It comes as no surprise that law school didn’t teach us everything we needed to know to be great entrepreneurs.
Some of the most important skills you need to be successful are learned outside of the classroom. Here are some life skills that every solo should have.
Here are some life skills that every solo should have.
Managing your time wisely
Solos have a lot to balance, so time management is the key to success. From time blocking to the Pomodoro method, there are many ways for lawyers to manage their time.
My favorite method for staying on top of my caseload is doing a weekly review. Try it out this week and you’ll notice a dramatic increase in your productivity.
Requesting and accepting feedback
It can be difficult to hear your weaknesses, but you will never improve if you don’t know what you need to fix.
Regularly request feedback from everyone you work with, especially clients. Even if you’re not perfect they will appreciate your efforts to improve.
How to acknowledge a mistake without ruining the relationship
Everyone makes mistakes and as a solo, you are going to make many.
When you do, take the following actions to correct your mistakes:
Quickly acknowledge your mistake
Explain what happened
Explain how you will fix it
Show how you are going to avoid the problem in the future.
Saying NO when needed can save you lot of time, guilt, and stress. You only have a limited amount of time and energy that you need to save for things that are important to you.
It can sometimes be hard to say no, especially when you don’t want to let the other person down. But knowing how to decline with grace can help you preserve relationships and your sanity.
Empathizing with others
Over time some lawyers lose the ability to empathize with others, especially clients. Years in the profession can make us a little jaded and cause us to lose the ability to see the situation from our client’s eyes.
Even though we have gone through the legal process a thousand times, it’s completely new to our clients. A little empathy can go a long way.
Learning how to better empathize can make you a more effective representative for your clients.
I’m amazed by the amount of solos I’ve met who don’t have a budget and don’t even know their monthly expenses.
Solo life means periods of feasts and famine, so budgeting and planning can help you through the tough times.
Every solo should learn how to create a monthly budget for their practice.
Knowing when to ask for help
Research suggests that asking for advice can make you look more competent.
I learned early in my career that asking for help was less embarrassing than incompetence. And since starting my practice, I’ve found other attorneys to be very helpful and open to giving advice.
If you don’t know the answer it better to ask someone who does instead of making a costly mistake.
This is a basic skill that you’ll use often as an entrepreneur.
You’ll need negotiation skills to sell yourself and your services to potential clients and referral sources. You may need to negotiate with vendors and eventually employees. You’ll definitely negotiate with clients who try to get more for less.
The ability to move on from failure
As a solo, you will fail. You’ll fail often, and sometimes, spectacularly.
Those who don’t have what it takes to be self-employed will give up after these failures. But if you train yourself to learn from failures and even expect them, you’ll be more successful as an entrepreneur.
The ability to close a sale
As an entrepreneur, you won’t get paid unless you know how to close a sale. It’s a skill worth improving and investing in if you want to grow your practice.
Some people are great at planning, but terrible at taking action.
As a solo, you have to have the ability to make decisions. Often with little time and even less information. The ability to take a risk and make a decision on less than ideal circumstances often lead to amazing opportunities that could have been missed by over planning and overanalyzing.
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