No one ever wants to admit that they are having a slow month. But it happens to all of us. And, if you’re a solo practitioner, you’ve probably had a month or two when it’s been a while since you’ve been retained by a new client, and you wonder if you’ll be sleeping under a bridge by Christmas.
But that day doesn’t come, does it? The phone begins ringing more steadily and the consults book up as quickly as they disappeared. You may laugh it off and wonder, what was all that worrying about anyway? Didn’t this happen last year and I managed?
Yes, you did manage, and you will manage again next year.
There is no way to ensure a perfect bottom line in this business. The cyclical nature of solo practice is unavoidable, even with steady advertising. The worry that comes with it is manageable, however.
The most important thing to tell yourself is that you are allowed to relax.
The slow month provides a much deserved mental health break from being inundated most of the year. The slow month is when you need to stress less, not more.
The reality is that attorneys are not used to down time. When we are not completely saturated with work, we think there is something wrong. But it is important to remember that law practice is the same as any other business. There are good months and bad months, and for many attorneys, the summer is especially slow. You have to prepare for this slow period at least once a year and make the most of the down time.
Whatever you need to energize yourself, do it. Take a trip. Read a book. Pick your kids up early from daycare. Don’t pick them up early from day care and go to the spa. Feed your soul because you may not get the opportunity again in a while.
The slow month also forces us to do a little bit of self-reflection. What can we be doing more efficiently around the office? Is it time to update the website? Start a blog? Perhaps even do a little community service? A volunteer event usually leads to more business anyway.
A slow time also is a fantastic time to network. On those weeks where you are putting in 12-hour days, networking takes a back-burner. The slow month gives you the opportunity to touch base with your referral network.
So make the slow month work for you. It’s easier said than done, but it’s not worth getting anxious over. If you do good work, the clients will come.