My Shingle

Always On

by Carolyn Elefant on March 23, 2011 · 5 comments

in Marketing & Making Money, Networking, Websites and Blogs

Print Friendly

A few days ago, I called a colleague at a mid-sized energy firm who’s known for a particular niche. As we chatted, I remarked how it was odd that we’d never run into each other at industry conferences to which she responded that she rarely does facetime these days. Doesn’t need to. My guess is that between her reputation and business that filters in from other firm clients, she does pretty well for herself. Contrast that with my own solo practice, where I need to show up at these events or fall off the radar.

Blogging is like solo practice in that way as well. As great as a blog may have been at its inception, unless you put out good content, day in and day out and day in and day out, your audience will move right along to the dozens of other choices. As it should be.

And so, between my practice and my blog, I feel as if I never stop hustling. I get plenty of referrals for my practice (only took me 15 years to reach that point!), but unless I constantly get myself out there – through speaking or articles or blogs (social media doesn’t help much) – I don’t show up on anyone’s radar. In contrast to working at a firm where you can rest on your laurels every once in a while, solos never stop hunting.

Lawyers starting out ask me if solo practice ever gets any easier, if you reach a point where clients just pour through the door or where, like my energy colleague, you can go on auto-pilot. The truth is no. Even if you do stumble upon a formula that works for a while, we practice in a world that’s always in flux and if you don’t keep moving, you’ll be overtaken. You’ve got to be always on, all the time.

  • http://constructionlawva.com constructionlaw

    Thanks for the insight Carolyn! As a solo only 9 months into my solo practice, I can understand these sentiments. Even with all of the work, I am enjoying things quite a bit.

  • Safetyrich

    I have been in business for over 30 years, but trying to ease into partial retirement by transitioning into marketing solely by online methods. Thanks for the insight.

  • TamarCerafci

    If you feel that sense of connection in a firm, great. Being “on the hunt” not about marketing your solo practice – it’s also about not losing touch with the community that gives strength to you personally. Whether one is hobnobbing with one’s wizards at a conference or simply connecting via list serves or Facebook, we all need that connectedness to survive.

  • http://www.raleighdurhamlaw.com Dabauern2

    Interesting insight. I am a big fan of trying a bunch of different marketing strategies and then seeing what “sticks”, what is most enjoyable, what method brings in the best type clients. I think it varies based on the practice area also. Thanks for the article.

  • MJ

    Ugh, I was hoping to not have to be always on…. I did 13 years in firms, was exhausted and drained (not just by the time and energy demands, but also by doing work I didn’t like) when I left. Two years into my solo practice, which is going fairly well, I’m exhausted and drained again (though not in a despairing “if I die at least I won’t have to come into the firm any longer” way, more of a “OMG DOES THIS EVER END???” way). If I’d known what private practice would be like I never would have done this (if my parents had known they wouldn’t have fought me so hard to make sure this happened – they thought law was the key to a perfect life of effortless wealth (ha!)).

Previous post:

Next post: