And it’ll be a quickie b/c it’s getting late, but someone actually emailed me out of the blue about this site, so I feel a little guilty about just letting it die a quiet death.
Generally, I have to say that things are going well. I’m only on my own part time — I’m working for another lawyer 3 days a week. The good is a steady salary w/o which there is no way I would have been approved for a mortgage. The bad is that I only get 2 days for my own stuff and, realistically, I generally have more than 2 days per week of work for my own stuff. I’m liking being on my own far too much to want to stop, but I also like the lawyer I’m working for as well as the work I’m doing. So it’s a good arrangement for now.
Lessons so far:
— I need to get better at saying no. I am getting better at turning down cases/clients that I think will be trouble, but I still struggle with saying, no, sorry, I can’t take your case b/c I don’t have time.
— a related problem is charging my clients more. I’m definitely getting better at it and I still truly want to keep my services affordable, but I need make sure I don’t price myself so low that I can never become sustainable. At least I can’t do this until my partner starts pulling in steady, big amounts of cash. Then maybe I’ll follow the vanity law practice model.
— right now, most of my clients come from the bar referral service, but I do occasionally get the cold call. Of course since I’ve changed my number and haven’t updated anything except my website, it’s surprising I get anything at all.
— the virtual office thing works well. I gave up my groovy space downtown (which I still kinda miss) since the lawyer I’m working for is also downtown and I can use that space if I need to. I moved and, rather than continue w/ the commercial virtual office arrangement, I’m renting space from a lawyer who’s about 6 blocks from my home. It’s still a “virtual” arrangement in that I’m only there to meet with clients and pick up my mail. Having 24-hour access to my mail is huge. Probably the thing I liked the least about my old arrangement is that I was using a UPS mailbox and they closed early so I couldn’t get my mail after working downtown. I’m paying slightly more than I was for the commercial virtual space and the mail box rental, but it’s still only $125/month.
— don’t cheap out too hard when buying a postage scale or a computer monitor.
— I love and adore my ScanSnap. I loved it so much I bought a portable to use when I met w/ clients, but w/ my new virtual arrangement, I can use their scanner free of charge.
— keeping my overhead low has been vital to actually making some money. And I’m doing slightly better than break even so far this year!