Feeling worn out as a solo

So on Thursday May 13th at 3pm , back by popular demand, I'm hosting another great tele-seminar entitled "How To Predictably Grow A Small Law Firm 25-35% This Year While Enjoying More Control, More Free Time, Better Cases & More Bottom Line Net Profits" and on the registration form we included a space to let me know what is the most important law firm management or law firm marketing question you have that you want to be sure I address on the call.  The responses have been pretty amazing.  Everything from lawyers who have plateaued at just below $1mm and can't seem to break-through, to new lawyers who are struggling to keep heads above water. 

Here's one particularly touching question that I just couldn't make her wait until Thursday to start helping her with:

Betsy Wrote:
I'm just starting my business, and I have a part-time paralegal. I am feeling so worn out wearing the hats of receptionist, secretary, and paralegal, as well as doing the rainmaking. do you have any advice on how I keep up my energy and get my business to the point (quickly) where I can afford the support staff? thanks, rjon.

My Response:
We’ll definitely be covering these points on Thursday's call.  An important question for you to think about between now and then:

What are you actually accomplishing with your time each day as you wear all of your hats?  Notice I did not ask what are you doing, I asked what are you actually accomplishing?

Bear in mind the four primary things you should be accomplishing, even at the expense of everything else, are:

1.) Generating revenues to the firm (this means being sure the work gets done, delivered and you get paid for it).

2.) Attracting more work to the firm – ideally enough work to enable you to be more selective about the quality of the work & clients you accept.

3.) Monitoring you key management systems to avoid conflicts of interest, lost files, trust account, statutes of limitations and your six key numbers; and

4.) Keeping track of your weekly scores, i.e. the financial, personal & professional performance of the firm so you can spot problems & opportunities every week instead of only every month, or only every quarter, or only ever once-a-year by which time it’s too late to easily do a course correction.

 
With this in mind, go back and reconsider your answer to my question above.

I suspect the cause of the problem you’re having is that you’re working your ass off trying to make a broken system work.  Kind of like asking me how to keep up your energy so you can win a bicycle race on a bicycle with flat tires, irregular-shaped wheels, bent frame and a few gears missing from the sprocket.  Sure you can keep pedaling harder and take energy supplements to eventually finish the race but my advice is going to be to learn how to fix the bike.

My advice is also going to include words of encouragement to let you know “it’s not you, it’s them!”   In other words, it’s them (your law school, your Bar, your CLE instructors, your first employer, etc.) who should have taught you about how to manage a small law firm so you wouldn’t have to start the race on a broken bicycle in the first place. 

Oh well, you can’t teach what you don’t know so it's no wonder this topic gets precious little or no attention at all in law school or in most CLE programs.  At least you recognize it’s broken and can now do something about it.  Sadly, many lawyers finish the whole race on a broken bike always wondering why their lives have to be so hard, frustrated to see other less-qualified racers pass them by with apparent ease, and at the end with so little to show for all their efforts and sacrifices along the way.

This is why I created my very popular, we’ve only ever heard praise for it and never a request for refund even though it comes with 100% money back guarantee that you’ll thank me for it program, entitled “How To Start A Successful Law Firm In 90 Days Or Less”

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