Is balance realistic for lawyers?
How can lawyers create space in their lives for work, family, vacations, and living fully, with clients and scaling their practice?
Joining me for this conversation is Steve Fretzin.
Driven, focused and passionate about helping attorneys to reach their full potential, Steve Fretzin is regarded as the premier coach, skills trainer and keynote speaker on business development for attorneys. Over the past 17 years, Steve Fretzin has devoted his career to helping lawyers master the art of business development to achieve their business goals and the peace of mind that comes with developing a successful law practice.
In addition to writing four books on legal marketing and business development, Steve has a highly rated podcast BE THAT LAWYER and has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, Crain’s and Entrepreneur.com. He has appeared on NBC News, WGN Radio and has written articles for Legal Business World, Attorney at Law Magazine, the National Law Review, the American Bar Association, and the Illinois State Bar Association. You can also find his monthly column in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin.
Steve gives listeners actionable tips on:
- [1:55] Business development vs. marketing
- [4:40] Why sales can feel so icky
- [7:40] How to find balance between all of the moving pieces of being a lawyer and running a firm
- [12:40] How to re-plan and re-evaluate as business changes
- [16:40] Putting systems and programs in place to create more balance
- [22:55] The power of delegating
Resources mentioned in this episode:
Connect with Steve here:
Connect with me
[00:00:00] Karin: This is council cast, part of the Legal Talk Network, and I’m your host, Karin Conroy. When you face a complex case outside your expertise, you bring in a co-counsel for next level results. When you want to engage, expand, elevate your firm, you bring in a marketing co-counsel. In this podcast, I bring in marketing experts who each answer one big question to help your firm achieve more.
[00:00:23] Here’s today’s guest.
[00:00:27] Steve: Yeah, my name’s Steve Freson. I’m a four time author, podcast host of Be That Lawyer, and most importantly, I work with lawyers every single day to help. Uh, build the practice of their dreams, uh, through business development and marketing, coaching and training. Most lawyers don’t learn, learn business development in law school or at the law firm level with me.
[00:00:48] They do. Uh, they realize that, uh, winging it is not a great strategy and having processes, plans and execution in place and accountability to achieve goals that anything’s. Steve,
[00:01:00] Karin: the, the part that you left out is that you are also a former guest of the podcast, . This is your That
[00:01:06] Steve: is true. I did that out.
[00:01:07] How can I forget? Oh my God. That’s an important
[00:01:10] Karin: part of you. You should be adding that into your bio. That’s an important part for everyone to know. . Yeah.
[00:01:15] Steve: Yeah. So, but on the two
[00:01:16] Karin: time, Well, we have so much in common. I feel like it’s, we are kind of not quite overlapping, but definitely, um, we have so many.
[00:01:27] Topics and information and clients and work in common, but we do slightly different things. And so that’s part of what we’re gonna talk about. So, um, we are talking about this before we started recording, and I think where all of these pieces of marketing and business development and all of the parts of running a law firm get overwhelming.
[00:01:51] And so I think the, the question that we’re gonna talk about today is, is balance. Realistic for lawyers. And so, so let’s start with, let’s start by talking about what, first of all is the difference between the kind of work you do and the kind of work we do. So business development versus marketing. I know you have a great article that you just, uh, wrote on your site about this, so let’s start by figuring that out first.
[00:02:15] Steve: All right. So I, I wanted to define those two things because lawyers love to call business development marketing, and they’ll call anything Yeah. Business development or marketing, which is better than sales. That’s the, that’s the evil word they never want to use, so they’ll, they’ll figure out any other word other than sales to call what they’re doing.
[00:02:32] But the reality is that the way I see it is business development. Is relationships that are generated through your time and your efforts. So that’s meeting for coffees, it’s meeting with clients. It’s, it’s, you know, talking with people to, through a buying decision. It’s all of the, the soft skills that go along with one to one communication that develops business.
[00:02:54] New relationships, strategic partnerships that elevates how you build business. Marketing is more and how is that not sales? Oh no, it’s sales. We just don’t call it that because of the snowflakes and the, the tender little dandelions that, uh, are the, are the lawyers out there? It, you know, sales technically.
[00:03:14] Okay. That all being said, that all being said, I also teach what’s called sales free selling and lawyers go, What’s that? That’s where we, Right. I want that. Yeah, we want that. Right? So it’s how do we, how do we develop relationships? How do we. Ask questions, How do we listen em, understand, empathize, and, and, and ultimately make people more comfortable with us, and then believe in us that we’re problem solvers so that we don’t have to sell.
