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Interview: GDPR for Dummies by Suzanne Dibble

Skills for Freedom: Hello and welcome. Today's guest is someone I've been itching to talk to for some time. Suzanne Dibble is a former corporate lawyer who's worked alongside the likes of Sir Richard Branson and Simon Woodroffe, the founder of the YO! Sushi restaurant chain and one of the original Dragons on BBC's Dragons' Den. Well after winning many awards for her legal work, a few years ago, Suzanne decided to step away from the corporate world to start her own venture, The Small Business Legal Academy. Fast forward to today and she's recently published a bestselling dummies guide book on the subject of GDPR. And if you've never heard of GDPR, don't worry, you soon will. Suzanne, welcome.

Suzanne Dibble: Thank you. It is an absolute pleasure to be talking to you today.

Skills for Freedom: You've done so much already. It's really hard to know where to start, but perhaps you could tell me a little bit more about where you're from and how you ended up as a corporate lawyer.

Suzanne Dibble: Well, I can give you the abridged version or the very long version. I think for the sake of the listeners, we'll stick to the abridged version. And now some of you, if you listen to me talk a little bit longer you'd notice my flat A's. So even though I've lived down South now for about 25 years, you can still detect the Northern accent. So I grew up in the Northwest in a county called Cheshire, and I went to a private school, actually. And it was the type of school where if you were good at science, you were going to be a doctor. And if you weren't good at science, you were going to be a lawyer. That's about as extensive as the career advice was back then. And as you can tell from the way that my career went, I wasn't very good at science.

So it was really, you were pointed in those directions. I did a placement, I seem to remember, at the local and I mean, very local, high street law firm. And the managing partner drove a very fancy Jaguar and I thought, "That'll do for me. I'll go into law." I'd love to give you some tale about, I went down to the criminal law courts and saw a travesty, a miscarriage of justice that I wanted to remedy in some way. But actually, it was a little bit more superficial than that. But saying that, it's been a brilliant career for me. It's allowed me to do pretty much everything that I've wanted to do. It's exercised my grey cells certainly, it's enabled me to meet some incredible people.

Like you mentioned, I've worked alongside Richard Branson and Simon Woodroffe, and other fascinating entrepreneurs. I've been doing the kind of deals that you would read about on the front of the FT. I've worked to ITV and led the biggest deal that they ever did when we were transmuting over from the analogue signal to the digital signal. So I've had a fantastic career in law. And then I was very blessed that I was able to start my own practice, which has allowed me to work totally flexibly around my children.

So I consider myself very lucky actually to have not been good at science, say that I've gone down the legal route rather than the medical route. Although saying that, I am suggesting to my daughter that she might consider medicine, because obviously, I've had lots of experience of doctors with my husband and my mum and other family members who've needed the support of these brilliant people.

I'd obviously have to say that doctors are, well, I don't know, maybe I'm doing lots of lawyers a discredit here, but certainly, I think doctors are able to give obviously a lot more value to society. So I'm suggesting that she might like that route but for me, the legal route has been a joy really.

Skills for Freedom: And what a journey it's been, as you say. I mean, you've worked for some of the top companies around the country, and then to branch out and set up on your own, that's a huge achievement. And as you mentioned, you have worked with some of the biggest names in the corporate world, like Richard Branson. What was that like?

Suzanne Dibble: Well at the time, to be honest, I didn't realize what a big deal it was. Having now been in a circle of entrepreneurs for the last 10 years since I've set up my own business, I've realized that most of these entrepreneurs would literally give their right arm to go for dinner with Richard Branson, and not just people in this country, but all around the world and I did that many times.

I went to his house in Holland Park. I went for dinner with just him and three other people to a very cozy little restaurant in Chelsea. We went clubbing together on the King's Road. And at the time, I really didn't think that much of it. He was a great guy, we had a lot of fun but I wasn't thinking, goodness me, I'm here with a living legend in the entrepreneurial world. He was fantastic.

