How a Lawyer Started an Immensely Successful Blog (while working 70+ hours/wk at his law firm)

“But I’m too busy to start a business on the side!”

Well, not if you’re Robert Berger.

myphotoRobert Berger is a full-time attorney who specializes in corporate litigation…who also happens to be the owner of Dough Roller, a super-popular personal finance blog that has 10,000 e-mail subscribers and 2 million yearly visitors.  He started Dough Roller from the ground-up back in 2007.

Now if I know one thing about lawyers, it’s that they work…all of the time!  They are some of the most dedicated–and most busy!–people out there.

So when I heard that Robert started Dough Roller while working full time at his law practice, I was floored!


Robert took his blog from a passive hobby, and turned it into something that makes him more money than practicing law.

His success is a great inspiration to entrepreneurs of all types, especially those currently working a day job who are looking to start a business on the side.

Listen to the interview here.

Some of the interview’s big takeaways:

  • How Robert woke up at 5am every day to write for his blog—and worked on it at lunch and after dinner!
  • How he got a big break from MSN Money only about 6 months into blogging.
  • How he went from making low 5-figures to 6 figures in 1 year from his blog.
  • What he recommends to newcomer bloggers (hint: it’s not just writing your content and hoping you get discovered!).
  • The importance of relationships in building your business.

It’s already impressive enough to catapult a blog into the 6 figure income stratosphere…

…but who does that while practicing law 50-70 hours per week??

Now that’s just crazy!

Listen in, and let me know what you think.


If your first business venture is innovative, you’re doing something wrong

Starting a business for the first time?

What’s your business idea?… a tech startup?  A product that will completely change the world?  A “Yelp for geriatrics”?

Before you get too excited, I must warn you:

If your idea is some world-changing, paradigm shifting technology or concept, you’re basically sinking your own ship before it even leaves the harbor.


I’ll put it plainly:

Most people I’ve met who are starting a business for the first time (myself included when I started) have essentially no clue what’s needed to actually successfully start a company.

Everything’s a shot in the dark.

Which is fine…shooting in the dark is how first-time entrepreneurs learn.

But if your business idea is something that’s so much of an uphill battle that it’s basically rock climbing…something way outside of your skillset and ability to executre…what do you think your chances of success are?

I’m not here to discourage you.  In fact, I’ve got a perfect idea that can help solve this problem:

Go start a foundational business first.

What’s a foundational business?

foundational business is a business that’s really easy for you to execute.

foundational business is characterized by these key elements:

  • The idea is straightforward and easy to understand (i.e. not very innovative).
  • The idea primarily uses skills you already have.
  • Can be implemented in a matter of weeks, or even days.
  • Something you have a high degree of control over (i.e. not relying on other people to keep things moving).
  • Has a super-straightforward way of making money (i.e. not “well this is Yelp + Facebook + freemium + ads”…I mean as easy as “You do X and you get paid Y”)

A foundational business teaches you the business acumen and mindsets needed to actually run a company.

You take the foundations you built with your foundational business, and apply them to a bigger venture when you’re ready. [click to continue…]

The #1 Worst Reason to Want to be an Entrepreneur- Is it yours?

Do you want to be an entrepreneur for the most fatal, most killer reason out there?

When I first chose to eschew the prospects of a standard 9-5 career and nosedive directly into entrepreneurship, I was blissfully unaware of the challenges that laid ahead.

Cocky voice inside my head: “Come on RC, this won’t be hard.  You’re smart, you’ve got ideas, and you’re a badass sexy MOFO…get out there and make us some money!”

Me (replying to cocky voice): “Ok!”

Hah…how foolish I was.

Damn you, cocky voice inside my head.  Although I’m grateful you got me thinking about entrepreneurship and got me to stop making excuses and start doing, I’m pretty pissed off you had it all wrong on 1 crucial account:

You sold me the #1 worst reason to be an entrepreneur.

You thought it would be easy to just start makin’ money and plowing it in.

Voice: “RC, you’ll struggle for a month or two…but I bet you’ll start raking in some cash after about the third month….give it a year, you’ll be pulling in $60-70 grand easy.  We’ll be rich!”

At this point I get slightly freaked out the cocky voice inside my head refers to itself as an entity distinct from me.

What I’ve realized from my entrepreneurial journey is this:

Entrepreneur journey

There’s way too many metaphors in this photo that relate to my entrepreneurial journey to count.

If your goal going into starting a business is to make tons of money quickly up front, you’re going into it for the wrong reason, and you’ll not only a.) fail to meet your goals, you’ll also b.) cause yourself a mountain of unnecessary anguish along the way.

Why? [click to continue…]

2013- The Year of Focus and Getting Started

It’s December 31, 2013…

You’re sitting with friends, anxiously waiting for the ball to drop.

You’re laughing over a bottle of champagne, and your mind flips back to today…January 3, 2013…

Because you become philosophical when you drink, you’ll remember that you read an article on Decoding Startups pointing out that the way to accomplish success in life—whether it be in entrepreneurship, love, personal finance, losing weight, or anything—is through setting goals, and being in it for the long term.

What will life be like for the December 31 2013 you?

What will you have done?

Will you have followed through on your goals?

Will you have even set them?

Will you be sharing with your friends how your meticulously planned business venture paid off?

Or will you be complaining with your pals about how much your job sucks; and that you’d like to do something else, but can’t “figure out how”?

Will your 2013 be your year of accomplishment? 

Ramit Sethi, my favorite blogger who writes on I Will Teach You To Be Rich, calls 2013 the “year of taking control”…the year of actively seeking to understand ourselves and the world better–the “game being played around us” as Ramit says–and taking meaningful effort and undergoing meaningful change to accomplish great things.

For me–and likely for you too–that meaningful change comes through entrepreneurship.

And I want the you of December 31, 2013 to be proud: proud of your amazing accomplishments; proud of the execution of a new business venture; proud that you had the opportunity to learn amazing things through failure and success alike.

How is the January 3rd you going to make the December 31st you proud and successful?

I introduce you to the Year of Focus and the Year of Getting Started

[click to continue…]

Call Your Own Bluff

If you knew most of your problems were self-created, would you do something about it?

I was back in Phoenix over Thanksgiving having dinner with a longtime friend.

My friend is an electrical engineer, and one of the smartest guys I know.  He makes his living doing the legal version of what Enron did…trading energy derivatives.  Back in 8th grade, he said to me “You know, I think I’m smarter than you”.  I was pretty pissed, but I knew it was true.

We chatted a bit about work, starting with his job (which he eagerly reminds me how much he hates every time we talk), and then my startup stuff.

“R.C.”, he said…

“I really wish I was doing what you are.”

As you know from having read here before, one thing that brings my blood to a low simmer faster than anything else–the thing that I hate the most–even more than the thought of being pulled apart alive by a medeival torture device in the basement of a rat-infested castle dungeon–is excuses.  The destructive, debilitating ”pooh pooh” reasons that otherwise-smart people give themselves to justify taking zero action in pursuit of embracing and executing entrepreneurship.

The Tragedy of the Gut Reaction

My friend’s gut reaction–to actually convince himself that despite his intelligence, his connections and the money he’d saved through a having a high-paying job, he had no chance of entrepreneurship success–came through years of enculturation: from family, through school, through his peer group…through anybody who was vocal about their worries.  This bombastic group of overly-conservative worrywarts pulled his mind away from what his heart knew he wanted to do.

And it was destroying his happiness; worse, it was keeping him from getting what he wanted out of life. [click to continue…]