[00:03:42] So instead of having to convince or pitch to get business, what I’m teaching are the soft skills. So we don’t have to do that. And so while, yeah, you know, we’re goofing about sales, the reality is that there are. To do it in a way that doesn’t make you feel icky. And that’s what lawyers are most interested in with me, is they don’t ever wanna feel like a salesman or feel icky.
[00:04:02] And so I’ve worked my whole career to try to work through process and language to make that, uh, palpable for them. Okay. I
[00:04:09] Karin: feel like that’s the title for your next book, How to Not Feel Icky, , How
[00:04:13] Steve: to Not Feel Icky. Right. That’s, that could be number five. Yes. Cause I, I’m dying to write another book after the four.
[00:04:20] I’ve just put out like , I just need to take a break. That’s what I’m thinking. But I
[00:04:24] Karin: feel like there is actually two sides. To that icky feeling and the, the, on the potential client side, it’s icky too to feel like you are in that used car salesman, uh, position where you then it has been reduced down to price.
[00:04:44] And so I feel like those are all red flags that you’re doing it all wrong. And so sales can be totally rewarding and completely empty of that icky feeling if you’re doing it.
[00:04:57] Steve: Well, let’s talk about the way the world has changed in the last 20 years and this, This will help lawyers to really understand.
[00:05:03] Why we don’t need to do sales anymore. All right. And that is, yeah, buyers have changed. So what are buyers all about? You’re a buyer and I’m a buyer and everyone listening’s a buyer. We buy things, okay? We don’t wanna be sold. What we want is we want price and we want information, and we wanna be consulted and and told what to do.
[00:05:20] Here’s the solution cetera. Basically, we’re looking for. The problem is then what happens is people are giving you the prescription before the diagnosis, and that’s not necessarily a good situation either, right? Like walking into doctor’s office with a hurt arm, he says, We’ll just cut that off and that’ll take care of it.
[00:05:36] Well, don’t you want to hear what happened? Don’t you wanna ask me a few questions? I might be helpful. So the idea that we don’t have to go in and do pitch meetings right? And do little finger quotes. Yeah. You know, pitch meetings anymore, we can go in. Yeah. And we. Ask que, build strong relationships, ask questions, get buy in, that the problems they have are the solutions that we re, that we can resolve.
[00:05:58] If so, keep moving forward. If not, let’s move it out and figure out who might be a better fit. So yeah, that’s really turning it around on the buyers to say, Look, I’m not telling you you can’t. I’m just telling you, before we talk about solutions, let’s talk about the problems and let’s talk about how deep that rabbit hole goes.
[00:06:16] And that’s really the new way to sell, is to not sell, but rather to focus on the diagnosis. Yeah. Yeah.
[00:06:24] Karin: So how does this, uh, relate and tie into marketing? And then I’m going to bring this to the big question after. We kind of define this, this piece
[00:06:35] Steve: of it. Well, do we wanna define marketing now that we’ve defined sort of business development and Yeah.
[00:06:40] That way
[00:06:40] Karin: then put it, Yeah. Compare together business development. Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
[00:06:44] Steve: Okay. So I, the way that, and again, I’m not a marketing. Person every day, like, like you are in the sense that, yeah, I’m not, you know, not doing websites, I’m not doing, you know, social media necessarily. I’m not doing, I mean, I do all those things for myself and I, I can, you know, talk intelligently about them, but that’s not my, my jam.
[00:07:03] So, but marketing is how do we build our brand? How do we get the information? Out there so that people know us. It’s like, you know the billboard, you keep passing on the road. Eventually people know, you know you’re a lawyer, that you do it personal injury, right? Or whatever it is, because they’ve seen it over and over again.
[00:07:19] So when I post on social media, when I put out my newsletter, when I, uh, write an article in the Chicago Daily Law Bulletin, or publish a book or have a podcast, that’s all marketing, that’s all supporting the efforts I’m making on the business development. So what I’m saying is if you do business development on one side and marketing on the other, and you can do them both equally well or reasonably well, you’re gonna, they’re gonna meet at the peak of the mountain, and that’s where a lot of times the promise land is for lawyers that have regular reoccurring business coming in.
[00:07:51] They just need to maintain it. Okay, so
[00:07:54] Karin: that leads perfectly into this the big question where you’ve got your business development efforts, you’ve got your marketing efforts, you should have the right team for these people. Because at some point, um, actually this is kind of answering the, the big question.
