How could I forget my first time serving divorce papers? It was a couple of weeks after I started my process server business. I had passed out some cards at work, and one of my coworker’s friends called me up.
“Can you serve my wife? I’m divorcing her.”
“Sorry to hear that,” I said. “Sure. No problem.”
He had no idea it would be my first time serving divorce papers. Hell, he was my first client. I was a total virgin, new to the process server business and unsure about what I was doing. I had to look over the paperwork a few times just to be sure I was doing it right.
So there I was, in the parking lot outside his wife’s office, my hands shaking on the steering wheel. I listened to one more song, Ants Marching by Dave Matthews Band, while I worked up the courage to go inside.
Finally I crossed the parking lot and opened the door, stepped into the office. She was wearing a purple sweater, just like he described her.
“Mrs. Smith?” I said.
“I have some important legal documents for you.” My voice cracked.
“Okay,” she said, “I had a feeling this was coming.”
And just like that, I was no longer a virgin at serving divorce papers.
I’ll never forget the client’s check—the first time I’d ever been paid for work outside of a job—my company name scribbled on the “pay to” line in blue ink. I held the damn thing to my nose and smelled it. Why does fresh paper smell so good?
I didn’t know it at the time, but serving divorce papers would later become my specialty.
My second client was referred from the first, and things just grew from there.
The takeaway is that I didn’t wait to get started. When an opportunity came along, I made it work, even though I wasn’t sure I was ready. And in the process, I gained the confidence and knowledge I needed for the next serve.