Why you don’t have time for marketing

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You know that you should be marketing your legal servicees. You tell yourself, “I don’t have the time,” so you don’t.

The thing is, you don’t have the time because you tell yourself you don’t.

Every time you repeat to yourself (or anyone) that you don’t have the time, or you’re too busy to do something, you close the door on the subject. You do the same thing when you say, “I don’t know how,” or “I don’t know where to begin.”

Maybe you don’t want to do it. You don’t want to write content, network, or engage people on social media. You don’t want to make videos or advertise or do seminars. If you don’t want to do something, that’s okay. You don’t have to.

But if you want to do something, and you honestly think you don’t have time to do it (or to learn how to do it), you’re not going to find the time until you change your rhetoric.

Instead of declaring that you don’t have the time, case closed, turn the thought into a question. Don’t say, “I don’t have the time,” say, “How can I find the time?” In so doing, you will command your subconscious mind to find answers for you.

Ask, “How can I find the time to market my services?” Ask that question several times throughout the day. Do it for a week or a month. Before you know it, you’ll find yourself with more than enough time. (NB: I am told this works best when you ask the question out loud.)

It works the same way for anything you want or any problem you want to solve.

How can I earn more money this year? How can I lose twenty pounds without going to the gym? How can I improve my relationship with [whoever]?

Ask “how,” “what,” “where,” and “who” questions. Who can I ask? Where can I find? What are my options for getting? Questions like these frame the issue in a way that pre-supposes there are solutions, making it more likely that those solutions will be found.

Avoid “why” questions, which usually reinforce the problem. If you ask, “Why don’t I have the time?” your subconscious will find all the reasons, real or imagined, and justify your belief that you don’t have time.

You have the time. You can get what you want. Don’t shut the door on things you want but think you can’t have. Ask questions that lead to solutions.

Ask and it will be given; seek and you will find.

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Take a loser to lunch

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An excellent way to grow your practice is to spend time with other lawyers. Once a week, invite a successful lawyer to lunch and get to know about them and their practice.

Look for ways you can help each other, with referrals, introductions, promoting each others events and content, guest posts, and so on. Ask lots of questions about what they want and need and look for ways to help them.

But don’t stop there. Learn from their successes. Ask questions about how they market their services and look for ideas you can use to market yours. What do they do, where do they do it, how did they get better at doing it?

Jim Rohn said, “If you want to be successful, study success.”

Also keep your ears open for what hasn’t worked for them, or hasn’t worked as well. Learn from their mistakes.

If you can see what they’re doing wrong, offer suggestions on how they can improve. If they aren’t getting as much traffic to their website as they want to, for example, share what’s working for you.

On that note, every once in awhile you might want to spend time with unsuccessful attorneys. Find someone who isn’t doing well and take them to lunch. Ask about what they’re doing and then do the opposite.

More on joint ventures: The Attorney Marketing Formula

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Starting is the key to finishing

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I’m about to start a big project, a new marketing course. I’m excited about it but the immensity of it all weighs on me.

When I think about all of the work I have to do, I feel resistance. I want to do other things instead. So, I don’t think about all that I have to do. Instead, over the last several weeks, I’ve been making notes and working on my outline.

The project isn’t something I “plan” to do, I’m already doing it.

Yesterday, I talked about how you do big things by doing lots of little things. How I wrote 1009 blog posts and created an online marketing machine not by writing 1009 posts but by writing one post and then writing another. Once I wrote the first one, it was easier to write the next one.

It turns out there is a scientific basis for this, called the Zeigarnik Effect. “Just get started, because humans have an instinctive drive to finish a task once they’ve begun it.”

The Zeigarnik Effect is “a tendency to experience automatic, intrusive thoughts about a goal that one has pursued but the pursuit of which has been interrupted. … That is, if you start working toward a goal and fail to get there, thoughts about the goal will keep popping into your mind while you are doing other things, as if to remind you to get back on track to finish reaching that goal.”

