DLA Piper, European Competition Lawyer, London
|Starting a business - Swedish Kitchens|
Career Change Story
Together with my business partner, also a former lawyer, I set up a Swedish Kitchen Business selling beautiful bespoke kitchens made to order in Sweden.
Our legal background and experience of working in large professional organisations helped us set up our own small business. We incorporated the company ourselves, registered the trade mark, drew up the distribution agreements with our manufacturers and also our terms and conditions of sale.
We were tired of working stressful long hours with little personal fulfilment. As a woman it is difficult to have a family and be a full time Competition lawyer unless you have a full time nanny. I was not prepared to do this and wanted something with more flexibility. As I did not want to be a partner in a firm, I quickly realised that it would be better to move on to something new whilst I was still young (I left law at 30).
Career Change Reflections
Having your own business is so interesting because you have to wear so many hats. In any working day we have to act as Director, designer, installations manager, logistics manager, marketing manager, sales director and financial manager. We meet so many people and do lots of networking to develop the business. We also really enjoy the creative side of our job in that we help people to create their dream kitchen.
Of course one of the best things about running your own business is being your own boss. If you don't like someone, you don't have to do business with them. As an associate in a law firm, you can get landed with some very unpleasant partners and clients from whom there is no escape. Being your own boss also means that if your child has a school event, you can leave the office any time you like. At the moment I work 3 days per week but it is flexible and I can choose when and where I work.
It is very thrilling to make your own money and look forward to expanding the business and building the brand. With a business like ours, the sky is the limit. We hope to increase our turnover year on year to build a multi-million Pound business. As an employee you stand little chance of making it big unless you take the leap to become an entrepreneur.
My tips for making the move from law: think of all the skills you have gained as a lawyer, these are all highly transferable and very useful for doing your own thing. Pin point your passions and go in to something related to your passion. If you have a natural enthusiasm for something, this will drive you to succeed at your new venture. Don't leave it too long as time flies and you may get trapped by a large mortgage that makes it difficult for you to take the initial pay cut and make the investment you need to start a new business. Do lots of networking and never miss an opportunity to help someone else. They will remember it and try and help you when you need help. Above all, life is too short to do something you hate, so move on if you don't like your job. Good luck!!
Location: Wimbledon, London
Tel: 0845 862 0297