[00:08:08] So you’ve got all these different parts. Now you’ve also got. Your cases, your current clients, you’ve got your past clients you have to address, you’ve got your staff, people, you have got, um, the rest of your life, you know, maybe your family, whatever. So how do you or can you find balance with all of these things?
[00:08:26] And if so, how?
[00:08:28] Steve: The first thing people probably need to do is consider, like, what does balance mean for. So what balance means for me is different than what balance might mean for someone who’s working at a large firm billing 2000 hours. They might think if I can just get that down to 1800, I’m gonna have balance.
[00:08:43] Other people would say, Yeah, I could get, you know, up to 1800. You know, that would be so, yeah, I have too much balance. I don’t have enough, I don’t have enough work. Okay. So everybody’s got it. It, So I’d say, you know, sometimes a good way to do it, and this is not easy to do, but it’s a good way to do it, is to work backwards.
[00:08:59] To say, This is the way I want my life to. This is the time I wanna spend with my family. These are the vacations I want to take. This is how much I wanna make. This is, this is how, when I wanna retire, all that. And then figure out, reverse it. Reverse, you know, kind of created from that. And then figure out, does that mean I have to work for myself?
[00:09:18] Does that mean I need to stay at a big firm? Do I need to move to the midmarket? If so, what’s the right culture? Do they care? You know, balance. Are they just trying to crush hours and, and, and make money and that’s all they care about, right? The billable hour. So there’s so many different factors, uh, Karin talking, getting through this.
[00:09:36] It’s, it’s, it’s, there’s a lot that goes into figuring out what is balance and maybe what are the priorities that you have in your life, and how can you, you know, construct that around those prior. Yeah.
[00:09:47] Karin: And honestly I feel like this is the one area where we do have crossover because I know that when you initially sit down with your clients, and we’ve talked about this in the past, and, and same for us, we are gonna start with that and we start, we call it strategy meetings and you know, maybe that’s what you guys call it or some other word, but it’s just having a plan.
[00:10:07] And so when you look at all these life coaches that are all over social media or, and they’re talking to anyone of any kind of, You know, whether they’re working for a corporate, they’ve got their own business or whatever, It all starts with having a plan and having that defined idea of what you’re trying to accomplish.
[00:10:25] Because you can’t get there if you haven’t figured out where you’re going , Like how, how is it gonna, how are you gonna, how you gonna know it’s successful if you haven’t defined success to begin with? So the first idea is to say, Okay, what is, what does that mean for me? And like you said, Life success is so different for some people.
[00:10:45] Some people wanna make sure they’re taking care of their parents, Um, and so making sure that they’ve got that all set up and whatever the case might be. Some people, you know, have a totally different life plan. So figuring that out first is key and lay, and that’s the same for business development. So for your sales plan, your marketing plan, any of those things, you have to lay it all out and set those, uh, goals in place.
[00:11:12] Steve: Yeah, and one of the challenges I have, and, and this is, you know, not an ego thing, this is just the reality. I’m, I’m working with lawyers that are highly ambitious. I’m working with lawyers who want to be business development assassins or rainmakers in their, at their firm. And so we work on that together.
[00:11:29] Guess what? We hit it. We do it. We’re we’re getting into the millions. We’re getting into the big numbers, and now they’re like, Okay, now what? Now I have all this business and I’m getting given work from other people, and now I not seeing my family, and now I don’t have that balance. It’s like, What did you do to me?
[00:11:44] Fredson, right? I go, Well, yeah, we need to consider. That the work coming in from your partners needs to be managed and handled in a way, uh, that doesn’t hurt relationships, but where there’s an understanding of what, you know, what work you’re gonna handle. You’ve gotta, um, figure out how you’re going to delegate down the work that’s under your pay grade or that, uh, you know how to have a team atmosphere versus an individual atmosphere.
[00:12:09] There’s all these moving parts. Um, to take all those spinning plates and, and, and let a few of them crash around you, but keep the main ones running, uh, spinning. And, and that’s not easy to do. So that’s where a lot of lawyers are finding challenges. It’s like they’re almost a victim of their own success.
[00:12:27] And so we always are trying to, you know, work with them on re reevaluating, replanning, looking at delegation, looking at time management and being an expert at that, as well as business development because they, they go hand in hand.
[00:12:41] Karin: So that is a great, uh, point and something that’s been coming up a lot lately in my conversations is this idea of.
