What are the Challenges of Going Solo?
I often talk about the benefits of going solo. Hello flexibility, autonomy and picking and choosing your clients!
But I also want to be straight with you. Going solo is not all rainbows and unicorns.
- There is no steady paycheque.
- It can be very isolating.
- Just the idea of setting it up can be overwhelming.
But if establishing your own firm is something that you dream of doing, all of these challenges can be overcome. Let’s take a bit of a deeper dive into each challenge and look at some of the solutions:
1. No steady paycheque. As a solo, if you do billable work, you get paid. If you don’t, you don’t get paid. It’s pretty simple.
The solos I see who are often successful right out of the gates, tend to have clients lined up before they hang their shingle. Often, these are former employers and/or former clients. Note to self: if you leave an employer to go solo, it is beneficial to leave on a positive note. No need to burn bridges with someone who could be a fantastic source of work for you going forward.
If you don’t have enough clients when you launch, there are Canadian organizations, such as Goodlawyer and Flex Legal Network, that connect lawyers with clients. Essentially, they market your services and bring clients directly to you. In exchange, you pay them a small fee for finding clients for you. Sounds too good to be true? It’s not. When I practiced law, I found clients through both of these organizations (as well as others).
2. It can be lonely. As a solo, you don’t have the benefit of having colleagues just down the hall. You can’t pop into their office with a question or hang out in the lunchroom and vent about your latest file (or let’s be honest, the latest episode of the Bachelorette).
To alleviate this isolation you may want to consider sharing office space, joining a coworking space, setting up a Whatsapp group with other lawyers, or joining online groups for lawyers (more information on my free group is below). There are many different options to consider here. The key is finding other people that will help you feel a sense of community. And bonus points if you refer work to one another.
I have a free community for Canadian female lawyers where we provide support, inspiration and refer work. Come join us! Just make sure to answer all of the membership questions so that we can verify your status as a lawyer.
For those of you who are new to a practice area, not only can it be lonely but you may also have substantive legal questions. Consider finding a mentor who can help you with your questions. This could be someone you know in your town or someone that you find online. LawPro has a list of Ontario mentorship programs.
3. Feeling overwhelmed. What are the steps to go solo? AKA how the heck do you actually go solo? How do you know you haven’t missed anything?
You can speak with other lawyers who made the leap and you can hit up google with your questions.
But if you are looking for a more efficient and customized solution, that’s where I come in. I create a customized roadmap outlining the steps to a successful launch (and beyond) for your practice, help free up your time by doing some of the actual steps for you, and provide you with accountability to make this solo dream of yours come true.
If you are interested in learning more, please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Going solo is not for everyone. Although there are benefits to going solo, there are challenges as well. But if going solo is something that you truly aspire to do, there are ways to overcome those challenges.
What have I missed? What do you think will be the biggest roadblocks for you when you launch your practice?
I recently posted on LinkedIn asking when lawyers went solo. There was some interesting insight shared by other professionals in the comments. Come join the conversation here.
I was trained on Bay Street and worked in Big Law for nearly a decade before going solo. I now help other solo/small firm lawyers launch and build their practices, through 1:1 consulting. I help lawyers implement a marketing strategy, hire help, overcome mindset blocks and build a profitable firm that suits their lifestyle. Interested in learning more? Check out my services page.