We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicholas Dupre and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicholas, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Honestly, my initial thought was autonomy and service. I had been working for the same law firm for almost 10 years and I saw no real growth opportunity or interest from management in advancement and I felt like I was not serving my client, the community and my family in the best capacity. I felt chained to desk 10 hours/day, which in my mind prevented me from having any kind of flexibility to lead my family on a day to day basis and serve clients and my community in the best way. Billable hours was all that seemed to matter. I thought about and struggled with the idea for close to 2 years. The final push came after a conversation with my then 7 year old daughter about work ethic and the importance of doing everything to the best of your ability. She responded with a very concise “yeah, but you hate work.” I realized I must have come home each day with a miserable look on my face and the way I spoke about work must have been as if it was the worst thing in the world. I was not leading my children down the right path.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
We are boutique law firm that is full service on the civil side of the law (meaning no criminal, personal injury or divorces). Both partners have over 16 years of strategic consulting and/or legal management experience. We may not have seen it all, but there is very little in the legal that we have not seen. Family and community drives the firm. Common questions when making any decision at the firm, small or large, are “if my family was watching, would they be proud of that decision?” or “is this something that is going to benefit the community or just our law firm?” Working at a larger firm allowed both partners to gain experience, but also perspective. We came to that realization that there is more to life than billable hours and legacy is often all you’re left with at the end of a career. Like any young professional, it took us awhile to feel comfortable in the practice of law, but once we did, we decided to embrace those skills and share them.
Was it easy? No. Few things in life worth doing do not require a great deal of focus and effort. I would say the most difficult item for me, personally, was looking at the big picture. It is a struggle not to get caught up in the daily and weekly effort of serving clients and case files, but you have to stop a figure out where you are headed. I used to balk at “goal setting sessions” or “annual reviews” but if you do not set goals (financial goals, number of client goals, speaking engagement goals) you have no metric for how you are doing and who are you serving.
Our biggest challenge I think is one that most small businesses face, which is self doubt, negative influences and failure. My biggest lesson is that you cannot eliminate any of those items, you have to learn how to process them in a way that will allow you and your business to keep reaching your goals. For dealing with self doubt, I rely on my spiritual focus, my wife and I are both Christian. It is helpful to have a positive fallback regardless of how badly the day, week or month went. For negative influences (you will always have someone saying you can’t do this or you shouldn’t do this), I found positive influences – mentors, HONEST friends, family and colleagues. I don’t mean people who will always say yes, just people who will be honest in a positive, constructive criticism type way. There is a difference in hearing “no, you can’t and shouldn’t this” v. “yes, but here are the risks” or “no, but have you considered this?” I hear successful business owners say “I did it and no one believed in me.” I find that disingenuous. You need people every step of the way and it’s okay to ask for help.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We live in Magnolia, Texas, but my wife and I were both born and raised in Houston and we still love it. The museum, fine arts and natural science district are actually some of the best in the country. With 4 kids 12 and under that district along with the zoo, as touristy as that is, are fantastic. Likewise, there are a TON of amazing restaurants in mid-town and the heights opening almost monthly. I think an ideal trip for a friend would be hitting tourist spots for 2 days and then just being in fellowship together for the rest of the week with no pressures from work or family would be ideal.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife, Adryan. My kids, Rowan, Carys, Ember and Marek. My family, friends and referral sources.