[00:12:51] This part of the definition of marketing that a lot of people gloss over, which is you make a plan, but then you reevaluate and adjust as necessary. And that second part is the most important part because when you first start, Your plan is somewhat of a guess. Uh, and so you’re, you’re aiming and you’re hoping to get somewhere in a general vicinity, but then if you’re not readjusting and, and changing your plan based on what’s working and what’s not working, then the whole thing is, is pointless.
[00:13:24] So how frequently do you sit down? and re plan and, and reevaluate and refine your plans as, um, they’re going on.
[00:13:38] Steve: Yeah, so it’s happening on a fairly regular basis, so, We, we identify the main areas, for example, of business development and, and I’m all about helping lawyers figure out where the low hanging fruit is.
[00:13:49] So it’s not about doing everything. It’s about picking the two or three things that are gonna be most fruitful to grow business, to generate brand awareness, uh, to build that book of business. That’s where, you know, having your own clients today has never been more important. You don’t want to have 10 different bosses, meaning.
[00:14:05] Clients and your partners right. Are all your bosses at this point. Yeah. You’re being told what to do every day. Sure. So the freedom and the control that happens with, with your own book of. But once that happens and you’re getting the momentum in the right place, then we have to start looking at, at maybe trimming that away and say, Okay, so you’ve been doing three things.
[00:14:22] It’s taking x number of hours a week or a month to do, You’re bringing in all this business. All right, so let’s, let’s stop doing one of those three things. Let’s focus on the two that are working. So, for example, a great one of this. It for lawyers at, at, at, at mid-market or small, small mid-market, large firms is cross marketing.
[00:14:41] So now you’re generating revenue for the firm. You’re doing a little bit of management on the client relationship side, but you’re not doing all the billable work. It’s all going to your partners and you’re feeding them. And, uh, one of my friends who’s in the, uh, he was a former managing partner of a very large firm, said, I’d always rather be a distribution center than a warehouse.
[00:15:01] So, yes. Famous, famous Tony Naar. Tony, if you’re listening. So he’s with, um, Pelli. There I stand way . He’s listening somewhere. Uh, yeah. But the point of that is what a wonderful way to grow business, to build originations and then to not be then accountable to have to do the a thousand, thousand hours of, of, of work that are associated with what you’re bringing in.
[00:15:25] So a number of my clients find that they’re enjoy. In feeling more freedom and balance from being a business developer than a biller. And so their goal is to figure out how do I, you know, a cross market. And maybe the second one is, how do I get quality, high level quality introductions? From the clients that love me, from the people that I’ve done great work for, that I have a great relationship for.
[00:15:49] And lawyers would love to say, just say, Hey, all my clients love me. They send me work all the time. If you’ve got that type of gig, you know ACEs good, good, good job. Most lawyers, they’re not getting it the way they used to. People are just too busy. Sure. So now we have to come up with. Strategies and ways and language to get business, to get quality introductions in a non, again, salesy way.
[00:16:11] Sales. And then it almost becomes the client. Yeah. So it’s more like the client’s idea, but we have to bring it up in a way that they’re gonna buy into it. And uh, and that can be a very easy way to get, you know, another corporation, another general counsel, another CEO that is gonna be on your roster without doing a whole lot of.
[00:16:28] Karin: Yeah. Well it sounds like you’re talking a lot about another one of my fa favorite things, which is just having really great systems in place, you know, and making sure that you have all of the background things in, in a very organized way so that you don’t have to be doing every single tiny little detail.
[00:16:49] And I know we were talking about this before, where having those systems and being super. It can really may be the difference between success or failure. And I know for myself, I had these amazing, uh, notebooks that I used when I was getting my mba, and it helped me to organize my calendar. And I was, I did a FEMBA program, which is a fully employed, so I was working nine to five and then going to school in the evening.
[00:17:15] And so it was insane. And if I didn’t have everything organized and have it all in a, like, to the point where it was a little bit o c. . I would not, I, I feel like that is probably the number one success that I, that the reason that I was successful with my MBA is just keeping my, keeping it clear in my head.
[00:17:34] So do you coach your, your clients through, uh, kind of systems and organizations and how to get all of this stuff in place?
[00:17:42] Steve: Yeah. So without that, we’re in a real predicament. So yeah, we are talking about delegation, we’re talking about organization, we’re talking about automation. And I’ll give you one example that has been a game changer for me and my clients are getting it.
[00:17:58] Uh, every chance they, they can get for me is, uh, scheduling. So I wanna schedule, uh, Karen with you, um, uh, uh, uh, a 30 minute Zoom. So I give you, you know, Hey, let’s get it together. You say, Sure, Steve, what works for you? Then I say, You know, hey, these dates work for me. You come back, you know, three days later and say, you know, you know, those don’t work.
