I challenge you to double your income

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Are you satisfied with where you are in your career? I hope not. I hope you’re doing well, of course, but you’re hungry for more.

If you’re complacent, that has to change. It’s time to find another itch to scratch.

I have a challenge for you. You can set the time frame but I’ll give you the goal: to DOUBLE your income while cutting your work hours in HALF.

How does that sound? Scary? Crazy? Or exciting as hell?

I can’t imagine you wouldn’t want this to happen but I can see how you might question if it is possible. So start there. A new project. To find out if this goal is possible for you and what you need to do to make it happen.

Do you know (or know of) any lawyers who earn twice as much as you do? Sure you do. But do any of them work half the hours you work? That might be a little harder to deduce because “busy” is how professionals define success. So, make that a part of the project. To find the “Tim Ferriss” of the legal world.

Contact some higher-earning lawyers and ask about their schedule. You can start with me. When I was practicing, in a short period of time I quadrupled my income and simultaneously cut my work week down to three days.

I know, I know, your practice is different, the competition is greater, the world is a different place. To which I say, “Hell yes, it’s different. For one thing, you have the Internet. It’s easier to scale up your income today than when I did it.”

Doubt me if you wish. Then, go prove me wrong.

If you’re nervous, don’t attempt everything at the same time. Start by working on the income side of the equation. Once it starts going up, work on cutting the hours.

On the other hand, you might be better off doing them together.

I think I was able to increase my income so quickly because I simultaneously cut my hours. Working less forced me to think outside the box I had been living in, to work smarter and do bigger things.

I did it because I was miserable. I had to change my life. If you’re not in the same place I was, it might be harder for you because you might be unwilling to take chances and endure the discomfort of change.

It comes down to this: To double your income and cut your work in half, you have to either be fed up or fired up. If you’re content right now, you need to find something outside of yourself—a cause, someone you want to help—and do it for them.

Fed up or fired up.

That’s my word for the day. Let me know if you accept my challenge.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula

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Do you (still) work nights and weekends?

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When I started practicing, even though I had few clients, I showed up at the office every day, including Saturdays. I spent most of that time setting up form files and writing form letters I could use once I got some new clients, and doing whatever I could think of to try to make that happen.

When I finally got some new clients, I started staying late at the office and bringing work home with me. I thought that’s what I had to do to make it and I was too scared to do anything else.

Maybe you are where I was. Maybe you’re working longer hours than you need to, or should. Even if you are getting things done and making money, at some point, you have to ask if this is the right way to go.

What if you set up some boundaries for yourself? What if you worked a full day but reserved your nights and weekends for yourself and your family? What if you actually scheduled took a vacation?

In the short term, as you work fewer hours, you’ll probably earn less income. In the long term, probably sooner than you think, you might see your practice explode, as mine did when I made the switch.

All work and no play really does make Jack a dull boy.

Start living a little. At night, on weekends, read novels, play games, take the kids to the park and toss a ball. If you don’t have kids, start making some. You’ll have the energy now, so get busy.

Leave your work at the office. Turn off your phone. Use your free time to get in shape. Start a hobby. Take a class or join a club. Not only will you have some fun, you’ll meet some new people (who share your interest) and have something to talk about besides work.

You’ll be more relaxed. More interesting. And have more energy. You’ll attract new friends, business contacts, and clients. You’ll have time to work on taking your practice to the next level.

You’ll earn more without working more. And finally realize that work isn’t the goal, it’s how you reach the goal.

How to earn more without working more: go here

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Why don’t you charge more?

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Some lawyers charge $1000 per hour. Some charge even more. Some charge flat fees and can earn $20,000 in a day. Some get bonuses or a piece of the action and earn more on one deal or one case than many lawyers earn in two years.

How about you?

How much do you charge? Why don’t you charge more?

You’re worth what clients are willing to pay you (and you are willing to accept). If you would like to charge more but don’t think clients will pay it, stop and think for a minute: what if you’re wrong? What if you could charge more? A lot more. And get it, all day every day.

What would that do for you?

Would you be able to get rid of low-paying clients and work you don’t enjoy?

Would you be able to hire more employees and provide your clients with more value, allowing you to further increase your revenue?

Would you be able to improve your marketing and bring in better clients or bigger cases?

Would you be able to move to a better office that’s more appealing to higher-end clients?

Would you be able to open a second office and leverage a client base in another market?

