2015 was the year I decided to take matters into my own hands. With the help of family, friends and colleagues, 2015 was the year I decided to stop receiving a paycheck and start building a business that matches my ambition and my desire to provide dignified service to the elderly and aging in my community.
After years of being told to wait patiently to achieve my goals, I decided the people telling me to wait were only doing so because they could not figure out how to reach my targets either.
Be patient. Wait your turn. These words are killers of dreams.
This year I finally realized that if I wanted to accomplish anything of significance in my career, I would have to do it under my own umbrella, using my own name and brand. This was, and at times still is, a terrifying thought. As a young attorney, we are almost universally instructed that our business will be built by spending countless hours improving our legal skills and techniques, with almost no attention paid to client attainment, client satisfaction or business development. This notion that by developing experience you will automatically develop a clientele and business acumen is one of the worst lies propagated in the legal profession today. For years I have felt the frustration that my practice was not reaching its targets not because I lacked the skill-set or experience necessary to deliver results, but rather that I was bootstrapped into an archaic model of providing legal services that did not reflect current demands or needs, or help solve the problems my clients were experiencing.
Born of this frustration was the idea that by establishing my own personal brand, The Marrone Law Firm, I could continue to develop skills and experience as a relatively young attorney (hey, I'm only 32), while at the same time change the way I provide services to clients to reflect their experiences and relieve some of the pain they were experiencing with issues related to aging, retirement, and estate and long-term care planning.
Now, I knew there would be several moving parts to this challenge. The transition from a law firm where you are coddled as an attorney and don't have to really do anything except provide the legal service to the client, to a model where I was handling all facets of the business personally or deciding which parts to outsource, was a task I knew would be daunting. I get asked all the time how I made the transition and what specific tools I found most helpful. I am working on another post for legal professionals to outline the specific choices I made (i.e. malpractice insurance, office space, furniture, staffing) and which ones have worked and which have not. For the purposes of this year-end reflection, I want to shout out my good friend Jay DeVoy (DeVoy Law), who provided me with a great template and lots of feedback on some of the choices he made during his transition.
At this point, I thought it would be fun to take a page out of my friend and my wife's former colleague, Abigail Gardner's recent blog post and share some of the sources of inspiration, motivation and guidance that I have leaned-on during this past year:
This year was one in which I took a leap of faith, and I've been rewarded time and time again. I'd like to say I did this all by myself, but the truth is far from that. The success I've experienced in my first year in business is the product of a lot of caring people who have taken their time and talent to help me in immeasurable ways. My brother Michael and I started out in my new office space in March of this year looking at each other not knowing what to do next or what would come next. In July we added Renee, and she has truly transformed the way we interact with clients and helped us provide better service to more people. My wife Melissa is my true partner, the one who grounds me but also inspires me to achieve my dreams. She gives me the time and space necessary to put in the long hours on the path to success. The entire rest of my family has helped by listening to my ideas, listening to me vent, providing referrals and being great cheerleaders. I have to thank so many of my professional colleagues for their words of encouragement, helpful feedback and client referrals. I know together we are building a community of people who share my goals of assisting the aging and retirement communities with problems of significance to them.
I am incredibly excited for what 2016 will bring. In addition to continuing to expand The Marrone Law
Firm by hiring a law clerk for this summer, we are going to change the way we provide legal services to our elderly clients. We will begin rolling out our new elder life care planning model with an elder-centered approach to help families respond to every challenge caused by chronic illness or disability of an elderly loved one. As a result of this new model, our clients and their families will get access to a wider variety of options for care as well as knowledgeable guidance from a team of compassionate advisors who help them make the right choices about every aspect of their loved one's well-being.
We will be introducing an inter-disciplinary team that works to identify present and potential future care needs, locate appropriate care, and ensure high-quality care. This approach relies less on crisis-oriented transactions and more on the development of on-going relationships with families. We will begin talking more with new and existing clients about this model in the first quarter of 2016, with a full introduction and marketing campaign expected in the middle of the year.
Additionally, in 2016 we will also be spreading the message of Empire Medicaid Solutions, our company that handles the processing of Medicaid applications for nursing home residents statewide. We are already providing this service in several local nursing homes directly to families, and we will continue to expand this model statewide in 2016.
Thank you for reading my end-of-year post, I hope you found some useful information here. I am excited to have all of you as a follower of our blog and part of our growing family. Cheers to a happy and healthy 2016!