[00:18:16] Uh, how about these dates? Those don’t work for me. All right? So now I’ve got five, six emails in with you, but I’m doing that with 10 other people too at the same time, right? So now we’ve got things like Calendly, acuity. I’ve got mine working through Law Mad, for example, where I don’t schedule anything with anyone anymore.
[00:18:33] It’s done. All they do is get my link. It’s a customized link that goes to my website that does it. And I’m out and
[00:18:40] Karin: I’m so saving up in myself and in their time zone, which that I love too, because you don’t have to be like, Okay, did you mean 11 central? Or, I’m in Pacific. And so, Oh gosh, that is such a nightmare.
[00:18:51] It’s like way too much math. ,
[00:18:54] Steve: but, But smart, smart automations like, like scheduling automations. Practice management automations, CRM automations. Uh, I have something for my email called Boomerang, so I’m giving all these free, free, uh, sponsors out. But you know, Boomerang, so I love Boomerang. If, if I email somebody.
[00:19:11] Right. And, and I want to know that they did or didn’t respond to me in, let’s say a week. A I’m giving ’em a week. Yeah. All right. To respond to me. Yep. They don’t respond to me. It pops up at the top of my inbox and says, This person didn’t respond to you. Now I send them the next email to, to follow up. I don’t have to remember it.
[00:19:26] I don’t have to have a note about it. I have to have a post sticky somewhere. In fact, I have no paper if you look at my office. I have zero paper. There’s no paper to use. A um, the other
[00:19:35] Karin: nice thing that I love about that, Yeah, I was gonna talk about the remarkable next . And the other nice thing that I love about the Boomerang is, especially for sales, because I tend to enjoy most of sales.
[00:19:48] But it’s the follow up process that I find a little painful and you’re sitting there wondering what they think and all of that stuff. And so I had to remove all of the emotion out of the follow up process. And Boomerang did that where I don’t wanna even see their emails. Sitting in my inbox for more than three minutes, unless it’s time for me to do a follow up.
[00:20:08] Then I send the templated follow up, and then I remove it from my inbox. So I don’t have to see it. I don’t think about it. There’s no emotion in involved in it at all. I don’t, and I literally will oftentimes forget about it until it pops up in my inbox again, and I think there’s something. Much healthier about that than sitting there thinking, Oh, I wonder what they’re thinking and, you know, did, did I say something wrong?
[00:20:31] Or, you know, all of that
[00:20:32] Steve: stuff. Yeah. And so we, we need to come up with, with organization and automation and, and so maybe getting to the point where a lot of lawyers, their email runs their day. Their email dictates how they’re gonna, how their whole day’s gonna go. And that’s not what any efficiency expert would say is the way to run your day or ra run your week.
[00:20:51] So my goof has always been, Did you have the weaker the week? Have you? And for most lawyers, it’s the latter. I mean that they’re not, they’re not running their week, they’re just, they’re just playing, put out the fires all day. And you’re not gonna be in a position to market, business, develop or anything and stay organized if that’s how you’re allowing your life to be.
[00:21:11] Karin: Yeah, much less just feel healthy and feel like, you know, going back to the whole topic, feel like you have any kind of balance in your life where it’s like, okay, you know, this just, I feel like I can breathe.
[00:21:21] Steve: Yeah. And that’s a great lead into, you know, a book, like getting things done and not if we’re talking about that an hour or later, but, you know, David Allen is a game changer for me.
[00:21:31] I mean, , Karen, I’m, I’m a feather on the wind, like I’m an entrepreneur through and through, so I’m floating all over the, I’ve got ideas, I’ve got business idea. I’ve got at least 12 inventions I’m never gonna do. I mean, this is the way that I’m built. All right. It just is. Right? And getting things done.
[00:21:47] You’re an idea guy. I’m an ideas man. You see, you know, like old times in 1920, Salesman. No. Right. The idea that, that I can run my life. I mean, I had stacks of business cards I had. Brochures. Yes. Mixed in with proposals mixed in with receipts mixed. I mean, my whole world was stacks of paper. All right. And you would say, Hey, Steve, there’s that, that guy, uh, John that you wanted to introduce me to, Who’s that?
[00:22:13] And I go, Oh, oh, gimme an hour. And I’d sit there for an hour looking through business mode, . So I, I wasn’t running my life properly until I ran, read and executed on that book. And it’s just an absolute game changer for me and for, and every client that I work with gets a copy of that book as a part of my package going out, because it’s, it, if you’re not able to stay organized and manage your time, then you’re just, you’re just, you’re gonna have a real hard time.
