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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Is building a law practice a sprint or a marathon?

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If marketing is everything we do to get and keep good clients (and it is), then you would assume that building a law practice is a marathon, and you would be right.

It’s all of the little things you do, over time, not big things you do once or twice.

It is your daily habit of sending thank you notes or birthday cards. It is the way you always see clients on time and never make them wait. It is writing a blog or newsletter and consistently delivering valuable information in an interesting way. Any one of these “little things” might not make a difference by itself, but over time, your daily habits compound. One day, you find your practice has doubled and you don’t really know how.

But building a law practice can also be a sprint.

Let me explain.

Let’s say you are looking at your calendar for the next 90 days and mapping out what you’re going to do to get your name and face in front of your target market. You plan to line up some speaking engagements, publish some articles, and go to lunch with centers of influence you have identified.

Every week, you book something. You have two speaking engagement each month, a new article coming out once a month, and every Friday, you’re having lunch with another prospective referral source.

This is good.

But there’s another way you could approach this. Instead of spreading everything out over 90 days, what if you did everything over the next two weeks?

You speak every day. You have lunch with someone every day. All of your articles appear this week.

You cram in as much activity as possible over a short period of time.

Why? Because now, your target market sees you “everywhere”. In a two week period, they hear you speak, see your article, and hear your name mentioned by two people they know and respect.

You get noticed. People talk about you. And remember you.

This is why advertisers spend $20,000 to run a bunch of ads this week, rather than $1000 a week for twenty weeks. And why they will run those ads on TV, radio, in print, and online at the same time, rather than TV this week, radio next week, and print the week after that.

Whether you’re spending time or money, concentrating your expenditure in a short period of time allows you to make a bigger impact on your market.

A marathon is you dripping on your target market. A sprint is you opening a fire hose. Never stop running the marathon, but consider getting in a few sprints along the way.

You can build a big practice if you know The Formula. Go here.

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Build your law practice more quickly by compressing time and leveraging effort

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You’ve heard me say it many times before:

Do something marketing-related every day. Make a few calls. Send a few emails. Write a blog post. Jot down some ideas. You can make significant progress with just 15 minutes a day of effort because of the compound effect of doing something every day.

To build your practice more quickly, you should compress time and leverage your effort. You compress time by

  1. Doing things faster,
  2. Doing things more often, and
  3. Doing things in bigger chunks.

You do things faster by getting better at them. That comes from experience and from learning (new techniques, shortcuts, different methods).

Doing things more often means doing something three times a day instead of once. Or every day instead of every other day.

Doing things in bigger chunks means instead of doing something for 15 minutes, you do it for two hours or an entire day. You will get further ahead by compressing several weeks of activities into a single day because the bigger chunk of time allows you to create momentum.

You will also grow more quickly by leveraging your effort. That means getting more results out of the same activities.

An example of leverage would be networking with potential referral sources instead of prospective clients. By attending the Kiwanis Club dinner, you may make friends with someone who needs your services, and that’s good. A more leveraged result would be making friends with the president of the Kiwanis Club, who knows everyone in that chapter and five others.

Another example would be doing things that have a “long tail,” i.e., writing an article that will reside on your web site indefinitely, continually pulling in leads and new business. If you’re going to spend an hour writing something, write something that will produce a residual “income”.

A third example of leverage is re-purposing your content. You do a presentation. Now, take that presentation and turn it into five blog posts, three videos, and an ebook. Don’t settle for a one time presentation to 50 people when you can re-purpose your content and get it in front of 5,000.

A fourth example of leverage is re-distributing your content. You take your report and send it to everyone on your list. You put it in your new client kit. You put it on a download page and link to it on your web site. You give print copies to your referral sources and ask them to put them in their waiting rooms. You email a pdf to your clients and ask them to forward your email to their friends and family.

You’ve heard the expression, “working smarter”? Now you know what it means.

For more ways to compress time and leverage effort, get this.

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How to kill your chances of success

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the worst time to take a vacationThere’s a natural rhythm to building a law practice. You start out from a dead stop, try a lot of things to see what works, and you keep doing what’s working. Eventually, you have some momentum. Things start happening a bit more often. They last a bit longer. They get a little easier.

Before you know it, you’re on a roll.

The same pattern occurs throughout your career, and if you’re smart, you’ll capitalize on your momentum, pouring gasoline on the sparks and fanning the flames until you have a raging inferno of success.

Leveraging your positive results and momentum to build things bigger is not only a smart move, it is essential. How many times have you seen people you know get off to a good start in a project but fail to finish big? How many times have you seen this happen to you?

Momentum is one of the hardest things to achieve and one of the easiest things to lose. The good news is that once you have some momentum, things do get easier. But that doesn’t mean you can stop.

It’s like pushing a car from a dead stop–very difficult at first, but once it’s rolling, it doesn’t take much to keep it moving. If you stop pushing, however, the car will eventually come to a dead stop.

I read a thoughtful article this morning that makes this point in the context of taking vacations. In “The Absolute WORST Day to Take a Vacation (It’s Not What You Think!)” the author says that the worst day to take time off is just after you’ve achieved a goal. When things are starting to happen for you, you shouldn’t take a break, you should double your efforts.

It’s not that you don’t deserve a reward for your hard work. But your reward, says the author, should be your results:

For an entrepreneur (or anyone who is in charge of their own income),vacations don’t come when projects are complete. On the contrary – they should come when the projects are still in progress, but you’re tired, and need to recharge to carry the ball the rest of the way.

Give some thought to this as you plan out the coming year. I know it’s difficult to find time on your calendar for family trips, especially when you must coordinate school and work schedules. At least be aware of the rhythm of your practice and do your best to start projects after a vacation, not before.

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