Your life’s purpose


According to Wikipedia, Ikigai (ee-key-guy) is a Japanese word that roughly translates as ‘a reason for being’ or ‘life’s purpose’. It’s similar to the French term “raison d’être” or “reason for being.”

It’s also been described as the secret to a long and happy life.

According to this article, you can find your Ikigai by answering 4 questions and seeing where the answers intersect:

1. What are you good at?

2. What do you love?

3. What does the world need?

4. What can you get paid for?

I thought this was an interesting exercise for someone starting out in life or thinking about a career change, but find it also helpful for those of us who have been around a while and have found our path.

Answer these questions and see what you think.

You might find that you’re right where you need to be, doing work you love and are well paid to do, or realize there’s something else you’re good at and would enjoy even better.

You also might give yourself permission to spend more time on a project or side business that ticks all the boxes, until you can make it the next chapter in your life.


You get what you expect


Ever heard that you get what you expect? If you expect good things to happen, they are more likely to happen. And vice versa.

But is this true?

I hope it is because it means our fate isn’t pre-determined, we can change our future.

If you don’t like the direction you’re headed, you can change something. You can choose a different strategy. You can work smarter or faster, use different tools, or get some help.

Change what we do, get different results, and we change our expectations for the future.

But we can also change our expectations by changing our attitude.

A simple way to do that is to use different words to describe what we think and how we feel.

Yes, I’m talking about being positive.

We all know negative people who complain a lot and assume the worst. They expect bad things and bad things happen.

They say things like, “What if I go to that event and don’t meet anyone?“ “What if I start a blog and nobody reads it?” “What if I ask her to marry me and she turns me down?“

When I hear someone say, “What if I don’t. . ?“ I think (and usually say), “What if you do?“

Changing our attitude can be as simple as changing our words. It might not change the outcome. . . but what if it does?

If you can’t be positive about certain situations, at least don’t be negative.

I know a lawyer (he’s probably reading this) who has mastered the art of being non-committal about many subjects. When you ask him what he thinks might happen, his usual response is, “We’ll see.”

A decidedly lawyer-like (and poker-like) response, and while it seems to have served him well, I always wonder if adopting a positive attitude might serve him better.


Should you outsource your law firm marketing?


Hire people and let them do your marketing?

Yes, and no.

You save time by not doing everything yourself. And you get to borrow the skills and knowledge of experts who can do many things faster and better than you. You pay a price for this but if the people you hire are good at what they do, they’ll make you money.

Sounds compelling. So why do I say “yes and no”?

Because there are some things you will always do better than anyone else.

Two things, in particular.

First, a marketing consultant or firm can create articles, presentations, newsletters, and other content for you, and it will be well-researched, grammatically sound, and clearly articulated, but they can’t speak with your voice or your authority, because they don’t have your experiences, your philosophies, or your personality.

Hire others to advise you or assist you if you want to, but don’t delegate all of your content creation to them.

Second, no marketing expert can build personal relationships with your clients and professional contacts for you.

As a professional, this is your most important and valuable job.

Yes, even more important than doing the legal work. You can hire attorneys to do most of that under your supervision, but if you ask those attorneys or anyone else to build relationships for you, the only relationships they build will be between the client and themself.

No matter what kind of practice you have, or want to build, repeat business and referrals are key to your long-term success.

Don’t put that in the hands of anyone else.


MVTs vs. MITs


You can do anything, but you can’t do everything. Or so we’re told.

We’re also told we should prioritize our day by importance, meaning tasks that contribute to meeting our responsibilities and achieving our goals.

Which is why we’re advised to put our MITs (Most Important Tasks) at the top of our list.

Generally, I agree with this and prioritize that way. But I just heard about a slightly different method.

Prioritize by value instead of importance. Put our MVTs (Most Valuable Tasks) at the top of our list instead of our MITs.

What’s the difference?

Our most important tasks are often determined by urgency—deadlines, due dates, promises we made—and focus on the short-term. They solve an immediate problem or meet an immediate desire.

These are clearly important. And valuable. But they don’t necessarily deliver the most value.

What does?

Spending time with loved ones, taking care of our mind and body, our faith, our friendships, and other things that give us joy.

Building our reputation and career. Building relationships with clients and professional contacts.

Long-term, at least, these are more valuable than the boxes we tick off day to day.

We need to prioritize and make time for them.

Tomorrow, when you prioritize your list for the day, prioritize your MITs, but not at the expense of your MVTs.


