I can’t believe it’s been a year! As I reflect upon my firm, Roth-Gutman Law, LLC, being open for a year, I can’t help but feel goosebumps. I am thankful for all the support over the year. Thankful to my clients, colleagues, mentors, friends, and family. I hope by utilizing my services, my clients feel confident when testifying in court, understand options when working with the Division of Child Protection and Permanency (DCPP, formerly DYFS), were able to celebrate after an adoption was granted, felt a sigh of relief when they were granted guardianship over their now adult child, and so on. The love my clients have for the children they are calling about is real and substantial and well, there’s no other way to put it other than, it’s truly beautiful and inspiring. They often represent the community voice of what’s good in the world around us, reminding everyone that life is worth the journey along the way.
Launching a firm, especially after spending my career as a government employee, was a daunting task. I am grateful to everyone who has offered words of encouragement along the way, especially those who understand my vision to assist more families. With your support even when my courage wavered from time to time, my commitment has been steadfast. I don’t know where I would be today without all of you.
I want to take this opportunity to pass along valuable lessons I’ve learned in hopes that if anyone is reading this and thinking about opening their own firm, they can be a bit more prepared.
Build your business around something you are passionate about.
I always enjoyed helping other people. In fact, I could have easily gone down the road of social worker or educator. But my life experiences led me to become a lawyer, focusing on child welfare, adoption, guardianship and being appointed as a GAL in child custody disputes.
Done is better than perfect.
I’m still learning this one every day. It’s ok to not be a perfectionist at times. I say “at times” because there are some legal documents where being a perfectionist is important!
Ask a lot of questions and ask for advice.
Asking for help can save hours of time and asking for advice from others can be mutually beneficial. Who knew I would find a mentor by listening to a trusted colleague and picking up the phone? Lately, every day I tell myself how lucky and grateful I am for those two people in life.
Be patient and just breathe.
It takes time to build a business and being patient is hard. I try to meditate about 10 minutes a few days a week and I will continue to meditate for my sake and those around me, especially on the days where I am not quite as patient with myself as I should be.
Everyone is busy, especially coming out of the pandemic and making up for what feels like lost time. People will respond when they are ready.
Exercise a couple days a week.
I finally understand why people say exercise provides them with a stress relief or outlet. Sometimes I go for a 20–30 minute walk to clear my head or to work out a complicated legal or business issue. Usually, when I sit back down at my computer, I’m able to focus better. It’s a shame it took decades to learn this lesson.
Know your numbers
It’s important to review your finances before you leave a job and often. Building a business takes time and is an investment. If you need a good accountant or Certified Financial Planner, I’m happy to refer.
Accountability is key
Some people have work spouses, I have an accountability partner. (Shout out to Asha Paulose https://ashapaulose.com) We started our firms around the same time. We try to meet weekly to discuss firm life- marketing, outreach, organizations, finances, time management, family, etc. Find someone you trust to check in with regularly.
Don’t let fear control you
The fear of opening my own firm was greater than actually doing it. Sometimes we just have to be brave.
Schedule time for yourself, family and friends.
There are three main reasons why people launch their own businesses:
They want to help people
They believe they have a great product or service to offer
They want to spend time with the people they love… so don’t forget the last one!