Your name: Sam Schmitt
How many years have you been living life in the Foreign Service?
Where have you been posted?
My wife and I have been living in Vilnius, Lithuania. Prior to that, we were posted to Washington, D.C.
Briefly describe your career path:
My interest in conflict resolution and Constitutional law prompted me to study politics and history as an undergraduate. During that time, I also worked in state and local governments (New Mexico) to get some experience with the implementation of rules of order (law). This work led me to eventually attended law school (Montana) where I continued gaining experience in conflict resolution by working for law firms. I practiced a bit for litigators in Montana and Virginia but my true calling lies with counseling and coaching clients. So, recently I struck out on my own, and currently focus on estate and business planning for the Foreign Service Community.
What is the name of your business?
Briefly describe your business:
I offer counseling and coaching services from the perspective of an attorney trained and experienced in conflict resolution. My services and products are specifically designed to address the unique challenges and needs of the Foreign Service Community. In this way, I tackle taxation, estate planning, business planning, and various other issues important to us in the Foreign Service. I strive to be holistic considering my clients’ needs and relationships. I only agree to enter a business relationship with a client when the services I provide will meet their personal needs while preserving their intricate and delicate relationships.
Why did you start this business?
To pursue my passion while remaining part of the Foreign Service Community.
When did you start this business?
15 July 2014
What makes you stand out from your competitors? What makes your business unique?
I offer coaching/planning services from a legal point of view. As an attorney, I’m unique from my fellow law peers in that I provide personalized services almost exclusively electronically.
How does your business fit into the Foreign Service lifestyle?
From the clients’ perspective, I offer affordable, flat rate (for now) products and services with all the challenges and priorities of the Foreign Service lifestyle in mind. On my end, my practice is completely mobile. If I have electricity and an internet connection, I can access all the resources and documentation I need to be 100% operational anywhere in the world.
What has been your biggest challenge with your business so far?
Reliable phone service with an American number.
What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?
Honestly, setting up my Quickbooks account and keeping it up to date!
What resources have been particularly helpful to you when you were starting your business?
My past legal training and experiences within state and local governmental agencies was most helpful. If you are looking to start a business as an EFM, realize that your priority is finding a client base and serving their needs. The buck stops with you as the owner, so don’t expect an office or service to solve your problems. If you need something, go out there and get it!
Which resources do you use to maintain your business?
I like Weebly for my website, Quickbooks for my accounts, and Facebook/LinkedIn for networking. Most of my legal research is conducted on Lexis Nexis and Fast Case.
Any advice for any EFMs thinking about starting their own business?
Turn challenges into opportunities, match your strengths with threats, and don’t let anyone else’s priorities stop you from achieving your goals.
Are you on LinkedIn?
See my profile here.