22.29] – Gresham Harkless

Yeah. No. I appreciate all those nuggets here, and I think it's so important to continue to sharpen the saw and stay aware of the insight that other people have. And I think podcasts and books as you said and Kindle books are a great way to kinda learn the expertise of so many other people. So, appreciate that nugget. And so now I wanna ask you my absolute favorite question, which is the definition of what it means to be a CEO. And we're hoping our different quote, unquote CEOs on this show. So, Mitch, what does being a CEO mean to you?

[00:13:49.29] – Mitch Beinhaker

Well, I think if you're a CEO and you have an I told you I'm a solopreneur, but if you have an organization behind you, it's a lot of CEO has to do with being a good leader. You can't do everything yourself. You don't wanna do everything yourself. And usually, if you do it yourself, you make mistakes. So it's really important that the effective CEOs I found are very good leaders, and they empower the people who are below them to do the things that they need them to do to get the job done. The ones that are not effective are more like dictators. They did not like dictators like a foreign country, but Yeah, they dictate things.

There's a difference between micromanagement. Where they say you're gonna do this and you're gonna do that, and I don't like this, you do this way. They're not open to ideas about other people. And I think the effective ones, you know, that doesn't mean you say yes to everything, but the effective ones empower and mold and shape and grow the organization in a particular direction, but it's still in touch with the different initially, let's say a small group of people which grow into departments, which need to still communicate with each other and to make the organization effective. And that's the that's that's what I think a good CEO is. They're leader, and they're not a dictator in terms of just telling people what to do.

[00:15:01.60] – Gresham Harkless

Well, Mitch, I truly, appreciate you for taking some time out. And what I wanted to do is just 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 a hold of you and find out about all the awesome things that you're working on. Of course, listen to the podcast.

[00:15:14.50] – Mitch Beinhaker

Yeah. Follow the podcast. We have episodes coming out on Tuesdays and Fridays. It's always different. There are authors, social media influencers, business owners, local people, and people around the world. And, if they wanna connect with me, I'm on, you know, LinkedIn, Facebook. There's a Facebook page also for the for the law practice and the podcast as well as on LinkedIn. I guess you could follow me on Instagram too. I don't do much on there, but we do post a podcast there.

And my website is buying hacker law. Reworking it now, but you can always get there are some, do it yourself, I'll call it, documents and stuff. Now this is in New Jersey. I wanna preface that I had somebody from another state once, like, I don't know. Their cousin was in New Jersey, and they're they're like, oh, well, can't it be in New Jersey? My cousin's gonna be the executor. I got none. It doesn't work that way. You have to be in New Jersey. Oh, okay.

So it's gotta be New Jersey for the most part. I don't do a lot of things outside of New Jersey, but if anybody's ever looking to connect, I'm an easy guy to find. Just there's no other Mitch bind there are other bind hackers. I don't think any other Mitch-bind hackers are out there. And if they're bound hackers, they're somehow related to me, even if it's spelled differently.

[00:16:18.39] – Gresham Harkless

There you go. That's for another podcast for sure. So we will have the links and information in the show notes to make it even easier for you to get a hold of Mitch, and listen to the podcast. But appreciate you and your time, and I hope you have a phenomenal rest of the day.

[00:16:30.70] – Outro

Thank you for listening to the I AM CEO Podcast powered by Blue 16 Media. Tune in next time and visit us at iamceo.co I AM CEO is not just a phrase, it's a community. Be sure to follow us on social media and subscribe to our podcast on iTunes Google Play and everywhere you listen to podcasts, SUBSCRIBE, and leave us a five-star rating grab CEO gear at www.ceogear.co. This has been the I AM CEO Podcast with Gresham Harkless. Thank you for listening.


Mercy - CBNation Team

This is a post from a CBNation team member. CBNation is a Business to Business (B2B) Brand. We are focused on increasing the success rate. We create content and information focusing on increasing the visibility of and providing resources for CEOs, entrepreneurs and business owners. CBNation consists of blogs(CEOBlogNation.com), podcasts, (CEOPodcasts.com) and videos (CBNation.tv). CBNation is proudly powered by Blue16 Media.

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