I wrote a blog post actually about the things that I learned from him. And what he was excellent at doing was finding really good people and then letting them get on with it. So he wasn't one to micromanage, that's for sure. And I think that actually is a real skill. But also just such a people person. When we went for dinner, we went to the pub first. I can't remember the name, but lovely little pub on the corner of the King's Road in Chelsea.

Everyone was staring and pointing and saying, "There's Richard." And rather than getting annoyed by it, he'd give them a little wave. I thought, "Well, that's jolly nice of him." And then we went to the restaurant and I kid you not, by the end of the meal, the whole of the restaurant had pulled up a chair around our table.

It was only a cozy little place. It's like maybe 30 people in there, and he was regaling the 30 or so guests with stories about his life, about Virgin and they were loving it. And he was so giving in that way. He didn't seem in any way annoyed that these people were interrupting a private dinner. And he was like that all the time. Virgin were very good to their staff and I believe still are.

There was a games room downstairs with a tennis table and some games consoles and free food and free fruit and et cetera. And he would regularly pop in and he just made everyone so at ease and a really huge people person. And of course, there's his legendary vision. I think that was evident in the way that the company was set up.

We had a specific team that purely looked at ideas that people sent him. And every single one was looked at. And obviously, the ones that had viability were taken forwards. But he had about 25 group companies at that time. And he still had this venture capital arm that was actively looking for new ways to make the customer experience better, which is really what the Virgin Group was all about. So yes, fantastic time working at Virgin and getting to know Richard and learned a lot from him.

Skills for Freedom: Would you say he's influenced you in any way, Suzanne?

Suzanne Dibble: Even before I met him actually, I'd read all of his books. And if you'd have asked me who I wanted to be when I was 15, I would have said I want to be the female Richard Branson. So, I've obviously failed on that and unless in the next 20 years, I'm going to build and grow 25 companies to the level he has. I think I've failed on that. But he certainly ignited in me my entrepreneurial spark.

I think that, that was what made it a lot easier to walk away from quite a structured corporate life to set up my own business. And I've spoken to lots of lawyers since who I know would, particularly women actually, who at the point that they had children wanted to still have some career, but they didn't want to have the demands that the corporate job placed on them. They just weren't brave or they didn't feel that they were brave enough to walk away from that and set up their own venture. So I think that he certainly gave me that, and working there as well or even, there was already always an entrepreneurial yearning there, but it gave me the confidence almost to see that through.

Skills for Freedom: That's great. You must've been worried as well about stepping away from that well-paid corporate job to set up your own venture?

Suzanne Dibble: Absolutely. Yes. I was on a multiple six-figure package and to go from that to nothing is scary for anybody. I was a corporate lawyer which are the, typically that's the longest hours that you will ever do in a legal job. And it was, regularly you were working 18 hour days, weekends. I think the longest I went without any sleep was three nights.

We did the deal. We signed the deal at 10:00 AM on the Monday. I think we'd worked all over the weekend. It was this Swedish management team and they'd brought their 10 bottles of vodka or whatever firewater it was from Sweden. And at 10:00 AM, after not having had any sleep for three nights, they got that out and did the old toast where you have to look each other in the eye, go around the table and scowl. Then they took us out for lunch and more drinks after that.

By 3:00 PM, I went home hallucinating because of the lack of sleep and by then I'm sure the vodka. But it just wasn't a job that was compatible with having a small family. So in the end it was a fairly easy decision to make in that, I'd just become pregnant with my first child and I knew that I couldn't carry that on. So for me, because it was such a tough job, it was almost an easier decision to make if you like. And also I was fortunate in that, my husband's got a good job. His wage covered the mortgage and yes, we'd probably have to go without a few things if my business failed, but we had that security of knowing that the mortgage would be paid. So I think I was in a very fortunate position.

I had confidence in myself. I knew that I'm not only a good technical lawyer, but I've got good people skills. I was actively looking forward to going out and networking and finding new clients. And I thought well, "I'll give it a go. Worst-case scenario, I'm sure I can find another job." But it's a big leap, particularly when you've been in a very structured high paid job. But I'm eternally grateful that I took that leap.

Skills for Freedom: And that leap, was that to The Small Business Legal Academy? Was that the first venture that you had?

