How to Know When You’re Ready to Go Solo

By Melanie Fischer

You may have considered the possibility of opening your own solo practice. You may be quite sure that you want to open your own firm, but you may be less sure about the best time frame. Should it be today? Tomorrow? Next year? Going solo can be a life-changing choice that can involve all sorts of unexpected professional challenges. But it’s also something that can result in unparalleled professional success.

In reality, there might never be an absolutely perfect time to take the leap. But recognizing the signs that you are ready to go solo is a good first step in the process.

double monitorBefore making the final decision to go solo, look for these signs that you are ready:

You can’t stop thinking about all the benefits of owning and operating your own solo law practice. If you have a positive outlook on the idea of going solo, this is a good sign. Being excited about the prospect of running a solo law practice is imperative. If you are not excited about the idea or if you dread the risk involved with working as a solo attorney, you might not be quite ready. In reality, many solo attorneys do feel apprehension and anxiety as they transition into the role of a solo attorney. But it’s important to go into the endeavor with a positive and upbeat attitude.

You’re willing and able to work very, very hard to get your law firm off the ground. It takes quite a bit of time and effort to create a successful and lucrative solo law practice. Being responsible for the vitality of a law firm requires more than tending to clients. It also necessitates the ability to promote and maintain a business. This includes implementing a marketing campaign, completing all accounting responsibilities, and staying on top of all office management duties.

You can handle ups and downs in your income from one month to the next. Eventually, your solo law firm should be able to provide you with a steady and predictable income. But at the beginning, your cash flow might vary from month to month. In fact, it’s possible that there will be a few months where you will not have any income at all. Ask yourself this question: Are you able to handle a few months with no income while your law practice is in its growth phase? If you are able to plan ahead, it’s a good idea to have sufficient savings to cover your living and business expenses while you are trying to get your solo law practice started.

You are confident that you have enough professional experience to be successful. Some individuals graduate from law school and immediately open a solo law practice. Others wait until they have 10 or more years of professional experience. Regardless, the most important factor is believing that you have the appropriate level of knowledge to be successful as a solo attorney – no matter how many years you have actually been practicing law.

Some say that when you know you are ready to go solo, you just know. Others say the decision is not quite so simple. No matter how you look at it, committing to owning and operating a solo law practice is a true challenge. In the end, however, it’s a choice that can reap enormous rewards on both a personal and professional level.

Originally posted on Solo in Colo.