Surviving The Transformation From Employee To Owning Your Own Legal Services Business

foto-goudvis-die-springtMany people dream of starting their own business and becoming their own boss, but when they finally make the leap from employee to entrepreneur, it’s a bigger change than they imagined.

Transforming from an employee to an entrepreneur requires a mental shift, accompanied by a change in work style; some of the methods and habits that make for a good employee aren’t necessarily advantageous for an entrepreneur.

 

To make this shift, and increase your chances of having a business that survives and thrives, consider these ideas:

  • Build a business fund. Giving up a steady paycheck for an unpredictable income (which may be sporadic in the beginning) worries even the most dedicated entrepreneur. If possible, put some money aside before you leave your regular job, so that when you do quit, you will have the funds to set up and run your business, and pay your bills until your business starts turning a profit.
  • Accept that at least initially, you will probably be working longer hours than you did at your job.  Part of the dream of entrepreneurship is a lifestyle that includes working only when you want to, putting in maybe a couple of hours a day. But starting and building a profitable business requires many hours of hard work for a sustained period of time. Most new businesses take a year or two to really get going. Devoting time to building the foundation of your business will eventually pay off, and then you might be able to cut back on the hours a bit.
  • Develop a schedule and stick to it. Being your own boss does have the advantage of being able to create your own schedule, but remember that you still need to put in the hours. Develop a schedule that works for you, and then follow it. This will help you stay focused and productive.
  • Be prepared to wear multiple hats. When you work for a company, you can usually focus just on your own work – someone else may take care of the bookkeeping, the tech support, and the billing. Now it’s you! Besides the actual work of your business, you will be responsible for advertising, client management, keeping the computer in working order, keeping ledgers, etc. Perhaps you can eventually hire people to do some of these tasks for you, but when you are just starting out, all these responsibilities will be yours.
  • Learn to say no. As an employee, you were probably rewarded for saying “yes” to all requests, maybe by praise from your boss, or a good performance review. But as a business owner, your time needs to be devoted to those things that will build your business. Determine your priorities, and learn to say no to everything else.
  • Don’t worry about perfection. Perfectionism can be paralyzing, and a liability to an entrepreneur. Getting something done is more important than getting it “perfect”. Don’t agonize over every little detail – jump in there and just do it!
  • Become good at networking. Unless you worked in sales, you probably did not have to go out and find customers as an employee. When you have your own business, you must actively search out new clients, and one crucial way to do this is by networking. There are likley lots of networking events and groups right in your local area. Check with the Chamber of Commerce, investigate groups such as BNI, or find groups and events via Meetup.com. Not only will you be spreading the word about your new business, networking will also help you feel less isolated now that you are working on your own.

As the founder of Divorce With Dignity, a highly successful divorce legal services business model, I know what it takes to begin and grow a business, and about learning to thrive as an entrepreneur. This is what I teach to the legal professionals who join the Divorce With Dignity Network, through personal one-on-one training, and continuing business coaching by phone. Would you like to explore the possibility of having your own Divorce With Dignity business? Just visit our website and learn how we can help you succeed in your transition to becoming a prosperous entrepreneur!

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.

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