I Started a Business Today

I started a business today.

Lowcountry Divorce & Family Law, LLC officially opens the doors to its Summerville, South Carolina office today.  It is my solo law practice, through which I hope to use my natural drive, motivation, love for a good argument and inherent unwillingness to ever back down in order to best serve clients enduring the uncertainty and tumult of domestic litigation.

And, while it is a different type of uncertainty than is faced by clients as they stare down the barrel of a divorce, a child custody dispute, or the fragile aftermath of a domestic violence incident, starting a business is certainly uncertain.

I have indeed started a business, but I have not yet built that business.  God willing, I will do so.

Insofar as starting this business is concerned, the doors at Lowcountry Divorce & Family Law certainly could not have been opened without help.  First and foremost, I have the unconditional love and support of my endlessly wonderful and traffic-stoppingly beautiful wife, Joanna Schreiber (say “hello” to her on Twitter); without the faith she has in me, without her willingless to share the burden of the uncertainty, none of this could happen.  Secondly, I have been fortunate to have had the counsel of and training from fabulous family law practitioners like Gregory Forman, Anthony LaMantia and Allison LaMantia, without whom I would not be prepared and motivated to live or die according to my work ethic.  Finally, I am blessed to have wonderful and generous family and friends; but for their faith and generosity, this new endeavor would likely have languished as a “what might have been” in the recesses of my mind for years to come.

And, really, that’s what this whole thing has come down to — if I didn’t take this chance now, when would I?  Thanks to this new economy, my wife and I have whittled down our budget to the bare minimum, so even if I don’t knock the ball out of the park during my first year or two, it can still be a winning endeavor.  If I did not buckle down and try, I understand myself enough to know without question that I would be wondering for years what could have been, wondering for years whether or not I could have better laid the groundwork to provide for my family as my children grew into a need for braces, into a want for pricey sports, arts and other activities, and whether or not I could have done more to provide for my children an even better quality of life than I was provided during my youth.

The question that remains, however, is whether I can take this business that I have started and actually build it.

Over the past week, as I have been designing my website, setting up my office, and crossing all of the administrative T’s and dotting all of the legal I’s that goes along with establishing a new law practice, I have listened in the background as the national political discussion has shifted into high gear following President Barack Obama’s statement that those who built a business owe more to the government than they do to themselves for their success and spoils.  (And then I listened to President Obama’s assertion that he was taken out of context, only to observe that the context was indeed more damaging than the soundbite.)

When it comes to actually building Lowcountry Divorce & Family Law into a self-sustaining and even thriving law practice, the burden is going to solely be on my shoulders to do so.  Building this law practice from nothing will depend upon my ability to get out and market myself, my ability to put in long hours studying court rules and case law so that I may obtain the kind of results which lead to referrals and future business, and my ability to run this business in a responsible and frugal way so that I can make the most of whatever I earn.

In the meantime, as I am right now at my desk, it will be me who will stare at the telephone, wondering if it will ring, wondering if my initial marketing efforts will pan out and provide enough result to then parley into further, more extensive marketing efforts.  In the meantime, it will be me who has already lost sleep and will continue to lose sleep over whether or not I can build this business quickly enough so that the proceeds may contribute to my share of our household expenses before our cushion runs out.

With the exception of my wife, who is wonderful enough to shoulder these burdens with me, there is nobody else who will build this business but me, regardless of the president says.  There are roads and bridges leading to my office regardless of whether I flourish or fail.  I had wonderful teachers in my life who taught me everything from Latin to Langston Hughes, and their influence in my life will be ever-present regardless of whether I thrive or bust.  My sacrifice will be my own, and my success or failure will be my own.

This is America.  And it is the opportunity for entrepreneurship in this country, that enduring idea that I can do as much or as little as my will, motivation and drive allows, that make all of this possible.  As a person, I am absolutely, positively terrified, but I refuse to put an arbitrary cap on what I am individually capable of.  As a nation, we should feel the same way.

Our small businesses in this country flourish or fail because those who build them are willing to lose sleep at night, get up in the morning, and do whatever is necessary to feed their family and provide for their future.  In the meantime, we have a president who has never run anything, never built anything, and seems intent upon handing over the spoils of others’ hard work to those who have never exhibited same, and that president is intent upon telling people like me that my gamble is not my own, that my hard work is not my own, that my sleepless nights and endless worry is not my own, and that if I finally am successful in turning Lowcountry Divorce & Family Law into a thriving law practice, it was somehow due to the totality of circumstances brought about by our government and not due to my own effort?

That’s not only wrong — it’s insulting.  That’s not only insulting — it’s downright unAmerican.

Six months from now, will I be on my way to success?  I don’t know.  If I cannot bring in new clients and keep current clients happy, I’ll be bagging groceries at the local Publix.  Even if that’s the case, however, I’ll be content in knowing that I tried, that I gave it everything I had, and that no amount of further help–from friends, family or government–could have caused things to turn out differently.

In the meantime, if you’re in the Palmetto State and you know someone facing a divorce, a custodial dispute, or going through any other kind of domestic issue, please send ‘em my way.  They can rest assured knowing that they’ll have an attorney who will know as much about their story as they do, who will advocate for them as strongly and passionately as they would advocate for themselves, and who will be hungry enough to know that their success or failure is also my success or failure.

