Overwhelmed?

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I’m not talking about the recent news, I’m talking about your practice.

Too much work to do, too much to read, too many projects in your pipeline that never get off the ground.

Every day, you get 50 emails about marketing and managing your practice, on top of emails relating to client work and emails from someone trying to sell you something.

You don’t want to miss something important. But sorting the wheat from the chaff takes mental energy. . . and time.

I get it. It’s daunting.

But you’re running a business with a lot of moving parts, people, and important issues, and details matter. So, in addition to the work, you have to stay on top of everything else.

Sometimes, a lot gets pushed to the side, or to the future. Sometimes, the work doesn’t get done on time. Sometimes, you finish the day exhausted.

And the emails continues to pile up.

Here’s the thing.

The lawyers who earn top dollar have as much work as you do and get just as much email as you do, but they don’t get overwhelmed.

Because they work LESS than most lawyers.

They’re able to do that because they’ve set up their practice so they only focus on the most important tasks.

The tasks that move the needle.

The tasks that bring in more clients and better clients and let them continually grow their income.

If you’d like to find out how to do it

Go here

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What are you excited about?

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If your practice in a rut, the thrill is gone and you’re wondering if that’s all there is, there is a solution.

Find something to get excited about.

  • A new practice area
  • A new office
  • A new slant on your existing service
  • A new niche market
  • A new productivity system
  • A new strategic alliance
  • A new website, presentation, or podcast
  • A new book or course
  • A new client who knows “everyone”

Something that keeps you up at night thinking about. Something that makes you smile when you remember it during the day.

Kinda like when you started your practice and everything was new and you were filled with enthusiasm and ideas and unlimited energy.

Because getting excited invigorates you, fuels your creativity, and helps you step on the accelerator.

Funny thing, what you get excited about doesn’t have to be related to your practice.

If you have identified a new investment with tremendous promise, if you meet a new person who could be “the one,” if you’re excited about (finally) getting in shape, if you have a new side hustle. . .

It could ignite a fire in you that spreads to other parts of your life.

Find something to get excited about, or reconnect with the motivation and energy you had when you started your practice.

When you do, you’ll be able to kiss the rut goodbye.

How to take a quantum leap in your practice

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Are you a perfectionist?

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Many lawyers are obsessed with getting the details right. So are many artists and creative people and business leaders.

Perfectionists often create superior results, but their obsession with making things “perfect” often causes them to procrastinate.

Maybe you can relate.

How do you do good work and get better results without getting ensnared in the net of perfectionism?

The answer isn’t to fight your natural tendency, it is to re-focus it.

Instead of obsessing over every detail, train yourself to obsess about the details that matter.

The things that deliver the biggest return on your investment.

The 20% that delivers 80% of your results.

In your writing, that means giving extra attention to your headlines and email subject lines. They do the heavy lifting by getting more people to read what you wrote.

In a negotiation or a closing argument, you don’t have to win ever point or collect every dollar, as long as you’re getting enough to be able to call it a win.

In your marketing campaigns, you don’t have to attract everyone with a problem you can solve, as long as you’re attracting a preponderance of your ideal clients.

There will always be room to improve, but if you’re getting good results, let go of the things that aren’t important (or delegate them) so you can focus on what’s important and what you do best.

You don’t have to be good all marketing if you’re good at getting referrals

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If you love what you do, 2 things happen

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When you love your work, you look forward to getting to the office each day, your work is relatively easy to do, and you almost always get better results.

The other thing that happens when you love what you do: the people in your life can sense it.

Your clients and prospects, colleagues and centers of influence see your passion. They see your confidence and the ease with which you carry yourself.

They know you’re happy and successful, and they are drawn to you.

What happens when you don’t love your work? When you have to force yourself to do it? When you are basically phoning it in?

You feel unfulfilled. Unmotivated. Unhappy.

You aren’t excited about getting to work, and your results aren’t always what they could be.

And people sense this about you.

They see the furrow in your brow or hear the tension in your voice. They get a sense that you’d rather be somewhere else.

The same dynamic occurs at the micro level. If you love Twitter, for example, you’ll eagerly be there every day–you won’t have to remember to post or force yourself to come up with something to say.

Or hire someone to do it for you.

If you hate Facebook, it will be a chore. Something you dread. Something you have to force yourself to do.

