My journey as an entrepreneur
When I passed the Bar (to become a licensed attorney) in 2000, I had no clue what I would do next or where I would work. I had been sending my resume to various law firms for employment as an attorney, but to no success. So, I attended a workshop entitled “Before You Hang-Out Your Shingle”, which teaches you how to start your law firm before taking cases. The only thing about the workshop is that it did not properly prepare you for the “business” of running a law firm. The workshop did teach you how to be a lawyer, but only advised you to get professional liability insurance to protect yourself against disgruntle clients who may decide to sue you. I had my own law practice for approximately ten years, but had to let it go because I was unhappy as a litigating attorney and did not have the support I needed to run my law practice effectively. I closed my law practice in June of 2012 and had to decide what I should do next with my career and life. In the last few years of my law practice, I lost interest as an attorney and I lost interest in my life. I really had to figure out what I should do next with my career and my life, but one thing for sure I knew I could not give up on myself.
In August of 2012, I decided to take an inventory of my career and life and I discovered that I was unhappy in the last few years of my law career. I discovered that I had a lot to offer as a legal professional to the public and discovered that there was a lot I could do with my legal education. I started to do research on other careers I could choose from with a law degree and narrowed it down to two: business consulting and mediation/conflict resolution. I started to do research on what type of training I needed to become a business consultant and mediator. I researched the field of business consulting and made a decision to assist individuals with setting up their businesses (business formation). I discovered, through research, that there was a great need for assistance in setting up a business. I discovered that many individuals wanted to become entrepreneurs or start their own business, but did not know how to start or where to turn. Also, in the field of mediation/ conflict resolution, I discovered through research that many courts are starting to favor mediation/conflict resolution over litigation of cases. The main reason for this is that it is more cost-effective and saves time to resolve a case in mediation then to litigate the case.
Once I narrowed my new career path down to business consulting and mediation, I took training through Community Mediation of Prince George’s County, MD (CMPG) to become a certified mediator. I began my apprenticeship with CMPG in February 2013 and completed it in November 2013. I continue to volunteer with CMPG as a mediator and take continuing education courses with CMPG to stay up to date with the latest trends in conflict resolution. I took my training to become a certified business consultant through Women Entrepreneurs of Baltimore, Inc. (WEB), took courses offered by Small Business and Technology Development Center of Central Maryland (SBTDC), and took courses offered by Small Business Administration (SBA). I began my business consulting training in November 2012 and completed certification in May 2013. I continue to take courses and training through SBDTC and SBA to stay up to date with the latest trends in business consulting.
My second turn around as an entrepreneur is more exciting and more enjoyable because I am better prepared. I have the best support system of family, friends, and fellow entrepreneurs to guide me through my new business. I am better prepared this go around due to the following: 1. Completed a business plan; 2. Created a good networking system of fellow entrepreneurs; 3. Continue to take training on how to properly run a business; and 4. I am enjoying what I am doing as an entrepreneur and have learned how to balance my personal and professional life.
One lesson I would like to pass on to potential entrepreneurs and current entrepreneurs is never give up on your dreams and preparation is key to being successful in life.