Opening your law practice with a virtual office rental is a solid step towards success, but learn which mistakes to avoid.
So you’ve decided to take the leap into launching your own solo law practice. You have everything planned out, from your budget to deciding to use a virtual office rental.
The home office is set up and you’ve designed your business cards that will include your new business address. You’re on the verge of finally “hanging a shingle” and becoming your own boss.
You have thought of everything…or have you?
Before you decide to go out on your own, you have to make sure you have properly prepared yourself, your family and your business for the journey ahead. The best thing any solo attorney can do to ensure their law practice is successful is to overplan.
Avoid making these mistakes when opening up your law practice:
1. Always working from home
Ignoring the fact that your virtual office rental can offer quite a bit more than a professional address is one of the biggest mistakes you could make.
Don’t forget that in-person interactions are what usually bring in new business for most attorneys.Don’t forget that in-person interactions are what usually bring in new business for most attorneys Click To Tweet
Virtual office attorneys who always work from home do not get as many clients as those who actually use their virtual office rental as a tool to meet people. They also risk making themselves feel very isolated.
According to Anne Alexander, a small-business coach in Brevard, N.C., loneliness is the number one complaint from people who work at home.
While it might seem easier to always work from your home office, coming into the physical office space of your virtual office rental can become a very useful business development method. Spending a few hours per month working at a desk space or using a conference room benefits your overall well-being and getting introduced to suitemates will help you meet new referral sources.
2. Believing in “If I build it, they will come”
Too many solo attorneys do not prepare themselves for the challenge of getting new clients. Providing exceptional legal services won’t make the phone ring. You could be the world’s best lawyer, but your practice won’t survive if you don’t develop a solid marketing and business development plan, and then execute that plan consistently.
In today’s crowded legal market, you have to find ways to stand out and attract new business, which means working on your branding, finding your referral sources, networking and searching for effective ways to develop relationships.
Again, don’t dismiss your virtual office rental as just an address and don’t allow yourself to become disconnected because you work from home. Make sure you’re actively using your virtual office rental as a way to make new contacts. Talk to the staff managing the space and ask them to introduce you to potential referral sources.
3. Doing too much too soon
Many solos are excited to start their own practice and they’re anxious about getting clients, which can often cause them to overextend themselves. Try to pace yourself at first and set some realistic short-term goals.
During your first month of solo practice, don’t expect to meet thirty new referral sources from your virtual office rental for coffee, attend dozens of networking events, post an article per day on your law firm blog and complete hours of volunteering in search of new clients.
These are all things you should do, but keep in mind that running a law practice is a long journey and it will take time to grow.Keep in mind that running a law practice is a long journey and it will take time to grow Click To Tweet
These marketing techniques will be new and, when you get started, will be challenging to execute, perfect and systematize. By doing too many things at once, you won’t likely be effective at any one thing. Work on two marketing techniques at once (no more than three), get really good at these and set up automated systems for their execution. Having procedures in place for your marketing will allow you to continue to remain consistent once you start getting busy with clients and it will make it easier to hire someone to do it for you when the time is right.
Failing to pace yourself in the beginning will put you at risk for becoming disorganized or burning yourself out early on. Remember to take the time to adopt good practice management habits and develop a reasonable schedule for business development activities.
4. Not preparing loved ones
Being your own boss and working from home will give you a certain degree of flexibility and freedom, which will make spending time with your family easier. However, keep in mind that life as a solo can be stressful and you might have to relinquish some of your freedom in order to meet the demands of your practice.
There will still be long hours and there could be times when you are under intense pressure or financial strain. You must prepare your loved ones for this.
Communicate with your significant other(s) and be honest about the challenges you’re facing. Make it clear to your family that even though you work from home, there will still be periods of time when you are unavailable or will need privacy.
One of the best things you can do to shield your loved ones from some of the burdens you’ll be facing as a solo is to seek out peers at your virtual office rental. Talking to people who understand what it’s like to run a law practice can be a huge comfort and you’ll get a lot of useful advice or insight out of it.