Updated: Apr 16, 2021
Click here for Kristy Foreman's audio recording of this blog post: https://soundcloud.com/user-381880794/forereach-consulting-audio-recording-from-employee-to-entrepreneur-my-leap-to-forereach-consulting
Like many lawyers, I consider myself to be risk-averse.
Law school trains us to envision worst-case scenarios. Mitigating risk is one of the ways we add value to our clients. But for me, I learned to make safe choices long before law school.
My father was a self-employed contractor and commercial real estate developer in the 1980’s when the inflation rates soared overnight. I have a vivid memory of him telling me: “Kristy, when you grow up make sure you get a job with a steady pay cheque. You’ll sleep better at night.” Until now, that advice has guided my career decisions and it has served me well.
In high school, I figured out that being a lawyer was a financially stable choice. After the first year of my undergrad, I switched my major to Psychology because it was my highest mark and would give me a better shot of getting into law school. I went from undergrad straight into law school (the “JK to JD” track) so that I could start practicing as soon as possible. I articled and practiced law at the Department of Justice, the safest choice you can make if you are seeking secure, long-term employment in the legal industry.
Fast-forward 20 years and one global pandemic later, I became one of millions of people who lost their job due to COVID-19. For me, this was basically my worst nightmare come true. I never expected to be unemployed in my lifetime, especially at this point in my career with 4 kids heading to university in the next 5 years. For the first time, I didn’t have a clear path to follow and that scared the hell out of me.
After taking a few weeks to process, I realized that this was an opportunity, not a nightmare. I now had the space to really think about what I wanted my career to look like. I was contacted by a few recruiters and knew that I could get another job doing what I was doing before, if I wanted to. When I told one of them that I wasn’t interested in doing that type of role anymore, she asked me what it was that I wanted to do next. It was in that moment that I knew exactly what I wanted to do. It was just a question of having the guts to actually do it.
I had always thought about consulting down the road, after I retired. But I had envisioned the business as more of a hobby than a reliable source of income. I realized that the timing to start up my consulting business would never be better than now. I had over 20 years of experience in the legal profession, with over a decade of experience in legal talent management for three different legal service providers. I realized that I had built a strong network of connections in markets across the country. But more than anything, the timing was right because my formerly risk-averse self would never have left a 6-figure salary to go out on my own.
Over the past several months, I have learned how to register a business, how to build a website, how to set up an accounting system and, now, how to write a blog. But learning to embrace risk rather than avoiding it has been the most valuable lesson so far.
Click here for a 6-month follow-up to this blog post:
To learn about the next step of my business transition, check out my home office transformation blog: