I often speak with very bright people who dream about becoming entrepreneurs.
They explain how they feel trapped in their current 9-5 jobs but are afraid to make the “dangerous” jump into unknown world, where fixed monthly salaries are a thing of the past.
In this great guest blog post, a dear friend of mine, Kristian Holte, shares his story, on how he quit his job at a law firm 3 months ago, and already today has a profitable business!
Very inspirational and informative 3 minutes read.
Yes, you got it right. It is actually possible to start your own law firm and earn more than enough to survive. Is it easy? No. Possible? Definitely. I did it. And you can do it too.
In this post I’ll outline 5 key principles that made me go from dissatisfied employee to legal entrepreneur in just 3 months.
I quit my job on 1 May 2010 and as of today 10 August 2010 my company Simply Law is thriving and attracting more and more qualified and interesting clients each day.
1. Value-Based Pricing
As you probably know most of the legal industry bills by the hour. There’s really no point since the interests of the attorney and the client often aren’t aligned using this model. The client is interested in getting the job done well swiftly and the attorney is interested in spending as many hours as possible.
So let’s reverse that.
It is so easy to differentiate yourself here by offering value-based pricing. Maybe you think this means that you can’t charge as much. Not at all. It only means that you have to consider the value of each case and price accordingly.
Value can be many things. Urgency, mental pain, accessibility, monetary value and strategic advantages are factors to consider when pricing your services. The pricing of your competitors as well. When you’re starting out your costs are low and you don’t need to price as high to break even. Use this to your advantage by comparining your pricing to your competitors’ when making an offer.
2. Compete on Quality
Don’t compete on price. This is an endless spiral which drags you downwards and which does nothing but attract the wrong type of clients. It makes you earn less and less money over time as well. You don’t want that. Instead, position yourself as a speciliast within some or a couple of fields, obtain cutting-edge knowledge and market yourself by sharing this knowledge with current and prospective clients.
3. Lean and Mean
Keep your costs low. I don’t even have a real office. I work from home. Or from the coffee shop. I decide myself. I rarely have physical meetings, because I find they often aren’t necessary. Clients don’t find them necessary either, apparently.
I use a range of free or low-cost online tools, I’ve outsourced the secretary function so I don’t have to answer the phone all day. I get e-mailed once my “secretary” has received a call from a current or prospective client.
In short: It isnt’ necessary to reside in a castle and to have chocolate with the firm’s name on it. Focus
on being excellent and communicating this to the right people. Then, you can have the chocolate later. And the impressive marble office.
4. Pick Your Niche
Have an idea of which niche you want to focus on. But don’t start out too narrow. I have chosen intellectual property law as my area of specialty and 75 % of my revenue is generated by IP-work. However, I also have a client base within the restaurant business. Now, I hadn’t anticipated that, but along the line I noticed an opening here.
So: Pick a main niche, but don’t be too specific and picky to start out with. There is plenty of time to specialize narrowly as you go along. Someday you’ll be THE expert in your niche.
5. Market Yourself Everyday
A lot of attorneys don’t like to market themselves. But this part of being a legal entrepreneur is crucial.
I enjoy marketing myself as much as I enjoy pracitising IP-law. Sometimes more.
Set up your own marketing system which you execute on a daily basis. I spend about 50 % of my time marketing Simply Law. If you do this well, you don’t have to worry about attracting the right clients.
This was a quick overview of some of the principles I’ve found to be useful. If you have any questions or
comments please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or simply post a comment below.
Kristian Holte, legal counsel
Do you have a similar story? Please share it below in the comments! I love to hear these success stories!