We had the good fortune of connecting with Olivia Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Olivia, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
This is an interesting question because I would not consider myself a risk taker. I would have said that I generally lean more toward playing in safe. However, being fed up with working for others and deciding to open my own law firm changed all of that. Deciding to quit my job and step out on my own is one of the only times I can remember jumping without a carefully laid out plan. I obviously understand the value in planning and preparation as my law firm does estate planning for seniors and helps them plan for their next stage in life. But now I understand that sometimes you have to make up your mind about something, jump, and figure it out as you go. If I had waited until I thought I had everything planned out I would not be an entrepreneur today and would not be one half of SR Law Group. The saying goes no risk no reward. I believe that is true but I also believe there are smart risk and not so smart risk. For me, the risk of starting my business has been one of the best decisions I have made.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more? What sets you apart from other and what are the lessons you’ve learned along the way.
I am an owner and partner of SR Law Group. My law partner is Nicola Robinson and we have an elder law firm that focuses on estate planning and long term care planning for seniors over 60 years old. We help seniors plan for the next phase of their life. We both came to this area of law from personal experiences with our grandparents. For Nicola it was her grandmother and her chicken farm and for me my grandparents had done some planning but it was not adequate.
What sets us a part is this work is personal for us. Every senior client that walks through our door reminds us of our grandparents. We want to make sure we are doing the right planning for them and adding value to their life. We had also seen a lack of understanding in the black community amongst seniors about the importance of planning. Families were losing land and homes and there was so much fighting and chaos after the death of a loved one. We saw a true need and an area of law that we could provide education, service, and value. Our intentions from the start of this firm has always been to serve our community and in particular seniors. However, I did not have a clear understanding of what it took to start a business and be an entrepreneur. It has been one of the most difficult things I have done in my life. It has also been one of the most rewarding. Anyone who says being an entrepreneur is easy is not telling the truth. The learning curve has been steep. When I thought about starting my own firm I was focused on the legal side, but the business side is just as important. I have learned so much about marketing, financials, taxes, budgets, and so much more than I thought was possible or necessary. The learning never stops. I am still learning more about my business and what I need to do to help it grow, become better, and more efficient. I learned early do not reinvent the wheel. There are people that have done what I am attempting to do and have done it well. That led my business partner and I to start asking questions and we were able to do a business coaching program for attorneys that helped us tremendously. I also really started to work on my mindset because I realized what a big part that plays for a business owner. That work is ongoing. I think the last lesson I will share is the people around you is important. If you have successful people or supportive people around you that affects your mindset and business. But if you have negative people around you that affects you as well so choose wisely. Finally, I want people to know that SR Law Group is a law firm that focuses on helping seniors plan for the next phase of life and we are particularly interested in helping seniors in the black community. Nicola and I see this work not just as a career but also a calling. We are grateful each day that we have the opportunity to educate and truly improve the lives of seniors and their families through proper planning.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Things to do: Hiking at Sweetwater State Park Center for Civil and Human Rights The Aquarium Krog Street Walk the Belt Line Botanical Gardens Piedmont Park MLK Historic Site A professional sporting event Ponce City Market The OutKast Mural The John Lewis Mural Kats Cafe Attend church at Ebenezer Places to Eat: Slutty Vegan Capers in Kennesaw Milk and Honey Paschals Twisted Soul Cookhouse Sweet Georgia Juke Joint La Petit Marche Negril Village Local Green Atlanta Camicakes Sublime Doughnuts
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without question I dedicate my shoutout to my parents. They have been the most supportive and involved parents that I could have ever asked for. As a child, they always showed up for school plays, award nights, sporting events, or whatever else I participated in. They were always there encouraging me and pushing me to do my best. As an adult that has not changed. My parents have supported my decisions no matter what twists and turns my life has taken they have always been there. As I have embarked on this entrepreneurship journey they have been my biggest cheerleaders. They are always offering suggestions and guidance. No one believes in me and my success more that Charles and Janice Smith and I know I would not be where I am without their support.
Linkedin: SR Law Group
Nominate someone: ShoutoutAtlanta is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.