Going out on your own as a lawyer, architect, or other professional may seem like a formidable task, but it’s one that many are undertaking with increasing frequency. According to the American Bar Association (ABA), about half of the 1.3 million licensed attorneys in this country are in solo practices. While there are pros and cons to striking out on your own, most who take the leap don’t regret their decision. Here are seven hard-won lessons for any professional that wants to succeed as a sole practitioner.
1. Find Your Niche.
When you’re running your own practice, you can’t be everything to everyone, as much as you might like to try. The key to success as a solo practitioner is to find the one or two things that you do well, and that you enjoy, and focus your business on those aspects. Instead of just being one in a crowd, find a particular need in your market and see how you can fill it better than anyone else.
2. Get Involved in the Community.
As a sole practitioner, it can be tempting to put your head down and do nothing but work. This would be a mistake. In fact, those who give back to their communities both personally and professionally tend to be both happier and more successful. Donate some professional services to a good cause and get involved in some worthwhile community organizations.
3. Find Networking Sources.
Aside from giving back to the community, you can also find some additional pathways to success through various professional networks. If you’re an architect, join the American Institutes of Architects (AIA) and get involved on the local level. Meet other sole practitioners around the country and build a professional network.
4. Establish Yourself as an Authority.
Once you have your niche identified, begin establishing yourself as an expert in your field. There are several ways to do this. As a sole practitioner, you can write a blog, author a book, grant interviews in professional journals, and submit your work for various awards considerations. When potential clients see this accumulation of work, they will trust your judgment and be quicker to award new business.
5. Get Some Support.
Just because you’re working on your own, you don’t have to complete every task and carry the world on your shoulders. In fact, you’ll be much more successful if you enlist some help. Unless it’s your area of expertise, hire professionals to do things like web design, marketing, accounting, and other administrative duties.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Fail.
Starting a solo practice may seem like a risky endeavor because it is! However, those who never step outside their comfort zones aren’t often awarded with great success. Don’t be afraid to try new things or to face challenging hurdles. For many, it’s that series of well-calculated risks that are the key to gro
wing a successful solo practice.
7. Have Fun.
Hopefully, you’re starting your solo practice for the right reasons. If you love what you do for a living and relish a challenge, you’re setting yourself up for a lifetime of rewards. A career should be challenging, exciting, as well as financially rewarding. Follow these success tips, and you could very well be on the way to having it all.