Friday, October 13, 2006

Taking the Big Leap

The one thing that all of my clients have in common, and something I also have in common with them, is at one time or another, for better or worse, they made that fateful decision to take the leap of faith from the security of a nine-to-five to the world of self employment. I did it in 2002 when I was laid off from the second job in 6 months. I refused to put my fate, financial well-being, or career in someone else's hands any longer.

I have been very honest with the business community about my experiences and struggles that are common to many a budding entrepreneur. This is the bond that I have with my clients, and what makes my practice different from that of my competition.

Recently, I introduced my good friend, Michael (a fictitious name to protect the innocent), to a potential business opportunity. He's a corporate lawyer who works for a good-enough firm, has a nice tidy life, a fabulous family—but something is just not right to him, professionally speaking.

He expressed to me that he was frustrated by his job, and the fact that he works for people that he didn't completely trust with his family's livelihood.

I had an opportunity to introduced Michael to one of my clients who was actively looking for partners to expand his business into new locations. For Michael, the timing was perfect and business concept ideal. We all met one afternoon in my client’s flagship location in New Jersey. Both guys liked each other very much, and you can see a deal wasn't very far off in the making.

On the long ride back home to New York City, Michael had a moment that really resonated with me. He realized that he was at a crossroads in life. I could see by the expression on his face the same emotions that I had felt four years earlier when my boss of six months told me that I didn't have a job any longer. It’s a very explosive combination of sheer excitement about taking on a new challenge and chapter in life, combined with apprehension of what this major decision means to him and his young family, and the inevitable fear of what will happen if things do not work out like he planned.

In the coming months, and likely the next few years, Michael will learn a lot about himself, his character, his ability to adapt to good and bad professional situations, and his commitment to his future and that of his family. As I listened to Michael describe to his wife by phone how he thought the meeting went, listening to his nervous energy, I was happy that I could be the person to initiate him into this “club” of sorts.

Michael is about embark on an exciting journey, and I'm excited for him.

When you start a business, you put your cash, ego and pride on the line and do what it takes to make it a success. My job as a business lawyer is to make sure that you don't make mistakes within your control that will make it impossible to achieve your dreams.

This Blog, “Taking the Big Leap” is designed to help people who have made this same decision--or are thinking of doing so in the near future—be more successful in business. It will be a collection of lessons I have learned in my own journey running this business. Topics will range from raising investment capital, avoiding costly legal mistakes that could derail a business, and entrepreneurialism in general.

Michael is close to closing a deal with my client, but for him, the hard part is over. He has already committed to Taking the Big Leap!


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