Suzanne Dibble: Well initially, as most people who have an expertise do, I set up as a consultancy. And I really wanted to help other women like me. So women who had been in a corporate life but had quit that because they wanted more flexibility when they were having a family and they'd set up their own business to enable them to work more flexibly. So my very first business actually was called Lawyers4Mumpreneurs. Dreadful name, but it did what it said.

And we won lots of awards for that, because really there were no other legal offerings in the country that were aiming at that particular niche. And very happily at that time, there was a whole industry that was growing up around mumpreneurs. So there were lots of conferences, there were trainings for mumpreneurs, there were bloggers for mumpreneurs, there were membership sites for mumpreneurs.

So really, I just became the lawyer of choice for that industry and very quickly became overbooked. So I realized that I was working the hours I was working in the city, but because I was trying to set my fees to let obviously a much lower level for small businesses to be able to afford my fees, I was getting paid nowhere near what I was in my corporate job. So I thought, "Well, that's not where I wanted to be. I don't want to be working as hard. That was the whole reason for starting my own business."

So I got to one of those sliding doors type moments where I thought, "I've got to do something." And I thought, "Well, I can either hire more lawyers and expand that way or I can productize my expertise." And I thank my lucky stars pretty much every day, that I went for the, I'll productize my expertise route rather than I'll take on more lawyers. It's been, yes, a lot of hard work initially to set up the, that's what ultimately it became, The Small Business Legal Academy.

That was my way of productizing my expertise. I remember I was breastfeeding my youngest, she was probably only four months old when I decided that I wanted to do it. And I sold it before I'd actually created it. And then the idea was that I would produce the content over, I think it was eight weeks that I'd promised to produce it, but I'd vastly underestimated the amount of work it would take particularly to film the videos that I wanted to film.

So I remember I was probably only... I was working through the night. I was probably getting two hours sleep a night for about those eight weeks, which did nearly finish me off. But, then it was done. And actually, the people who initially bought from me were very generous and I said, "I'm very sorry, but it's taken so long to do the videos. I'm going to follow up. The videos will follow later," and people were very kind about that and said, "Yeah, no problem."

But I think people think with a passive income, there's no work to do at all. But of course, there is. There's lots of work to do upfront. But the joy of it is, is that now that that's all set up or the contents there, it's all automated. Obviously I have to spend time in updating it. I'm always adding new documents and new materials to it and making sure that it's all up to date. But once the bulk of the work is done, I'm effectively earning money while I sleep, without the stress of managing other people.

So obviously I have a small support team, but it's nothing like managing a team of lawyers, for example. So that was the early days of The Small Business Legal Academy. And we started out, I say reasonably small although there was still a very good amount of materials in there, and that was in 2013. So for the last seven years, we've been constantly adding to that. We've had many, many thousands of members now go through that.

We do it on a renewal basis so that if people want to renew for a following 12 months' access, they pay a much reduced fee. And I think our renewal rate is something like 85%, which is fantastic. I know I've helped lots and lots of small business owners. It's been very satisfying to do from that perspective. But also it's, over the years, earned me a very, very nice passive income. So, it's been a win-win really.

Skills for Freedom: It's been a wild ride as well, by the sounds of things. And just for anybody who's not come across The Small Business Legal Academy, maybe you could just tell us what it is and why it's of benefit.

Suzanne Dibble: Yes. So what I realized was that for small, but this is, it's really for very small businesses, probably the micro-businesses. Although I have larger businesses there. But really who I was creating it for was the micro-businesses, up to 10 employees that kind of size business. And what I realized was seven years ago, was that there was two far-flung ends of the spectrum. You could either pay for one-to-one legal consultancy, which a lot of small businesses just perceived that they didn't have the budget for, so they weren't having any legal protection at all.

Then at the other end of the scale were the template sites. But certainly at the time, and they're not actually that much better now, you don't know who's produced them. And very often it was non-lawyers who were producing these templates. But what I found was I had lots of clients coming to me or people who ultimately became my clients, but they'd first tried a template site.

