Starting a solo law practice is a major accomplishment. No matter how many days, weeks, months, or years you have been anticipating the grand opening of your new law practice, your firm’s grand opening is a significant milestone. Once you are open for business, you can hit the ground running. Hopefully, you will face nothing but huge success with your solo practice!
Launching any type of new business is exciting. Most solo attorneys on the verge of opening their own small law firm have a positive outlook on its ultimate success. If you are an attorney who recently launched a solo practice, or if you are thinking about opening a solo firm, it’s helpful to be aware that you will likely face challenges as you settle into your role as a small business owner.
No matter how much planning you put forth, you are bound to encounter challenges as you journey through the first few weeks and months in business. Following are some of the most common challenges faced by attorneys who are in the throes of launching a new solo law practice:
Business Seems a Little Slow! It might be possible to open a brand new solo law practice and immediately have more clients knocking on the door than you can possibly handle. However, this is unusual. Most new law practices go through an “entry into the market” phase that is relatively slow. For many solo attorneys, it takes time to build their law practice.
Everyone Wants My Money! Don’t be surprised to find your mailbox, voicemail, and e-mail box filled with messages and advertisements from businesses that want you to purchase something from them. It can be easy to get carried away with purchases and subscriptions when launching a new business.
Where Is All My Money Going? Even though you may have created a meticulous budget spreadsheet before opening your law firm, it’s not unusual to spend more than your budget allows. It can be difficult to anticipate all your expenses before launching your firm. Having to spend more money than you have allotted to your budget is a common experience for just about any new business owner.
My Office is a Mess! Getting used to practicing as a solo attorney as well as dealing with all the other typical duties required of a small business owner can be daunting. It’s easy to get overwhelmed and to neglect mundane tasks – such as filing paperwork and keeping your office as tidy as possible. To make things easier, stay on top of things – and dedicate a few minutes each day to organization efforts.
I Feel Like I Don’t Have Any Free Time! Launching a new business can be extremely time-consuming. There are not enough hours in the day to get everything done. Many solo attorneys spend more hours in their office than they do at home, which can lead to overwhelming stress and exhaustion. Building and developing a business takes excessive amounts of time and effort – and this is something required of most new solo attorneys.
If owning a successful solo law firm is a dream that you are hoping to fulfill, don’t be discouraged by challenges that you will face along the way. Every new business owner faces trials and tribulations. Understand that your peers are likely to be dealing with the same (or similar) circumstances can help make handling situations easier.
Remember, you are not alone – networks, groups and organizations are available to support your endeavors, answer your questions, and provide you with guidance that will help you achieve ultimate success.