Is there something you’d like to do but find yourself procrastinating? Start it. Do something, even if it’s just five minutes. If it’s something you need to write, write just one sentence.

You can write one sentence, can’t you? Do it. Write one sentence today. Tomorrow, write another sentence. Keep going, one sentence at at a time, until it becomes a habit.

But here’s the thing. Once you have started, you probably won’t stop. You’ll write more than one sentence. You’ll work longer than five minutes. This too has been confirmed scientifically. Once we begin something and realize that things aren’t as hard or intimidating as we thought they were, we tend to continue.

Go ahead and try it. Go through your list of projects, pick one you have been putting off, and do something on it (anything) for five minutes today. Or write one sentence today.

Because starting is the key to finishing.

Need ideas for blog posts or newsletter article? This will help

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You get a lot done by consistently doing a little

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I just passed the 1000 blog post milestone. 1009 to be exact. That’s 1009 ways someone could find my blog through search engines. 1009 snippets of my wisdom that could convince a visitor to follow me. 1009 pages someone might share with their connections or link to from their blog.

It’s a body of work that brings prospective clients to my virtual door and convinces them to do business with me.

Sound good? Sure. And daunting. If you had told me a few years ago that I would write 1009 posts, I would have thought you were crazy. And yet here I am.

How do you write 1009 posts? You don’t. You write one post, and then you write another.

You get a lot done by consistently doing a little.

That’s why I say you can successfully market your practice in as little as 15 minutes a day. It’s not how much you do today necessarily, it’s what you do in the aggregate over time.

If you have some big projects you’re thinking about tackling, don’t let their immensity put you off. Any project, no matter how big, can be broken down into bite size pieces. Isn’t that how we eat an elephant?

Also, the more you do something, the better you get at it. I’d like to think I write better today than I did a few years ago. I’m also faster. I can knock out a blog post or email in just a few minutes.

What do you want to accomplish this year? Okay, hit the deck and give me 15 (minutes).

Do you know the formula for marketing your law practice? Here it is

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Don’t break the chain

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You know a lawyer whose practice is rocking. More business than she can handle, lots of money, busy as all hell. Three years ago, she had just opened her doors. No clients, tiny office, nothing happening.

How did she get from a standing start to where she is today?

Many factors could have contributed to her growth, including talent, connections, hard work, and luck. But one factor may be more important than you might think.

Momentum.

When she started her practice, she did some things to bring in business, and then she kept doing them. She got better at them, and did them faster. She got progressively bigger results. Those results compounded and she continued to grow, until her practice reached the tipping point and became the juggernaut it is today.

Momentum is a critical factor in anything we do. Creating it is the hardest part of anything we do.

It’s like pushing a car from a dead stop. It takes a lot of effort to overcome inertia, but once the car starts rolling, it gets easier, and then easier still, until you have to do little more than lean on it to keep it going.

Alrighty then, how do we create momentum?

We do it with consistency.

Whatever it is you need to do, you do it regularly. You don’t “do” some marketing this week and pick it up again in six months. You do a little bit every day or every week.

You get better at it. It becomes easier. You do it faster and get better results.

Your results affect other areas of your life. If you build momentum with an exercise program, you get more energy to do other things. You might finally be able to read that book you’ve been wanting to read, or start that new website project.

When you write a blog post or newsletter article each week, you become a better writer, of course, but you may also become a better speaker. You may get better at networking, too, as you reach out to other professionals to invite them to do a guest post for you and as they do the same for you.

When Jerry Seinfeld was starting out, he promised himself that he would write one new joke every day. Every day he did it, he made a mark on his calendar. As the marks piled up, he kept going because he didn’t want to “break the chain”.

In any area you want to improve, find something you can do and do it. Walk for ten minutes three times a week. Write two paragraphs every morning. Invite one professional to lunch every week.

Get started and don’t break the chain. Consistency breeds momentum, and momentum breeds results.

