Thought I would share. I’m currently working on a business idea and this is the advice from one of my clients I work with. I asked how hard/easy it was for him in the beginning. He had years of experience under his belt. This is what he had to say!
“I had the luxury at the time of disconnecting myself from a partnership in a very friendly way (my best friend was the managing partner, and the reasons for me leaving were generally amicable . . . at least hadn’t gotten to the point of being angry) with a modest “book of business” consisting of some reliable clients who knew and paid me regularly, and a “buffer” of cases that would consistently yield revenue for a year or two (these were tax appeal cases, which I did at the time on a contingent fee basis; I had full control of them, but no real long term potential for a “relationship” with the property owners; it was a one and done deal in virtually every case).
Basically, what I had was eighteen months to make it, to bring down sustaining clients who spent enough, but not too much, money with me (i didn’t want one or two “big” clients, because the consequence of losing that one client was too great).
It took about 30 months… things got very lean for about a year (about at lean as they have been latedly, as a matter of fact). I took in enough to pay bills that second/third year, and occasionally collected a check. I wasn’t fully aware of it at the time, but there was a minor recession and a stagnant development climate that directly affected my ability to generate client revenue. And when you are the only profit center, you have no ability (as I’d had before) to walk down the corridor to a partner’s office, and ask if he/she needed any help on stuff.. No organized support structure. With a spouse in school, a harridan waiting to scratch my eyes out if I was late with a child support payment, a babe to feed, mortgage payments, rent payments, insurance ,. . . it was scary.
The good new is you find out who your friends are, and who you can trust. You find out whether, in fact, you have reasons to be confident in your abilities . . . and you will examine absolutely every weakness and failing you have and work on them (or, if you don’t, you will go nuts/become a drunk/find some other way to wreck yourself). It is a gut check, . . . and in my case, if it hadn’t worked out, I would not have starved or died, but my image of myself as a good, effective, skilled, and fully professional attorney would have suffered irreparable harm. I succeeded (so far) in being self-sufficient and competitive, but it was not a given, by a long shot, for a long long time.”