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Solo In Chicago

...empowering the Second City's entrepreneurial legal community

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Entrepreneurial Characteristics

NYTimes has another good piece from their Small Business section...a dentist who wanted to "scratch" his entrepreneurial itch and moved to the States from South Africa and started a financial planning business. A take-away from reading it and I'd saying very applicable to the lawyer entrepreneur: the small business/entrepreneur skills are very separate and unique from the skills of the specific profession/business that you're starting. In other words lets just assume that to start a law practice you need to be a competent lawyer in some practice area but that alone wouldn't be a good reason to start your own practice. The separate entrepreneurial skills are things like: focus, self-discipline, schmoozing, ability to read people, and organizational know-how.

A blurb from the article:

How to know whether you should go out on your own? Everybody has a personal list of entrepreneurial characteristics. Mr. Altmann’s includes focus, discipline, a knack for schmoozing and the gift of sizing people up.

John Challenger, chief executive of Challenger Gray, says it is important to analyze your underlying strengths, like organizational know-how or people skills, that can be exploited no matter where you land. “Explore your passions and fundamental talents that might be buried or underutilized for some reason,” Mr. Challenger said.


The learning point, make sure you have the entrepreneur "basket of skills" before making the jump in any field. Just being the great lawyer/engineer/doctor isn't enough.

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