In my discussions with people who inquire about joining the Divorce With Dignity Network, I often hear the question, “But am I qualified to have my own legal services business?” They may have the proper credentials, but they are wondering if they are the entrepreneur “type”.
I recently found a website for “Mentors, Ventures & Plans” (MVP), which has a series of self-assessment tests to help people decide if starting a business is right for them. One thing I really liked is that they point out that successful entrepreneurs have learned to do what they do, and that you can also learn to be an entrepreneur. They say, “instead of asking, ‘Am I cut out to be an entrepreneur?’, you should ask, ‘How entrepreneurial am I now, and what can I do to become more entrepreneurial?’”
Characteristics of a successful entrepreneur
Of course all entrepreneurs are different, but successful entrepreneurs tend to have certain characteristics in common. Some will have developed these traits to a greater degree than others, but most will have them to some extent. MVP has developed a self-assessment checklist of these characteristics to determine which of them you are already strong in, and which you may need to develop. Here’s their list –
- I am passionate about my goals.
- I have a spirit of adventure.
- I have a strong need to achieve.
- I am self-confident and self-reliant.
- I am goal-oriented.
- I am innovative, creative, and versatile.
- I am persistent; I don’t give up easily.
- I am hardworking and energetic.
- I am a positive thinker.
- I am willing to take initiative.
- I am able and willing to commit myself.
I would also add that you must have a tolerance for risk. Entrepreneurship always comes with uncertainty. Every business experiences bumps along the road and there is no guarantee of a steady income, or even ultimate success. As an entrepreneur, you have to be willing to take calculated risks and make tough decisions.
Skills of a successful entrepreneur
Characteristics are traits that are inherent in yourself. Skills, however, may be procured by hiring people who have ones you lack. Check the list that MVP provides on their website to see which skills you already have, which ones you could develop, and which you might want to hire someone to do. Some of the skills on their list are –
- creative thinking
- communication (both oral and written)
- team building
- financial management
- record keeping
- business management
As the owner of a new business, you will be juggling many roles. When you work as an employee, you are usually focusing on a special skill or role within the company, but as a business owner you are responsible for everything – sales, marketing, bookkeeping, billing – in addition to the actual work of your business. You may have to wear all these hats in the beginning, but eventually can contract out some of these roles.
Is entrepreneurship right for you?
If you’ve done your self-assessment and found that you have most of the characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, and have figured out a way to acquire any skills that you still need, and you really want to have your own legal services business, then why not go for it!
Ina Garten is a good example of someone who overcame her fears and followed her business dreams. With no formal culinary training, she bought a gourmet food store (Barefoot Contessa), developed her own recipes emphasizing fresh ingredients, and eventually expanded her business to include best-selling cookbooks, magazine columns, and hosting a popular Food Network television show. When asked about how she managed to take the scary leap into doing her TV show, she said, “What I always say is I jump off a cliff and figure out how to fly on the way down.”
For those of you thinking of taking the leap to start your own legal services business, consider the benefits of starting a divorce legal services business as an affiliate owner and member of the Divorce With Dignity Network. We can make the leap less scary, and can show you “how to fly”. We offer one-on-one personal training on how to set up and run your business, with ongoing coaching and training as long as you are part of our Network. Let us show you how we can help you start and build a successful divorce legal services business – visit our website and take the tour!
The author of this blog is not an attorney and the information contained in these blogs should not be considered legal advice. The information provided here is based on the experience of the author and some of her clients whose actual names are not mentioned. Do not hesitate to seek the advice of an attorney if you have any legal questions.