Taking it Solo: Starting Your Own Law Firm
You might not be ready yet if any of the descriptions below apply to you.
If you’ve started out the new year thinking about going out on your own. You’re not alone. Many attorneys (and other professionals for that matter) dream of being their own boss. But before you jump ship from your current firm, there’s much to consider including ensuring that you’re completely ready. If any of the points on this checklist describe you, you may want to put off your solo mission.
You lack self-motivation
Owning your own law firm is an entrepreneurial endeavor and if there’s one trait successful entrepreneurs share, it’s the ability to work on their own. If you’re one who consistently finds themselves searching for direction and guidance from others, take a step back before heading out on your own. You not only need the confidence to make your own decisions, you also have to be driven to act with conviction to get things done. And if you can’t imagine working alone, you’re better off staying put for the time being.
You can’t handle pressure
Anyone who’s ever run their own business will tell you it’s stressful. As an attorney, when the well-being and future of your client rests in your hands, that responsibility can be overwhelming. If you’ve ever had trouble handling pressure before, it’s probably not worth putting yourself under that kind of strain.
You haven’t done your homework
You may be an awesome, sharp, and highly experienced lawyer but if you don’t know anything about running a business, think twice before becoming a lone ranger. Running your own practice involves more than being an attorney. For example, managing overhead costs, marketing, technology concerns, and record keeping are all very time consuming. If you haven’t researched how these aspects of ownership impact business, don’t take another step until you do. Of course, there are a ton of resources available and it’s likely you have some peers that can give you good advice.
You lack commitment
Don’t confuse enthusiasm with commitment and don’t even think about flying solo if you aren’t passionate about running a firm on your own. When push comes to shove, and it always does when you’re running your own show, you need to have that internal, unwavering commitment to your mission and goals because there won’t be anyone standing behind you to push you forward. Those that run their own firm understand that it’s not just a job, it’s a calling, a true passion, and the one thing they are willing to work hard for day after day.
You’re not an original
Standing out among the rest is key to running a successful business, especially when you consider how many attorneys are out there vying for clients. So it stands to reason that your firm should be a reflection of who you are, what your talents are, and what makes you different. If you find yourself looking to others to mimic their methods, your lack of originality could be a detriment to your success. Think twice about venturing out on your own if you don’t have a clear vision that’s uniquely yours. And remember, you may not have it today, but that doesn’t mean you can’t develop it in the future.
Running your own law firm can be a rewarding, life-changing experience but not until you are good and ready. The most important thing to keep in mind is to be completely honest with yourself and address all the key aspects to be successful. Take your time, do your homework, be prepared, and think deeply about your goals, your ability to handle stress, and the kind of commitment it takes.