This week in Things I Wish I Knew… Joleena Louis wonders, for solo attorneys: When is time saved worth lost profits?
This morning I spent almost an hour and a half filing documents in two separate counties.
When I first started my practice I enjoyed personally filing documents at the clerk’s office because that meant I was going to get paid. And frankly, I had the extra time and enjoyed getting out of the office.
But, as my business began ramping up, filing papers started to become a burden. These days, it’s just not worth it to me. As I stood in line at the severely understaffed matrimonial clerks’ office in Brooklyn, I realized that it would be so much cheaper to pay someone to do this for me.
Now, that may seem counter-intuitive…
How would it be cheaper for me to pay extra money to accomplish a task?
It is cheaper because I could be billing clients for the two hours I spent traveling between two courts and waiting in two lines to file two sets of papers.
This got me thinking about other things that are no longer cost effective for me to do myself.
For example, I have some new ideas for my website, but when I think of the endless, tedious hours it took me to set it up in the first place, I keep procrastinating on making the changes. Now, using the same logic, I think it may be more beneficial to me to pay someone who actually knows what they are doing to do it for me.
In this way, I am working on my business as opposed to working in the nitty-gritty of the business.
I’m also thinking about outsourcing a few things in my personal life, such as hiring a housekeeper once a week.
My husband and I share the housework, but we still spend countless hours cleaning each week. I don’t know how a one bedroom apartment with two people and a dog can take so long to clean, but it does. And it’s frustrating because there are so many other things we could to with the time. It would be worth it to pay someone else to clean so we can get the hours back.
A few questions I’ve found helpful to determine if I need to outsource include:
Am I the one that needs to do it or can it be done by someone else effectively?
Will it be cheaper to have someone do it instead of doing it myself?
At some point every solo attorney will have to audit their life and determine what things are worth your own time and what things are worth someone else’s time.
Effectively outsourcing allows you to invest your time in more profitable (or pleasurable) activities. The more your business grows, the more valuable your time will become.
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Joleena Louis is a matrimonial and family law attorney at Joleena Louis Law, a ﬁrm she founded after leaving a boutique matrimonial ﬁrm in Brooklyn. Joleena is a client in Law Firm Suites’ start-up program in Downtown, New York. Her weekly blog series Things I Wish I Knew… explores her thought process and experiences in her transition from small law ﬁrm employee to successful solo practice entrepreneur.