Legal Document Filing Service

Startup Costs: Under $2,000
Part Time: Can be operated part-time.
Franchises Available? No
Online Operation? No

2021 saw the largest number of new U.S. business applications ever (53% more than 2019 submissions, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's Business Formation Statistics), and all of these potential companies — as well as the millions of existing ones — rely upon the timely filing of a variety of legal documents. The service of assisting them in this task is a vital and growing sector, and better still, you don’t have to be a lawyer to start a company in this space.

Ask the Expert: Nellie Akalp, CEO of CorpNet

What is the first step to getting started in the legal document filing industry?

A key early step is establishing which types of documents you want to assist with. There are many different forms needed for startups and other businesses that are looking to stay compliant, and these may vary by state. So, figure out which forms you want to focus on, look up what’s needed in your state (or all states, if you’re offering this service nationwide), and get your templates ready for clients. Next, you’ll want to hire assistants and then market your services to start building clientele.

Is the industry growing?

Yes, absolutely. When we started in 1997, there was a small handful of players, if even that many. Today there are too many to name, but there is still plenty of business to go around. During the pandemic, many people realized that they wanted to embark on entrepreneurial journeys, so we’ve had a big boost in business over the past few years.

Related: Want to Be Your Own Boss? Learn How to Launch Your Side Hustle Fast.

What are the current trends in legal document filing and what type of person is a great fit to try this?

The main trends I see in this space are opportunities for connecting in more multi-dimensional ways — for diving deeper into business development and partnership opportunities. Many people, such as CPAs and attorneys, need help streamlining the formation and compliance process, as they want to offer these services to their clients but simply don’t have the time to get them done. So, we’ve created a strategic partnership option for anyone who wants to work with us in those areas, or others. We’ve also created a white-label version of our partner program, which is also in high demand.

The right fit would be a people person — someone who is detail-oriented and very organized.

How much money can a person expect to make in the first year and in five years?

It really varies depending on your costs and client load.

Related: Need One-on-One Help? Book a Session with an Entrepreneur Expert.

What kind of experience/training do you need?

You should have basic knowledge of building a business, and also understand the rules and regulations for all startup and/or compliance forms needed in each state.

What do you wish you’d known when you were just starting out?

The most important thing to know is that you don’t have to be an attorney to offer these types of services. Our job is merely acting as a scribe: We take information from clients, fill forms out for them with that information and submit them in a timely fashion — all to make their lives easier. Attorneys are in a position to share the legal ramifications of each entity to help one decide which structure is best for them, but most wouldn’t actually fill out the paperwork.

Who are your customers?

We have all types… startups, real estate investors, kids gym owners, franchisees, franchisors… you name it. We also have a large following for our partner program, and most of our partners consist of CPAs, accountants or other professionals. Many customers, including partners, come to us via word of mouth and also through partnerships we’ve formed with other companies.

Related: Get the No.1 Guide to Starting Your Own Business

Are there any resources you recommend that were extremely valuable to getting your business off the ground?

I love SCORE mentors. They’re a fantastic resource for any business trying to get off the ground.

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