As I work on developing my private practice (I’m an attorney, for those of you who don’t know), I’m beginning to face the question of just what should I spend money on? What’s most important? Where will my money be best spent? What do I need to do now versus what can I put off a little bit?
Figuring all of that out can be more than a little overwhelming. It seems like there are so many choices, so many options, so many possibilities. And maybe worse of all, oftentimes there’s really no clear “right” or “wrong” answer.
My approach to sorting through these decisions is to go back to the very basics. Starting with, “O.k., to make this work, I’m going to need clients.” So . . . where am I going to find those clients?
The first obvious answer seems to be the internet. So, I need a website. Luckily for me, I have a good friend who designs websites. She thankfully agreed to work on mine and it should be up and running soon.
The internet is good but pretty broad and doesn’t really guarantee anything. Our local Bar Association has a Lawyer Referral Service that I’m in the process of signing up for. Unfortunately, that led to another expense . . . malpractice insurance. I got a couple of quotes and need to finish up that paperwork today.
The Bar’s referral service made me wonder if there are other referral type services in our community. Back to the internet . . . we have a bunch of “self-help clinics” in the county but they can’t handle everything and so . . . they have their own list of attorneys they refer out to! I sent them emails and am working on getting on those lists.
So I’m feeling like that’s a pretty decent amount of marketing without much cost (really, zero cost besides the malpractice insurance).
Next question: If I get a client referred to me, where am I going to meet with them?? This one is trickier because I don’t want to spend the money on renting an office, furnishing it, phones, internet, etc. I’m not anticipating ever having a full-time practice. I could use my husband’s therapy office but 1., he uses it more than full-time and 2., there’s not a table or anything to spread papers out on, etc. That doesn’t seem like a good option. Second option is that I had an attorney offer that I can use his office any time I need, free of charge. I don’t know this attorney well so I hesitate to take him up on his very generous offer but that may be the best option for the moment.
Let’s see . . . what else?? I have business cards. I have a very basic letterhead that I just print out on plain paper. I have file folders and forms to take notes on, a fee agreement, an email and an office phone number (which is a free google number).
I feel like there must be things I’m missing!!!! But I’m really afraid of spending a bunch of money and then having zero clients walk through my non-existent door. I’m trying to cover the basics and that’s it.
Would love to hear from people who have started their own businesses!!! What did you spend money on? Where was your money well spent and what could you have skipped??