Would you be able to upgrade your wardrobe and automobile, network with better prospects and professionals, and thus take your practice to an even higher level?

Would you have more time available, to improve your health, to be with family, and to do the things you’d like to do to build your career instead of grinding it out in the trenches all day?

Lots of things you could do if you were earning more. The question is, what do you have to do to earn it? How could you charge (a lot) more than you charge right now?

Make a list of ten things you can do that would allow you to charge higher fees or otherwise significantly increase your revenue. Narrow the list down to your top three ideas. Then, choose your best idea and get to work on it. Work on it every day. Make it your focus and keep working on it until you get it done.

When you’ve tripled your income, send me $100,000 as my fee for helping you get there.

That’s the way it works, bub. You get paid more when you’re worth more. And you ask for it.

One way to earn more is to improve your cash flow

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Three ways to level up your practice

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When it comes to growing a law practice, slow and steady works. But, by definition, it’s slow. What if you want to grow quickly? What if you want to dramatically increase your income in a relatively short period of time?

Oh yes, it can be done. Some lawyers do it right out of the law school gate. Some do it when they reach their “day of disgust” and finally decide to get serious about marketing. Some do it when they see their numbers dropping and their fear of losing everything motivates them to finally take action.

But it can be done.

There are lots of things you could do to dramatically increase your income. I’m going to give you three. But more important than “what you do” is “what you think” and so first, I’m going to give you a few mindset adjustments.

First, to significantly boost your income you’ll need to do things that offer a big potential payoff. That means there might be additional risk and additional expense and you have to be prepared to accept this. You also need to be prepared to do things that take you outside your comfort zone.

Second, you have to jettison the idea that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time you work and the amount of income you earn. It’s not about how long it takes to do the work, it’s about how much value you deliver.

Third, you have to look for ways to employ leverage. One of the simplest ways to do that is to hire (more) people or outsource, and delegate as much of your work as possible. Rule of thumb: you should ONLY do those things that ONLY you can do. NB: there is very little that ONLY you can do.

Fourth, no matter how good you are getting things done you’ll probably need to get better. If you want to dramatically grow your practice, working harder is an option but so is working smarter.

Working smarter means “doing the right things,” the “20% activities that deliver 80% of your results and income”. It also means “doing things right”–getting the work done more quickly, efficiently, and with less effort.

With these principles in mind, here are three ways you might level up your practice:

(1) Bigger cases or better clients.

Bigger cases pay bigger fees. Why settle for an average fee of $10,000 when you could get $25,000? Or $100,000? The cases are out there and there’s no reason why you can’t get them.

Better clients pay higher fees and have more legal work. Why settle for “one of” work when you can bring in clients who have a steady stream of work?

(2) Increase your fees

One of the simplest ways to earn more is to charge more. Consider increasing your fees.

Not ten or fifteen percent, thirty percent. Fifty percent. 100%. Or more.

Crazy? Maybe. But maybe not. There’s only one way to find out.

Yes, you’ll lose some clients who can’t afford the increase or don’t want to pay it, but the new clients you bring in could more than offset those losses.

(3) Better referral sources (and more of them)

One of the best ways to bring in more business is to find referral sources that can send you more clients (and better clients, while you’re at it). Find professionals who can refer you five clients per month instead of five clients per year.

They’re out there and you can find them. Here’s a hint: they usually hang out with each other. Find one and they will lead you to others.

So, what do you think? Are you thinking, “These won’t work for me,” or are you thinking, “How can I make these work for me?”

Your attitude will determine your altitude. Translation: if you want to get big, fast, you need to think big and take massive action.

And remember, if you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.

Plan your plan with this

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I would if I could but I can’t so I won’t

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It looks like self-driving vehicles are here to stay. As this new industry grows, a lot of people will make a fortune.

Wouldn’t it be great to get some of that action?

Maybe you can.

Maybe you can target your legal services towards companies in the supply chain. Help them grow, comply with new regulations, protect their IP, make deals. Maybe you could focus on torts, representing manufacturers or consumers. Or maybe you can work the legislative side of things, representing associations, consumer groups, lobbyists, or municipalities.

How could you leverage your current skills, experience, and contacts to get a foot in this gigantic door? What new practice areas could you take on? What new skills could you learn?

Study the industry. Read everything. Become an expert on the legal issues. Go to industry events. Spend time with experts, entrepreneurs, consultants, and other professionals.