[00:22:39] It’s grow business in, in a sustainable way. Yeah. ,
[00:22:43] Karin: Yeah. It’s hard to even just sit down and get your day started and really accomplish anything in any meaningful way, cuz you’re just sort of overwhelmed to begin with. So tell us your kind of big takeaways from that book. What does he kind of talk about and, and why is that?
[00:22:56] Uh, you know, spoiler alert, that’s the, the book that Steve is recommending for this show. ,
[00:23:02] Steve: Yeah, it is. Spoiler alert. But, so think about this, we. Thousands and thousands of things hitting us and bombarding us all day long. Right. Coming into our heads. Yeah. Right. Emails, text, work, billable, you know, trial coming up.
[00:23:16] Okay. And so what David Allen talks about is breaking it into basically four, the four Ds. All right. The first D is do it. If it’s under two minutes and you can knock it out, do it. Just get it done, Knock it out and be done with it. You don’t have to look at it again. All right? Yes. I’ll meet you for lunch on Thursday.
[00:23:33] Done. It’s out. It’s gone. I don’t have to worry about it. The second one is defer it, and that doesn’t mean, uh, procrastinate. What that means is actually schedule time to do something that’s gonna take some brain work. So you’ve got a 20. To an hour, three hour, five hour brief or anything. You’ve gotta do, actually schedule time with yourself as though you’re scheduling time with someone else, but it’s you time and don’t, Yeah, blow it off.
[00:23:58] It’s like working out, blowing off your workouts. It’s not gonna work. You have to commit that when you put something down in your calendar that that’s when it’s gonna happen. And of course, if it emergency comes up, you, you don’t get rid of it, you just move it. Along, but don’t just keep moving it along in, in, you know, perpetuity forever.
[00:24:14] the third D is, is, uh, delegated and this is the one that lawyers really miss the boat on. Every single thing that you can delegate out of your life personally and business wise needs to be delegated. So I’m my wife. My wife catches me delegating all the time, and she gets annoyed. She’s like, You just delegated to me.
[00:24:34] I’m like, well, Yeah, that, I guess they just did that, didn’t I? , you know, I’m delegating to my teenager. I’m delegating to my cousin. Hey. Yeah. Will you set up that golfs time for us? Yeah, that’d be great. All right. Like, I’m just, I like, you know. That’s right. Just put it out there. But I have a virtual assistant, I have a marketing team.
[00:24:49] I have, you know, uh, automations in place, things that, that, that, so I don’t have to be the leader of everything all the time and doing all the small stuff. There’s a general rule too, that if you’re doing something at 20 to $50 an. And you’re doing that task, making copies, um, answering the phone, you, you, the list goes on and on.
[00:25:10] That’s something that would be a def situation. So the good news is it’s never been easier to find either assistance, virtual assistance helpers for very little money that can take for everything, you know, tent for everything these days. So you don’t have to do everything. I mean, I’m catching people.
[00:25:26] Karin: to jump. No, sorry. The, my favorite thing that I’ve delegated over the last couple years is laundry. So there is an, we’re in kind of a nice, tight, um, sort of suburban community and so there’s a bajillion houses around and there’s this service that where, and I’m sure most communities have this, but they, we put these giant laundry bags out on our front de step and they pick it up and the next day it’s back on our.
[00:25:53] Perfectly folded. They use like these machines, like you see where like at the gap it’s, where it’s, it’s not breaking the bank, right? It’s not exactly the, it’s definitely not breaking the bank. I could never be on top of it as much as that is, you know, And it gives me this freedom for, for hours in my day.
[00:26:10] And I hated laundry, hated it. Like I dreaded it and it made me miserable. So aside from the convenience and efficiency of it, like it makes me a healthier person, , when these other people are, you know, taking this off of my shoulders. So, you know, all of those little things that you look at and you’re like, Do I hate this so much that I’m willing to pay for it?
[00:26:31] Yeah. Then do it. Get done. Get it off
[00:26:33] Steve: your shoulders. So, so if you’re a lawyer listening to this and you’re billing $500 an hour and you’re, and you’re doing laundry and you hate doing laundry, and you’re gonna pay someone $50 to do your laundry a week. Exactly. Or a hundred dollars a week, you’re getting that back in spades on the billable hour and you’re sanity and you’re getting time back.