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Comments

  1. Congratulations! If I had potential customers to send your way, I would.

    I had to pick my jaw up off the floor when I heard those comments from Obama. Then I reminded myself: This is Obama. He doesn’t believe in personal success. A guy who has never run anything (except this country into the ground) doesn’t know the first thing about entrepreneurship.

    Good for you for taking a risk. I wish you all the success in the world.

    (So….if you’re waiting around for clients, does that mean you have some time to hammer out more of your incredibly awesome political commentaries? ;-0)

  2. sharon says:

    Best wishes on the new company! I am certain you will thrive. If you represent your future clients with the moral compass that you write with, all are in good hands.

    I feel privileged to have followed the blog during the lean years of school, and sharing about yourself and your family while you succeeded in your endeavor.

    Great news! Congratulations!!!

  3. nanas3 says:

    Jeff…I wish you much success in your new business! From personal experience, I have recently learned how dysfunctional the courts are in some states. The objectivity of the courts is many times compromised by the relationship between a district judge and an attorney and the refusal of the Appealate Court to overturn a ruling of a district judge, even “if we disagree with it”. That is outrageous to me….so, in this particular state, what good is an Appealate Court? As far as their process of determining what is best for children, they have no interest in actually investigating the environments the children will be in or in utilizing a Child and Family Investigator to gather information relating to the children. They don’t care….the children could be placed in an environment which is not in their best interests. After filing various motions with the original district judge who totally reversed his initial ruling of giving primary custody to the Mother, and after two Appeals, we are forced to accept that two small little girls (one two years old) are taken from their Mother who was always the primary care-giver and placed with the father and his live-in companion. Of course, the financial aspect is unbelievable but how could a Mother not fight for her children? My faith in our judicial system has been shaken by the reality of what can happen to a dedicated Mother of two children when our courts are involved. The small town friendly relationship between the father’s attorney and the district judge could not be overcome. This is supposed to be joint custody but the Mother does not have them while they are in school…only on the weekends during the school year. Sorry to get personal but I just hope the courts in South Carolina have more integrity. Maybe this post should just be for your information so if you don’t want to post it that’s ok. I do wish you the best and wish we had been fortunate enough to have you as our attorney.

  4. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Nanas3 — The courts here can be unpredictable, but it’s never out of malice or bias. If anything, it’s from lack of resources necessary to help the judges with a mountain of work.

  5. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Thank you, Sharon.

    As for AR, I think you’ll notice a few changes over the next few days. Apparently, over the past week, the website template I’ve used for two-plus years now has become obsolete. I need to replace it.

    John (Feeny) and I decided on a new one, which is basically an updated version of this one, minus the slider. Hopefully, it will look nice. I look forward to settling in at my office and finding time to write for both my practice site and AR.

  6. Randy Wills says:

    Congratulations, Jeff. You have worked and sacrificed long and hard for this opportunity and if skill, integrity, and sweat-of-the-brow, can bring success, you will certanily achieve it in great measure. The grace of God has also played a big role in both the successes and failures of the some-half-dozen enterprises that I and my sons have launched, so, along with any encouragement that I can give you, you can rest assured that you will have my prayers.

    You have a superior talent for expressing your views and values, so my prayers for you will include having the will, the interest, and the resources to re-energize AmericasRigh and make itt a major force for Conservatism and Judeo/Christian values in the uncertain times ahead.

    And neither will we forget the major role that your dear wife, Joanna, has played – and will continue to play – in your achievments.

    Your old friend, Randy

  7. Jeff Schreiber says:

    Thank you, Randy. As you can see, AR is a-changin’.

    It may stay in flux overnight — my laptop crashed last week, and I have NO COMPUTER at home.

  8. Dee says:

    Congratulations, Jeff! I wish you the very best and may much success come your way. You do a great job with Americas Right and continued to do so while working and going to school. Thank your wife for me for allowing you the time to pursue your dreams and express your beliefs. Having watched my father’s one business succeed and another fail, I know how difficult it is to do it on your own. Good luck always, all ways.

  9. whats_up says:

    Congrats Jeff,

    I am quite sure that your business will be a stunning success. You are intelligent and hard working. Good luck with your new endeavor.

  10. Laurie says:

    Congratulations Jeff!! I wish you nothing but the best in your new endeavor. I am sure you will be a complete success.

  11. STORY says:

    DearJjeff;
    Congratulations¡¡¡ I wish all the luck in the world , I hope, that if this what you want for a stable future for you family life and everything that goes with it, perhaps having more time to spend with kids & wife…etc. etc.etc., I hope you succeed.
    But I am kind of sad that we(all of us readers of your blog for almost 4 years now) might loose a great political analyst.
    Anyway, I hope we could continue reading your blog¡¡¡¡¡, and again the very best for you and your family.

  12. jerden says:

    Congratulations and I will keep your endeavors in my prayers.

    I have no doubt that some day yor will say what Tweety Bird says, “I dood it! I dood it!”

  13. Gail Bullock says:

    Way to go, Hero! I knew you could do it!!!

  14. Sam Fain says:

    Congratulations, Jeff!
    Congrats and good luck. You deserve it.
    G-d willing, you will be successful, and Joanna and you will be rewarded for your hard work and bravery in taking this chance.

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