Ask lots of questions. Look for problems that need solving. Look at what others are doing and see if you can do the same.

If you find a way to participate, go for it. In two years or ten, you could be a major player in this new industry, or your research could lead you to other opportunities.

If you can’t see a way to leverage this trend–let it go.

You tried, it wasn’t there for you. Go find something else to get excited about. Maybe “drone law” is a thing.

Unless you can’t let it go.

If you are enamored with the self-driving wave, if you love reading about it and watching videos and talking to people, if you want to be the first kid on your block to drive, uh, own a self-driving vehicle, stick with it.

You may never find a way to marry your interest with your law practice but it’s nice to have a hobby that fulfills you. A happy hobbyist makes a happy lawyer.

At least that’s what I tell myself.

How to find and approach new referral sources

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The yin and yang of multiple streams of income

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Multiple streams of income sounds appealing, doesn’t it? If one source of income is lagging, it’s nice to know you have others. If one source takes off, you might be able to reduce or eliminate sources that require too much time or overhead.

But it’s difficult enough to build one business (practice), let alone simultaneously build two. We only have so many hours in a day, so much energy and enthusiasm, and so much capital. That’s why Mark Twain said, “Put all of your eggs in one basket and watch that basket”.

Another consideration is that if you start another business, you might frighten or confuse your clients. They may think you are struggling in your practice and wonder why. They may question your ability to continue serving them.

Nevertheless, at some point in our careers, we are all tempted by the notion of creating multiple streams of income. Before yielding to that temptation, here are some things to consider:

  • Unless you’re looking for an exit strategy, don’t even think of starting another business until you are secure in your main business. Make sure your practice is well established and successful and you have experienced staff in place to take care of most of the work while you explore your new venture.
  • Before looking outside your practice, look for ways to generate new sources of income inside of your practice. You might start new practice areas (by hiring new attorneys or outsourcing), offer the services of other professionals or businesses via joint ventures or as an affiliate, or produce books and courses or consult with other lawyers who want to learn your systems and methods.
  • Opening a second office for your practice will be easier to set up and run than any other new business. There’s also much less risk because you are duplicating what you know works.
  • Since most traditional businesses require a lot of time and/or capital, consider buying a franchise or starting a network marketing business. By leveraging the company’s existing systems, infrastructure, and tools, you won’t have to create them from scratch. You can also run your new business part time.
  • Consider buying a business instead of starting one. An existing business with a proven track record and an established management team and customer base will (theoretically) allow you to turn a profit sooner and with less risk.
  • If you have capital but not a lot of time, consider investing in an established business that is run by others, or in rental property.
  • If you want to start a business from scratch, you’ll be better off doing something law-related where you can use your knowledge, reputation, and contacts to get your business up and running more quickly.
  • Favor passive income businesses or investments. Get a business up and running and producing passive income, so you can then (a) start another business, (b), spend more time in your practice, or (c) retire.

It is definitely possible to create multiple streams of income. I’ve done it and so have many others. My advice? Be careful, be patient, and be open to learning and doing things you have never done before.

If you’re interested in starting a network marketing business, check out my books

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Unintended consequences can mess things up big league

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Last night, my wife and I did some shopping. At the checkout, we were reminded that California has just passed a law banning single-use plastic bags. Our options were to bring our own reusable bags (or, portable germ factories as I call them) or buy their multi-use bags at ten cents a pop.

Curiously, the multi-use bags are also plastic, so I’m guessing this is less a landfill thing than a California revenue thing, but whatever it is, I’m against it. (Horse Feathers.) So, like many of our co-shoppers, on principle, my wife and I put our purchases back in the cart, bagless, and proceeded towards the exit.

At the door, we were met by an employee who asked to see our receipt and then did a quick look at the contents of our cart. We received her blessing and left.

I wondered why the store had implemented this new procedure of checking carts and my wife pointed out that it was the new law. They needed to have someone make sure customers didn’t roll out the door without paying, something they didn’t have to do when we all had bags.

I had to laugh. This store, and others no doubt, now has to pay someone ($15 an hour) to stand by the door to prevent shoppers from ripping them off. Will the store pass this cost along to customers? Will another store attract their customers with offers to absorb the cost of the bags? Will absorbing the cost of bags be cheaper than hiring additional employees to guard the door? How might this affect online purchases and deliveries?

Unintended consequences.

