The Secrets to Becoming a Successful Solopreneur with Jess Birken

It takes tremendous effort to start a law practice on your own. You'll need a well-thought-out business strategy that tackles all the administrative and technical matters of the company. It’s reasonable to think that all of these responsibilities may seem overwhelming. Nonetheless, there are a few things you can do to ensure that your solo practice is a success.

In this episode, Jess Birken joins us to talk about how she became a solopreneur. She also shares the three keys to having a profitable law firm and explains why companies need to embrace outsourcing and automation. Finally, because every legal firm is a business, Jess reminds us of the golden rule for pricing your services.

If you're an attorney thinking about beginning your own solo practice, this episode is for you!

Here are three reasons why you should listen to this episode:

  1. Learn the importance of delegating responsibilities to save time.
  2. Discover how to run a successful solo practice.
  3. Unlock the three secrets to a profitable business.


Episode Highlights

Jess’ Origin Story 

  • Jess had recently finished her clerkship and had no career prospects when the Great Recession hit.
  • She decided to pursue a Master's degree in Nonprofit Management and apply her newfound knowledge by working for a prominent nonprofit organization.
  • She had little room for promotion at the NGO where she worked. Jess decided to work for another lawyer's private practice, but their partnership did not work out.

Eventually, Jess chose to establish her own firm. Despite being a solopreneur, her team is still expanding.

Learn to Delegate Work

Working as a solopreneur attorney does not mean you can’t hire your own staff. 

Jess: “I will do everything in my power to not pay a human to do a thing… I don't want the wage and hour responsibility if I don't have to have it. But, also, it's silly to hoard all the work for yourself. You can get so much more done if you delegate.”

  • A lawyer who does not delegate responsibility risks missing out on many opportunities. Listen to the full episode to learn how much you can lose!
  • It's easier to run a firm when you hire specialists to do the work for you.

Going Solo

Moshe: “The art of figuring out how to be a solo is basically saying that I only want a single lane highway. I don't want a three lane highway… But that doesn't mean that you don't have the option of driving a Tesla instead of a Yugo.”

  • It is unnecessary to hire additional staff for your firm to grow. To free up time, you may start by outsourcing some functions.

First Tip to Unlock Success

  • Manage your time well. 

Jess: “Start to know yourself and [put] some boundaries on yourself.”

  • Schedule your day to maximize the time you have.
  • Determine who will answer calls.
  • People are not good at multitasking. We waste a lot of time when we move from one activity to another.

Second Tip to Unlock Success

  • Most law firms are afraid to automate their operations. The technology can seem daunting, but it streamlines your firm’s processes.

Moshe: “You immediately jump [to] the most important thing in business. And that is: you don't need to know how it works… You should go to Google and find somebody who does know how it works, who could figure it out, and you should pay them to figure it out for you.”

  • You can generate more money by automating tasks that distract you from your core work.
  • Automate parts of your customer service or marketing processes to satisfy the needs of your clients. Tune in to learn how Jess applies automation in her firm. 
  • Automation allows you to maintain consistency in your brand.

Law Firm Growth Formula

  • โ€‹โ€‹Every successful legal practice goes through three stages: planning, growing and scaling.
  • A company's capability is maximized during the growth stage.
  • Automation isn't a sound investment if your firm can't afford it.

Jess: “The point is [to] increase your time spent getting billable, then you got to get rid of some of this other stuff. You just have to. Time is our most precious resource.” 

Third Tip to Unlock Success 

  • To avoid burnout, strike a good work-life balance.
  • Rest is essential to productivity.

Jess: [S]etting those boundaries with clients so that they understand that you are not their slave that is going to respond 24/7 to every little thing all the time and teaching the clients what your reasonable boundaries are will do so much for your productivity.”

Pricing Your Services

  • Constantly evaluate the average customer value that you have for your clients.
  • The goal of a company is to increase the average client value.
  • Anyone can earn more if they’re willing to make improvements in their organization.

Jess: “If people say yes to a price three times in a row, I need to raise the price. Even if it's just a little bit. Because you're not getting any pushback.”

  • If you have a 100% closing rate, you are not charging enough.

About Jess

Jess Birken is a lawyer and entrepreneur. Her life mission is to assist nongovernmental organizations in overcoming challenges, so they can focus on what matters: their work.

Before becoming a private practice attorney, she spent four years inside a national nonprofit organization, Pheasants Forever, where she managed multi-million state and federal government grants. Through this endeavor, she gained a deep knowledge of working inside a nonprofit. 

Her enthusiasm for the nonprofit sector persisted even after she left the NGO. She became the CEO and Managing Partner of Urban Birken PLLC, a boutique firm focused on serving the nonprofit sector, to continue her passion for helping others.

After a few years in the partnership, she thought it was time to start her own practice. As a result, Jess founded the Birken Law Office. To this day, her organization continues to empower and assist nonprofit leaders in achieving their goals. 

You can reach Jess through her Hack Your Practice website or her social media accounts: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram.

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