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Fix Your Head, Not Your Firm

Most attorneys who start a solo practice don’t view their practice as a business.

They think of the firm as a place where they go to do “stuff.” They just show up each day and decide then and there what needs to be done, whether it’s legal work or administrative work. Then, maybe if there’s time they run off to handle some kind of marketing-related task.

But they’re not treating their practice as a real business.

Compare that with a any non-legal business that achieves even a little success. The owner, who is very often the founder of the business, quickly learns he can’t be the only person in the garage. He can’t build the widget, market the widget, sell the widget, manage finances, and wear 18 other hats.

The traditional business owner quickly realizes the need to be surrounded with people who specialize in doing all of those things. This allows the traditional business to expand and grow.

But most law firms never leave the “in the garage” phase. They combine the tasks of building the thing and marketing the thing and selling the thing. And no head is big enough for that many hats.

Are You An Owner or An Employee?

Owners of a business look for ways to maximize revenue. Sure, they may have some lifestyle considerations, but they understand that the business exists to serve them, not them to serve the business. When you operate like an employee instead of an owner, you’re not doing the right things from a strategic standpoint to grow your business. You’re focused on day-to-day tasks and tactics instead of the big picture.

If you’re going to run your firm like a real business, you need to behave like an owner. Think about where this business is now, where you want it to go, and how you’re going to get it there. This business is a vehicle that can take you in a lot of different directions, but it’s up to you to choose what roads to take.

Click here to get access to my free Law Practice Growth Guide that shows you how to grow your law firm predictably and create freedom for yourself.

Get Your Head Straight.

You only need one tool to fix this, and it’s between your ears. The key is your mindset.

Start thinking about yourself first and your business second. Your business exists for you, you don’t exist for your business.

If you treat yourself as an afterthought, you won’t know where you’re going. You’ll have no direction. You’ll be reactive instead of proactive and let other people – clients, vendors or anyone else involved with your business – lead you around by the leash.

Why? Because you’re not evaluating every single thing you do according to how much closer it’s getting you to your goal.

Look at it this way. If all you’re really interested in is doing the work, why not just work for someone else?

You started a law practice because you wanted something out of it. It’s time to take a step back, figure out what it is that you want from your practice, develop a strategy, and start treating your practice like a real business.

Otherwise, you may as well go collect a paycheck from someone else, because you’re no better off than an employee with a disorganized boss.

Practice Alchemy Members: use the goal-setting tools in the Alchemy Productivity System to focus you on CEO strategy, not factory floor tasks. And if you have questions, call your Concierge – we’ll guide you through it.

Raj Jha