You’re smart enough but are you lazy enough?

Share

You know I’m a fan of the book, “The 80/20 Principle” by Richard Koch. He wrote a sequel, “Living the 80/20 Way: Work Less, Worry Less, Succeed More, Enjoy More. In it, Koch quotes General Erich von Manstein, an officer in the German army, speaking about leadership:

“There are only four types of officers.

First, there are the lazy, stupid ones. Leave them alone, they do no harm.

Second, there are the hard-working intelligent ones. They make excellent staff officers, ensuring that every detail is properly considered.

Third, there are the hard-working, stupid ones. These people are a menace, and must be fired at once. They create irrelevant work for everybody.

Finally, there are the intelligent lazy ones. They are suited for the highest office.”

Different versions of this citation have appeared, sometimes attributing the quote to others. In 1942 Viscount Swinton (Philip Lloyd-Greame) spoke in the House of Lords in London. He described the four classes of officers and credited an unnamed German General:

The clever and lazy you make Chief of Staff, because he will not try to do everybody else’s work, and will always have time to think.

What does this tell us? I think it tells us that maybe we are too industrious for our own good. Maybe we need to do less work and more thinking. Maybe we need to delegate more work to hard-working intelligent people who will take care of the details while we take care of the big picture.

I’m going to take some time to think about this. How about you?

Behold: an easier way to get more referrals from other professionals

Share

The secret to my success

Share

Want to know the secret to my success? The secret is simple. I do a few things well.

That’s it. A few things. The “precious few” in 80/20 parlance, that deliver the majority of my results.

I run three businesses. In each business, there are only a few things I focus on to keep the wheels turning. Well, actually, one business is nearly 100% passive income and requires almost none of my time anymore. The other two businesses are flexible enough that I can work at them when (and if) I choose. So for me, at this stage of my life, my precious few are “writing, learning, and marketing.”

How about you?

If you run a law practice, your precious few probably include, “marketing, management, personal development, and work product”. Am I right?

[Sidebar: Don’t be one of those lawyers who foolishly boasts that they don’t do any marketing. Everything you do is marketing.

Every time you speak to a client you’re showing them why they should remain your client and refer their friends. Every time you give someone your card or mention your website you’re inviting them to learn more about you do. Every time you talk to a prospective client or fellow professional you’re showing them why they should do business with you. It’s all marketing. All of it.

Okay, back on the record.]

Let’s start with “areas of focus”. You run a law practice, you have a personal life. That’s two. You might also do charitable work, be active in your church, or have a hobby or outside interest that’s important to you.

What are your precious few areas of focus?

Next, for each area of focus, think about the precious few things you focus on (or need to).

For your practice, what are the precious few things you do for marketing?

You may focus on a few types of clients, niche markets, or practice areas. Your strategies might include client referrals, professional referrals, and driving traffic to your website. If you advertise, your precious few might include a group of niche publications, keywords, or offers that deliver the majority of your results. You might create content, build a social media following, or speak or network in the “real world”.

What are they? What are precious few in your marketing?

For work product, you might derive most of your income from a certain type of case or client or a certain type of work. What are your precious few?

For management, you might focus on new client intake procedures (although that’s also marketing), billing, and document management. You might focus on hiring the best people, training, or building culture. What are your precious few?

For personal development, you might work on building a new habit, improving a particular skill, or acquiring a certain type of knowledge. What do you focus on? What are your precious few?

In the end, success comes from doing a few simple things. It can’t be any other way. You can’t do 100 things and expect to do them all well. You can’t focus on 100 things you can only focus on a few.

I built my practice with referrals. It was one of my precious few.

Share

Most new things don’t work and that’s good

Share

You tried something new but it didn’t work. You wasted time and wasted money. You’re disappointed. Embarrassed. Hesitant to try the next idea that comes along. You’d rather go back to doing what you know works instead of taking chances on something that might not.

Can we talk?

Most new ideas don’t work the first time you try them. Many things never work. That’s  good because if most things you tried worked right out of the box, it would mean you’re playing it safe, doing what’s easy and familiar and not taking enough risks.

No risks, no growth. No pain, no gain.

That doesn’t mean you should be reckless or jump into things with doing your homework. It means trying lots of new things and not worrying about the results. It means hoping for the best but expecting the worst and when the worst happens, learning from it and trying again or moving on to the next idea.

Think about it. What was the last new thing you tried that didn’t work? Maybe you sent an email to your clients, hoping to get some repeat business or referrals, but nothing happened.

Why? Figure it out. Review the email and see what you might have missed. Show it to someone who knows marketing. Ask a few clients for feedback.

Then, try a different approach. A different subject line. A different offer. You might find the right combination and open a treasure chest of new business.

If the email had worked the first time, you might have continued to use it “as is” and never found something that worked much better.

Try lots of new things and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. If most new things fail or get poor results, smile. You’re on the right track.

Marketing is easier when you know the formula

Share

Is this a new definition of success?

Share

How do you define success? Here’s the definition I’ve used for a long time: being able to do what you want, when you want, with whom you want.

