How to be rich and happy


Please don’t make the mistake I made.

When I was young, I wanted to be a writer. That was my dream. I loved reading and the feel and smell of books. I haunted libraries and bookstores, imagining my own books in the windows and on the shelves.

I was a voracious reader. Non-fiction and fiction. Business, marketing, biographies, history; mysteries, thrillers, detective novels, science fiction. And books on writing.

But while I have written extensively throughout my career, early on, I somehow convinced myself that writers don’t make much money and I needed to do something more remunerative. Make money first, then I can retire and write all I want.

I now know this is folly.

To deny your passions, no matter the financial ramifications, is to deny the truth of who you really are. Working to make money so you can then do something else is simply bad advice.

But what if what you are passionate about is a one way ticket to financial mediocrity? At some point, you have to ask yourself, “What’s more important, money or happiness?” Yes, money is important and having more of it gives you more options. But having money does not guarantee happiness. Legions of unhappy wealthy people attest to that.

How about asking a different question: “What if what you are passionate about can lead to wealth and happiness?” It can, you know. In fact, I believe that following your passion is a much better road map to prosperity than working for money.

I’ve accomplished a lot in my career. I’ve done well financially.  And now, decades after my childhood passion first stirred in me, I am writing. This blog is just the tip of the iceberg.

How does it feel? It feels. . . right. I can’t describe what I feel as excitement, it’s more a feeling of serenity, of “this is who I am and where I belong”.

But I also have flashes of regret.

What if I had listened to my inner child, the one who wanted to be a writer? What if I had ignored the voice of “logic” that told me to do something else? Where might I be today?

I don’t know if I’d be rich, but I know I’d be happy.

If I’d read the story of “The Rich Fisherman,” I might be in a different place today:

There was once a businessman who was sitting by the beach in a small Brazilian village. As he sat, he saw a Brazilian fisherman rowing a small boat towards the shore having caught quite few big fish. The businessman was impressed and asked the fisherman, “How long does it take you to catch so many fish?”

The fisherman replied, “Oh, just a short while.”

“Then why don’t you stay longer at sea and catch even more?” The businessman was astonished.

“This is enough to feed my whole family,” the fisherman said.

The businessman then asked, “So, what do you do for the rest of the day?”

The fisherman replied, “Well, I usually wake up early in the morning, go out to sea and catch a few fish, then go back and play with my kids. In the afternoon, I take a nap with my wife, and evening comes, I join my buddies in the village for a drink — we play guitar, sing and dance throughout the night.”

The businessman offered a suggestion to the fisherman. “I am a PhD in business management. I could help you to become a more successful person. From now on, you should spend more time at sea and try to catch as many fish as possible. When you have saved enough money, you could buy a bigger boat and catch even more fish. Soon you will be able to afford to buy more boats, set up your own company, your own production plant for canned food and distribution network. By then, you will have moved out of this village and to Sao Paulo, where you can set up HQ to manage your other branches.”

The fisherman continued, “And after that?”

The businessman laughed heartily, “After that, you can live like a king in your own house, and when the time is right, you can go public and float your shares in the Stock Exchange, and you will be rich.”

The fisherman asked, “And after that?”

The businessman said, “After that, you can finally retire, you can move to a house by the fishing village, wake up early in the morning, catch a few fish, then return home to play with kids, have a nice afternoon nap with your wife, and when evening comes, you can join your buddies for a drink, play the guitar, and sing and dance throughout the night!”

The fisherman was puzzled, “Isn’t that what I am doing now?”


If you’d like to “Crush It!”


I wrote this brief review of “Crush It!” by Gary Vaynerchuck on another blog more than a year ago. My knowledge and use of social media has come a long way since then. I’ll post reviews of other books I’ve read that have more of the “how to’s” but this is the book to read if you want to know “why to”.

I’d heard a lot of good things about “Crush It!” and finally downloaded it (kindle for PC, in case you’re curious). I’m fairly new to the world of social media marketing so I was surprised at how much I already knew and how much I was already doing.

After reading Crush It!, I now know (a) social media marketing is not a passing fad, (b) properly implemented, it’s an incredibly powerful way to build almost any kind of business, and (c) it’s not that complicated. In other words, if you market something on the Internet, or you want to, you need to add social media marketing to your marketing mix and it’s a lot easier than you may have thought.

Now, if you’re looking for a detailed manifesto on social media marketing, this isn’t it. It’s a great story and a compelling look at the power of social media marketing and worth it for that alone. Where it really shines, however, is in driving home the importance of finding your passion, your DNA as Vaynerchuk calls it, and building your brand, and your business, around that.

Vaynerchuk makes you think about who you are and what drives you. If you’re going to “crush” anything, it’s going to have to be something you are passionate about, or you won’t do it enough, or well enough, to cut through the noise and clutter that competes for the eyes and ears of your target market. If you don’t enjoy what you’re doing, you aren’t going to make it; if you do, the journey will be as rewarding as the destination.

A friend of mine often says, “if you do what you love and you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life.”  No doubt Gary Vaynerchuk would agree.


Create a (free) social media web page about you with


A social media hub page is a virtual business card: a single web page with a brief bio (or link thereto) and links to your websites, blog, Facebook, Twitter, and other social media accounts. This allows you to provide a single link in your email signature, your (paper) business card, in an article byline, and anywhere else your name appears in print or online. A single link is clean and professional looking, one reason why virtual business cards are becoming more popular.

I’ve experimented with different options. Recently, I set up an account with My page was easy to set up and customize. I uploaded a background image (me, looking fierce) but did not include a bio. Instead, I listed my professional roles as attorney, writer, and entrepreneur.

If you click on the doo-hickey at the top of the page, it will take you to a random assortment of other pages, many of which are quite creative. Great for ideas. is integrated with Klout, a new social media “rating” service that tells you how influential you are in the online world. It also tells you who you influence and who influences you. I’m not sure how useful this is but it’s interesting to watch my klout index increase.

I also set up an account with, which allowed me to create an almost identical page. They have a paid version ($20/yr.) with added customization features. Attorney Dan Gold set up a page on and took advantage of those upgraded features. is free; I couldn’t find a paid version. I’d like to see more options for configuring pages, like the paid version of seems to provide, but all in all, this is a great way to quickly set up a virtual business card. Give it (or a try. Send me a link to your page and I’ll feature it in a future blog post.


Steve Jobs’ prescription for success and happiness–in his own words


In 2005, Steve Jobs addressed the graduating class at Stanford University. I’d never heard his remarks before today, but I’m glad I took 15 minutes this morning to watch this video. Jobs tells three stories, taken from his life experience, to communicate a simple but powerful message. It is one of the most insightful and motivating speeches I’ve ever heard. In light of his recent resignation, ostensibly for health reasons, it is also one of the most moving.

I hope you enjoy this as much as I did.

Here is a transcript of his remarks.


The Zen of Attorney Marketing: Quietly Building a Successful Law Practice


What if you could build a successful law practice quietly–without shouting your message but by letting your message be heard, without trying to find clients but by letting clients find you?

In my father’s day, attorneys didn’t do any marketing. Oh, they did a little networking or public speaking or they wrote the occasional article, but they did these things because they naturally flowed from what they were doing in their practice. They didn’t attend a bar meeting because they were “marketing”; they went because they enjoyed being there, catching up with their friends, and learning some things they could use in their practice.

It’s different today. Not because there is more competition, higher overhead, or a faster paced world. Yes, the world is much more complex than it was fifty years ago when my father started practicing, or thirty years ago when I did, or even fifteen years ago, before everyone had broad band and smart phones. But our world is not different so much because of those things but because we make it so.

We run and push and struggle because we’ve bought into the notion that to be successful, we have to shout louder, promote harder, and spend bigger. We advertise or jump on board the latest social media concept, not because it feels natural, not for the joy of doing it, but because we fear being left behind.

Is the effort worth it? We might bring in more clients but are we any happier? Too often, the answer is “no”.

How do we get back to the way it used to be when a lawyer’s practice grew naturally? By getting out of your own way and letting things happen, instead of constantly trying to make them happen.

