Developing Your Entrepreneurial Mindset

This article was provided by Gary Mitchell, a lawyer coach since 2005, taking a unique approach with his clients by focusing on the psychological aspect of the way they work. Having coached lawyers from coast to coast spanning numerous practice areas and at all stages in their careers, Gary continues to expand and hone his knowledge of the legal industry with every new client engagement.

Whether you are in solo practice, building your own law firm, or a partner at a large firm, one of the most important factors in the success of your career is going to be developing your entrepreneurial mindset. What follows are some ways I help my clients create their own entrepreneurial mindset and approach to the business of law.  

Don’t let your fear of risk paralyze you

While I am fully aware that there is no magic pill that entrepreneurs take that prevents them from feeling fearful to take risks, what I am saying is that they either get over it or learn to manage it. I help my clients do just that. 

As we already know, most lawyers are risk-averse. OK, I get it, and you get it. But let’s take a closer look at risk for a minute. In life, you take risks every day. Every time you cross the street, you take a risk. When you are ordering food at a new restaurant, you are taking a risk. Driving in winter conditions, (for those of you that have this situation), yep, risk. 

Professionally speaking, you took a risk applying to law school. After graduation, you took a risk every time you sent your CV out. So, what is it about taking risks that you fear the most? 

To quote President Franklin D. Roosevelt in his 1st inaugural speech “So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself…” He was of course paraphrasing Henry David Thoreau, a well known American Philosopher. 

Here are a few tips to help you develop your entrepreneurial mindset and start thriving in the business of law. 

Look at your practice as a business

If you recall my first sentence, I suggested it doesn’t matter whether you are out on your own or a partner with a large firm. Having an entrepreneurial mindset is paramount to the success of today’s lawyers. To my clients at large firms, I have always advised them to think and treat their practice like a business, like it’s a franchise of the firm. 

Expand your comfort zone

Becoming entrepreneurial also means you are going to have to venture outside of your comfort zone. Like risk, this is not something you are naturally comfortable with. But you can do it. When working with clients, I help them move the goalpost gradually. In other words, we don’t start by jumping out of a plane at 30,000 feet. We try parasailing first at roughly 150 feet. And it works. Slowly but surely you too can expand your comfort zone.

Tap into your creativity

Another component of getting into an entrepreneurial mindset is creativity. Most of my clients have had some form of creativity in their life. It may have been music, dance, visual art, writing, photography, and so on. I bet if you look back on your life you will find a less complicated time when some form of creativity brought you joy. It may have since been buried, but it is still there, just waiting to be awakened. Tap into it!

Being an entrepreneur is much the same. You are creating new systems and new ways of serving your clients.

Don’t listen to other lawyers

I implore you not to look for advice from other lawyers, even if they are your friends and colleagues and mean well. I have heard this time and time from clients that when they approach other lawyers for feedback, all they get is why it can’t and won’t work, and every reason in the book why they shouldn’t do it. That’s not what you need. What you need is a partner to give you encouragement, support, proven strategies, and positive feedback. You won’t get that at the water cooler! The whole point of this is to get away from thinking like a lawyer and to start thinking like an entrepreneur. 

If you’re still not ready to push the ‘go’ button, do a risk/reward assessment. For this exercise, please use your lawyer mind. Wherever you are now, whatever challenges or frustrations you have with your current situation, measure those against the freedom and independence of being your own boss.

You know what your gut is telling you. Your gut is telling you that I am right. So, why not take the plunge? Why not face the fear head-on? As the saying goes, “no risk, no reward.”

If you are on the fence, give me a call. If you are ready to go, it’s even more important to give me a call. I will help you embrace and develop an entrepreneurial mindset and approach so that you can reach your business goals faster. Visit my website to get in touch today.

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