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Barbara Weltman’s Note to Self: Don't Look Back!

Note to Self: Life doesn’t have do-overs, so we all have to make choices and live with them.

You’ll make career choices that you’ll have to live with, but don’t second guess yourself. You’ll graduate from law school, poised to commence what may be viewed a “big career” in a large law firm in New York City. You’ll have the credentials—law review, top 5% of my class. You’ll have a clear idea of your area of specialty—taxes and commercial law. But you’ll also have something else—children. So you’ll have to make a choice. Instead of seeking the conventional career, you’ll hang out your shingle and start your own practice from an office in your home.

Photo of Barbara Weltman
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This will be an unusual choice, when home offices were rare and viewed by some as unprofessional. Your classmates moved on in their careers, many making big salaries with visions of becoming partners in the near future. In contrast, you’ll juggle clients and their problems along with children and laundry. You won’t make an impressive sum, but your clientele will grow through referrals and you’ll be proud of the work you do for them. As the years passed, you may look back and ask yourself “what if you’d taken the more traditional career route of working at a law firm?” “Where would you have gotten?”

Don’t waste time asking those questions and see the value of your choice. Having your own practice gets you working with small business owners, which enables you to gain insight and understanding about the problems that small businesses face.

It also helps you begin writing about these problems, and it provides you with the business that you’ll run. Through your company, Big Ideas for Small Business, Inc., you’ll be able to do a wide variety of interesting and challenging projects, including:

  • Write numerous books and blogs for which you’ll receive various awards.
  • Host a radio show for 10 years that allows you to have prominent guests, including those who are in Congress, the SBA, the IRS, leaders in their fields, and small business owners throughout the country.
  • Speak at conventions, seminars, and various meetings around the country. This will afford you the opportunity get out of your home office and travel extensively.
  • Appear on television, including CNN, Fox News, and The Today Show, and radio shows too numerous to mention.
  • Work with many Fortune 500 companies on blogs, webinars, and other projects, some of which have entailed travel. For example, one day you’ll work with a notable company that had you fly to participate in a talk with some other small business thought leaders.

And business aside, you’ll be able to raise wonderful children, who can go on to their own careers.

Okay, so it may take you a long time to recognize how the choice you make is the right one for you. You should spend less time second-guessing your choice. You’ll fail to see all the wonderful opportunities you’ll have and the associations with people you’ll form over the years.

Robert Frost’s poem, The Road Not Taken, sums it up:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that made all the difference.