Two and a half years ago I quit my comfortable job in a law firm. I didn’t know what I was going to do next and I didn’t have a plan B. I certainly never expected to start my own business.
At first I was thinking of hiring another law firm, but I saw that there was a need in the market for someone who could help law firms and attorneys with social media and also outsourced CMO services. I wanted to work with small and medium sized law firms and knew they might not have a budget or need to hire someone like me full time.
So I read a lot of books and articles, talked to a lot of people and leaned on my mentors and created a new business (during the pandemic). And it took off beyond my wildest expectations. I thank all my clients and all those who have supported me along the way.
I am a casual entrepreneur, but I saw an opportunity in a crowded market to use the skills and talents I already had to my advantage and filled a void in the market.
If you are considering going on your own, this is also something to consider. Where are there opportunities and holes in your industry and how can you uniquely fill them?
I also laid the foundation for many years posting on LinkedIn, speaking at conferences and writing articles so that when I wanted to start a business as a temporary venture (at first) while figuring out my next move, it wasn’t hard because I already had the groundwork and the built-in audience for it. (This is my plug for why you should build your own brand!)
Starting your own business was in many ways an accident as I don’t take risks. I am not a natural entrepreneur. I always thought I’d stay in the stable world of law firms. And I wanted return one day to the right environment. But I want autonomy on how I spend my days. I want to be the CEO of my career.
I need a place that allows and encourages me to be ME. Building my personal brand is important to me because I know I have a greater purpose than sitting behind a desk in an office every single day for years waiting for my 3% raise and hoping to step up the corporate ladder.
I also want to help others, whether through social media, teaching, writing or speaking. I know shining my light makes some people uncomfortable, that’s why entrepreneurship might be right for you too. You will be your own boss.
I’ve learned that having a positive mindset is so important to be an entrepreneur.
If you’re going to survive the challenges of running your business, a positive mindset is essential.
I surround myself with positive people who encourage me, such as fellow entrepreneurs Paula Edgar, Katie Lipp, Helen Burness and Melanie Borden.
I also focus on my successes and celebrate even the smallest of victories. I really try not to hit myself when things go wrong (and they do!).
One of the main reasons I write so much on LinkedIn and offer so many programs online is that I love helping people. One of the best ways to feel good about yourself and to spread the word about your new business for free is to help others.
That said, I’m not alone in leaving the traditional law firm life.
There are many other women who have done the same and are blazing new paths for themselves and others – our industry needed change, and the pandemic has helped accelerate it.
We are creating companies, products and redefining professional success. We are helping the legal industry innovate, which it has needed for so long.
If I can do it too, YOU can do it!
Start by finding a need and / or opportunity in the market that fits your unique talents and interests. Ask yourself what you can bring that is different from what others have done before and see how your experience is an asset. So write it down. It doesn’t have to be perfect at first – it’s a stream of consciousness exercise and you will modify it later. You are essentially creating your mission statement and the services you will offer. You will need a LinkedIn website and company page as well as a proposal template very quickly and this will form the basis of those materials.
For me, I knew that my 20 years spent directly in law firms would be an asset as an outsourced chief marketing officer and social media consultant because I have been doing that job every day (successfully) for two decades. I could take action very quickly, get things done and make a difference, so I had to deliver that in my written materials as well. This was my unique value proposition.
Of course, you knew I was going to tell you to increase your social media presence, right?
It goes without saying that to build your new business you need to be visible on LinkedIn. There is no better way to get free press and build your network.
I have tons of resources in this blog on how you can build your brand and business using LinkedIn, so check out the many posts that can help you do that in no time!
So remember: do things that scare you, whether it’s a feat you’re not ready for yet, just do it. You will understand it. There are so many of us who have walked in your shoes. And we are happy to give advice.
The other thing is that you have a lot of safety nets. You can return to work for a law firm or company at any time. So many people are moving in and out of companies over the course of their careers, so if it doesn’t work on its own, you have options.
You can decide who you are and you can change who you want to be and what you want to do at any point in your career.
Action breeds confidence and courage, as Dale Carnegie said. And as the wise Elle Woods said, “you must always have faith in yourself”.
Here is a replay of a Women what a wow Roundtable of female entrepreneurs with some great tips from leading female entrepreneurs that may inspire you – Part 1 And Part 2.
Copyright © 2022, Stefanie M. Marrone. All rights reserved.National Law Review, Volume XII, number 158