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The Struggle is Real: Why Your Solo Practice is Struggling

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 20/10/2015 Allison Valderia

After I graduated law school and started in the State's Attorney's Office, I met a guy who was a lawyer. He was practicing in New York City and had a storefront practice. He "put out a shingle", an old-school term for launching his solo practice well before I was born, but to everyone who knew him, was referred to as a "struggling" lawyer. For 30 years he hustled, chasing clients and payment.
This situation is all too common for people with professional degrees and certifications, and it shouldn't have to be. The one thing I've realized is that some solo practitioners who provide professional services believe they will attract money and clients, just because they have an "Esq", "MD" or some other license (or certification) following their names. This perspective is nothing but false logic.
So, why is your solo practice struggling?
Here are three HUGE reasons why solo practitioners struggle with their businesses.
1. You are a Jack (or Jill) of All Trades
Just because you can do 28 different things within an industry based upon you license, failing to focus on one will diminish your credibility with potential clients.
Here's an Example:
You're a lawyer.
You practice involves criminal defense, family law, contracts, copyright, real estate, incorporation and immigration.
Here's the problem (aside for you potentially being disbarred for negligent malpractice), when you do "everything" you specialize in nothing and will work with anybody.
You must be clear in your practice areas and what you offer clients. You need to build credibility and know the in's and out's of an area as a specialist. It's how you get referrals and gain client trust. When you have such broad practice areas, it prevents you from defining a target audience and developing a plan to connect with your best potential client.
2. You Fail to Plan
Your title is your occupation, not your business. In order to launch and maintain a successful business, you must set the proper foundation. Write and execute a business plan. You are a business entity -- not just a person with a license to practice. Act like a business from the start. Learn how to run a business like a boss. Get help when you need it with planning and promotion. Just because you are practicing on your own, doesn't mean you have to do it ALL alone.
3. You Keep It to Yourself
Many service businesses thrive from referrals. You have to get out and meet people. Join groups and associations with other practitioners in your field and those for other entrepreneurs. Some people call it promotion or networking, I call it tribe building. Not only will you build and foster relationships with other professionals, clients will come to you too.
These three pitfalls apply to any entrepreneur running a business, solo or not. These are just three missteps that I've noticed entrepreneurs make in launching and trying to maintain a business.
At the heart of the matter is that you don't want to be an educated bum trying to run a business. You want to be the boss of a successful business.
You've invested too much into yourself with education (and time) for you to give up or settle. Entrepreneurship itself is tough and there are so many things to learn on the journey. While it isn't for everyone, no one should settle and work for someone else just because they've made (or they're making) missteps.
Be encouraged, be bold, and be the best business owner that you can be.
Allison Valderia Green Esq, specializes in helping professional women launch businesses and elevate their careers. Part of her work includes leading Girls Who Grind™ , a professional social and professional community aimed at helping women become committed to entrepreneurship and career elevation, become part of a positive professional community, and perfect their professional brand.

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