When a business turns five years old, it’s like turning 35 in dog years! It’s also cause for celebration. We all know the dismal failure rate of new businesses. I knew them, too, before I officially activated the Solo Practice University® site five years ago today. I was so anxious I could barely breathe. But I remembered what someone told me,
‘You’re never going to be 100% ready. You just have to flip the switch and go for it.’
So, I did and I’ve never looked back.
This might be the very same reason you hesitate to go out on your own. You’re not fully confident you will succeed, you don’t feel 100% ready. Guess what? You will never be 100% ready. It’s a myth. If anyone who has started a business, including going solo, tells you they were 100% confident they would succeed on the day they opened their doors, they’re lying. Either that or they’re looking in their rear view mirror with rose-colored glasses. They might have known they were going to give it everything they had. They were probably very committed to learning as much as they possibly could. They most likely lined up people they trusted to give guidance and encouragement. But I promise you, they were not given any guarantees. Starting a business, especially a solo/small firm practice, is hard work, a ton of sleepless nights and buckets of sweat equity. And after all that, there is simply no guarantee of success.
I’ve lived this journey twice, first as a new law school grad starting a small practice with two other newbies right out of law school. The second time, starting up Solo Practice University.
I’ve never really shared this particular story before but I hope you’ll appreciate it as you reflect on your own goals for solo/small firm practice and your road map to achieving them.
When I came up with the concept for Solo Practice University almost seven years ago, it was based upon my own frustrations and experiences as a new lawyer as well as those of other law grads who confided in me their desire to go out on their own. This, combined with watching this gaping void in legal education grow wider than the Grand Canyon, I knew I could help. It became my passion because I lived it. It remains my passion because I’m even more committed to entrepreneurship. I knew I was on to something. But I’m still human. I needed external validation. I needed to talk with those who have been in the legal profession for a very long time as both practitioners and helping other lawyers achieve their goals. If they believed in the idea and would get behind it, then I was confident I could make it work.
The very first person I contacted was the godfather of building legal businesses, Ed Poll. He has coached thousands of legal businesses, from startup to succession and is still going strong. He truly believed I was onto something and agreed to teach and even offer free coaching to students. Then I reached out to the undisputed king of solo practitioners, Jay Foonberg. He also believed in it and became a very strong supporter and friend of Solo Practice University contributing guest lectures. These two phone calls gave me the validation I wanted. I also now had the confidence to contact other potential faculty members. Within twelve months SPU came to life.
Why am I telling you all of this? Because I get how hard it is to venture out on your own. I’m living it every day and it’s both breathtakingly exhilarating and gut-wrenchingly scary. Such is the life of an entrepreneur and business owner. Such is the life of a solo practitioner.
For lawyers and law students who are already seriously considering going solo, I know that in order for there to be an actual buy-in beyond desire, SPU has to be affordably priced. So, six years ago we took it to our readers. We asked you to determine what was a fair price. We asked you to decide what you could afford and what you would actually pay for a state-of-the art online platform which brought you the faculty you wanted as mentors, the courses you needed but didn’t get in law school, and a community filled with inspiration, and networking with like-minded colleagues seeking to go or already out on their own. What would you pay for all this plus accessibility 24/7/365?
Our tuition has always been and will continue to be a reflection of your feedback. As a result, tuition has been kept well below market-value because it is built to reflect your financial needs and circumstances. (You have no idea how I had to push back when my business mentors told me I was crazy). But this philosophy is the cornerstone of Solo Practice University and the tuition is not going to change anytime soon. Here are two of my favorite comments about our pricing:
You said it would be affordable. But “affordable” means different things to different people. For an evening law student in my last semester of school, preparing to sit for the bar, and knowing my day job will be ending soon (BigCorp downsizing), THIS IS AFFORDABLE.
You are truly a visionary. On your faculty is someone that I reached out to for advice, as she was practicing in an area that is my passion. (Translation: You’ve recruited the BEST of the BEST for SPU.)
If I could touch you right now, I’d hug you! ~ Karen H.
Wow, that’s MUCH less than I anticipated. This is a fantastic deal for solo and small-firm lawyers. You’ve assembled an all-star faculty at Solo Practice University. It would be worth the price just to listen to any one of these lawyers speak. Hard to believe you can offer them all for that price. ~ Bob K.
What Has Changed.
We’ve totally upgraded Solo Practice University including making it completely mobile-friendly with responsive design. This will make your experience even better so you can learn in the way most comfortable for you. Check out just a few of the many improvements including the new design, smarter sharing, embed options in the private activity feed and improved search options.
Solo Practice University Has Always Been About You.
On this special birthday we are all about basking in the glow of the number ’5′. Celebrating a five year birthday is a major business accomplishment and we are unabashedly very proud as well as very humbled you’ve helped us achieve this status by believing in us and supporting our mission through tuition. More importantly for you, we’re handing out presents.
Here Are Our Gifts To You.
For five days only, we are reducing our annual tuition for new students to $555 which will also include one year of unlimited online CLE through our strategic CLE partner, NACLE.com. This is a full 20% reduction in tuition, less than $47 per month for access to more than 1000 individual classes all geared towards going solo. This annual tuition rate will lock-for-life, including free CLE, as long as your annual auto-renew continues uninterrupted.* Even better, check out Gift #2!
Enroll during this special five day event and then refer a friend who also enrolls as an annual student during this five day event. If your friend tells us you referred them, we will credit you an additional $55 on your tuition. Refer 10 new annual students during this special pricing period and you could get SPU for free!
The first five new students who enroll in SPU as annual students during our five day birthday celebration will also get a free 55 minute private consultation** with me. In our 55 minutes we can discuss whatever issues you are facing as you create and build your solo/small firm practice. Or maybe all you need is validation you’re on the rights track.That’s an additional $300 value..and it’s also my pleasure. Remember, this is for the first five new annual students to enroll during our five day birthday celebration.
Reaching your goals starts with the first step. Our goal is to make that first step easier. Please accept our gifts to you.
Here is the link to our special birthday tuition: