You want to start your own divorce services business, but you’re just not sure if it’s the right time. Maybe you’re hesitant to give up the “security” of your regular job, or are unsure if you have all the skills you need. Perhaps your life is so busy you think you just don’t have time to become an entrepreneur. Or, you have heard that you have to have a ton of money to start a business and you are short on cash.
All of these may seem like legitimate reasons to put off becoming a business owner, but they’re probably just excuses based on fear. It’s scary to take that leap into entrepreneurship! These are not reasons not to do it, but challenges to work through as you move forward on your entrepreneur path.
So when is the best time to start your own divorce services business? When you know everything about being a business owner? When your life isn’t busy anymore? When you have all the money you need?
The best time to start your business is – now. Don’t procrastinate! If you put it off, your dream of business ownership will just be something in the future that may never happen. Make a plan, outline your first steps, and put your dream into motion!
First, do some research. Review all your state’s laws and requirements for having a divorce legal services business. This will be different depending on whether you are a paralegal, an attorney, or a mediator. If you meet the requirements, then make sure you are well qualified and really know family law.
If you feel you need more experience in family law, there are several ways to accomplish this. You can do volunteer work for various organizations that are involved in family law. Another good way is to find someone with a lot of family law experience to mentor you. This is what I did. When I first started, I would meet with my clients, and then would bring the information to my mentor who would help me with the case. We had worked out an agreement that we would split the fee from the clients in these cases 50-50.
Another option: join an organization like Divorce With Dignity >where you will be surrounded by legal professionals in the divorce services industry. If you have questions, our Network members are happy to help.
Do I have to quit my job?
Actually, you can start your divorce services business on a part-time basis, working nights and weekends while you keep your current job. This will give you time to build your business to a point where it will bring in enough money that you can quit your “regular” job.
Finding the money
You will probably need to find multiple sources of money to finance your venture. First, you must invest your own money. You may need to cut back on other expenses, and delve into savings. Family members and friends might be willing to lend you some start-up money. Look into bank loans, and check the Small Business Administration website (www.sba.gov) about their guaranteed loan program. Crowdfunding, which raises funds from a large number of people via the Internet towards a particular project, might be an idea worth checking into.
If you really want to find the money to start a business, you can probably find it using a combination of these methods. Remember, almost nobody has “enough” capital when they first start a business. Yet, new businesses are started every day. You can do it, too.
Saving on expenses
One of the biggest expenses for a business is setting up and maintaining an office space. When you are first starting out, you don’t need to spend a lot of money on an office of your own. You can save a lot of money by sharing an office with someone (along with the expenses of furniture and equipment).
Another idea: rent space in an executive office suite when you need to meet with clients, and manage your business using a “virtual office”. The “virtual office” provides you with communication and address services without having to maintain an actual physical office space. You can make use of a remote receptionist, a virtual assistant, a call center, and a professional address (instead of using your home address) – whatever works best for you.
Take the first step
It’s human nature to want to wait until everything is perfectly lined up to start a big project like a business. But that will never happen, so don’t wait. The longer you wait, the less quality years you will have enjoying the benefits of having your own business! Make a plan, and implement it. Taking “baby steps” is OK, as long as you keep moving toward your goal. If you don’t start taking steps now, you may never do it.
If you are thinking of starting a divorce services business, you can improve your chances of success by joining a group like Divorce With Dignity. We can help you make a business plan, teach you how to set up and run your business, and encourage and support you along the way. Take your first step toward business ownership by visiting our website today and taking 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.