It is very difficult to make the decision that you will be leaving your employment to start your own venture. That is especially the case when you are earning a comfortable salary of six-figures and bringing in commission based on bringing in clients as well.
That's the predicament I found myself in almost 4 years ago, when I was very comfortable at a growing law firm and receiving a guaranteed check every two weeks. But I realized that comfort does not equate to happiness and that I may have been leaving a lot on the table by choosing to be conservative instead of entrepreneurial.
Leaving good employment is absolutely not for everyone; yet, there may be signs that lead you believe that it is the right time for you.
So why did I leave a comfortable, nicely paid job at my last law firm to start up a practice devoted mostly to sports law, intellectual property, transactions and litigation? A confluence of reasons.
- I listened to my clients. They were urging me to start my own firm so that I could focus all of my attention on them and fine tune my practice to the issues I really cared about, including sports law matters such as arbitrations between sports agents and athletes as well as protecting valuable intellectual property like the recently filed "COMEBACKSZN" mark for Johnny Manziel. Why wouldn't I listen to the people who trust and pay me?
- I felt under-appreciated. I was at the point where I was spending 95-100% of my day on work that I brought in myself. While I was consistently promised more pay and exposure (by adding my name to the firm), those promises weren't delivered upon by the person in charge of the firm. Why not eat what I killed and build a brand with my name attached thereto?
- I felt comfortable with the work. I don't see how lawyers start their own firms straight out of school although for some it is more manageable for others, particularly individuals who have experience running a business prior to going to law school. Experience and guidance from mentors that you don't get in law school is very important. After 4 years in the business of practicing law, I felt qualified to run my own cases, deals and ultimately my own practice. I knew I was ready when clients, including those I didn't bring in, preferred to have me managing the issue instead of my boss, who was 30 years my elder.
It is easier to start your own business when you already have clients, they are urging you to go out on your own, you believe there is growth being left on the table and you are confident in your abilities. While starting a business is not for everyone, there is no better feeling than making the jump and finding success.