The point is that any time you introduce something new, you have to think it through. Your new ad campaign, seminar, or website may attract new clients, for example, but alienate or confuse your current client base.

Everything has consequences. Make sure you consider them.

Good marketing begins with a good plan

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Keeping the main thing the main thing

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Yesterday, I talked about investing for a future when you might not be able to work or you may want to retire. I mentioned the option of starting a side business that has the potential to create passive income and pointed out that this is what I did.

I should have added a proviso about being careful about remembering your priorities, lest your Plan B tempt you to put more time and energy into it, to the detriment of your Plan A.

It’s difficult to build two businesses at the same time. Some say that at best you’ll have mediocre results in both and never achieve excellence in either. Speaking about the risks of diversification, Mark Twain said, “Put all of your eggs in one basket and WATCH THAT BASKET.”

But I think that if you’re careful, you can be successful in both your main business and your Plan B.

First, choose a Plan B that harmonizes with your Plan A. Choose something that allows you to leverage your knowledge and reputation and contacts to help you build your side business. Choose something that, when your clients and contacts find out about it, they say, “That sounds like a good investment,” instead of, “It sounds like he’s giving up his practice.”

Second, be mindful about timing. Put most of your time and effort into building your practice or primary business, until you get to the point where you can safely peel off some time and money to invest in something new.

If you’re smart about it, you can have the best of both of both worlds. Your practice will provide you with cash flow to raise your kids and have a good life, and your Plan B will provide you with passive income to fund retirement or the next phase of your life.

Since there are only so many hours in a day, and you only have so many years to live, you’ve got to keep the main thing the main thing. But that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing you can ever do.

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How much do you earn when you’re not working?

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I have to visit the doctor today. It’s nothing serious but it made me think, “What if it was?” “What if I was truly ill and had to stop working?”

Fortunately, I don’t have to work. I have enough passive income coming in to take care of the essentials.

How about you?

What would you do if you got sick and had to stop working? What if you want to retire?

Most lawyers trade their time for dollars. Even if they don’t bill by the hour, their income is tied to the amount of work they do.

More work (more time) means more income. No work means no income.

Even if you’re a partner or you have staff that does most of the work, you still have to show up, make decisions, and supervise.

You may be extraordinarily well paid, but how much will you earn if you don’t work?

If you’ve been good about saving and investing and have assets that provide passive income (interest, dividends, rents, royalties, etc.), or you own a business with partners or a management team in place and it doesn’t require your active participation, you may be good. If you don’t, what will you do?

I don’t mean to be an alarmist, but you have to admit that this is something you have to think about.

Start a savings plan. Study investing. Find a side business that doesn’t require a lot of time. (That’s what I did.)

But don’t put it off.

“The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago,” says the Chinese proverb. “The second best time is now.”

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How could I earn $500,000 per year?

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I talk to many lawyers who tell me they couldn’t afford to hire themselves. This isn’t a condemnation of their fees, it is a comment on the sad state of their income.

They’re not making much money. What can they do?

The first step to solving a problem is to admit that you have one. If you’re not earning as much as you would like to, admit it. Acknowledge your current reality.

Because if you don’t, you’re going to have a hard time changing that reality.

The next step is to ask yourself a question.

Don’t ask yourself “why” you’re not earning more, however. All you’ll get are excuses. Instead of lamenting your current state of affairs and wishing it was different, ask yourself a question that primes your subconscious mind to find the solution.

Ask yourself, “How could I earn $500,000 per year?” and let your subconscious mind go to work for you.

“How could I. . .” is a powerful question. Ask it a couple of times a day, especially just before you fall asleep. Let it percolate in the deep recesses of your brain. Let your subconscious mind come up with ideas and put them before you.

Write down all of the ideas that come forth, and keep asking.

Your brain will no doubt tell you that one thing you need to do is bring in more clients. It might even do the math for you and reveal that you need 100 new clients or cases per year, for example. So now, you have a new question to ask: “How can I bring in 100 new clients per year?”

You’ll get ideas. “Well, I could advertise. I could get more referrals. I could add more content to my site.”

Referrals sound good. So ask, “How could I get more referrals?”

More asking, more ideas. Keep asking “how” until you have some things you can do. And do them.

There are solutions to almost any problem. You may find them by accident, but you’ll have a better chance of finding them if you ask the right questions.

Don’t ask why, ask how.

To get more referrals, get this

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