The practice of law reflects the same ups and downs as any other business. However in the practice of law as a solo practitioner you are obligated to maintain your effectiveness as an attorney all while trying to make good sound business decisions to allow your practice to grow. The first thing I noticed after leaving the District Attorney’s Office after ten years of service was that empty feeling I felt when I looked at the calendar and it had finally sunk in that those every other Fridays when money magically appeared into my account (direct deposit) were over. Actually, I still teach so I do receive some money in that fashion, but my primary income has to be found and earned.
Now after I realized that the biweekly contributions the county once made to my bank account had ceased, I next wondered, well where do I get money from now. From that point on I began to think (or at least try to think) like a business man. I actually went to some chamber of commerce events, and other business networking events in an attempt to help change my mindset from public employee to self employed (in the business of Law) Lawyer. These early seminars did help some I had never thought much about overhead (the county just handed me supplies and anything I needed there was a form or invoice to fill out), Marketing, or building stronger relationship in your community to increase your referrals. I further learned about the importance of Internet Marketing, Google AdWords, SEO and something called the Google Algorithm. I had to quickly adapt and discovery the meaning of all of these terms because they have a critical effect on how I am going to progress and grow my practice. No I have not mastered these ideas or terms, I just have enough of a working knowledge of these terms to have a superficial conversation, and to know when a marketing sales man is full of $hit. In addition, to learning about marketing and running a business I also received a few referrals from these meetings. The referrals I received alone made the experience worth my time. In addition, I crossed paths with several people in the community that I had known in my past, but I had lost touch with do to the complications of life.
So Why do I say “Grind”, well my new life requires me to think about generating income every chance I get, and as a practicing attorney I do not have a lot of time between meeting with clients preparing for court and going to court. However all the work and clients I have are based on past efforts and if I do not keep “grinding” I will look up and I will be out of work, which means out of income. I have been blessed thus far, and with the help of several people in the legal community, and several friends and associates I have been able to stay productive and busy. However, I am slowly realizing that I will have to be on my “grind” for a while. I had a month were I had several new clients all sign up in the first two weeks of the month. I was happy and thought I had reached some new milestone, gotten over some hump and things were about to become steady and consistent. I started diligently working on those cases and I stopped doing the things that ultimately led those clients to my door step. After a few weeks I noticed that I had not had a new client in a while. I went back through my books and confirmed it, at that point I realized that I have a long way to go and a lot more “grinding” to do.
Being on the “Grind”, is fun, scary, exciting and liberating all in one. You spend several weeks working and it appears there is no yield in sight. Then you have a week when you do not have enough time to answer all of the calls and schedule all of the meetings. That can easily be followed by a week of no new business. I am learning to weather the storms, and to enjoy the sunshine a little, but not to much because there will always be another storm when you are on the “Grind”.
Donte T Wyatt
San Diego, CA, 92103