How smart is starting from scratch to start your own business?

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I’ve worked in the corporate world for the past 15 years and recently went back to school for my law degree. I now want to quit my job and start my own law practice. I have just a couple of cases right now (including one really good one that could bring in lots of cash when/if it settles) but know I could bring in a lot more work if I devoted myself to practice full stop. I have great connections with lots of other lawyers and know a couple that would let me work out of their space. Anyway, I don’t have much cash saved and my credit is weak. I’m thinking of selling my house and my car and taking an apt. in the city where I will practice. This would cut down bills alot as well as my current 2 hour round trip commute. Has anyone done something similar- shed a lot of your assets to finance a dream? Or is it better just to repair my credit and try to get a loan? Borrowing from family or friends isn’t really a realistic option.


  1. Reply
    July 3, 2011 at 4:51 am

    Your not ready yet. Get more experience

  2. Reply
    Jo Blo
    July 3, 2011 at 4:52 am

    Don’t know what area you live in,, but my thinking is that housing is going down in value in most areas,, and auto prices aren’t going up,, (saw an add on TV last night for $ 7,000. off a Ford) so why not?? you may be selling at a good time anyway. It sounds like you are gonna spend whatever money you earn,, so this should be a great opportunity for you. The upside of being in business on your own is some of the tax deductions,, so I say,,, go for it,,
    Good luck with whatever you decide.

  3. Reply
    July 3, 2011 at 5:50 am

    Yes. I took the chance to believe in myself. It is not easy. Switching from the reliability of someone having to pay you to being 100% liable for your income adds to the pressure.Its worse if you have a family depending on you.And I know that Payday says no you need more experience, and no I don’t do anything as important as you, but I had NO basic business experience. I asked and researched and took a course. I took the wave and rode it and I am glad I did, despite the roller coaster ride!

    BUT there is so much satisfaction to being your own boss. You put in crazy hours for @ least the first year, but its for YOUR business success not someone else.
    i think you are smart to decrease your liabilities(bills) so you can focus on your own law firm. In fact, you seem to have a well thought out plan. Better than I did. I was an emotional pregnant woman @ the time with bills up the wazoo.
    Go for it babe. Add me to your contacts. I want to know the results if that’s ok. I am excited for you. And I need legal advice. Maybe you could help???

  4. Reply
    July 3, 2011 at 6:35 am

    After 20 years in international corporate waters, I cashed out my retirement funds, relocated to Europe and started a small consultancy business. I’m now 4 years in and still struggling, though I haven’t starved yet.

    How smart is it? Depends on how smart you approach it. The rewards can be big, will probably be mixed and can be devastating. You’re throwing away a safety net and everything you do will depend on you!

    First of all, don’t bet on one sure revenue source to start a business. I bet on two and neither materialized. Have 3 revenue streams identified at least!

    Secondly, running a company takes a fair portion of your time. Don’t count on devoting less than a day or 2 per week on the bureaucratic and administrative stuff for a while, or until you can afford to hire someone to offload it.

    Third, don’t go overboard on expenditures. We made the mistake of renting a “representative office” with conference room that we didn’t really need (we thought we did) and it cut months of safety off our cash flow.

    Fourth, RESEARCH. A company (a limited or full c-corp) may allow you to find credit/loan facilities that your personal credit wouldn’t dream of attaining. Remember, wiser men than we have said it’s always better to spend OTHER people’s money! Also, research for support resources (small business administration, local programs, state development funds, etc.).

    Fifth, consider finding a partner. Not a light decision…you should have VERY good reason to trust this person, but it does help lighten the burden of the risk and the overhead and the administration.

    If I had it to do over again, I’d have done it smarter, but I WOULD HAVE DONE IT. I don’t regret striking out on my own, but I do wish I’d done more research.

    Whatever you decide, once you decide, make it happen. And good luck!

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