When Lisa Coppola decided to leave her job at Hodgson and Russ, a well-known Buffalo law firm, to help start a new firm, she was understandably nervous.
“Somebody who isn’t concerned about starting a business maybe isn’t fully informed about all the risks that come with it,” she said. “Starting a business is like throwing away the safety net.”
Many other New Yorkers are also planning to throw away that safety net.
Thirty-six percent of New York workers plan to quit their day jobs and pursue self-employment in the next five years, according to a survey conducted by FreshBooks, an accounting software for small businesses.
That survey points to the freedom and control associated with being one’s own boss, as well as higher job satisfaction as main reasons more people are looking to be self-employed.
That makes sense to Coppola, who helped start a new law firm after leaving Hodgson and Russ before eventually opening her own: The Coppola Firm.
"Sometimes those rewards are financial and often they also are emotional rewards,” she said. “That sense of doing a great job and seeing the consequences of it."
Being in charge of a company gives Coppola more flexibility, but also more responsibility. She needs to make sure the business is doing well enough to pay and provide for employees. Coppola says the owner is the last person who gets a paycheck.
"So there is a great deal of risk that comes with starting a business and building a business,” she said. “But, those risks can largely be managed when an entrepreneur surrounds herself with a good team."
The Coppola Firm is a general practice firm, but does a lot of work with new or potential businesses. Coppola helps owners navigate the complicated world of self-employment to help make sure the ventures are set-up for success.
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