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Spiritual and Legal Counsel to the Fishes
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just took the plunge and opened up my own practice. And now I find myself sitting here in the office, looking outside at the unseasonably warm temperatures, thinking to myself, "You know, you really aren't doing anything right now...or tomorrow for that matter. You don't need to be here. You should go fishing!"

Those of you who run your own show, how do you maintain the willpower to be good, and stay in the office to field calls instead of sneaking down to the river...to hit the phones and shake the bushes for business instead of taking that free day and heading to the Ronde....? Give me strength! (Or tell me its okay to go fishing :thumb:)
 

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Bird Dogs and Fly Rods
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Go fishing! On your death bed you aren't gonna be wishing you worked more. I feel your pain being a business owner, days like today kill me while I am working by myself and its beautiful outside. I take lots of half days! I can justify it by saying I worked half the day. Or sometimes work a weekend and then bail and fish the water with less people. A bad day fishing is better than... etc. Go get em!
 

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You don't have to be on your "death bed" to wish you'd have fished more. Trust me on this one!
 

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Friendly
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the easiest way to maintain a good work ethic while being self employed is to just give in and go fishing. Sooner or later your business will suffer and then its much easier to stay at work then.
 

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Allen,

I started my own small business back in 1984 and am still around. So maybe I might have a bit of insight.

Discipline in everything you do is important. Here is a hypothetical to consider. Some person is looking for the service you provide. They call your number and get no answer so they call someone else. You just lost a potential job! If they are out knocking on doors and you aren't there I quarantee you they won't come back!

Set-up your hours and live by them. You are going to put in a lot of unbillable time but then that is business. In time you will get out of it what you put in. If every day that seems slow and you take off to go play you are going to have negative cash flow in a heart beat. When things are slow figure out ways to make things happen and then go do it. Starting out especially you have to drive and push to get your name out there. There is no such thing as an 8 hour day when self employed! You do what you got to do. Taking care of the customer has to be foremost. Otherwise they will go somewhere else.

In time with a bit of luck you will build up a repeat clientel providing you take care of them better than anyone else. That is the best way to build a bit of stability. But YOU have to pay the price to get there and it isn't done by scooting out of the office at every imaginable opportunity.

The vast majority of new business start-ups fail within 5 years. Some due to over pricing for the quality of work performed, some because of bad accounting practices but a lot because the guy running the show did not have the discipline to keep at it and push the wheel every day.

It is your creation you are building. What do you want. If you want a 40 hour work week and payed for every minute you work, payed holidays and payed vacations, payed insurance and retirement, no overtime nor extra pay for weekends or anything over 40 hours a week then you had best go find a job. None of that happens for a small business owner. You have to go out and earn the money to pay for all those bennies. If you want a real shock just go out and price decent health care insurance for a single payer!!

Wait until you do your taxes and you get to pay 15.3% toward social security. Then all of sudden B&O tax pops up and all sorts of other costs if you have an employee. Then there are the cities and what they think you should pay them for the right to make a few dollars. When you own a business the buck stops at your feet!

Being your own boss is great as long as you chew yourself out for not performing like a mangey dog that stole your steak!!!

Good Luck! It is a hard way to make a dollar but then you will be directly rewarded by the effort YOU put in.

Shameless plug" anyone need a good all around remodel/repair, licensed contractor? Let me know!

Dave
 

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That's why you start you own gig--- so that you can set your hours around living life (fishing). I have my own private practice as well and have learned to make it work. When you have to work, you work. When you have to fish, you fish. Its always good to get a good admin/front desk person to keep you in check. Mine is invaluable and works as my rational mind. What kind of practice did you start?
 

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Spiritual and Legal Counsel to the Fishes
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232 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I opened my own law office. General civil practice - consumer protection issues, some estate planning, small business stuff, personal injury and property damage - maybe a little light criminal defense thown in. After nearly 10 years of billing hours for someone else, I just couldnt take it, and felt I had the experience and the drive to strike out on my own. And while all of the comments above ring true, I have manageed to show up early, stay late, and do my damndest to drum up business, take every call and follow up on every lead, whether it was real or not. Granted, I've only been at it a week...but I want to set a good example for myself :) Suuuuuure do want to go fishing though! I have a new spey rod and I haven't even wet it yet!
 

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card shark
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Alan, I've been in private practice for over 20 years. I'm not a stranger to working Holidays and weekends and long into the evenings; it just comes with the territory. I have maintained my sanity by getting out frequently to fly fish.

Control your schedule, don't let it control you. It's hard to take a two week vacation, heck it's hard to take a full week off without significant financial repercussions; your overhead continues whether you are there or not. If you don’t make the money for your budget needs, you are not entitled to a vacation, you need to work overtime. It is much easier to take off for long weekends, say for example, Friday through Monday, or Thursday through Sunday, and hit some east side rivers, but you need to plan ahead. I don't leave to fish until my desk is bare: all phone calls returned, mail responded to, all work current and the work for when I returned scheduled out. Usually that means working a several late nights preceding taking the time off, but well worth it for me, and is my reward for getting totally caught up.

I also fish the salt water, so I can get in a work-out by hiking down to the beach pre-dawn with my gear in a backpack, then fish 2-3 hours around a tide, head home to shower and go to work or attack my honey-do list around the house. Be efficient with your time, and as pointed out by wet line, you must be disciplined. When the salmon are running, I move my office hours to start and end later, and fish the morning for a few hours before heading into work as often as possible. On a summer afternoon I’ve been known to occasionally leave work early and fish for a couple of hours until dark.

Taking off a full day on the spur of the moment is not something you can do easily once your practice is up and running; that’s for the retired folks. If you are underemployed at the moment, you need to be shaking the bushes for future business. On occasion, I will take off a day mid-week to hit the Yakima with a client/buddy, but it’s very rarely able to be done on the spur of the moment.

If you have done all that you can do, and have money banked, take a time out and go fish.
 

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Been self-employed since '90. What's the best way to get a fish to strike?...put your rod down. Everytime I go fishing the phone rings, everytime I plan a vacation I get so busy I can't get out of town! In short, learn to use Murphys' Law to "your" advantage, counselor.
 

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You can't chase ambulances from the river. Get your practice up and productive and then you can take off and fish. You aren't going to miss out on many fish but the time spent building your practice means you will get to fish that much more later on.
 
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