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June 24, 2007

"Tip of the Week" - When Your Solo Practice Takes A "Dip" Will You Know What To Do?

Seth Godin, the king of succinct, had his new book "The Dip" recently reviewed in USA Today.  While it is generic enough to transcend any profession or life experience, it is a critical message about when to 'stick' and when to 'quit.'  (And quitting is not a bad thing in Godin-world.)

"Quit the wrong stuff. Stick with the right stuff. Have the guts to do one or the other."

As a solo practitioner, how does this apply to you?  When you start your solo practice you will have many days questioning why you did it.  It will be a roller coaster ride without a seat belt as you loop the loop.  Your first client..you're floating knowing you made the right choice.  The first client who doesn't pay....you're questioning why you left the steady paycheck.  Uneven cash flow....panic.  Your first big contingency fee....you knew what you were doing all along.  Manic depression.

But you shouldn't quit just because you hit a dip — the "long slog between starting and mastery."

The dip is the sinkhole when the euphoria of learning something new fades and the grind kicks in.

For example, if you took organic chemistry, a killer class, in college, you've experienced the dip. Academia doesn't want too many unmotivated people to attempt medical school, so they set up a screen, he explains.

If it's worth doing, there's probably a dip. Only you will know whether pushing through the dip to get to the other side is worth it.

When you decided to go solo you knew there would be 'dips.'  If your goals are worth striving for, you will make the decision to work through those 'dips' because this is the path you have chosen.  If you are having problems navigating the dips or want to rethink how you are going to take the journey, get help.  Life is full of 'dips', some you take, some you meet.  Best to enjoy the ride.

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Comments

Steve Weaver

One of the more difficult practices I have had to learn after more than 25 years as a solo is how to deal with the dips! When things get slow, my mind quickly goes to such extremist conclusions as "I'll never get a new client again!" Even after all these years it is still difficult to get out of that kind of non-reality based thinking. Then, if I am having a good day, I will quickly remember one of my favorite quotes: "I'm an old man and I've lived through many horrible things--most of which never happened!" The fact is I will get a new client--quite a few of them if experience bears out. The key is to take advantage of the quieter times - make rain, write, blog, read, go to a movie. Learning to relax and renew during the quiet times has been slow for me but well worth the effort. Thanks for your great blog, Susan.

Steve
http://musicrowlawyer.typepad.com

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