They brought a template that they'd bought to me and then said, "I bought this template to do X. I've tried to complete it, but I can't get it to do what I want it to do." And I'd have a look at the template and find that they'd bought completely the wrong thing for what they were trying to do. So there was this kind of grey area in the middle and I thought, "I want to put something together that bridges that gap and gives those small businesses who can't afford or perceive that they don't have the budget for the one-to-one legal advice, more of a protection than they're getting at the moment."

So, my legal academy includes all of the templates that any small business is likely to need. From terms of business, website terms, privacy notices, cookie policies, IP documents, employment documents. I've got a coronavirus business protection... sorry. Coronavirus business survival module in there.

All of the documents that you can think of that you would need to run and protect your small business are in there. But then around that, you've got there's an eight-week email course that guides businesses through the types of legal issues that they're likely to face. Because very often small businesses just don't know the issues that they're supposed to be thinking about.

Then that core signposts people to the resources within the academy that will help them. So for example, there's the first part of that course is a legal audit. And it might say, "Have you used a designer to design your logo? Yes. If yes, have you got an effective assignment of intellectual property? Does it say this, this, and this. If not, then go and look at the IP assignment letter and get that signed."

So it's a very easy to use way of directing people, identifying the legal issue and then directing people to the resources. There's trainings in there. I do regular monthly trainings on the hot issues and upcoming issues. There's a comprehensive eBook in there. There's checklists, there's lots of guidance notes, there is action plans for people who actually want to take it on a week by week basis and put all of the legals in place in that business. I literally put everything in there that I could think of, that would make it as easy as possible for small businesses to put all the legals in place and protect their business.

Skills for Freedom: You're right. It's one of the areas that I think most business owners tend to overlook particularly when you're just getting started. It's an area that you think, I'll get to that later. Right now I'm really excited because I'm starting my business and I want to set up a website. I want to start getting clients and you don't really put too much thought behind the legal aspect of what you're creating. And of course these days you have to have that type of protection.

Suzanne Dibble: Well, that's it, it's not a purchase that business owners are excited to make, to be honest. Is similar to the insurance buying process, I suppose. It's not a fancy new logo or a website or, they're the kind of things that excite business owners. But you see, the reason I'm so passionate about helping small business owners with this is that I see what happens when they don't cover themselves. And very often it would have been so easy for them to have protected themselves.

So for example, I had a lady come to me and she said, very small. It was just her in her business. She was, I can't remember. She was a consultant and she paid a friend to do all of her website copy for her. She paid her £5,000, which is not an insignificant amount obviously. And they were friends, so there was no contract and they fell out. Because I think there had been some understanding that the friend would somehow get involved in the business, and that was not quite the understanding that this lady had and they fell out and then the person who'd wrote the web copy said, "Well, you're not using it."

My client said, "Well, hang on a minute, I've paid you £5,000 for it." And the other person said, "Sorry you're not using it." And so she came to me and I said, "Well, have you got a contract?" And she said, "No." And I said, "Have you got a separate assignment if I pay?" And she said, "No." And I said, "Oh, we might have a problem then." And she said, "But hang on a minute, I've paid for it. "

I said, "That doesn't matter. If you're paying a freelancer to do something, then you need an assignment of intellectual property rights. Now there might be an argument for an implied license to use it, but that brings its own problems with it, in terms of, in some instances you might want to, if you've got a name or something like that, you might want to trademark it. And if you don't have the full rights that can cause problems.

So this lady could have avoided all of those problems with literally a one-page letter that is available in my legal academy. And she didn't, and so she had that £5,000. She said goodbye to that £5,000. Now we could have potentially taken her to court, the other lady to court, but it wasn't a slam dunk. It wasn't certain that we would win that at all. There was no contract that, because there was the confusion over the partnership arrangement.

She said goodbye to £5,000 and she could have easily solved that if she just had a bit of knowledge and access to a one-page document. And that caused her so much stress. And it was literally her life savings had gone into this business. And suddenly she was £5,000 down before she'd even started the business up. So a salutary lesson to all of us. And that's just one example of the many hundreds of things that I've seen. And as I say, that's why I'm so passionate about helping very small businesses because it's often so simple to solve a problem before it's even become a problem.