It starts with letting go of assumptions that don’t serve us and realizing that marketing can not only be organic, for sustained success and true contentment, it must be. Marketing can never be something you loathe or feel like you “have to do.” It cannot be something you do, it must be an expression of who you are.

Leo Babauta, who writes the Zen Habits blog, reminds us that sustained success and contentment don’t come from following the herd or from doing things you resist doing but feel you must, they come from delivering value, something my father didn’t need to read, he just did.


Are you branding your law firm? Here’s why you shouldn’t.


When one of your clients has a friend or business contact who needs a lawyer, they’ll hand their friend your business card (we hope) and say, “Here, call my lawyer”.

Notice they don’t say, “Here, call my law firm.”

Your clients have a relationship with you, not your firm. Even if you are a partner, your brand is “you” and “you” is what you should be promoting.

If permitted, you should have your own web site or blog, your own social media accounts, your own domain name, and your own email account (

If all you do is promote and brand your firm, what happens if you leave the firm or the firm disbands?

Your brand is valuable. It should be protected, nurtured, and grown.

(Note, the above photo is a business card from lawyer James Rains, circa 1857. It says, “Will practice in any of the Courts, and attend promptly to the collection of claims.” It looks like he was a partner in the firm of “Kernan & Rains,” yet the card promotes Mr. Rains.)


Do lawyers need a blog?


The Attorney Marketing Center web site launched in 1998 and transitioned to a blog in 2007. At that time, I wrote an article detailing the change, David’s Website Diary, and promised updates. To be honest, I forgot about the article and didn’t update it until today.

Sorry, but you didn’t miss much.

From a technological standpoint, not much has changed since I switched to the blog format. I’ve changed the color and layout and added some new plug-ins, mostly having to do with social media integration, but not much else.

My site has grown because I focused on creating content, not on the latest bells and whistles. Content creates value for visitors, allows you to demonstrate your expertise, and brings traffic from search engines and from word of mouth. And so the number of subscribers to my newsletter has grown and the number of blog subscribers has grown and I have continued to sell products and services.

Do you need a blog? If you want to get more clients online I think you do.

A blog has several advantages over a static web site. As you update your content, search engines are notified and they bring visitors. As those visitors see the solutions you provide, they may (a) take the next step toward hiring you, (b) connect with you by subscribing to your newsletter or your blog feed or commenting on your posts, or (c) tell others about you via social media.

Your blog allows prospects and referral sources to see you “in action”. Your content is not just puffery about how great you are it is an exemplar of your abilities. As visitors become familiar with your style and hear your “voice,” as they get to know and trust you, your preeminence grows, your traffic grows, and your client base grows.

You can set up a blog yourself  in about an hour. WordPress makes is easy. There are many free and inexpensive “getting stated” videos available and you can hire people inexpensively to do it for you. Contact me if you would like some referrals.

Once you have your own blog, you control it; you don’t have to wait for tech support to do updates for you, you can do them yourself. It’s as quick and simple as using a web browser. And, other than paying for hosting (under $10/month), it’s free.

What about content–do you have enough to say? Trust me, you have enough. There is an endless amount of material you can supply. Everything from posts about the law and procedure in your practice areas, success stories you helped created, general business (or consumer) advice, guest posts from experts (referral sources) in allied fields, and much more. A post can be as short as a few paragraphs and as simple as you commenting on something you found on another web site or blog or in the news. And you can outsource content creation, too.

A blog may seem to be a big commitment but think of it as the front door to your online office. You won’t be there 24/7 but your presence will be. If you write an offline newsletter, publish articles, or do any public speaking or networking, you are already doing the things that are done online through a blog.

If you have a web site, you have something you can point to and that’s good. But you have to do the pointing. If you want free traffic, you need a blog.


Posting to two twitter accounts: what do you use?


posting to two twitter accountsI have two twitter accounts, one for The Attorney Marketing Center and one for my personal blog (about network marketing and internet marketing). It’s more work to have two twitter accounts, but attorneys who want information about marketing their legal services is a completely different market from internet marketers, and thus, two accounts

Follow me on twitter and I’ll follow you back (if you have something intelligent to say–kidding. . .).

