Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Ernie Svenson, Founder of LawFirmAutopilot, located in New Orleans, LA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I provide online education and business coaching to fellow lawyers in solo or small firm practices, mostly —but not exclusively— folks in the United States.
Tell us about yourself
I was a partner in a medium-sized law firm in New Orleans handling complex business lawsuits (think: lots of paper documents and support staff to help organize and manage all that). I discovered the utility of scanning and organizing my documents in digital form, which reduced my dependency on paralegals and secretaries and allowed me to operate more efficiently just by myself, so I left the big firm. I started a solo practice that leveraged technology to streamline work, lower overhead, and do better work more easily. Then other solo/small firm attorneys noticed and asked me to help them do the same, and I did. These attorneys started paying me to help them. I realized there was a business model, so I transitioned from practicing law and doing education/consulting full-time.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
Creating a business that allows me to work in the way I most enjoy, free of annoying friction. But I mostly enjoy the satisfaction that comes from helping other solo/small firm attorneys create a better, more enjoyable practice —especially with those attorneys who initially felt like the technology hurdles were too daunting.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
Managing all of the different aspects of virtual business. As with most business owners, I struggled to find ways to get help doing the work I didn't like doing or shouldn't be doing.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
The #1 key to streamlining any business is the use of well-crafted systems and documenting procedures for doing work. After that, #2 would be leveraging automation (paperless & web-based especially) as much as possible. Finally, #3 would be learning to delegate (which is easier with documented procedures), especially to virtual outsourced assistants that you can now easily hire on a one-off, part-time, or full-time basis.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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