10 years

In the past 6 months, I have come close to partnering with three different firms who I have approached or have approached me.  Offered equity in one.   Turned them down. Offered "partnership" in two others.  Nothing came of it.  The market will push me to do follow this path more and more in the coming years. 

I moved from my office to an office in Midtown, only to discover I hated commuting and moved right back downtown in a period of 2 weeks.  The thought process behind that was to be physically closer to other attorneys, which would lead to more referrals.  Except I don't like being close to other attorneys.  

The age of the internet has made moving back and forth within 2 weeks seamless and relatively stress free. Think about that when you sign that massive office lease for 10 years.

I fired an associate and a paralegal and hired a new, better paralegal.  The first time I fired someone I almost vomited.  It is no longer difficult. It's not fun, and it's painful, but it's no longer difficult.

My numbers are great for the year, but I'm always going to be stressed that they're going to fall again any day now, which will send me into a panic, forcing me to "network" all day and night (yielding crumbs more than streams).  This will continue until I stop practicing and likely after. You should get used to it. 

I'm coming up on my tenth anniversary in practice and I know significantly more from a business perspective than I did before, and I still know close to nothing.  

The only things I've gleamed so far are the following:

1.  Do great work as often as you can without making excuses for why it's not great.  This will be the only thing that drives work your way in the long term. You will not always do great work but you should always try to do great work and call yourself out when you don't. Your website could be pretty as shit and your SEO guy could be Larry fucking Paige himself and it won't matter in the long term. Do. Great. Work. 

2. Have 2-3 mentors at the ready.  Generously ply these people with alcohol, food, gifts, etc., because the value they give is enormous. Stop asking where to find a mentor. You can tweet at Joe Biden.  The gatekeepers are gone.  Find a mentor. 

3. As hard as it is, open your mind to other opinions that are not like your own.  Put your bias aside for a minute and listen.  Really listen.  You will grow as a result.

4. The stress will never stop.  The imposter syndrome will never stop.  The "am I prepared" will never stop.  Continue.  Press on.  

5.  Someone's life, money, business, freedom, etc., is in your hands.  No matter how much they anger you.  No matter how mean or uncompromising they are.  You accepted this responsibility, and it is a great one. Act accordingly.

6. You'll know bad clients by having bad clients.  Then you'll know the bad clients ahead of time.  If you still retain them (cause that's what you're doing), you've learned nothing.

7. Time is the most valuable commodity in the world.  Not money.  Not fame.  Not accolades. Time.  This should help you plan your day.