Of course, loving/not loving are extremes. You may love some aspects of your work and hate others. A little introspection can help you identify what you need to change.

And change you should.

Because while you can make a nice living doing competent legal work and showing up every day, if you want to earn a fortune and be happy, you should do what you love, not just what you’re good at.

If you’re ready to take a quantum leap in your practice, go here

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The perfect law practice

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If you could design the perfect law practice (perfect for you, that is), what would it look like?

Why not take some time and write it out?

Consider things such as:

  • Where would you have your office(s)?
  • Which practice area(s) would you focus on? Eliminate? Add?
  • How much would you earn?
  • What types of clients or cases would you have? How many?
  • What billing model(s) would you use?
  • Would you work for a big firm? Own the firm? Would you have partners?
  • How many employees would you have?
  • How would you build your practice? What marketing methods would you use?
  • Where would you live? How long would you commute?
  • How many hours would you work per day/week? How many weeks would you take off each year?

Don’t stop there. You’re designing your perfect practice (and life) so make sure you have everything the way you want it.

Once you’ve done this exercise, put it away for a few hours or a day or two, come back to it, add or modify it, and then ask yourself two questions:

1) How much of this do I already have in place?

You may be pleasantly surprised to discover that you already have much of what you want, or close to it. If not, you’ll know exactly what needs to change.

2) How do I get from where I am to where I want to go?

Asking this question will help you create a list of things to do, think about, or research. It will also prompt your subconscious mind to start looking for answers.

If you take the time to do this, develop a plan and begin working on it, the impact can be life changing.

This can help you plan your ideal practice

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Decision making 2.0

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We have so many options today it’s hard to choose. Which project, which task, which app? Which marketing method, which market, which topic for our next article or talk?

Should we recommend settlement or to hold out for more? Should we accept juror number 10 or challenge them? Should we vote for this candidate or that one?

We’re logical creatures and nit-pickers and smarter than the average bear so you’d think we would make good choices.

Too often we don’t.

So, I propose a new way to make decisions. A new standard for choosing what’s best.

And it’s not based on logic or weighing the facts.

This new way to decide is to look at each option and see how we feel about it.

And. . . if it’s not “hell, yes!” then it’s “hell no”.

We choose what excites us. Even if it goes against conventional wisdom or the counsel of our partners, colleagues, or friends.

Because our gut knows best.

If you gut tells you option A is the right choice, that’s what you go with. If you’re excited, you’ll give it everything you’ve got, making success that much more likely.

You’ll also have a lot more fun.

Especially when everyone thinks you’re crazy and you prove them wrong.

So, what do you think about my idea?

Actually, wrong question. How does this idea make you feel?

Are you with me?

Is it a hell yes or a hell no?

NB: if you have to think about it, you’ve already made your decision.

Which marketing method? Here’s what I’d choose

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Working hard or hardly working?

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Many lawyers complain (brag) about having too much work to do. Other lawyers don’t have enough work (clients, cases, billable hours) and want more.

How about you?

Are you earning as much as you want? Working as much as you want? Are you working too hard or are you ready for more?

Hold on. It’s not as simple as getting more clients or working fewer hours. There’s another option.

You could bring in “better” clients and “bigger” cases.

Instead of clients who pay $5,000 or $10,000, what if you brought in clients who pay $25,000 or $50,000?

Instead billing $300 per hour, what if you could get clients who pay $800 per hour?

Instead of handling tort cases with $20,000 contingency fees, what if you could attract the ones with six- and seven-figure potential?

They’re out there. Someone is getting these cases and clients. Why not you?

I’ll tell you why not. Perhaps, deep down, you don’t want them. You know you’d have to do too much to get them, and if you did get them, you’d have to do more work or take on more overhead or deal with more pressure than you want.

And that’s fair.

For most of my career, I handled small to medium cases and clients, for those very reasons. And made a good living doing it.

So, if that’s what appeals to you, I’m on your side.

Right now, we’re hearing a lot about a four-hour work-week. Some companies who’ve tried it are reporting more productive and happier employees and no loss of revenue. Some companies say they’re earning more.

In my practice, I cut my work-week down to three days and saw my income soar.

Anything’s possible.

You can earn more and work less. You can build the practice and lifestyle you want.

Some advice:

This year, instead of waiting to see what happens, decide what you want to happen and find ways to make it so.