Skills for Freedom: You're right. And there are so many horror stories that you hear of things like that happening. And also, I think one of the key points there is that even if you've paid somebody £5,000 or $5,000 for a service, then the question could come about, which is, have you just licensed that content? Is that payment as a license, that of course can expire or is it a full on buyout of the intellectual property, as you say?

I think a lot of people can get confused between those two things. And that's why a lot of people will then say, well, it's fine. Take me to court. But the problem with that is of course, going to court means that you incur a whole load of costs from both sides. And also it's the time it takes to prepare all the information to go to court.

Suzanne Dibble: Absolutely. No small business owner wants to end up in court. You really don't. It's to be avoided at all costs. So yes, you're absolutely right. It's not somewhere that anybody wants to go. Unless you've got a really watertight case, because the problem is, is that if there is any debate as to how it's going to go, then you can find yourself liable for the other party's costs. So not just your own solicitor's costs, if you've had a solicitor to help you go to court, but also the other side's costs as well, if you don't actually win. So it's only really if you've got a watertight case that I personally, I would be happy to be in court, otherwise it's really to be avoided at all costs.

Skills for Freedom: And this is why you hear, I think, a lot in the newspapers or on the TV that, a settlement was reached on the steps of the courtroom because people actually they'll push it as far as they can, but then they want actually just to settle before it gets into the courtroom, because that opens up a whole load of areas where you can come and stuck as well.

Suzanne Dibble: Yes, that's true. But the best thing is to not have these problems come up at all, because even if you've got something going on that might go to court, the stress of that is just immense. And if you're preparing for court, most of the legal fees are incurred before you actually get to the court doors. So even if you settle at the door, it's not ideal. By far the best idea is just to know your risks, to cover those off by having the right documents in place and not have to worry about any of it.

Skills for Freedom: I think for anybody who's got any type of business as well, something like the Small Business Legal Academy is definitely worth checking out. Where can people find out more about that, Suzanne?

Suzanne Dibble: Well, if they go to which is the abbreviation for Small Business Legal Academy. That's the best website to go to. It has a little video that explains what it's all about and lots of testimonials there and everything that, a whole list of all of the materials that are included. We also actually have, although, that's the only one that's that only one that's publicly facing for sale, we also have an elite membership, which gives people access to a VIP Facebook group where they can ask me any questions that they have.

Lots of our members love that because it saves them so much time. So all of the materials would ultimately give them the answers, but it might take them a while to actually go through with the permutations and work out exactly what they need to know. Whereas, the abridged version is just to go into the group, ask me the question and I give them the answer.

Also things just from my 20 gosh, how many years is it now? Is it 23? I don't know. I've forgotten how old I am. Anyway, a long time of experience of just dealing with business matters. People go in there and ask me about how to deal with suppliers, for example, negotiations with suppliers. So I try to help my members in every way that I can and give them the best possible position to be in.

Skills for Freedom: And for anybody listening as well, I'd say that, it's definitely worth checking that out. Do give us the website address again, Suzanne.

Suzanne Dibble: There's a tab for it on my website if you want to contact me directly through the contact form, that's the best place to find me,

Skills for Freedom: Great. And in more recent times, you've published a book on GDPR, which is a...

Suzanne Dibble: I have.

Skills for Freedom: ... a phrase a lot of people may have heard of, but they might not be aware of what GDPR is, first of all, what it stands for and also how it can affect any business that they have. I was wondering if you don't mind just to spend a second or so just explaining more about GDPR.

Suzanne Dibble: Absolutely. Yes. It was a year of blood, sweat, and tears to write this book, but I'm so pleased I did. We've now got 135 five star reviews on Amazon, and it's really helped small businesses, which is absolutely what I wanted to do with it. So GDPR stands for general data protection regulations. If you've never heard of that, then I'm not sure where you've been because there was a big media for all about it two years ago when it came into force, mainly because of the vastly increased fines that came into effect with it.

