YOU AND YOUR OHANA
What is your name?
Where were you raised?
Where is your ohana orginally from?
Most of my ohana lives in Kalihi and all over the islands now. Kupihea lineage/Lanai
Do you come from a family of entrepreneurs or have people close to you who have encouraged and supported your entrepreneurship?
No. My dad was federal IRS accountant. Mom is lifelong nurse and educator, retired.
What is the name of your business?
The Law Office of Aaron K. Wills, LLLC
What is the best way to contact you/your business?
By email at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at (808) 286-4506.
Do you have a website? If so, please provide a link.
How long has your business been in operation?
Since January 2017.
Where is your business located today?
I work on all the islands. I have an office in Honolulu and am looking to expand and open an office in Hilo soon.
What products and/or services does your business provide?
Legal Consulting; Legal Defense; Personal Injury litigation; and other general practitioner areas of practice.
Please describe your business in 1-2 sentences.
Legal Services for all people.
Why do you do what you do?
This is my calling. I was lost for a long time trying to figure out what I was supposed to do with my life, and how I could give back. Ke Akua showed the way. I just followed the footsteps with great mentoring and support the entire way. I was born to be a lawyer, in it to do the right thing, not driven by money.
STARTING YOUR BUSINESS
When did you first think of starting your business?
When I was in law school taking a Business Law Class from Professor Ken Lawson.
What type of experiences (education, work, life) were most important in shaping the skills you use to run your business today?
My entire life has been a testament of adversity. That has shaped me for the better. I was a social worker for seven years before law school and fathered my first child. A judge pulled me aside during a job interview and encouraged me to think about becoming an attorney because he believed I could be a good one. That judge then helped me get into law school and introduced me to a mentor that would help my development the entire way.
These kind of people, helping someone like me to achieve my life goals, is the reason I give back. I asked my mentor (a retired judge) what or how he decides his cases and the decisions he makes regarding the cases before him. He told me, “You do the right thing!” I, thinking that to be too simple of an answer, retorted, “Ok, but what do you do after that?” His answer, “You do the next right thing!” I will never forget those words of advice. Simple as they may be, they carry the weight of the instructions I have been given in my work. Do the right thing, and after that, do the next right thing. This life lesson has motivated me to keep my mind open to new areas of practice I may not be familiar with, because people may need help. And if I try to do the right thing, when people ask for help, I know I will provide them with the best possible solutions.
YOUR BUSINESS TODAY
In what stage of development is your business: pre-formation, early stage, growing, or mature?
It is growing and needs to continue to grow. School loans feel overwhelming, along with the cost of running a business.
Do you have employees? If so, how many?
No. My wife was my office manager/paralegal for awhile. She is now working full time as a medical biller. No current employees.
Are you working to get your business to the next stage in development? If so, where are you in that development?
Yes, but slowly. Expansion to the Big Island because we would like to maintain an office in Honolulu but live on Big Island, Hilo area.
What is the greatest challenge you have experienced as an entrepreneur?
Moving. We have moved offices two times in last three years. We’re in a permanent spot now that will be easy to contain overhead costs.
How did you overcome that challenge? (Or are you still working through it?)
Currently in the first year of being in permanent office space. Working out well so far.
THE FUTURE OF YOUR BUSINESS
How do you envision your business in the future?
In order to maintain the ability to represent parties against those who may have tremendous resources and wealth, it is important to remain staunchly independent and privately funded through business profits and donations for pro bono work. Funding/Money/Kala is always an issue with attorneys who have conflicts in cases due to having supported, worked for firms with these clients, defended, or are currently advocating for big business. My business model is small by design in order to keep the circle of trust small and tight. My business cannot be influenced by outside private financiers who have special interests in Hawaii that are not beneficial or supportive of our people. I do not envision my business growing into some large uncontrollable monstrosity but rather a small sustainable firm that is for the people.