This can help

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When the typo hits the fan

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I heard from an attorney who liked my new Kindle book but. . . found a typo. A big, hairy one I can’t believe I missed because it was in the introduction. In fact, it’s the word “introduction” which was missing the letter “r”.

Did you catch it? Neither did I.

Neither did my writing software. Or my editing/spell-check software. Or Amazon’s upload mechanism which gave me the “all clear” on spelling when I uploaded it.

I’ll take the blame but that software has some ‘splainin’ to do.

Anyway, Christine, the attorney who caught it, pointed out that the error could cost sales and she’s right. People judge you on things like this. So, as soon as I heard from her, I fixed it. It took a couple of minutes and the updated book was available within a few hours.

Which is one of the nice things about publishing ebooks. A few clicks and you can fix or update your book or the sales page and get back to work.

So, if you want to write a book but are concerned that it might not be your best work (or might have typos), go ahead and do it anyway.

But you might want to send a copy to Christine because she’s got a great eye for typos.

NB: “How to Sell Your Legal Services in 15 Seconds or Less” will be coming off the free promotion tomorrow so if you’d like a copy, grab it now.

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Krispy Kreme’s missed opportunity

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You run Krispy Kreme and you hear there’s a college student in Minnesota who drives four hours every Saturday to buy up to 100 boxes of your doughnuts and resell them to his fellow students.

What do you do?

Do you applaud him, interview him, write about him, maybe offer him a job?

Do you look into opening stores in the town where this guy goes to school?

Do you encourage your franchisees to offer a delivery option to people who don’t have time to get to a store?

Think, man, how would you leverage this to get some great publicity and increase your sales?

Maybe you saw the same news story I saw. The one with the headline, “Krispy Kreme orders Minnesota student who bought, resold doughnuts to ‘shut down operations'”

Yeah, that’s what they did.

This kid reminds me of myself in elementary school. I bought candy and gum at the 7-11 and re-sold it to the other kids. I had a nice little business going. So I felt for this guy.

He wasn’t doing anything wrong. But, someone at corporate thought what he was doing might be a liability for the company, so, right or wrong, they told him to stop.

But that’s not the whole story. The best part of this story is what happened next.

He didn’t call a lawyer. He didn’t complain to the government about restraint of trade. He didn’t hold a protest march and cry victim.

No. He shut down his business.

I don’t know if he felt he couldn’t fight the company or that it just wasn’t worth it but, just like that, he was out of business.

But not for long.

His posted this on social media:

“Life happens, and it could be a sign that something else is meant to be. Appreciate everyone’s love and support to make this happen, couldn’t have done it without you all.”

And then he encouraged everyone to stay tuned because he might “have another entrepreneurial adventure you will be interested in”.

I love this young man’s attitude. And I can’t wait to see what’s he does next.

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What would you do with an extra hour a day?

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If you had an extra hour a day available what would you do with it?

More client work?

More marketing and practice building activities?

More time off?

Would you start a new business project? Work on your hobby? Get in shape? Write a book?

It would be nice, wouldn’t it? It could be life-changing.

But it’s not going to happen. You’re never going to find an hour a day in your busy schedule.

Unless you decide to.

If you do, here are some questions to ask yourself that could help you free up that time:

  • Look at your calendar and task list. What do you regularly do that you could safely stop doing or cut back on? Yesterday, I talked about eliminating unnecessary expenses. Why can’t you do the same thing with your time?
  • What project are you working on you could indefinitely defer?
  • What could you outsource or delegate? (Give this a lot of thought; it could free up days, not hours.)
  • What could you do more quickly by improving your skills, acquiring tools or tech, or streamlining your work-flow or systems?
  • What content, marketing collateral, or work product could you re-purpose or re-use (so you don’t have to spend time creating more)?
  • What marketing activities (networking, presentations, podcasting, videos) could you eliminate, shorten, or replace with something simpler and less time-consuming?
  • Do you have any services or practice areas that take up a disproportionate amount of your time and focus (and could be eliminated)?
  • What meetings could you eliminate or shorten? What boards or committees could you step down from?
  • Could you shorten the commute to your office? Could you work from home or a second office a couple of days a week?

It’s important to ask yourself these questions because you might like the answers.

And because one hour a day is 250 hours per year.

Extra.

What would you do with that time?

If you want some help finding an extra hour per day, let me know.

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