So if you are in breach of the GDPR, that in theory you could be fined up to €20 million, or 4% of your global turnover for the last financial year, if you are a very big business. So the Facebooks and Googles of the world can have a real impact on them. And indeed Google's already been fined €50 million by the French data protection authority. And poor Facebook's fighting it on every front, I think from pretty much every European regulator.

I don't know how much they are going to be fined. But yes, I found that, obviously pre GDPR, I was helping small businesses with every area of business law. I had done a good bit of data protection work when I was at Virgin. Actually I did it a big group wide project, looking at data protection in all of the Virgin Group companies. And I must've done a reasonable job because they actually nominated me for the solicitor of the year award, as a result of that work. And I was voted runner up in that, which was massively-

Skills for Freedom: Great.

Suzanne Dibble: ... unexpected. The guy who won it actually was doing some huge infrastructure deal in Africa that had saved hundreds of thousands of lives. So I'll give him that one. I don't mind being a runner up to somebody who saved hundreds of thousands of lives. But that was where my first foray into data protection. And then I realized I was merrily, actually, I was consulting with a global data company on the GDPR.

I was in one of my Facebook groups. And I'd noticed a lot of the stuff... probably around January time. It came in in May. January, February there were questions in business scripts on Facebook. And I was seeing that there was a lot of wrong advice going around these Facebook groups. And you know how it is in networking. It's generally the person that shouts loudest, everyone thinks they're right. And it just wasn't the case. And then somebody in my... I've got a Facebook group actually for women entrepreneurs.

Somebody in there said, "Does anybody know an expert in GDPR?" And I thought, "Oh my goodness, I've been so busy consulting with this global data company that I've totally overlooked my small business community and the problems that they're having with understanding GDPR." So I set up my GDPR Facebook group, which is called GDPR For Online Entrepreneurs, and very quickly that grew to 40,000 people within probably just over a month. Certainly within two months, it was at those levels.

Because there was really nowhere for small businesses to go to get the advice that they needed. It's a hugely complex regulation. And for those who weren't already familiar with data protection laws, it was a whole new thing. And I was surprised actually at how many small businesses weren't aware of the ban existing data protection laws. It was all new to them. They couldn't get through to the ICO, which is the regulator in the UK, the helplines. People were waiting two hours to speak to somebody at the ICO.

They couldn't afford to pay a lawyer on a one-to-one basis. So I set up my Facebook group and I committed to post a video a day for 90 days, which was the amount of time from when I decided to do it until the GDPR coming into force. And I managed to do that. I posted a video every single day for 90 days, even when it was 2:00 AM and we had all kinds of technical problems or whatever, I managed to post a video, including from the top of the Marina Bay Sands hotel in Singapore on my husband's 50th birthday.

We helped tens and tens of thousands of small business owners. And that was great, but, I knew that there was lots of people who don't absorb videos well. So I knew that I wanted to do something like a book to help those small business owners who needed something more solid if you like to go back. And it was laid down more in a logical order, that they could highlight things if they needed to and tack things.

So I had been thinking of a book for a while, discussions with Wiley who produced the dummies guides went on for a while as well. They'd actually approached me two years earlier to write a book totally out of the blue, because I was guest blogging for Barclays, who again had come to me totally out of the blue. And they asked me to write the dummy's guide to small business law in the UK. And it just wasn't the right time for me to do that. So I'd said no to that. But then I had those contacts and I just went straight to them and said, "Look, I want to write this book. Are you interested?" And they snapped my hands off.

The reason I wanted to go with the dummies brand is because, well, A, obviously it's very well named brand. But B, it really summed up the essence of what I was all about, which is taking a very complex subject and making it so easy that my grandma can understand it. I'll say. They call it a dummy. I don't think certainly none of my readers are dummies. But it's really about simplifying it as much as possible. And that's what I've done.

I've produced a very comprehensive, yet simple guide to the GDPR in a practical context, because I think a lot of these textbooks are well, here's what the law says, but then they don't actually apply it to how that works in your business. So in the marketing chapter, for example, I've broken it down into all the different types of marketing and explained how GDPR actually applies to Facebook marketing.