If you need a marketing plan that really works, get this

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When was the last time you failed at something big?

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We’ve heard the rhetoric many times before. Lawyers are risk adverse, we don’t make good entrepreneurs, we’re not good in business.

And it’s true. Most lawyers are overly cautious. It’s in our nature.

But without risk, there is no reward. As Robert Kennedy put it, “Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly.”

Fear of failure is the biggest obstacle to our success. But this fear is often unreasonable.

What holds us back is that we tend to overestimate the cost of failure. We imagine dire consequences and worst case scenarios that are greatly unrealistic in their scope and very unlikely to occur. (Researchers have found that eight-five percent of what we worry about never happens.)

We also underestimate the potential rewards of our actions. One good idea or relationship can make us rich.

It comes down to this: If you want to be more successful, you’ve got to try new things and take more risks.

If you try something and it doesn’t work, you learn from it. As Napoleon Hill tells us, “Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.”

Okay, take more risks. Got it. But how?

I think we start by taking small risks more frequently. We get in the habit of regularly trying new things, things that might not work but which have limited downside.

We get used to the experience of failing often, but on a small scale.

As we see that most things work out most of the time, and that when they don’t we easily recover, we eventually take bigger risks.

In other words, we learn how to take risks by taking risks.

Start by changing the way you look at the ideas that cross your path. Instead of rejecting many of them automatically, as we both know you do, collect them and put them on a list called “maybe”.

Then, once a week or so, choose something on that list and try it. If it doesn’t work, if you hate it, if someone you report to says you can’t do that anymore, you will have learned something and you can try something else.

And whenever you feel the tug of fear that seeks to hold you back, remember what Mark Twain said: “My life has been filled with calamities, some of which actually happened.”

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Planning 2015 and beyond

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What do you want to accomplish this year? Be specific. Next year at this time, if I ask you, “Did you do it?” I hope you’ll be able to answer in the affirmative, but what is “it”?

You have many options. You must decide what you want and be very clear about it. What’s the number? What’s the outcome?

Do you want more clients? How many? Do you want better clients? How do you define better? Do you want fewer clients who pay you more? How many and how much?

Start with the big picture–where do you want to be five or ten years from now?

Do you want to expand into a new market? Branch out into a new practice area? Attract different types of clients?

Do you want a big firm, with lots of employees and offices, or a small firm with low overhead and low(er) management requirements?

Do you want to build a war chest to finance something new, or passive income so you can retire?

Before you make a plan or take action, you must know what you want. But there’s something else you need to figure out.

Why?

Whatever it is that you want, you have to know why you want it. You want more income? Why? What will you do with it?

When you think you know your “why” take it deeper. You say you want more money to pay off debt, start a college fund, or hire some new staff. Fine. Why do you want that?

Ah, more staff will allow you to earn more and work less. Okay, why do you want that?

It will give you more time with the family you love. You won’t miss soccer games and ballet recitals. You’ll be able to pursue music or art or travel the world.

Okay, but why do you want those things?

Keep asking yourself “why” until you get to the emotional core that is driving what you want. That core will be fueled by one of two emotions: love or fear.

Your love of your children will keep you going when you hit an obstacle. So will your fear of disappointing them.

It is our emotions that drive us and unless we access those emotions, it’s too easy to get distracted, procrastinate, or give up.

When you have emotional clarity about what you want, nothing will stop you from getting it. Without that clarity, anything can stop you.

Get clear about what you want, and why you want it.

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We get what we expect, not what we want

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Years ago, my wife and I attended an annual New Year’s party at her agent’s home. Every year, all of the guests wrote down what we expected to happen that year. Not our goals, our expectations.

The agent collected our scribbles in a basket and before we wrote our current expectations, we read what we had written the previous year. We could share with the group if we wanted to, or not.

The idea is that we don’t get what we want (our goals), we get what we expect. Goals are aspirational; expectations are objective.

