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Cultivating the Entrepreneurial Mind: 8 Common Traits Lawyers Need To Know

8 traits of entrepreneurs - martha hartneyThe world is changing, shifting like quicksand under our feet. Lifelong employment is gone, job security too.

There will be a day, very soon possibly, when we all are independent contractors…

When we all are entrepreneurs.

Colleagues often ask me what it takes to start your own business and have the courage to be an entrepreneur. Naturally, I hang out with a lot of entrepreneurs and I’ve noticed they either have certain traits or, lacking them, cultivate them consciously. Here a few of those traits…


1. Have an intimate relationship with risk.

Some people believe that being an entrepreneur is risky. An entrepreneur, however, concludes that being an employee is riskier. Sure, an employee gets a paycheck on a regular basis. An employee can go home and not worry about work, freeing their mind and heart for their families.

But what happens though, when the economy hits a downturn? What happens when one’s coworkers get their pink slip, one after another? When an employee realizes that their IRA is maxed out but their savings account is empty?

An entrepreneur is usually a former employee who is so fed up with the hidden risks in working for someone else that they go out and create their own work.

2. Know the difference between spending and investing.

Entrepreneurs know how to invest in themselves. They know that certain spending is actually saving.

For instance, for an entrepreneur, it doesn’t make sense to spend 10 hours a week cleaning their home or scrubbing toilet bowls. Entrepreneurs have calculated that house cleaning (or replacing their own water heaters, doing their own plumbing) has a long term cost that far exceeds what it would cost to hire a professional to do those things for them. Entrepreneurs are not penny-wise, pound-foolish.

3. Have a need to be self-determined.

Entrepreneurs have experienced the heartache of being told to do something against their own moral, political or ethical beliefs. Have you had that experience? What cost was it to you to do what you knew to be out of integrity with your own values? Does your paycheck compensate you for that? Probably not.

4.  Get frustrated with the regular way of doing things.

If you notice that you’re frustrated with someone else’s way of doing things and spend time thinking about how you’d do it better, perhaps even to the point of irritating your co-workers or bosses, you may already be cultivating your entrepreneurial mind. Sometimes the only reason someone starts a company is because of massive frustration with how it’s been done before.

5. Believe in themselves.

The entrepreneurial mind is not falling for the propaganda that they’re too small or insignificant to make a difference. There’s a certain amount of healthy delusion in an entrepreneur’s mind. We believe we do things better at things than our employer. And we set out to prove it.

The road we embark on may show us that we need to learn more, but that doesn’t deter the entrepreneurial mind. When faced with difficulty, the entrepreneur doubles down. If they give up on something, it’s only a matter of time before they start over. And over. And over.

6. Recognize opportunity and capitalize on it.

The hallmark of opportunity is a desire, need, or feeling that needs to be fulfilled. Often it comes in the form of a negative emotion—dissatisfaction, fear, worry, concern, anger, frustration, grief. Employee-minded people may tend to turn away from those feelings.

An entrepreneur knows that he or she can serve to help evolve those feelings and bring their community to greater harmony in some way.

Plenty of companies and entrepreneurs have capitalized on negative emotions in an unhealthy way in the past. The entrepreneurs of tomorrow won’t be able to get away with that, but will instead help people to become fuller, happier people. Entrepreneurs aren’t paralyzed by negative things. They mobilize to help move the negative things through.

7. Know that they are their own key to freedom.

An entrepreneur is not willing to give over the power of self-determination to another. They have a rebelliousness that can be infectious. Even in the face of failure, an entrepreneur will not cave in to self-doubt.  An entrepreneur knows that failure is part of success, is required on the path to self-sufficiency and doesn’t take failure personally.

8.  Limit the naysayers in their lives.

Because it takes extreme confidence to start a business, entrepreneurs cultivate the relationships that support them and limit the relationships that don’t. If you’re surrounded by people who don’t believe in you, the first thing to do is to create boundaries between you and them and to start to cultivate relationships with positive-minded people. Your fellow entrepreneurs will tell you only the truth you absolutely must have and will not shower you with negative beliefs.

As a group, entrepreneurs are not only committed to their own success, they also know that they succeed when others succeed. That’s why many entrepreneurs are also good coaches.

As a legal entrepreneur, I’ve chosen to surround myself with fellow Personal Family Lawyers® —a group of like-minded attorneys who help me remember why I’m doing what I’m doing when it gets difficult; who believe in me and in themselves.

Personal Family Lawyers® share a common vision that the law can help people become stronger in their lives, supporting their family growth and prosperity. We desire to be the advisor that parents need to become the kind of parents they want to be—raising children and starting businesses that change the world. (And so much more!)

Together, we’re creating change in the legal industry to give lawyers more self-determination, and more wealth, than they could if they worked for someone else.

Let’s change the way we do law business together!

Interested in learning more?  Start here:


About the Contributor
Alexis Neely is a bestselling author and has been a frequent guest on numerous network talk shows and news broadcasts. After graduating first in her law school class from Georgetown Law, Alexis clerked for Senior Judge Peter T. Fay on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals and then began her career at the #1 AmLaw rated firm of Munger, Tolles & Olson. She went on to build her own law practice into a million dollar a year revenue generator within just three years by creating a revolutionary New Law Business Model you’ll hear about on the call. She is a leading expert on teaching lawyers how to attract more clients, engage those clients at higher fees,* and to serve those clients using this completely different law business model. Lawyers using Alexis’ systems report far more happiness, bigger bank accounts, and that they love being lawyers again.

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