An Interview With Fotis Georgiadis
You have to be okay with failing. I think that failure is scary in life, and in general. I think we are so used to thinking that success means that you haven’t failed. In reality failure means you tried. Now, how am I going to learn from that failure.
As a part of our series called “Making Something From Nothing”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Doris Dike.
Doris Dike, Esq is CEO of Dike Law Group located in Frisco, Texas. She is a native of Illinois and received her undergraduate degree from University of Illinois. After completing her undergrad, she went to Washington and Lee, School of Law. Aside from being a full-time healthcare attorney, she is a wonderful mother of 4! Mrs. Doris is an experienced healthcare attorney and covers things such as regulatory compliance, contracts, health care operations, and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) oversight. She also started and owns a healthcare business with her physician spouse. She has been a compliance officer, a chief legal officer of a hospital, regional firm attorney, and has her first degree in health administration. In her free time, she enjoys scrolling through Instagram, laughing at funny memes and the most important, spending time with her kids.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you tell us a bit about your “childhood backstory”?
I love the idea of entrepreneurship, even as a kid. When I was younger, I would sell candy to neighbors and family friends. I was good at what I was doing, and I can see myself doing this somehow in the future. As I grew a little older, I helped my mom start her own cleaning business. I believe as a child, even though I did not realize it at the time, entrepreneurship is something I have always had a passion for.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite quote would be “Learn from your failures.” Don’t sit on an idea, just do it. Learn from your failures, so that you can improve on whatever it is you want to do. If you have an idea and believe in yourself, you can do it.
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
Think and Grow Rich, and Rich Dad Poor Dad. In 2013/2014, I was stuck in a financial situation, applying to multiple jobs, most of them were dead ends. During this time, I read those books and it inspired me to rely on myself. For me, I looked at it as what can I read and how can I apply this to become better.
Ok super. Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. There is no shortage of good ideas out there. Many people have good ideas all the time. But people seem to struggle in taking a good idea and translating it into an actual business. Can you share a few ideas from your experience about how to overcome this challenge?
The biggest challenge is to just start. So many people have good ideas and that is it, just an idea. Previously, I was General Counsel at a hospital, and during that time, I wanted to start my own law firm. I kept thinking I need to do this; I need to do that. I used to think, If I could just get one or two clients, I could start my own business. I have this business plan, but does it work? If not, how am I going to keep perfecting the process until I have a successful business. If one idea does not work, I need to re-strategize and fix it immediately. I have worked at different firms and organizations, and they do not have it all figured out. The only thing that sets me apart from them, at the time, was not starting my own business.
Often when people think of a new idea, they dismiss it saying someone else must have thought of it before. How would you recommend that someone go about researching whether or not their idea has already been created?
If someone has an idea and someone tries to dismiss it by saying someone else must have thought of it before…it does not matter. Your idea being created suggests that there is a need for your business. Think about chocolate, how many different companies make chocolate? All these companies can be making the same product but there are different components to make that end product. You want the product to be uniquely yours.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me When I First Started Leading My Company” and why?
- You don’t need a lot of money to start a business. I always thought I had to save X amount of money before starting my business, but I was wrong. You have the idea, just start.
- You can’t do everything by yourself. I have so many different ideas on how to grow my business, but I can only do so much. It is very overwhelming. For instance, I was dropping off my daughter for school in the morning and a client called me in the car. I thought to myself, I need to answer this call. There was a lot going on in the background, so I feel like I could have paid a company to take this call for me and get information so I can come back to the client with all the information.
- Importance of having referrals. Making sure I develop relationships with other people. I am now learning through reading and just being in business how important it is. So now I have joined networking groups and have done online networking. Its easy to do paid ads and such but having a referral and building a relationship is important. I wish I spent more time building relationships with other people.
- You have to be okay with failing. I think that failure is scary in life, and in general. I think we are so used to thinking that success means that you haven’t failed. In reality failure means you tried. Now, how am I going to learn from that failure.
- You have to be comfortable with trying different approaches with the same end result. If you fail at one approach, try another one. If that does not work, try one that will work. You have to be willing to track what you are doing and see what is working and what is not working. You need to be willing to pivot your approach.
For the benefit of our readers, can you outline the steps one has to go through, from when they think of the idea, until it finally lands in a customer’s hands? In particular, we’d love to hear about how to file a patent, how to source a good manufacturer, and how to find a retailer to distribute it.
