Sell When You're on a High, Not Feeling Low

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Is work fun for you? Can it be? Should it be? The answer is yes, work should be fun.

I've noticed an increase lately in the number of calls from lawyers who want to sell their practice because they're no longer having fun. They're usually in their late 50s or early 60s and feel that now is the time to get out while they can, and they want my assistance in learning the process. I work with them to help set up the practice so that it's more viable for sale and so that we can optimize the dollars that we'll get.

But I want to suggest something before you get to that juncture, because if you get to the point of selling the practice because you're no longer having fun, chances are you haven't been having fun for some time. And the practice of law should not only be profitable, it should be enjoyable. You're providing a valuable service to your clients by helping them to meet their challenges and overcome their difficulties. Not only can that be extremely satisfying, it can be fun.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I've found over the years after talking to many different lawyers that when they're earning good money and helping people, even if it's hard work, they're having more fun.

Do you buy new vehicles or used vehicles? Do you feel that there's a stigma to owning a used car? I think it was Mercedes that first tried to alter the mindset of buying used cars by renaming them "preowned" cars. And it worked: Somehow, "preowned" cars are more acceptable to us.

Let's take a look at the "PRE" portion of this scenario and see how it applies to the law practice. The "P" stands for "profit," the "R" stands for "revenue" and the "E" stands for "expenses"— and profit equals revenue minus expenses. In law, as in all businesses, our profit is what's left over after we spend the money from the revenue we've collected. Profit is to the practice of law what "preowned" is to the practice of used car sales — it makes everything seem better.

So think about "PRE" in the context of what you can do to enhance your revenue to enhance your profit. Then, when you're earning the money and having the fun, that's the time to think about selling your practice. And whether it's this month or next month or next year, you should have a plan to do so.

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