Under this definition, success means having the freedom to choose how you want to live your life. You can use your time and your money as you see fit. You can be altruistic, self-indulgent, or anything in between.

Bottom line, you can spend your days on earth doing what you love all day, every day.

Sounds like a dream, doesn’t it?

How do you get there? Well, this morning I read a somewhat different definition of success that may give us a clue.

YouTuber Casey Neistat said, “What’s the ultimate quantification of success? For me, it’s not how much time you spend doing what you love. It’s how little time you spend doing what you hate.”

I like the sound of that. How about you?

If you hate traffic, changing your work situation to eliminate your daily commute would clearly be a measure of success. If you’re like me and you’ve had your fill of work travel, not having to do it anymore would also have to go in the success column.

Hmm, I think we have a plan.

Instead of looking for ways to get more of what we want and thus adding more work to our already busy schedules, we should first get rid of the things we don’t want. The things that make us uncomfortable, waste our time, distract us, enervate us.

Each time you do this, you score a double victory. You get rid of something that sucks the life out of you and simultaneously free up time and energy to do the things you love.

Don’t put more on your plate. Clear your plate to make room for more.

Yes, there will always be things you can’t eliminate. But maybe you can find ways to do them quicker or less often. Or make them less unpleasant.

So, yes, we have a plan. Make a “don’t do” list and start checking off the boxes.

What will you eliminate first?

Does your website regularly bring you new business? Here’s how to make it so

Share

If you want to be rich, do this

Share

I’m sure you’ve heard this before: If want to be rich, look at what everyone else is doing and do the opposite. Or, conversely, find someone in your field who is rich and do what they do. Or did.

Since most people aren’t rich (or however you want to define success), doing what they are doing pretty much guarantees that you won’t achieve superior results.

If you do what the average person does, you are likely to achieve average results.

The five or ten percent at the top do things differently. Emulate them, not the masses.

Okay, why is this common sense so uncommon? Why do most lawyers continue the tradition of doing things the way everyone else does them? Why are they so adverse to change?

Fear. They’re afraid of looking different. Or messing up.

What will my colleagues think? What will my clients think? What if I try something different and it doesn’t work?

Remember in school how most kids slouched in their seats and hoped they wouldn’t be called on? Remember the kid who sat in the front and always raised their hand?

They don’t want to be that kid.

If you don’t want to be noticed, if you don’t want to take chances, if you like the idea of being like all the other kids in the courtroom or boardroom, fine. If you want to do better, you can do that, too. All you have to do is raise your hand.

Use this to learn how to earn more and work less

Share

Stop wishing for what you don’t want

Share

You’ve got problems. Challenges. Difficulties. You try different marketing techniques but they don’t work. Or they take up too much time. Or you hate doing them.

You’ve got clients who drive you crazy. Your rent has gone through the roof. You can’t find decent employees.

You work hard, you do good work, but the bigger cases and better clients seem to elude you.

Practicing law is a lot harder than you thought, or harder than it used to be, and you want things to change. You want it to be easier.

No, you don’t. Stop wishing for what you don’t want.

If it was easy, you would earn less. You are well paid because you’re able to do things other people can’t do.

When I was 16 I had a summer job as a stock clerk in a department store. Although it was physically demanding and I worked long hours, the job was easy. That’s why it paid minimum wage.

Stock clerks don’t have to solve difficult problems or make difficult decisions. They don’t have to worry about marketing or hiring people or making overhead.

They show up, do the work, and as long as they don’t screw up too much, they continue to have a job. But they will never earn much or have the opportunity to do great things.

Because the job is easy.

Building a law practice? That was hard. The hardest thing I’ve ever done. But because it was hard, it forced me to get better. I had to learn how to bring in business, hire and manage people, keep clients happy, work with other professionals, and a host of other things that professionals have to do.

Because it was hard, I had the opportunity to have a prosperous career.

Thank God it was hard.

Every great opportunity comes with problems and challenges. If you’ve got them, be thankful.

Jim Rohn said, “Don’t wish that it was easier, wish you were better”.

Well, don’t just wish it. Do something about it. Work on your skills. Sharpen your saw. Do the things you don’t want to do.

Don’t run from challenges or wish they didn’t exist. Seek them out and let them make you stronger.

Learning how to market my services was a challenge. Here’s how I got good at it.

Share

Ever vigilant

Share

The other day, someone posted the following comment on chess.com:

“Chess is a cruel game, in that a player can spend an entire game building up a won position, and then throw it all away in a moment of distraction.”

If you play, you know this is true. You must never allow yourself to be distracted. You must never take your mind off the game.

This is also true of a law practice.

A law practice has many moving parts and they must be kept in good working order. A lawsuit, an ethical charge, the loss of a key client–can cause your castle to come tumbling down.

Lawyers have much to do, just to stay in the game. They must keep their library up to date, maintain sufficient insurance, timely file documents, protect their client’s data, hire and supervise competent employees, serve their clients, develop and maintain professional contacts, and continually attract new clients.

