Janine Holsinger worked in the bankruptcy field for the last six years− on the creditor’s side of the law, purchasing houses on behalf banks in foreclosure cases and filing garnishments on debtors, before switching to a debtor’s rights firm where she became lead bankruptcy paralegal.
During her tenure at the debtor’s rights firm, Holsinger began spending her nights and weekends as a virtual bankruptcy paralegal for a company she formed called Paralegal Team. After preparing petitions for attorneys throughout the United States, she noticed that lawyers all over the country were facing some of the same challenges she was, and decided to take action.
Five years later, what began as notes about the ideal bankruptcy software scribbled on napkins is close to becoming reality. Holsinger’s cloud-based bankruptcy application, NextChapter, is expected to be available to beta users by the end of this summer.
Since the launch of the NextChapter website March 13, bankruptcy attorneys in more than 89 districts −from New Hampshire to Minnesota to California− have signed up.
At the moment, most of the beta users are former clients of Holsinger’s or they found NextChaper via social media and Google.
“It’s amazing how fast we’re ranking without doing any SEO,” says Holsinger. “There are a few major conventions and conferences for bankruptcy attorneys that we plan to attend, and also reach out via email marketing, as we’ve found the bankruptcy attorney community to be just as excited about NextChapter as we are!”
Holsinger left her job as a paralegal in October 2012 to focus on NextChapter full time.
She knew she had to make the leap when, for the entire year prior, she was waking up two hours early to work on NextChapter before going to her part-time job at the law firm and then excitedly running home to work for ten more hours.
Holsinger says her attorney has been a tremendous help as she’s worked to get NextChapter off the ground.
“It is so important to have someone representing you and the interests of your company from the very start,” she adds.
Networking has also been invaluable to her.
“I made sure to set up multiple meetings per day with like-minded entrepreneurs, angel investors, lawyers, venture capitalists, CEOs, friends, potential clients, etc.,” she says. “After each meeting, I would write down everything we discussed: feedback and ideas, people they mentioned that I should connect with or books they referenced. You can learn so much from those that have been there.”
The following four resources have been the most helpful to Holsinger over the last few years:
Strategyzer– “Use this web-app to get all of your ideas into a business model canvas,” she says.
LivePlan– “This business plan software is great to help guide you through creating your first business plan and will help answer those tough questions you will get asked at investor meetings,” she says.
Foundrs.com– “Use this cofounder equity calculator to help determine how much of the pie to slice,” she says.
Quora– “Some of the best resources about startups, development, and sales I’ve found have come from answers on Quora,” she says.
To learn more about NextChapter, visit NextChapterBK.com.