How To Beat the Odds and Succeed as an Attorney Launching Your Own Practice
Are you thinking of opening your own law practice or adding associates to your current practice? Are you encountering challenges with your practice and don’t know where to turn?
When divorce attorney Rock Rocheleau started Right Lawyers he encountered all sorts of challenges. Rock received some sage advice when another attorney told him to read The E-Myth, a book by Michael Gerber. “The book changed my vision for the law firm. It changed our perception of how to deliver legal services.”
Most attorneys fail at their solo practice or when adding associates because they believe that being a great lawyer is all that is needed. It’s no surprise that according to “The E-Myth Attorney,”, most businesses fail because the people starting their own businesses are not entrepreneurs at all. In the case of attorneys, law schools teach the practice of law, not how to run an effective business.
In his book, Gerber outlines many reasons that legal practices fail and what needs to be done to succeed. Perhaps there is one aspect he doesn’t focus on…He focuses on the doing, but not so much on the being. To be successful as an owner of your own firm, you need to effectively integrate both what you’re doing with who you’re being.
Being a successful business owner means getting outside your comfort zone and requires constant growth and development. Read on for essential tools to conquer the E-Myth and become the successful business owner that you were meant to be.
Why is understanding the E-Myth important for business growth?
Often, people want to leave a firm and launch their own because they don’t like the firm, or they don’t like their boss. Some attorneys go out on their own because they worked for a law firm with an expectation of long days and extensive billing, with little to no recognition and work-life balance.
They are great attorneys, and they think they will be happier on their own. In the end, it can become a nightmare. The E-Myth points out the trap of becoming a business owner, which means you must be the entrepreneur, the manager, and the lawyer. In the beginning, you must wear all the hats and be a Jack of all trades. Consider taking a vacation when you ARE the business…
Why is being clear about why you want to launch a business so important?
Develop your conditions of satisfaction by asking yourself the following questions:
- What do I value most?
- Why do I want to start my own firm?
- What do I want my life to be on a day-to-day basis?
- Who will encourage, mentor, and develop me in my new role?
- What kind of reputation do I want to build?
- What goals do I have for a year, five years, ten years, and so on?
- How much money do I need to make?
- How will I create balance in work, fun, family, and friendships?
How can you avoid being a statistic and succeed as a small business owner?
There are many things that contribute to success. Just because you are a good lawyer it does not mean that you will be effective at running your own firm. These elements are essential for the success of a small business owner:
- A plan.
- Sufficient resources including financial resources.
- Accurate expectations regarding the timeline to success.
- A confidential sounding board who will ask powerful questions and promote self-awareness and new insights.
- The right attitude of resiliency and being willing to course correct as needed.
How do you move your business past adolescence and into maturity?
To move past business adolescence, the owner needs to delegate effectively, hold employees accountable, and ensure that quality does not suffer once you, as the owner have, freedom of time. It means having a plan from the very beginning through the adolescence stage and ultimately bringing in help so your business can effectively grow and thrive. It requires working on the business, being innovative, and having a unique value proposition that will satisfy your customers.
Why is how you show up on a daily basis critical to the success of a small business owner?
As a small business owner, you wear multiple hats. When you are showing up as your best self every day, you and your employees are more likely to be committed to success. Tools to show up as your best self include:
- Be mindful, focused, and creative.
- Take care of your well-being so that you have energy.
- Have self-awareness, identify your blind spots, and get out of your own way.
- Be committed to growth and development for yourself and your employees.
- Recognize and be considerate of your employee’s time and work-life balance.
- Be as evenly balanced as possible with respect to task achievement and to relationships.
- Think about how you make people feel when you show up frustrated, angry, and upset.
- Strive for excellence, not perfection.
Recognize that even though you may be a good lawyer, that doesn’t mean you’re a good business owner. With coaching, we examine your current skill set, what’s required, and we determine how to fill the gap. We identify your ultimate goals and create an action plan with key milestones to get you there. Perhaps most importantly, we ensure that you have the tools to show up powerfully on a consistent basis, rather than just operating on autopilot.
Wendy Preyssler, ICF Master Certified Coach and Past President, International Coaching Federation Nevada, is passionate about partnering with people to create an action plan to exceed their goals. To develop your plan for business success, connect with Coach Wendy today at Wendy@CoachingByWendy.com.