The perfect marketing plan


Okay, you got me. There’s no such thing as a perfect plan. So stop looking for it. Or waiting to implement a strategy or idea until you’ve done more research and worked out all the bugs.

Or until you feel motivated to do it.

Psychologists tell us that motivation follows action, not the other way around. So do something. And then you’ll be motivated to continue.

It doesn’t matter what it is. Doing something will lead to doing something else. Before you know it, you’ve actually done a lot and you’re starting to see results.

But you have to take that first step.

Don’t believe me? Try it and see for yourself.

  • Outline an article or blog post.
  • Call a client and say hello.
  • Email a professional contact and say hello.
  • Join an online group.
  • Update your LinkedIn profile.
  • Brainstorm ideas for YouTube videos.
  • Draft a letter you can send to your clients for the holidays.
  • Check out another attorney’s blog for ideas you can use on yours.
  • Ask a web-savvy friend for suggestions for improving your website.

If you need more ideas, park your carcass and read through some of my blog posts or unread emails sitting in your inbox.

Before the day is over, take one of those ideas and start. Tomorrow, do it again or do something else.

Every day, do something marketing-related and in a week or a month, and sometimes in a few hours, you’ll get some results.

When that happens, you might think about how you read this post and took that first step, and realize that it was the perfect marketing plan.

How to improve your website or blog


3 simple ways to grow your email list


“The money is in the list” is a classic marketing truism.

Ignore it to your peril.

Because without a list, and regularly staying in touch with it, you’re relying on “one-step” marketing, which is more difficult, more expensive, and slower.

How do you build a list? How do you get people to give you their email and permission to stay in touch?

There are many ways. Here are 3 of the simplest.

Start a blog

High-quality content will establish your authority and attract traffic from search engines and social sharing. Prospective clients come, see that you know what you’re doing and that you offer a newsletter with more valuable content, and an incentive to sign up.

NB: It is the incentive that will get the most sign-ups.

Make sure you add a prompt to fill out your opt-in form on every post and page.

Leverage OPL

One of the quickest and most effective ways to build your list is to leverage other people’s lists.

You know people who know people. People with friends and followers and subscribers who are a good match for you. When your friend mentions your newsletter or free report and provides a link to it, some of their subscribers will follow that link and join your list.

Your contact will tell their list about your information because you’ve shown them said information will benefit their clients and subscribers. They’ll also tell them because they like you. And because they would like you to tell your list about something they offer.

You can also leverage other people’s lists by publishing guest posts and doing interviews on blogs and podcasts that target your market.

At the end of the post or interview, you get to mention your free report.

Tell everyone

Wherever you go, whatever you do, make sure people know you offer free information that can help them, their friends, or their clients or customers.

Mention your free report in the footer of your emails. Mention it when someone you meet asks you a legal question. Promote it at your speaking engagements. Add a link on your social media bios, groups, and posts.

Promote your information and let your information promote your services.


You can promote your newsletter with ads.

You may not be allowed to advertise your services, or want to, but if you can (and want to) advertise your free report, ebook, or checklist, you can drive a lot of targeted traffic to your newsletter incentive offer.

Promote your information (with ads) and let your information promote your services.

The key to making everything work? Good content. Valuable information that helps people.

And the willingness to tell people about that information.

How to start and promote an email list


Write your content for two people


Yesterday, we talked about creating the kinds of content your audience wants to read. But the subject isn’t the entire story.

Your readers also have preferences regarding how you present your content.

They might prefer you to write formally, like the good lawyer you are, or more casually and conversationally.

They might like in-depth pieces or prefer something more basic. Or perhaps a mix of each.

How about what your content “looks” like? Does your audience like brief articles, 200-500 words, or something longer, perhaps 1000-2000 words? Do they want images or illustrations or is plain text just fine?

Do they want videos or audios they can listen to on the go or do they prefer being able to skim and highlight written text?

One of your most important questions is how frequently your audience wants to hear from you. Is daily too often? Is quarterly not often enough? Would they prefer to hear from you once a month with longer pieces or once a week with something they can consume in a few minutes?

Perhaps a mix of shorter pieces and the occasional longer one is just right.

But here’s the thing. Just like the subject of your content, people don’t always know what they want until they see it. And just because they’re used to consuming other content a certain way doesn’t mean they expect or demand yours to be the same.

If you have the time and resources to research how your readers want to consume the content you provide them, and you are willing to fine-tune your content to suit them, this might be worth exploring.

But you can also go another route. Give them what you want to give them and let them to adapt to you.

Because people do adapt.

Besides, if you’re giving them interesting and helpful content, how you dress it up and deliver it isn’t really that important, is it?

