Starting your law firm with a virtual office rental is a smart idea, but learn which mistakes to avoid.
So you’ve decided to start your own solo law firm. You have everything planned out and you’ve already decided to use a virtual office rental.
You have thought of everything…or have you?
Before going out on your own, you have to make sure you have properly prepared yourself for the journey ahead. The best thing any solo attorney can do is to overplan.
To help, 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 a big mistake.
In-person interactions are what usually bring in new business for most attorneys.
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.
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 meeting your suitemates will help you create 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.
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.
Don’t dismiss your virtual office rental as just an address. 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 wind up overextending themselves. Pace yourself 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, 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 marathon, not a sprint. It takes time.
These marketing techniques will be new and, will be challenging to execute, perfect and systematize. By doing too many things at once, you won’t 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 remain productive during the busy periods and it will make it easier to hire someone to do it for you when the time is right.
Failing to pace yourself 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. However, keep in mind that you might have to relinquish some of your freedom in order to meet the demands of your practice.
There will be long hours and times when you are under intense pressure or maybe even financial strain. You must prepare yourself and 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 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.