It’s great to see people finally calling out companies for collecting, sharing and selling large amounts of data. I’ve always been passionate about privacy and I feel so lucky to be able to live at a time when others are interested in the topic as well.
Donata Kalnenaite is a data privacy and technology attorney, a Certified Information Privacy Professional and the President of Termageddon. She is the engineer behind the policy questions and texts that allow Termageddon to generate Privacy Policies and to automatically update those policies whenever the laws change. She’s taught GDPR at the Illinois State Bar Association, her compliance guides have been featured by the International Association of Privacy Professionals and she is a frequent guest on podcasts.
Where did the idea for Termageddon come from?
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
My typical day looks like this:
5:15 am to 6am: wake up, brush teeth and have breakfast
6am to 8am: answer emails
8am to 8:30am: take my dogs out to the lake to get them some exercise. This usually helps them be tired and quiet throughout the day.
8:30am to 11am: answer emails, make calls and help clients get set up.
11am to 12pm: review privacy and technology news and any new cases and bills
12pm to 12:30pm: lunch
12:30pm to 2pm: continue review of new cases and bills
2pm to 5pm: marketing and advertising
5pm to 6pm: dinner
6pm to 8pm: planning and large projects
I work from home so sometimes it can be difficult to stay productive if I am not hyper-focused. I stay productive by having a to do list, doing fun tasks after I do my not-so-fun tasks and by taking occasional 10-minute breaks.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I have a list of ideas and improvements that I want to make to our business. When I have the time or when I can block out some time for it, I perform research, draw out what the operational flow would look like, write up a “mini business plan” for the idea and then create a list of what I need to do for that idea to become a reality. Usually, that’s followed by a meeting with my partners and our development team. Once I know how much it will cost in terms of money and time, we make a decision as to whether or not we will move forward. If we do move forward, I create task lists for everyone and we get started.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I love the fact that consumers and regulators are more interested in the privacy of the data they disclose online than ever before. It’s great to see people finally calling out companies for collecting, sharing and selling large amounts of data. I’ve always been passionate about privacy and I feel so lucky to be able to live at a time when others are interested in the topic as well.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I schedule out all of my tasks in a CRM and that really helps me keep track of which customers or partners I need to reach out to and when. Without the CRM, I would definitely lose track of follow-ups and probably lose a lot of good leads.
What advice would you give your younger self?
It’s going to be ok. When I was younger, I would always be worried about the future and I would want to tell my younger self that everything is going to work out.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
There is a way to respect the privacy rights of consumers and still have effective marketing and advertising. I think that a lot of marketing and advertising professionals believe that the provision of privacy rights to consumers will lead to the death of their industries. However, I believe that privacy rights can lead to more sales as leads who actively opt in to email marketing, for example, are more likely to be actually interested in your product.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I always pay attention to industry news in the privacy and technology fields. Since there is so much going on, it can be difficult to keep up. I have never regretted the time that I spent reading up on what is going on in my field as it helps me answer customer questions, allows me to create new features for our products and provides great talking points for networking events.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
One strategy that has helped me grow our business is speaking on podcasts. Some entrepreneurs may think that the time spent applying for, preparing for and recording podcasts is not a good use of time since you are not paid for that time. However, speaking on podcasts has increased our leads substantially and, being known as an expert in your field does not hurt either.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
When we started building our app, we contracted with a development team that was not fully experienced in the work that we needed them to do. I remember that when I was testing the app, I had a hard time logging in. I blamed this issue on myself and thought that I was just forgetting my passwords. Turns out that it was developed incorrectly and I was wrong to question myself instead of the development team.
We fixed this issue and many other similar issues by contracting with a development team that I can trust. I would recommend entrepreneurs to really vet any development teams that you are working with and to test everything multiple times. Also, don’t assume that everything is your fault and it’s ok to question the people that you work with.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
I’m an avid gardener and hope to one day have a greenhouse. Not sure if this exists but someone should make a branded greenhouse that they sell and maybe if you buy one greenhouse, they donate another one to someone in need? I think that would be a really cool concept.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
The best $100 that I spent was on stickers. We created some really funny stickers that say “protect yo’ self before you wreck yo’ self” and they have been a great hit at events and conferences. Don’t be scared to create funny messages for your company as those messages work really well (at least for us they have).
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use Hubspot every day for almost everything that I do. I don’t know what I would do without it. I use it to organize all of my reach outs and follow ups so that I know who I need to follow up with and when.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
I would recommend “Getting to Yes: Negotiating Without Giving In” by Roger Fisher and William Ury. I had to read this book in law school and it has helped me in negotiations with cases, in my personal life and business negotiations. The truth is that everyone negotiates every day, whether you realize it or not, and this book will help you retain relationships while negotiating.
What is your favorite quote?
“If everything seems under control you’re just not going fast enough” – Mario Andretti
- I’m a data privacy and technology attorney and I am passionate about the fact that privacy is a human right.
- To be an entrepreneur, you have to work long hours. However, if you do some fun tasks in a day, in addition to tasks that you’re not that excited about, it makes the day more fun.
- Use a CRM to help you get organized on who you need to follow up with and when.
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