I believe this is true. Our subconscious mind is a servo-mechanism, after all. It accepts our beliefs (expectations) as reality and works to create that reality.

I never quite got the hang of it, however. Every year, I wrote down what I wanted to happen, in the guise of what I expected. And every year, I missed the mark by a long shot. But this was my fault. I didn’t put a lot of thought into the exercise.

Maybe I was afraid my wife’s agent would secretly sneak a peak at what we had written so I wrote down something acceptable.

Anyway, if it is true that we get what we expect and not what we want, how does this help us? How do we access our deepest beliefs, and how do we use them to get what we want?

You got me.

Hypnosis? Meditation? Prayer?

All I know is that as we write down our goals for the year, we should give some thought to our expectations. That way, instead of choosing random goals that we hope will magically come true, we will choose goals that come true because they are the natural progression of our current reality.

If it turns out that our goals and are current reality are miles apart, and we’re honest with ourselves about that, after we write our goals, we will write down a list of things we need to work on in order to close that gap.

Need a simple marketing plan that really works? Get this

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Is hard work the key to success? Umm, no

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Everyone and his brother says that hard work is the key to success. But is it?

I can point to many times in my life when I was successful without hard work. In fact, many of my successes came with little or no effort.

I can also point to times when I worked my fingers to the proverbial bone and accomplished nothing. Goose eggs. Bupkis.

I’m sure you could say the same thing.

A mentor of mine once said, “If you’re not having the success you want, there are only two reasons. Either you’re not doing something right, or you’re not doing it enough.”

No mention of hard work.

“Doing it enough” implies persistence, but that isn’t necessarily hard. In fact, the more you do something, the easier it usually gets.

“Doing something right” is important, of course. With a little practice, you can usually improve your skills (and your results).

Let’s flip around the phrase “doing something right”. Could this also mean “doing the right things”? Yes it could. In fact, I think doing the right things is the key to success.

It’s the 80/20 principle that I talked about recently. We are much more successful at some things that others. Choose the right things to do, and you will have more success.

Don’t tell anyone, but I found law school and the bar exam to be relatively easy. I have always been good at exams, especially essays. Essays are a “right activity” for me.

Other things, not so much.

Ever meet someone who seems to lead a charmed life? They don’t work hard and yet they go from one successful outcome to another. They have a great career, and everything seems to come to them quickly and without a lot of effort. Is it talent? Luck? Magic spells?

Maybe. Or maybe they’ve simply made the right choices.

I’m not saying “don’t work hard”. Working hard is a way to hedge our bets, in case we’re not as good as we think, or in case we haven’t chosen the right activity.

Work hard if you want to. Just don’t depend on it.

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The perfect time management system

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If you ever find yourself emotionally caught up in the need to get organized, if you continually try new techniques or apps only to abandon them in favor of something else, if you are on a never ending quest to find the perfect time management system, stop.

Just stop.

The perfect time management system doesn’t exist.

There are many productive, happy people in the world who use almost no system at all.

The have a calendar. They make a list of what they need to do for the day. They have files they can turn to when they need something. And. . . that’s about it.

The don’t make elaborate lists, with tags and contexts for every task. A post it note is usually enough.

They don’t obsess over goal setting. They might not set any goals at all.

But their system works. They don’t forget things. And they never worry about having too much to do.

Their system works because they trust their subconscious mind. They know that it knows what’s important and will tell them what to do next.

Don’t hate on them. Learn from them. They’re right, you know. Your subconscious mind knows what you need to do.

I know, you’re life is complicated and you need more. You can still use your favorite tools and techniques. Just don’t obsess over them, or spend so much time tweaking them that you don’t have time for anything else.

The new year is almost upon us. That’s a good time to re-think your system. Get rid of things that aren’t serving you and simplify everything else.

You might want to mentally start over. Pretend you have no system. One by one, add back things that work.

No system is right for everyone. Find the one that works for you.

What me worry? Nah, I use Evernote to organize everything.

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