Making a Bona Fide Run At This

By: David

When we first created Illustrated Law, my primary goals were to 1) use it as a learning opportunity by getting hands-on experience starting a business, and 2) hopefully influence other creators of legal study materials to improve their products. 

Our plan was to just make great products in our spare time, being content with whatever came out of it. But then I started dipping my toes deeper into my business law courses and decided to make a business plan. You know, just to see what it was like. And, while I was at it, it'd be kinda fun to create a website. And really, if we were going to do that, why not reach out to business students and business experts about how to do it well. It'd help enhance the learning process, after all.  

About a month into the semester, I asked Dan if he'd be willing to go ahead and make an honest attempt at turning this into a thing. A real, bona fide, long-term, profit-generating enterprise. Thankfully, he agreed. After all, without an illustrator, Illustrated Law would just be Law. It'd still be better than Quimbee or the free case briefs online, but it'd lack the visual appeal that makes reading the cases more enjoyable. 

So I spent more and more time talking to business people about how to, you know, run a business. And it was fun. It's like a puzzle. Or a strategy game. We have a finite amount of resources, and we're only two people, so I have to carefully calculate each move we make. Time spent doing one thing is time not spent doing another. So I began thinking about advertising and marketing and selling and quality control and website improvements and search engine optimization and so on. 

Before I knew it, IL took over most of my thoughts. Now classes seem like a nuisance. Working out is a necessary evil. Even when in the gym I often pause to tap out a couple business notes into my phone as they occur to me. I have a 25-page paper due this semester that I haven't even started writing. I have two class presentations I haven't prepped for. I have a term sheet negotiation exercise I haven't studied. And yet I'm surprisingly zen about it.

Sure, if not for the business I'd probably be well on my way with those assignments or perhaps even finished, but I don't think the opportunity cost is severe. I get great joy out of creating Illustrated Law, I learn something new and important every week about business, and with luck, this may become a full-time job after graduating.  

I only regret that I can't spend more time on the business. Alas, homework awaits.