I’ve been using to tweet for one account and to simultaneously post facebook status updates. I don’t see a way to use to update two twitter accounts, however, and am looking for an alternative solution, both for desktop and my iPhone. I’m looking at tweetdeck and hootsuite, among others.

What do you use and recommend for posting to multiple twitter accounts? Add your comments to this post (and re-tweet it!)


Are you pursuing your dreams like Paul Potts did?


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Never, Never, Never, Never give up!


Where would our world be if these people gave up? Think about these people the next time you’re thinking about quitting.

As a young man, Abraham Lincoln went to war a captain and returned a private. Afterward, he was a failure as a businessman. As a lawyer in Springfield, he was too impractical and temperamental to be a success. He turned to politics and was defeated in his first try for the legislature, again defeated in his first attempt to be nominated for congress, defeated in his application to be commissioner of the General Land Office, defeated in the senatorial election of 1854, defeated in his efforts for the vice-presidency in 1856, and defeated in the senatorial election of 1858. He later became the 16th President of the United States of America.

Winston Churchill failed sixth grade. He was subsequently defeated in every election for public office until he became Prime Minister at the age of 62. He later wrote, “Never give in, never give in, never, never, never, never – in nothing, great or small, large or petty – never give in except to convictions of honor and good sense. Never, Never, Never, Never give up.”

Sigmund Freud was booed from the podium when he first presented his ideas to the scientific community of Europe. He returned to his office and kept on writing.

Robert Sternberg received a C in his first college introductory-psychology class. His teacher commented that “there was a famous Sternberg in psychology and it was obvious there would not be another.” Three years later Sternberg graduated with honors from Stanford University with exceptional distinction in psychology, summa cum laude, and Phi Beta Kappa. In 2002, he became President of the American Psychological Association.

Charles Darwin gave up a medical career and was told by his father, “You care for nothing but shooting, dogs and rat catching.” In his autobiography, Darwin wrote, “I was considered by all my masters and my father, a very ordinary boy, rathe below the common standard of intellect.” Clearly, he evolved.

Thomas Edison’s teachers said he was “too stupid to learn anything.” He was fired from his first two jobs for being “non-productive.” As an inventor, Edison made 1,000 unsuccessful attempts at inventing the light bulb. When a reporter asked, “How did it feel to fail 1,000 times?” Edison replied, “I didn’t fail 1,000 times. The light bulb was an invention with 1,000 steps.”

Albert Einstein did not speak until he was 4-years-old and did not read until he was 7. His parents thought he was “sub-normal,” and one of his teachers described him as “mentally slow, unsociable, and adrift forever in foolish dreams.” He was expelled from school and was refused admittance to the Zurich Polytechnic School. He did eventually learn to speak and read. Even to do a little math.

Louis Pasteur was only a mediocre pupil in undergraduate studies and ranked 15th out of 22 students in chemistry.

Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before he succeeded.

R. H. Macy failed seven times before his store in New York City caught on.

F. W. Woolworth was not allowed to wait on customers when he worked in a dry goods store because, his boss said, “he didn’t have enough sense.”

When Bell Telephone was struggling to get started, its owners offered all their rights to Western Union for $100,000. The offer was disdainfully rejected with the pronouncement, “What use could this company make of an electrical toy.” How many of you have a telephone today?

Rocket scientist Robert Goddard found his ideas bitterly rejected by his scientific peers on the grounds that rocket propulsion would not work in the rarefied atmosphere of outer space.

An expert said of Vince Lombardi: “He possesses minimal football knowledge and lacks motivation.” Lombardi would later write, “It’s not whether you get knocked down; it’s whether you get back up.”

Babe Ruth is famous for his past home run record, but for decades he also held the record for strikeouts. He hit 714 home runs and struck out 1,330 times in his career (about which he said, “Every strike brings me closer to the next home run.”).

Hank Aaron went 0 for 5 his first time at bat with the Milwaukee Braves.

Stan Smith was rejected as a ball boy for a Davis Cup tennis match because he was “too awkward and clumsy.” He went on to clumsily win Wimbledon and the US Open…and eight Davis Cups.

Tom Landry, Chuck Noll, Bill Walsh, and Jimmy Johnson accounted for 11 of the 19 Super Bowl victories from 1974 to 1993. They also share the distinction of having the worst records of first-season head coaches in NFL history – they didn’t win a single game.

