How Howard Dvorkin Built a Business as a Consumer Advocate

Business.com / Strategy / Last Modified: February 22, 2017

This is the story of how the founder of Debt.com, Howard Dvorkin, became a customer advocate to millions. Plus, his lessons for success.

Some people work to make money. Others work on behalf of others. Then, there are those who combine these and work on behalf of others and build a business from that foundation.

That’s exactly what Howard Dvorkin did as a consumer advocate. From a start in personal finance to a consumer advocate that helps people handle debt and improve their money management skills, Dvorkin built Debt.com and is a serial entrepreneur who has established, managed, and sold multiple businesses. He proves it's possible to turn helping others into a win-win scenario

Consumer advocates are driven to help educate and protect consumers who often do not have anyone really looking out for them. Often already working as lawyers or in industries where consumers need the most help, such as money management, credit, loans, mortgages, debt, identity theft and privacy, consumer advocates put their own knowledge, expertise, and experience to work on behalf of the consumer.

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Howard Dvorkin already worked in personal finance for numerous years before he looked for something that he could do with that experience that then could be put to better use helping other people. Once he discovered that he could serve as an advocate for others, he set out to see how he could make it both a personal and professional path.

No one could be better for the role of educating consumers. Dvorkin began his career as a CPA who then started working on debt restricting for real estate clients. From working in large accounting firms like, Arthur Andersen and becoming the owner of a credit repair consolidation business, Dvorkin made it a goal to become an expert on whatever business niche he was working in.

In building your own business as a consumer advocate, Dvorkin offers this advice:

Identify an area of critical need where consumer advocacy could prove valuable while also offering a business benefit.

Dvorkin has done well in identifying that, in recent years, the economic downturn put a lot of people in trouble in terms of loans, debt, and money management.

Roll up your sleeves and be prepared to put in long hours working for the benefit of others.

Doing right by others will eventually pay off for you, but in the meantime, you will need to commit yourself to the cause you are representing.

Determine what platforms and outlets will hear your advocacy.

Dvorkin started to look for places where he could develop his thought leadership role on the topics of debt, debt recovery, and money management. Numerous websites, publications, and television programs began to use his expertise. Not only did this help with his role as a consumer advocate, but it also helped to establish Dvorkin’s personal brand to enhance the business aspects of this role.

He was then able to help more consumers as he was asked to author books and provide insights for various television and print stories related to those topics. While this can take some time to develop, once these platforms are open to your advocacy and knowledge, you will be called upon again and again.

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Recruit other talented individuals with their own specialties to help in your efforts.

Because so much work is involved in building out a business that addresses consumers' need for assistance, it is good to put together a team of talent that can handle many of the tasks involved in the process. If these employees believe in what you are trying to achieve as well, you will be able to ramp up the develop of a business geared toward consumer advocacy more quickly.

Create a business model from the consumer advocacy efforts that offers a solution to consumers.  

The business model should work toward empowering consumers and addressing the issues they face while creating a business that offers a way to monetize the assistance you are providing. Dvorkin built out the domain, Debt.com, which has been a win-win for consumers and for his goals as an entrepreneur.

Dvorkin is proof that you can focus on doing the right thing by helping educate and protect others while transforming that social responsibility into various businesses that generate revenue. In this way, working on behalf of others becomes a viable and satisfying career. His tips illustrate that you can do the same once you find that area of expertise with a high demand for assistance by consumers.

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