Treating Your Career Like a Small Business

1. Why should you treat your legal career as a business?

Treating your legal career as a business helps you understand the importance of having a marketable product (your skills) and utilizing fundamental business principles for long-term success.

2. What is the role of branding in your legal career?

This article stresses that your personal brand, shaped by factors like the companies you work for, promotions, and achievements, significantly influences your marketability. A strong brand can lead to better opportunities and higher compensation.

3. What analogy is drawn between running a business and working for others?

Working for others is likened to running a business, highlighting the advantages of working for established entities, where you can benefit from higher pay, reduced risk, and the ability to leverage the resources of your employer.

4. Why is there a need for adaptability in your career?

Many businesses fail due to a lack of adaptability. Similarly, as an individual, you must adapt your career to the current economic climate, making strategic choices based on the demand for your skills and the stability of your current employer.

5. What role does marketing play in managing your legal career?

Marketing is a crucial aspect of managing your legal career. Effective marketing involves packaging yourself correctly, understanding the market for your skills, and presenting a personal brand that aligns with the expectations of potential employers.
No one seems to take the time to consider that their legal careers are businesses. Your career is no different than any small business. You have a product (you) that you’re selling to your audience (your legal employer). You need to run your legal career exactly like a business person runs a business. There is no greater skill to have with your career than to run it like a business. As a business, your goal is survival and to sell your product for as much money as possible. So, too, it is with your legal career.
Be a good business person and your career may go far, ignore the business realities and you are likely to run into trouble. I have been a recruiter for several years and have seen countless attorneys “go out of business” because they didn’t run their careers well. In fact, this is something I see on a daily basis while reviewing the resumes of out of work attorneys. Just as companies make bad decisions that result in them going out of business, people also make bad decisions with their careers that result in them going out of business and finding themselves unemployed.
They may choose to concentrate on a profession that becomes obsolete. They are trying to sell a product no longer in demand.
They may have resumes that don’t serve them well–They aren’t presenting or “packaging” their products correctly.
They may choose to work in an area where there are no jobs–They are trying to sell a product in a geographic area where there is no demand.
They may have done something bad that makes people not want to hire them–They have a bad “brand.”
They may be too old to get a job—People are “tired” of their product.
They apply to only a few jobs and don’t get hired–They aren’t marketing their brands to a large enough demographic.
Your career is a business and you are a product. You need to understand that using simple business principles to market yourself is something that can be of massive benefit to you.