To some on your list, it is important. But you’ll never please everyone, nor should you try.

Instead, write for two people. Write for your ideal reader. The people who love what you do and how you do it.

And write for yourself.

Write what you want, package and deliver it the way you want to.

Because if you’re not happy, if you don’t enjoy writing your newsletter or blog or other content, if it is a chore instead of a labor of love, it’s going to show.

Give people what they want, but don’t sacrifice yourself to do that.

How to write a newsletter people want to read and you want to write


What kind of content does your audience want?


You need to know what your readers want you to write about because if you don’t give what they want, or you give them things they don’t want, they might not continue to be your readers.

People want what they want.

And leave clues about what that is.

Think about your previous content that produced a response and look for ways to provide more like that. If you’re not sure, if you don’t have enough metadata to know what they like or share or comment on, ask them. Either directly in your emails and posts or via surveys.

Do they want updates on specific developments in the law? Cases, legislation, trends, and the impact on them or their business?

Do they want you to explain how you do what you do or do they want more do-it-yourself information, so they can do some things themself?

Do they want more hard information or more stories about people like them who (with your help) have solved their problems and achieved their goals? (Yeah, give that to them even if they don’t tell you they want this; they do.)

Do they want you to interview other professionals occasionally? Do they want guest posts? Do they want information about your practice area or speciality or about allied areas as well?

What are they interested in? What do they care about? What do they want to hear from you?

That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t tell them what you want to tell them. Say what you want to say, even if they’re not ready to hear it.

When they sign up for your newsletter or subscribe to your posts, they’re telling you they want to know what you think and recommend. They want interesting and helpful information. But, as Steve Jobs said, “customers don’t know what they want until we’ve shown them”.

So show them what you want to show them. But don’t ignore what their replies, comments, shares, questions, or your research tells you to give them.

What to write about in your newsletter




If marketing (or anything) is important to your success, you need to do it regularly and the best way to do that is to create a “Daily Method of Operation (DMO)“ meaning a checklist of tasks or a routine you follow every day.

Even if it’s just a few minutes.

And if not a “DMO” at least a “Weekly Method of Operation (WMO)“. Or a combination thereof.

NB: start with a DMO. It’s easier to make it a habit when you do it every day.

It doesn’t have to be complicated. Just a handful of simple tasks you do, like a few calls or emails, writing a half-page of content for your blog or newsletter, or working on a new presentation.

Anything marketing related that you are comfortable doing.

If you would like to be interviewed by podcasters or bloggers, for example, your DMO might be researching candidates and sending an email to introduce yourself.

Simple as pie. But if you do this every day, you may soon find yourself being interviewed by other professionals or bloggers with an audience that’s perfect for your practice.

Whatever the tasks you do during your DMO, schedule the time to do them on your calendar. Today is Monday, it’s 3pm (for example) and your calendar says you have a 15-minute appointment with yourself to work on your marketing.

You would be surprised how much you can do in 15 minutes, or even 5 or 10 minutes a day.

Here’s the thing. You already have a marketing DMO or WMO. You always have. You always will.

The time comes and goes every day and every week and you either use that time doing something productive and aligned with your goals or you don’t.

It will be 3pm soon. How will you use your time?


What’s not on your list?


I do a pretty good job of writing down things I need to or want to do. I’m sure you do, too. But there are always things that don’t make it onto our list.

Things we didn’t think of when planned our week, chores we’ve been putting off and are piling up, things we know we should do but haven’t scheduled like contacting old clients or old friends.

Author Fumio Sasaki in his book Goodbye Things calls this your “silent to-do list”.

The problem is, if you add everything to your list, your list can become overwhelming.

Your days are booked “8-to-faint” cranking out billable work, keeping up with admin, and stoking the marketing fires to make sure everything continues. Which means you don’t have time or energy for other things like bigger projects that can advance your career, learning, or something none of us do enough of—resting.

There’s only one solution. Cut your lists down to the essentials to make room.

When you can see daylight on your calendar, when your lists aren’t crushing you with urgent deadlines, when you look at what’s planned for the day and feel good about getting it all done, you are running your life instead of your schedule running you.


For a change, you’re not constantly exhausted and stretched to the limit. You’re getting your priorities done and have time left to do other things.

What other things?

You can do other work if you feel like it, call old friends, or go for a walk. You can sit in the park with a novel you’ve been dying to read, or take a nap.

You’ll have the bandwidth to do things that are important but aren’t on a list. And they might be some of the most important things you do all day.