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No Navigator, No Parachute, No Problem: Flying Solo – June 2014

So, it’s the big six-month anniversary.  How are things looking now versus back in January?

Find out after seeing the numbers for June:

Clients

  • Referral from other attorneys: 7
  • Found me online: 2
  • Referral from area businesses: 1
  • Came to see me after speaking engagement: 1
  • Bumped into someone and gave them a business card: 2
  • Already knew me: 1
  • Total clients: 14

Expenses

  • Advertising (new rack cards, bar association directory and magazine ad): $487
  • Office supplies (including payments to business credit cards & new phone charges): $671
  • Rent: $550
  • Lawyer Referral Service referral fee: $150
  • Malpractice insurance: $76
  • Total expenses: (roughly) $1,934

Income

  • Earned: $10,935
  • Retainer: $13,390
  • Net income: approx. $9,001

Taxes

  • Amount withheld this month: $3,000
  • Total taxes paid or withheld: $3,000 (withheld) 

Paychecks

  • One paycheck of $2,000
  • One paycheck of $2,000
  • Total paychecks: $4,000

Analysis:  HOLY CRAP.

Seriously, I’m still in shock at how June turned out.  Let me take a deep breath, and I’ll break it down category-by-category.

Clients: With 14 new clients this month, I pretty much doubled my previous best.  Referrals from other attorneys continue to be my best source of clients.  These attorneys know the areas I practice in (and know that not many other people in this area do this type of law), so I’ve become one of the “go-to” guys for my practice area.  Within the past couple of weeks, I’ve also made arrangements with a couple of referral sources to be their main guy for my practice area; should those pan out, those will wind up being very lucrative.

Beyond the attorney referrals, I’m also pleased to see a client that resulted from a recent seminar I gave, as well as two people who found me via the magic of Google.  Heck, I even had two clients that came from just making casual conversation in a public setting and giving them my card.  The lesson I’m taking away from this: networking works.  Not just things like “networking events” put on by groups like the local bar association (though those are important to get your name out to other attorneys and professionals), but just being friendly with folks and casually dropping what you do into the conversation.  Exposure is exposure, whether that’s making sure your website is up to snuff, doing speaking engagements or just making small talk at a local diner.  People can’t hire you if they don’t know you exist, after all.

Expenses: My expenses were pretty normal this month, except for my magazine ad (in a quarterly magazine focused on my client base) and some higher-than-normal payments on my business credit cards.  I’m wary of my overhead creeping up and am trying to keep it as close to $1,000 as I reasonably can, so I’ll be watching it closely during July.

Income: Remember how last month I said I wanted to get more of the “big money” type of cases that I had gotten in March?  Mission accomplished.  Three of my new clients this month were that kind of case.  Add to that the uptick in the number of new clients I got overall, and between earned income and retainers I banked almost $25,000 for the month.

Again, HOLY CRAP.

Of course, I can only count earned income in this equation, but even after expenses I still wound up with $9,000 net income for the month.  Again, this is attributable to my overwhelming desire to keep overhead low combined with the new client influx.  

Taxes: The flip side of more income is, naturally, more taxes.  As usual, Uncle Sam gets 1/3 of my net income.  Next month, I’ll make my quarterly tax payment (the money I’ve withheld during April, May and June).

Paychecks: Seeing as how my birthday was in June, I decided to bump my paychecks up a notch to $2,000 apiece.  Unless my income keeps pace with this regularly (which I don’t expect), I’m not going to make this a normal thing.  I just felt like splurging a little, as well as socking away some cash in the family emergency fund.

Overall, June was not only the best month I’ve had by far, but a better month than I ever thought I’d have my first (or even second) year.  I feel like my efforts in getting my name out there have finally started to pay off, and now momentum is on my side.  With that in mind, my goal in July is to keep the ball rolling and keep my numbers up.  I know that my take-home income is still below that of an assistant manager at Best Buy, but for a solo six months in, I think it’s pretty decent.  I’m doing my best to make sure it stays that way.

Thanks for joining me again, and as always, leave your questions or comments below or email me at florida_esq@outlook.com.  Have a great Fourth of July, and try not to accidentally set too many people/places/pets on fire this weekend.  See you in August!

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About Florida Esq

Florida Esq. is a 2011 UF Law grad, country boy and solo attorney, practicing somewhere in the beautiful Florida sunshine. When not kicking tail and taking names (in a law practice sense, of course), he’s usually hanging out with his beautiful wife and two dogs, reading, gaming or lying on a beach somewhere. While you’re here, he’d appreciate it if you could take the sunscreen and get this one spot on his back.

4 comments

  1. I’ve found that keeping overhead really, really low is a great model. Right now I’m struggling with the bookkeeping function, which I’ve outsourced for the A/P portion only (I do my own billing and tracking of collections). I think my bookkeeping firm is on the high side ($80/hr) and it’s been costly. Still, I don’t want to enter every cup of coffee or gallon of gas I purchase.

    Thanks for the update!

  2. I am enjoying the monthly feature. I hope you are going to continue it as the last one seems to be in June. Are you going to continue the blog for the rest of the year?

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