Starting and running your own law firm can be as exciting as it is stressful. Even as you enjoy the highs of business success, you’re going to be under a lot of pressure.
Missed dinners, cancelled holidays, poor health, and strained relationships might all become a part of your life. However, this doesn’t have to be the case. You can take measures to have a good work-life balance, even as you try to grow your small legal practice. Don’t let work ruin your personal life!
Here are 3 tips for success for busy small firms!
Automate and Organize
A report Clio recently released showed that lawyers only billed 28% of the total time worked (assuming they worked 8-hour days). 69% said they spent most of their time doing administrative tasks like billing and bookkeeping.
To free up time and allow you to get more billed hours, automate certain tasks that are menial and repetitive. You can begin by doing these 3 things:
- Accounts– Towards the end of the year or after each quarter, many small business owners spend a lot of time trying to balance their books. With misplaced invoices, reconciliation can take hours or days. This time could be better spent growing your business. Using a tool like Xero, which links to your bank account will make it easy for you to be on top of your accounts. The tool keeps all your transactions well organized and in one place. With such tools, you can look at your VAT records and annual accounts easily online, whenever you need them.
- Data Backup–As a lawyer, you definitely need to back up your client files. Doing this regularly and manually consumes a lot of time. Automate this by using Google Drive, Dropbox or similar tools, and you won’t have to think about it, as it happens automatically. Automating this task ensures you have backups, should your computer get a virus, or an employee wrongfully delete files.
- Your Email Marketing–Having people subscribe to your law firms email is great. Automating email marketing will make it fast and easy to communicate with potential customers. You just have to come up with well-crafted content and customize it for clients, then send it out regularly to an unlimited number of subscribers. Through the email, you can tell them about your legal services or educate them on the different aspects of the law.
There are so many other tasks you can automate. Just look at how much time you spend on different tasks and decide which ones to automate. Doing so will free up a lot of your time and help you be more organized. Give it a go.
When you start your legal firm, you will have to play many roles. You are the financial manager, sales representative, receptionist, driver, and lawyer all rolled up in one.
Doing all these tasks will take a lot of your time and distract you from doing your core business of defending clients. Playing all these roles will mean working long hours, nights and weekends.
If you try to do everything on your own, you’re going to burn out. The good news is that outsourcing is easier than ever. Consider outsourcing these tasks:
- Bookkeeping– Outsourcing your bookkeeping will free up your time from boring but necessary tasks. They will invoice clients, pay bills, renew your bar association dues, and keep you up to date on accounts payable and receivable.
- Call Answering– Answering calls is crucial in the legal industry but takes up too much time for lawyers. Consider hiring a virtual receptionist, who can answer and screen your calls and respond to emails and texts. Remember that 2 out of 3 people will choose a firm that promptly answers their first call or email!
- Management of Your Calendar and Appointments– A virtual receptionist helps book appointments with existing or potential clients. They know your schedule and save you time. No more calling back and forth with clients to find the right time to make an appointment.
Find Time for Yourself
Once you automate and outsource you will have more time on your hands. Don’t use all the freed-up hours to take on more cases. Yes, we all want to make more money, but that should not be at the expense of your family, friends and your health. Create a good work-life balance. Some of the things you can do to ensure you don’t burn out and use the spare time well are:
- Spend time with family and friend– Taking time out to be with your spouse, children or friends has been known to keep small firm lawyers more energized at work. So, try to be home for family dinners and be available on weekends to catch up with friends.
- Exercise– You need to be mentally and physically strong to handle clients’ cases. Spend some free time at the gym. It is recommended that you try doing 150 minutes of physical activity each week. Being physically active will ensure you remain sharp and better to do your legal work.
- Eat healthily– The late nights at the office probably meant you spent a lot on takeout, which is not good for you. A change in diet will do wonders for you.
Moving Forward with Small Firm Success
Starting and running a legal practice is challenging. To ultimately succeed, you have to learn how to balance between your business and your personal life. The good news is this is easier than ever, with all the tools you can use to automate and outsource.