Get a patent lawyer to help with this process. I believe, especially with a patent, you do need the expertise from a patent lawyer to follow that process appropriately. Patents are based on a particular good being different in the market. The patent processor will then assess something based on the science behind it to protect it. I don’t think someone would be successful just trying to wing it. Unless they know the math and science behind it that makes it different from others in the market.
Let’s imagine that a reader reading this interview has an idea for a product that they would like to invent. What are the first few steps that you would recommend that they take?
As a lawyer, the first thing I would suggest is coming up with a strong business name. Trademark that name immediately. People come up with a lot of ideas, but their name is already used, or it is used in a way that is similar to the business they are trying to do. This can cause confusion in the marketplace. Even myself, I had a concept I was trying to do, and for whatever reason I put this in a trademark search and the name I was trying to use already had something in the system. You do that so you don’t get sued and you will get sued. This was not for my law firm, this was for something else, but I had to think of another name to use. Have contracts in place to have to have your business, if you are utilizing vendors make sure you have vendor agreements, and/or having someone to look at these so you don’t get screwed over. Also utilizing the right experts. Let’s say you want to start a healthcare business I would suggest talking with a healthcare lawyer. If you are starting a fashion business, you might want to go to someone that has expertise in merchandising so they can guide you. Every consultant can’t do everything, even if they told you they can, they don’t think of things that you would need because they don’t specialize in what you are doing. So, if you are trying to make a product and you needed it patent or something, you would need a patent lawyer who has experience with dealing with those things.
There are many invention development consultants. Would you recommend that a person with a new idea hire such a consultant, or should they try to strike out on their own?
I would strike out on my own first. Before you pay for something, I would say try it out on your own first because things costs. From there you can see where you are having trouble, and then go talk to a consultant and say I have tried doing this, this, and this, can you help me with this specific thing?
What are your thoughts about bootstrapping vs looking for venture capital? What is the best way to decide if you should do either one?
I think it depends on the type of business you are trying to do. I am a bootstrap 1000%. Bootstrap all day until you need the capital. When you go to a venture capitalist or bank, they want to see the revenue of what your business produced before they give you the money. Otherwise, it would be taking out a loan, or taking out money on your house. Those are things I would NEVER suggest anyone doing when starting a business, because you don’t want your business to fail and then you are out X amount of dollars.
Ok. We are nearly done. Here are our final questions. How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I believe I have used my success by helping people establishing companies that they would like to establish. Sometimes I feel like they have an idea, but they don’t do it because they have a lot of roadblocks, especially in the healthcare space which is heavily regulated. I think that what I have done whether in my firm or other places that have worked, is that I have helped my clients overcome the regulatory roadblocks to allow them to start or continue running their business successfully. I think that helping someone achieve their dream, helping someone become successful in what they are trying to do, is how I can help make the world be a better place. Were making you do something that you didn’t think was possible and giving them hope for the future.
You are an inspiration to a great many people. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
The only movement I want to inspire is that people have the courage to try things. I think people are so locked into their job, they feel like oh my gosh, I don’t have this job or that job, I can’t eat. I want to inspire people to step out on faith, I have this idea, and I am going to just leap and do it. I feel like that is what leads to financial prosperity and financial success. You can’t leave a job for your kids or leave a job for your grandkids. You can leave the money you have received from that job behind, but even that is a smaller amount. What you can do is leave the legacy, business, or brand, that you created for your family, and I think that is what is important.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them.
Sara Blakely. She started a billion-dollar brand with $5,000. She, like many entrepreneurs, probably was told no a million times, and she was just able to make her business work. She is tenacious and persistent. I know that she mentioned that she tried to go to law school and she decided she was not going to go after failing the LSAT three times. I think that her courage and tenaciousness inspire a lot of women who are scared to move on past failure. I would love to pick her brain and figure out how she rose from that. I think her dad is a lawyer and seeing him she wanted that same success too. She said screw it, I am going to do something else, and she did it and killed it.
Thank you for these fantastic insights. We greatly appreciate the time you spent on this.
Thank you! These were terrific questions!
Making Something From Nothing: Doris Dike Of Dike Law Group On How To Go From Idea To Launch was originally published in Authority Magazine on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.