If you've got a Facebook group, what does that mean for that? If you've got a Facebook page, what does that mean for that? What does that mean for custom audiences? What does that mean for your email list? What does that mean? So, it's had really, really good response from not just small business owners actually, but also data protection professionals and data protection officers who have just found an exceptionally useful reference guide.

Skills for Freedom: I've got my copy right here. As you-

Skills for Freedom: I mean, but to have written a dummy's guide, I mean, that's a real achievement, I think, for anybody and for any author, to be associated with such a well-known and established brand, that's huge. I mean, adding a published author to your long list of accolades, Suzanne, it sounds to me like you are a super determined person. How hard do you push yourself?

Suzanne Dibble: If you ask my husband that now he'd laugh because I've literally not worked for September or August because of a number of things that have happened. But, it just depends. I've got to have the inspiration to do it and then it's a joy to do it almost. I think it's got to be fun. It's got to be enjoyable. I don't know about you, but I've toyed with the miracle morning, where you get up at five and you do your affirmations that you do this, then you do that, and you do an hour on your one thing and whatever.

I'm very sort of a tight macho, let's smash all our goals. And it works for me for a bit, but then I just want to go back to a normal life and have a bit of a lie in. So I'd say I'm nowhere near as ambitious and determined as I used to be. Certainly in my 30s, I was going to take over the world in my 30s. But now I'm really realizing what my priorities are and they are my family, and well, if I'm totally honest holidays.

Skills for Freedom: Which is not an easy thing at the moment, is it that's the problem?

Suzanne Dibble: Well, I just bought a camp van. So, that's my way of making sure I still get the holidays. But I won't do anything really that interferes with that now. And, I had great plans for a new project. We were going to get venture capital investment. It's a big tech build. It would be fantastic, but I think ultimately I've decided after a year of going through the permutations of that, that life's just a bit too short and I'm going to just do a scaled down version of that.

So in terms of what's next, the big all singing, all dancing plan is probably out of the window. But what I am going to do is really just upgrade the existing offering, make it even better and just try and reach out to, and help more small business owners. So just more of the same, but doing it better and helping more people. I also really want to help charities as well, actually. So this will happen.

I've lots of modules within my legal academy and I really want to put together a charity module for charities and probably give that away to those charities to help them because we did a special offer. Well, in fact, we gave away without charge the GDPR pack that I put together to help charities become compliant. Unfortunately the demand was so great. There's clearly a charity grapevine because as soon as the word got round that we were doing this free GDPR pack, we were inundated.

So we had to charge a small fee in the end to cover our admin costs. But even so I know that we helped an awful lot of charities to become compliant with GDPR. So I'd like to do more for charities definitely and expand the offering past GDPR into other areas of what charities need to consider as well.

Skills for Freedom: It sounds to me like, you've certainly got a plan in place for what you want to do next, but also that maybe that work-life balance now has to play more of a part of what you want for yourself moving forward as opposed to doing so much to give to other people. So that's really important, I think as well. You're obviously super busy, super motivated. How can people find out more about you, Suzanne, if they want to reach out, if they want to join the Small Business Legal Academy, or they want to grab a copy of your book, where can they go to find out more information?

Suzanne Dibble: Well, the books on Amazon. It is on offer at the moment. I think it's 16.99 instead of 23.99. Search for GDPR For Dummies on Amazon, will find you the book. That's probably the easiest and quickest place to get it from. And in terms of contacting me, there's a contact form on my website,, and get in touch that way. And we can direct you to, it might be the legal academy that you need.

It might be that, we do, do occasionally some one-to-one consultancy. If you've got a particularly exciting project, then we will consider that. But if you just want to say hi, then reach out. I'm on Twitter is, law for online business. Although I'm not on Twitter very much these days. I think I do check it every now and then my messages. So you can always say hi there. Or Facebook, is also a good one or LinkedIn. I'm on LinkedIn as well. But if you want to make sure that I see a contact message through is probably your best bet.

Skills for Freedom: That's great. And Suzanne, thank you so much for your time today. It's been an absolute joy chatting with you. Thanks again.

Suzanne Dibble: Thank you.


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