Well, I've just arrived home after cleaning out my office so it seems like a good time to post my update.
I'm in my home office, typing to you while looking out over the backyard. Two bluebirds are perched on the fence outside my window, which is open thanks to the beautiful, unusually cool weather we've been having. The sweet autumn clematis is blooming. Life is good.
I'm now a solo practitioner.
On Monday, I'll join 90 other businesses at my new office -- a "co-working" space/ business incubator. They have a gym. And a keg with happy hours on Fridays for everyone whose business is housed there. It costs $350 /month for me to have a desk (with secured space for client documents). I can use the conference rooms to meet clients and phone booths for private calls. They have a printer, scanner, fax, shredder -- all the infrastructure I need. It's just a few blocks from my old office but miles away in spirit.
In late May, as issues with my firm were coming to a head, I started putting out feelers with solos that I know and others in my network. I did tons of research -- read Foonberg's book, etc. I ran the numbers, for both my personal budget and my prospective firm. I touched base with my former boss (she recently launched a new business) and when she said she had tons of work for me, a little switch flipped in my head. There's my anchor. Another friend is helping me learn bankruptcy law -- a lucrative practice area. I'm getting referrals. In fact, just yesterday I got a call from a lawyer in Indiana who co-signed a lease for a friend in Virginia and it's a hot mess. I'll likely be in court for him on Monday.
Never been in court before!
In addition to my former boss who is now my anchor client, opportunities to consult on an issue for which I have strong credentials recently arose. I'd either have to forego those opportunities, or make the leap. So, I jumped. As a result, I'll be speaking to a group of about 50 general counsels in October. I've got a blog post that will soon be published in a very prominent outlet. And a friend who works in an aligned area wants to bring me in on a huge project her firm just landed -- my expertise is a perfect fit and no one else knows what I know.
As of September 1st, I'll be "Founder & CEO" of my PLC and of my LLC (consulting). My law firm is branded toward corporate law clients but I have a second brand (a trade name) that is targeted toward consumers for family and bankruptcy law. I will build all three lines of business at once.
I am so very grateful that I found MMM 2.5 years ago. Though I still have a long way to go on my debts, I am much better positioned now than I was two years ago. My frugality muscle is also much stronger. As soon as I decided to go solo, I altered my W4 and state withholding, and stopped my 401k and HSA contributions. As a result, my last 3 paychecks have been fat -- enough to live on for 6 months, so long as I stay VERY disciplined. The good news is that because the referral pipeline started immediately (for some projects my firm would not want anyway -- e.g. a divorce, the little civil case for the attorney in IN, two wills) I am already generating bills. MY AR for August will be just over $3k. And I have a $3,500 retainer in my trust account. Not too shabby.
I am bound to fail at some things. I am going to succeed at others. It's going to be thrilling. And scary.
But, it is mine and it will be whatever I build it. That makes me happy.