They must avoid neglecting their clients, avoid too much work and too much stress, and avoid taking success for granted.

Yes, it’s a cruel game, filled with risk, but also the thrill of the win. And that’s why we play it.

Get your marketing game on: here

 

Share

Square peg. Round hole.

Share

You’ve got a goal. And a plan. You’re working hard but your plan isn’t working.

Things are taking too long. There’s too much pain. Too many detours, too many mistakes, not enough victories.

Maybe your plan is flawed. Maybe all your hard work won’t get you where you want to go. Maybe you need a new plan.

Yes, but:

It takes time. I need to keep going.

What if you don’t?

It’s not supposed to be easy.

What if it is?

I’ve invested all this time and money. I can’t change course now.

What if you could? What if you should?

I need to do this right now so I can do what I really want later.

What if that’s not true? What if you could do what you want now, and keep doing it later?

What if instead of trying to make things happen you let go and let them happen? What if instead of pushing and struggling you relax and let it be easy?

Chew on this, Kimosabe:

Be stubborn with your goals but flexible about how you get there.

If you need a new marketing plan, try this

Share

Yogurt happens

Share

We all have problems. When we don’t have solutions to those problems, they frustrate us, distract us, and cause us to waste time and resources. They slow our progress and hinder our success.

What do you do when the yogurt hits the fan and you don’t know what to do about it?

Here are some ideas, many of which I have used to solve problems and achieve goals:

  • Write it down. Take an hour or a day and reflect on the issue. Make notes, brainstorm ideas, write a list of pros and cons. You may already know what to do. Get it out of your head and onto paper.
  • Procrastinate. Maybe you’re not ready to start or finish the project. Give yourself time (without guilt) to heal, to rest, to find new ideas, to evaluate whether this is really something you should do and if so, how to do it.
  • Recall past successes. Think about how you solved similar problems or achieved similar goals. Remind yourself that if you did it once you can do it again.
  • Think about what you want, not what you don’t want. Focus on solutions, not problems. See yourself doing the activities (writing, speaking, presenting, signing up clients, etc.) that will create your desired outcomes.
  • Start walking. Exercise will help you feel better, sleep better, and have more energy. Walking is a great way to clear your head, clarify your thoughts, and generate new ideas.
  • Change your habits. Bad habits tend to metastasize into other areas of your life. A habit of watching too much TV, for example, in addition to taking time away from productive activities, can create or exacerbate other bad habits that hold you back from reaching your full potential.
  • Don’t worry, be happy. It is difficult to succeed when you are afraid or worried or in pain. Change the subject. Think about (or do) things that make you happy. The happier you are, the easier it will be to find the solutions and do the activities needed to achieve your goals.
  • Remember why you’re doing this. Your goal may be difficult to achieve, your problem may be difficult to solve. Remind yourself that the work, the problems, the sacrifices, are worth the effort.
  • Talk to someone. An expert, a coach, a shrink, a clergyman. Talk to God. Talk to a friend or someone who has overcome similar problems and can offer advice or a shoulder to cry on.
  • “What would Einstein do?” Have an imaginary conversation with someone you know or a historical figure you admire. Ask them to tell you what they would do in your situation.
  • Get more information. Read, take classes, watch videos, hire a consultant. If anyone has done what you want to do, you can do it, too. Find out what they did and do it.
  • Compartmentalize. Put your problems or worries in a mental lock box and don’t open it until you’re ready to do something about them. Don’t let them distract you from doing the other things you need to do.
  • Get help. Hire someone who is good at the job you’re struggling to do. Hire more staff to do some of the work that is overwhelming you. Free up some time to do what you do best.
  • Do something different. For things to change, you must change. Try a different marketing method, a different workflow, a different practice area, or a different attitude about what you’re currently doing.

Finally, don’t be so hard on yourself. Few problems are fatal. Solving problems helps you to learn and grow, which is what you need to get ready for the next time the yogurt hits the fan.

Marketing can solve a multitude of problems

Share

Maybe you need to get out more

Share

If you’re like most people, you spend most of your time with people who are similar to yourself. Other professionals you know through work, neighbors with similar income levels and lifestyles, friends with similar values and interests.

This isn’t a bad thing. But it can get a little boring.

How about meeting some people with different backgrounds? How about talking to people who disagree with you and have different values and interests?

You might learn something from them, and they from you.

I know, it can be stressful meeting new people. And it takes time. But there is a payoff: New ideas, new resources, new ways to do what you already do. You might even make some new friends.

Worst case, you’ll confirm what you already think and that you like things the way they are. Best case, you’ll stumble into some great adventures.

You might meet someone who leads you to your biggest client. You might get excited about learning a new skill that changes everything for you. You might meet the love of your life, find a new business or investment, or cross something off your bucket list.

You might have some fun.

Start small. Join a club. Take a class at your local college. Invite someone to lunch with whom you have little or nothing in common.

You never know where that first step might lead but you won’t find out until you take it.

The most profitable clients come from referrals

Share