[00:26:53] So, you know, be smart about how you nicely folded . Yes. That’s really good too. That’s really good too. . Um, and let me just, let me wrap it up with, with the fourth D, which is drop it, which is there are things that you should not be doing at all that aren’t even delegatable. They’re just, you shouldn’t be surfing the web and looking on Amazon during the workday.
[00:27:15] If, if you need to get work done, don’t get distracted. Yeah. And understand there’s things that you don’t take on that third board position. Say no to things. Get comfortable saying no, you’re taking on too much and it’s not working out. You’re not getting the balance. Yes. And part of it’s your fault because you’re a yes person, which I get it.
[00:27:34] Like I love everybody and I wanna say yes to everybody, and I’m not playing that game anymore like that. Just, I wanna say yes to taking my wife to Italy. I wanna say yes to things that I really care about and that I can enjoy, not, you know, taking a third board. .
[00:27:50] Karin: Yeah. And I feel like this is the same kind of advice that we give our clients when we lay out a marketing strategy and we’re saying, we say, Okay, here’s what, how we’re gonna plan the next year.
[00:27:59] Granted, keep in mind we’re gonna make adjustments as we go along, but this quarter we’re gonna do X. Next quarter we’re gonna do Y, and then, As we’re going through next quarter and we’re planning for why, and all of a sudden out of left field you saw something on TikTok, we’re not gonna get distracted by that.
[00:28:16] And so, same for your life and the rest of all of your plans. You know, make sure that you have these ideas in mind and then you don’t get distracted by all of those things that you say yes to, that completely get in the way of the things that you really want in your life. So what’s one good thing that you know that works?
[00:28:37] Steve: Well, I’m gonna say something that you will agree with right away. And I mentioned earlier that I don’t have any paper and I, I mean, so, so much disorganization comes from that. So I’ve got my remarkable too, and I’m not paid by them. I’m not sponsored by them. They should be paying me. They should be paying you.
[00:28:57] But they don’t because they’ve got a killer product. And the killer product is, they do, It feels, it feels like paper. Everything is, is put in a folder. Everything is organized. Everything sinks. With Dropbox, everything sinks With Google Drive. It is insane. Even my book cover, which you guys can see in the background, or I’ll just hold it up.
[00:29:18] I created that book cover. On my remarkable two. Terrible, like, oh my gosh, that’s awesome. You know, caveman drawing. Yeah. Just a rough sketch. And then I gave it to, I gave it to my stepbrother rough sketch, but it was enough to give it to my stepbrother who’s an artist. And then within two days he said, Is this what you want?
[00:29:34] And that’s this. So, but a bang bottom boom. It’s just, it’s just an amazing, And think about this now, it’s not cheap. Right. You and I would agree. It’s not cheap. Yeah. Is a, It’s 12, 500 bucks. Is it Okay. Is a surgeon. That is, is, is, is, is saving people’s lives with a scalpel. Gonna complain about the price of an expensive scalpel.
[00:29:53] That works. That’s his favorite scalpel. Her favorite scalpel. No. Yep. This is a tool, right? Like anything’s a tool. And if you wanna be really efficient with your time and efficient with how you manage your workflow and your, and your notes that you take and everything that’s going on. Yeah. PDFs, loading and then writing on PDFs.
[00:30:10] Oh my God. And I’m not even using, Yeah, probably 20% of the functionality. Because I’m lazy in that. Yeah. In that sense.
[00:30:16] Karin: So I will add my, like my little nerdy, um, things because we, we’ve had a number of conversations now about this remarkable too. And, um, so I have templates that I’ve loaded in for all of my sales calls.
[00:30:30] These podcast episodes, but my to-do list, and I am kind of a stationary and paper freak. Like I love going into these little Japanese stores with this awesome paper and this, and I have very, very, very specific, uh, preferences about pens and the tips and all of that stuff. But, so I have tried everything.
[00:30:51] I’ve tried every kind of, I have tried the, uh, Cornell method. I have tried ev literally every kind of planner under the sun, and the problem is that I would have these notepads where I’m like taking notes on a phone call or taking notes for different things. And then I would have paper and, and it would get lost.
[00:31:10] And I have a notepad over here, a over there, and this is the only thing I’ve ever found that works where I’ve got all my notes. I can access this. Do you use the mobile? Because they did, you know, they have a mobile app and I pull it up all the time. I
[00:31:24] Steve: don’t, I mean, I, no, I, I mean, I have like the mobile app is on my phone in the sense of like, it’s, Yeah.
[00:31:30] If I need to like pull up something, like some notes to look at, but I didn’t, Are you actually putting notes on that’s, I used phone.
