The Small Business Professor: Mid life crisis or new opportunity

Question: I am an attorney in private practice. I am currently licensed in NY.  As such, my credentials are not easily portable. After 25 years my wife and I are seeking to relocate.  I would like to try my hand at another business. Please give me some advice.

Answer: You are not alone.  For many state licensed professionals the idea of moving from one jurisdiction to another can play havoc with one’s ability to practice and earn a living.  After so many years away from their licensing exam, the idea of becoming qualified in a new jurisdiction can be daunting. 

Ira Sessler Esq., a business attorney and current President at American Business & Management Consultants, Inc., has some excellent advice:

First, does your new lifestyle permit you to change, usually downward for a period of time, your income?  After twenty-five years or more of practice in one profession, we can assume you are in your peak earning years.  A change in profession, particularly until you establish yourself, will likely result in a reduction of income.  Although temporary, this must be considered.  Additionally, you must decide if you would like to be an employee or an independent consultant/small business owner.

Second, carefully examine your skill set.  Write down everything you do on a daily basis as if you were explaining your current profession to someone who has never heard of an attorney.  Don’t leave anything out.  The idea of this exercise is to break down your daily routine into an identifiably set of skills.  Do you solicit clients (sales)? Do you prepare documents for court or government agencies (professional writing)?  This exercise should go on for some time.  Your experiences are very personal, as are your interests, likes and dislikes.  Take your time and soon you will be able to combine the skills, which you enjoy and excel, a new career should begin to emerge.

Last, now that you know what skills you bring to the table, it is now important to mesh all this with your new location.  If you are moving from a major metropolis to a rural environment, some of your skills may not be as useful as you originally had hoped.  Don’t worry, take your time and something positive will emerge.

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