Reflecting on Owning A Business

Posted: December 17, 2013 in Uncategorized




Fair warning, this is a self-indulgent off topic post. The end of the year is approaching, and I’m reflecting on my first nine months of starting my own law firm, which focuses on employment law and business litigation for private businesses.  Here’s what I have learned from nine months in business:



  1. You can’t do it without good clients. Make them happy and they’ll make you happy. I intentionally made this the first item.  I want to take this opportunity to thank my clients, most of whom read this blog. I literally could not have done it without you.

  2. You need trustworthy help. I’m talking about employees, colleagues, accountants, vendors, contractors, bankers, insurance agents, etc. Find good people to help you and return the favor by treating them fairly/paying them on time/referring them business/etc.

  3. Word of mouth is still the best marketing, at least for lawyers. I’ve done almost no marketing other than networking with colleagues (and, I suppose, writing this blog). 98% of my business comes from repeat business and referrals and other word of mouth.  I’ve been steadily busy since starting, and I hired two employees and expanded my office space and equipment.

  4. You must embrace the latest technology. Although there can be some time getting up to speed on new programs and ways of doing things, it’ll be well worth it in the long run. You may feel comfortable doing things the “old way,” but you will increasingly be at a disadvantage. Worse yet, people will laugh at you and make jokes about typewriters (we do this behind your back).

  5. Running a business is hard work. Of course I knew that before, because most of my clients are businesses.  But you don’t really appreciate all the important things that business owners must routinely do that take you away from your core functions – get insurance, do payroll, pay taxes, accounting, pay bills, pay fees and dues, manage employees, deal with vendors – there are dozens of things. Unfortunately, this blog has suffered at times due to all of these demands.

  6. Being a business owner is meaningful and rewarding. Private businesses keep the economy rolling and provide crucial services to the public. They don’t get bailouts or have teams of lobbyists in Congress. They operate both out of necessity to earn a living for the owners – capitalism at its purest – and because they love what they do. I’m proud to play a very small part in all that as a business owner, and by serving private businesses. It is also very rewarding to be “my own boss” and to do things the way I think that they should be done. I like to joke that “my boss is the best,” but I do hope that he gives me a few days off over the holidays.

By Adam P. Whitney, Law Office of Adam P. Whitney, 617.338.7000

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