Johnny Unitas’s first pass in the NFL was intercepted and returned for a touchdown. Joe Montana’s first pass was also intercepted. And while we’re on quarterbacks, during his first season Troy Aikman threw twice as many interceptions (18) as touchdowns (9) . . . oh, and he didn’t win a single game. You think there’s a lesson here?

After Carl Lewis won the gold medal for the long jump in the 1996 Olympic games, he was asked to what he attributed his longevity, having competed for almost 20 years. He said, “Remembering that you have both wins and losses along the way. I don’t take either one too seriously.”

Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor because “he lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” He went bankrupt several times before he built Disneyland. In fact, the proposed park was rejected by the city of Anaheim on the grounds that it would only attract riffraff.

Charles Schultz had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Oh, and Walt Disney wouldn’t hire him.

After Fred Astaire’s first screen test, the memo from the testing director of MGM, dated 1933, read, “Can’t act. Can’t sing. Slightly bald. Can dance a little.” He kept that memo over the fire place in his Beverly Hills home.  Astaire once observed that “when you’re experimenting, you have to try so many things before you choose what you want, that you may go days getting nothing but exhaustion.” And here is the reward for perseverance: “The higher up you go, the more mistakes you are allowed. Right at the top, if you make enough of them, it’s considered to be your style.”

After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, “Why don’t you stop wasting people’s time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?” It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.

When Lucille Ball began studying to be actress in 1927, she was told by the head instructor of the John Murray Anderson Drama School, “Try any other profession.”

The first time Jerry Seinfeld walked on-stage at a comedy club as a professional comic, he looked out at the audience, froze, and forgot the English language. He stumbled through “a minute-and a half” of material and was jeered offstage. He returned the following night and closed his set to wild applause.

After Harrison Ford’s first performance as a hotel bellhop in the film Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round, the studio vice-president called him in to his office. “Sit down kid,” the studio head said, “I want to tell you a story. The first time Tony Curtis was ever in a movie he delivered a bag of groceries. We took one look at him and knew he was a movie star.” Ford replied, “I thought you were supposed to think that he was a grocery delivery boy.” The vice president dismissed Ford with “You ain’t got it kid, you ain’t got it… now get out of here.”

Michael Caine’s headmaster told him, “You will be a laborer all your life.”

Charlie Chaplin was initially rejected by Hollywood studio chiefs because his pantomime was considered “nonsense.”

Decca Records turned down a recording contract with The Beatles with the  evaluation, “We don’t like their sound. Groups of guitars are on their way out.” After Decca rejected the Beatles, Columbia records followed suit.

In 1954, Jimmy Denny, manager of the Grand Ole Opry, fired Elvis Presley after one performance. He told Presley, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere, son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”

Beethoven handled the violin awkwardly and preferred playing his own compositions instead of improving his technique. His teacher called him “hopeless as a composer.” And, of course, you know that he wrote five of his greatest symphonies while completely deaf.

Van Gogh sold only one painting during his life. And this, to the sister of one of his friends, for 400 francs (approximately $50). This didn’t stop him from completing over 800 paintings.

Leo Tolstoy flunked out of college. He was described as both “unable and unwilling to learn.” No doubt a slow developer.

Louisa May Alcott, author of Little Women, was encouraged to find work as a servant by her family.

Emily Dickinson had only seven poems published in her lifetime.

18 publishers turned down Richard Bach’s story about a “soaring eagle.” Macmillan finally published Jonathan Livingston Seagull in 1970. By 1975 it had sold more than 7 million copies in the U.S. alone.

21 publishers rejected Richard Hooker’s humorous war novel, M*A*S*H. He had worked on it for seven years.

27 publishers rejected Dr. Seuss’s first book, “To Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street.”

Jack London received six hundred rejection slips before he sold his first story.

Let’s end with Woody Allen: “I don’t want to achieve immortality through my work. I want to achieve it through not dying. Eighty percent of success is showing up.”

The message? Don’t ever give up. Don’t let anyone stop you from achieving success. Keep going, don’t lose faith, and don’t ever quit.