We were lucky to catch up with Nicole Pavlik recently and have shared our conversation below.
Nicole , looking forward to hearing all of your stories today. I’m sure there have been days where the challenges of being a business owner force you to think about what it would be like to just have a regular job. When’s the last time you felt that way? Did you have any insights from the experience?
I first thought about wanting to work for someone else in October 2015. I had started my practice three years prior, but I felt like I just wasn’t doing things right. I did not have a steady client base. Therefore, I was constantly at networking events and conducting free presentations. I didn’t know the magic sauce to run a successful law practice. I also felt overwhelmed because I went to law school to practice law but was doing that less and more marketing or managing the business. Since I was always on the go, when I did have clients, I would do the work after hours or on the weekends since I couldn’t get to it during regular business hours. Working for someone else would be far less stressful, and I would have a consistent paycheck. I even went on a few interviews, and I was excited at the opportunity of breaking free from the grind of being a business owner. However, as the possibility of getting an offer from either of these firms became more and more likely- I kindly said no thank you! I realized that although I had stress from being my own boss, having a boss wouldn’t be stress-free, and I would just be exchanging one bad situation for another. The second time I thought about working for someone else was in 2019. At this point, my practice was pretty established. However, I now had two employees and felt stressed about new things- like having enough work for everyone. To be responsible for someone’s livelihood is some serious pressure! I felt exhausted with growing my practice and continuing to market myself outside of the office. Although I had staff, I still felt like I was working a lot after hours on the weekends- sometimes client work and sometimes business owner stuff. I dreamt of a life where I could not be thinking about my business all of the time. It had consumed me, and I wanted to just be done with it. I didn’t actively look for another job but instead worked with a professional whose clients are business owners and worked through how I was feeling…but more importantly, WHY. There has to be a work-life balance to be happy, and I wasn’t experiencing this. It was making me not like practicing law AND being a business owner. I have since modified my schedule to create that balance. Limiting the number of clients I take and giving myself Fridays off to catch up on work…or have lunch with friends has made a huge difference. I no longer have my email notifications on my phone, so I don’t check my email every 5 minutes. I am certain I could never work for someone else, especially after ten years of not asking anyone’s permission to do anything. Being a business owner is a lot of work, but it does make me proud, and I wouldn’t change it for anything!
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I started working as a paralegal when I graduated from college in 2004 as I was unsure if I wanted to devote the time, effort, and money to become an attorney. However, after several years of working for attorneys, I decided I did want to be one.
I started law school in 2007. While in law school, I worked part-time as a paralegal. I felt the benefit of having practical experience outweighed the long nights I faced from working and going to school simultaneously.
I started Nicole Pavlik Law Firm, PLC, in 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. My practice is limited to estate planning and business law, and I primarily work with small business owners (typically 1-5 owners). I provide my business clients with forming business entities such as LLCs or corporations, prepare service contracts and independent contractor agreements, review current contracts, review leases, etc. I pride myself on not being a “typical” attorney as I am very informal in attire and client interactions. I want my clients to feel like they are talking to a friend. I pass no judgment and explain things in layman terms, so my clients feel comfortable with anything I’ve prepared for or reviewed for them.
What’s been the best source of new clients for you?
Online reviews are hands down my primary referral source. It was not very common practice for attorneys to have google and yelp reviews. However, I figured if people look at reviews for restaurants and stores, why wouldn’t they look for attorneys. So I decided to go against the norm and ask clients to leave a review if they were happy with my services. The more clients I get, the more reviews I get, and therefore has become a cycle that feeds itself.
Can you talk to us about your experience with buying businesses?
I bought another attorney’s practice in 2020. I was interested in acquiring an established estate and business planning practice to have access to clients who had their estate plan prepared 20-30 years ago and are now desperately in need of updating things. (My firm is in its infancy in comparison). The entire process was straightforward: negotiating a purchase price and payment terms, transferring files (physical and digital), and a large mailing notifying clients of the transition. I believe the process was “easy,” as the selling attorney was easy to work with and responded quickly to communications. Obviously, being attorneys was to our benefit as we didn’t need to retain an attorney to review our agreement, which I urge business owners to do when selling/purchasing a business.
- Website: www.npavliklaw.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicolepavlikesq
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nicolepavlik
ok I have the rights