[00:31:36] Karin: No, not really. It’s, so basically I really like to hand write my to-do list cuz I like to cross things out and whatever. So I have my to-do list. But if I’m out somewhere and I’m like, what was that one thing?
[00:31:46] I like to just pull it up on my phone. Oh, there it is. You know? Yep. So yeah, I just reference, um, files and stuff within my remarkable, but that was a huge missing point, like where if I would be, you know, at my kids’ gymnastics class and my notepad was at. Oh, well, like I’m outta luck. So anyway, I don’t wanna make this too much of a commercial for remarkable, but it’s awesome.
[00:32:08] Highly recommended, and it totally works. It totally works to solve all of those like, organizational problems that I was having.
[00:32:16] Steve: Yeah, me too. Me too. I mean, I, I just, and I just love how nice and, you know, I’m a bit of an O C D need freak. Uh, and so the idea that I have an office where there’s no paper and I’ve.
[00:32:27] Yes, no folders. I’ve just got clean, clear desk and wood and in, in my, you know, my, uh, you know, podcasting equipment and all that. Like, it’s wonder. .
[00:32:36] Karin: Yeah. But at the same time, it, it lets you take notes where you feel like you’re handwriting them. So there’s times when I’m like, am writing out ideas and I’m handwriting ’em, or I’m sketching something like you’re describing.
[00:32:48] And that was the missing piece for me. Cuz like I can do that kind of stuff in Google Docs or whatever, but sometimes I need to feel like I’m writing something down and this is where that comes in. It’s awesome. Um,
[00:32:58] Steve: well one more, one more thing I wanna mention. One more thing. I wanna mention the eraser.
[00:33:03] So I’m a left. Yes. And I have terrible handwriting. My handwriting’s atrocious. Okay. The idea that I wrote a word, I write the word lawyer, and the why looks like something that you can’t even read. Okay. . I just quickly erase it and then I slowly write a why, so I can read it and, and yeah. And I don’t have, you know, it’s not a pen, it’s not a pencil.
[00:33:24] It’s not paper. I don’t. Eraser junk all over the place. Yes. It’s just so clean. I love it. Yeah,
[00:33:33] Karin: it is. Big fan. It’s awesome. Um, okay, so what’s one big takeaway that you’d like people to get? Cause we’ve been, we talked about a lot of stuff. We talked about tips and organization and balance and, um, I wrote down some stuff that we didn’t even get to cuz there’s not enough time in the day.
[00:33:47] But what’s the one big takeaway that you’d like people to get from this episode?
[00:33:52] Steve: Well, I’m gonna say something because I hear it from recruiters every single week, and it’s because I do this for a living, that having your own clients is the most important thing in your career as a lawyer, next to being a great lawyer.
[00:34:05] So be a great lawyer, number one. Number two is if you’re getting all of your work from everyone else, or you don’t know where your next client’s coming from, you don’t in that stress, in that lack of balance and that that just cranking out the bill of an hour, that isn’t a great way to live. Whether it’s marketing, whether it’s business development, whether it’s organization, whatever the case might be, really consider that you need to take some steps to get organized, to have strategy, to have process in place to develop your own clients.
[00:34:35] That’s, yeah, a big part of how you can develop that balance and develop the freedom and control in a legal career.
[00:34:43] Karin: That’s a really good, That’s really good advice. I feel like there’s all these different pieces, all these tools we’re talking about, but at the end of the day, you have to have your own book of business because otherwise somebody else is really running your business.
[00:34:55] Somebody else is really running your business. Yeah, exactly. Awesome. All right Steve, thank you. We will link to your new book, which is Legal Business Development Isn’t Rocket Science. Um, so we’ll link to that. Thank you for holding that up. We will also, I think we’ll link to the remarkable cuz we had a good chunk of our conversation about that, uh, and your website and all your great social media.
[00:35:18] And, uh, the book, of course. Uh, but thank you so much for being here. This was such a great conversation. I feel like there’s a million little nuggets of value that, that we were talking about that people are gonna get. Have tons of takeaways.
[00:35:30] Steve: Well, I appreciate you having me. This was an absolute pleasure.
[00:35:34] Karin: Thank you for listening to this episode of the Council Cast Podcast. Be sure to visit our [email protected] for the resources mentioned on the episode and to give us your feedback. If you enjoyed this episode, I would appreciate if you could rate and review the podcast on Apple and subscribe to your favorite podcast platform.
[00:35:52] See on the next one.