From a Lawyer to an Entrepreneuer
Met a Lawyer the other day . He used to practice as a Lawyer for some years . But now he is more interested in running a business . He is managing a manufacturing factory .
Making the transition into any business is not easy for a Lawyer . A Lawyer does not normally have a friendly disposition of a business man , he is too serious and looked at any dealings from the angle of a legal mind . It is hard to negotiate with him as he always wants to be on the safe side .
He has to learn and to change from one wearing coat and tie to one wearing short sleeves . No more voluminous agreements but short concise emails and phone calls . However , running a Law firm is more or less the same as managing a business as both look at the bottom line .
Here is another story of a Australian Lawyer , David Slatter. He jumped from Law to start and manage a Document Translation Service called ” Linguistico ”
( http://www.linguistico.com.au) . Learn from David what motivated him to make the jump and learn from his advice to any entrepreneur.
David Salter left a job at a law firm and jumped head-first into entrepreneurship when he started his document translation business, Linguistico, which services the finance, healthcare, insurance and legal industries.
Salter says the move from a secure job in a senior associate role to entrepreneurship was a hard one, but encourages other budding business owners to take the leap of faith.
Moving from a law firm into starting your own business is a big move. What made you take the leap?
I’ve always been interested in languages from a very young age. I used to get sent to the chips shop in France when I was younger to buy food, and since then I’ve had a huge passion for language and French in particular.
Then I went on to university, studied law, and came up with a sensible job. I didn’t want to be a French teacher.
I trained to be a lawyer, and then worked in several firms. What would happen at these firms is that someone would need a document translated, they’d pass it around and I’d put my hand up.
It seemed like a natural progression to educate law firms there was a better, more cost-efficient way of doing things like this from a management perspective, because often these lawyers would be doing translating work late into the night. I thought there was available work to be done here.
Did you have any business experience?
My father runs an SME but beyond that I didn’t have any experience. I’d always wanted to go and do something, because I couldn’t really see the benefit in a long-term career in a legal partnership.
I was at the senior associate stage, and at that point you can either quit or work super hard for the next six or seven years to see if you could make partner, and only a few people make that in any case.
I’ve seen partners who have been on their honeymoons and still responding to my emails, and I didn’t want that or have to do that. The hours were pretty crazy.
What is the first piece of advice you have for people in jobs looking to make the same move into business ownership?
Firstly, planning is absolutely the key and a lot goes into it. You have to really change your mindset about what hours you’ll work and that sort of thing.
In the law industry there was quite an insular attitude, thinking that maybe you are the best person for the job and there isn’t a better job out there. But you have to change that mindset that initially says you don’t do anything else, and really take that leap.
Starting a business is expensive, among other things. Is there anything budding business owners can do to prepare, when they’re in a steady job?
A lot of professionals are vastly in debt because they expect a pay rise next year and so on, so in that sense it’s hard to get a grip on finances. Learning how to save and get a hold on that is pretty important before you start a business, and can take a long time.
Other things to learn include learning how to manage client relationships, projects and so on, and I think these are all skills you can learn in a job that are transferrable to any other industry and entrepreneurship.
You need to get as much experience and exposure as possible when you’re in your paid job, and get exposure to as many different people as you can. In the end it could be these people who are going to be sending your future business some more work.
What about having a comprehensive business plan?
I think that’s right. Don’t give up your current job until you have an idea of where you want to go and what you want to do. You also need to be prepared to live frugally for a time when you are setting up your business.
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