Joey Vitale of Indie Law is one of the winners of 20 On the Rise, a celebration of entrepreneurs making waves in their industries hosted by HoneyBook, Peerspace, Rising Tide Society, and us, Gusto! We asked him to share what helped him build his wave-making legal firm in just three months. Read about all the winners here.
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Getting your business up, running, and profitable in three months is a real challenge—but as Joey Vitale can attest to, it’s not impossible.
In 2016, after moving to a new city and working a job as an attorney that was “slowly chipping away at [his] confidence and making [him] miserable,” Vitale decided to start a firm of his own. But he needed it to be successful—fast.
“My wife supported me with a perfect balance of ‘you’ve got this’ and ‘you’ve got three months to make money,’” says Vitale. “That support and pressure gave me the momentum I needed to jumpstart a business into success.”
That business ended up becoming Indie Law, a legal firm that specializes in trademark protections for creative entrepreneurs. Vitale started with zero clients and zero leads—and in a year, he transformed his firm into a sustainable, profitable business that serves hundreds of clients.
So we asked him how. Here are the five things Vitale says you must do if you want to make your business profitable in as little as 90 days.
1. Validate the heck out of your business idea.
The first step to building a profitable business—whether you need it to be profitable next week or next year—is making sure your business idea has the potential to be profitable in the first place.
“I feel like step zero is you have to validate that the business [opportunity] exists. If you’re working on a concept that’s really unique, you really do need to test the market demand for it,” says Vitale. “Don’t get too caught up building [the business] or making the [product] before you start generating sales.”
Start by doing some research:
- Who’s your target audience?
- What problem does your service or product solve for that audience?
- Is there anything else like it in the market—and, if not, why?
Once you know who you’re targeting—and how your product or service helps them—you can take things a step further. Connect with people from your target audience and get their insights into your product or service.
Is it something they want or need—and, more importantly, is it something that they would buy? Ask deeper questions to figure out what about your specific product or service works, what doesn’t, and how you can tailor it to be most valuable to your customers.
The more detective work you do to vet your business idea, the more likely it is to be profitable—and profitable quickly.
2. Set up systems—without reinventing the wheel.
“One of the biggest tips I have is to find somebody in your industry who is either an outspoken leader in their space or is kind of on their way out in terms of that industry—but is very good at what they do—and see if they have any templates or systems they can share with you,” says Vitale.
Systems are key to getting a business off the ground—but if you want to build your business and turn a profit in three months, developing systems from scratch can be too time-intensive. Instead, look for what already exists—and works—that you can use.
Obviously, your top competitor isn’t likely to share their tried-and-true systems—but a mentor, coach, or thought leader in your industry might be. Network with people in your industry and see if you can get your hands on systems that are proven to work (even if you have to pay for them!)—and then implement those systems in your business.
3. Find the right mentors—even if it costs you.
As a brand new entrepreneur (or even an experienced entrepreneur launching a new business venture), there’s a lot you don’t know. And what’s the best way to find out what you don’t know? Getting guidance from someone who’s been there.
“When I decided to start my business, I quickly became like a sponge to everybody that was willing to talk to me,” says Vitale.
A lot of new business owners struggle with hiring mentors or coaches because they feel like it’s too big of an investment—but if you want to get profitable (and quickly), you need to be willing to invest in yourself and your business.
“If you’re the type of human being that needs some type of clarity and focus and hand-holding to some degree, that’s normal—and you shouldn’t feel bad about investing in that type of help,” says Vitale.
How can you find the help you need?
- Step 1: Identify the right mentors. “If you’re just starting out, look for mentors who know how to sell and market to your ideal buyer and who can help you set a long-term vision for the business,” says Vitale. Another key to choosing the right mentors? Being selective. “Make sure they are aligned [with your long-term goals],” says Vitale.
- Step 2: Make an investment in the mentorship. If you don’t have cash to invest as you’re just starting out, don’t worry! If you’re willing to invest your time, energy, and commitment, you can get just as much from mentorship as if you’d paid for it. “At first, I invested nothing but my time and energy,” says Vitale. “I learned that if you can become the ‘A student’ (in a genuine way, of course), the right mentors will just take you under their wings.”
As Vitale’s business grew, he started investing financially in mentorship—and mentors continue to be a major part of his success today: “We now have a consultant for marketing, a consultant for customer experience issues, a consultant that makes sure that we stay accountable to our quarterly and annual goals… Just having people the business is paying to stay on track [has been incredibly helpful].
4. Be willing to walk away when things aren’t working.
When you’ve got three months to make money in your business, you can run yourself ragged trying to convert as many potential clients into customers as possible. And that hustle is a good thing—but only to a point.
“Realize that not everybody needs to be somebody that you’re talking to, and it’s OK if you evolve from certain relationships,” says Vitale.
If a business relationship isn’t working for you anymore—for example, if you’ve spent hours with a prospect and haven’t made any real progress in converting them into a paying client—it’s OK to move on or adjust your strategy.
Walking away from people or relationships that aren’t working for you or your business will free up your time to focus on the ones that are—and you’ll open up opportunities for more revenue as a result.
5. Stay true to your vision.
When you first start a business, you’ll likely have a bunch of well-meaning people sharing advice on exactly what you need to do to make money. And while it’s important to stay open to feedback and guidance, never take advice that doesn’t feel true to you or your vision.
“When someone gives you advice… it might be something that helps sales, or a good marketing effort, or a good idea for your business. But it might not align with what you’re trying to do, and it might not fit with who you are as a person,” says Vitale.
If you take every piece of advice to heart and try to implement it in your business, it can easily pull you in a ton of different directions. If you want things to happen fast, it’s important that you choose a path and stick to it—even if other people are telling you that you should try other things.
While it’s important to recognize helpful advice, Vitale says it’s also vital to trust your gut and ask, “Is this the way I want my business to grow?”
There are a million paths to getting profitable in three months. But the path that worked for your friend or colleague might not be the right path for you. Ultimately, you are the person who needs to feel comfortable, confident, and satisfied with the business you’re building.
When you stay true to yourself, your morals, and your vision, you’re not only far more likely to make money in your business—you’re also far more likely to enjoy the process.
Vitale says that for him, “It was less about the business working and more about me enjoying and being good at the business that I was in.”
Want to learn more from Vitale? Check out his recently launched a course for entrepreneurs, The Maker’s Guide To The Legal Side, on Teachable.