5 Things I’ve Learned About Scaling Law Firms By My 36th Birthday

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Usually I talk about target clients, online legal solutions and branding when it comes to scaling your law firm.

But today I’ve been reflecting on life (as you do around birthday time). I’ve discovered something surprising – a number of the key strategies I use to scale my businesses as a lawyer and legal entrepreneur are not the usual business strategies you read about.

So I want to share these five strategies with you – my hope is that you’ll use them to evaluate your priorities and the different roles you play in your law firm and your life.

1. The more fun I have the more my business grows

This may sound fluffy, but looking back I can see that whenever I stop having fun my revenue plateaus. Interesting huh.

Here’s why: when you stop having fun at work and in life it is hard to have good ideas to improve your business and scale your revenue. When you’re having fun you’ll feel inspired and the good ideas will flow.

Last year my business took a direction that didn’t align with my vision and I felt bored – work didn’t feel fun anymore. This meant I didn’t feel like talking to people so I stopped hanging out with friends and family as much (ie less fun time) and this increased my dissatisfaction. But then I realised what was going on and my team and I worked super hard to realign the business with my vision, and all of a sudden it felt fun again. My brain almost instantly started popping with ideas …. and hasn’t stopped. And revenue started increasing again.

2. Self-care is essential

Are you going to work in the morning feeling stressed and tired? Or are you arriving energised and ready to take on the challenges of the day? If you have a team, this is even more important because you can’t lead a team to greatness when you feel like crap. The only thing worse than you showing up to work with low energy is paying a whole team of people who are also showing up to work with low energy.

Working yourself to the bone is a terrible business strategy. It took me ages to realise this. In fact, only in the last year has self-care become a priority for me. So I’m still a newbie.

After nearly a decade of getting around 5 hours sleep a night (often less), I knew the sleep deprivation was taking a toll. I tried sorting it myself but I needed help. So I’ve got a wellbeing coach who is helping me create good habits. I don’t take my phone and ipad to bed with me anymore – they stay in the kitchen. I’m allowed to read paper books only (old school) before I go to sleep and I use a good old fashioned alarm clock to wake me up. I have committed to getting at least 7 hours of sleep a night, which means bed by 9pm so I can get up at 4. This, combined with my commitment of no alcohol for the year, means I feel way more energised and on my game. I can handle stressful situations better. And I’m a more mindful parent, friend and colleague.

3. Boundaries are a must

Being unable to say no is preventing you from scaling your law firm. As an intelligent person who helps people for a living, you can count on people asking you for too much. It’s up to you to put boundaries in place and teach people when enough’s enough.

No I can’t take your calls in the evenings and on weekends. No I can’t work all day, do the laundry, cook dinner and put the kids to bed. No I can’t spend Saturdays cleaning the house. No I won’t renegotiate your previously agreed payment plan. No I can’t do that work for you for free or at a discount. No I can’t organise the school raffle again. No it’s not OK that you missed that deadline at work again. No, no, no.

Learning to have uncomfortable conversations with your team, your partner, your kids, your clients, your friends, etc etc to put healthy boundaries in place will help you to create the time and the energy to spend on scaling your law firm, self-care, having fun and doing what matters.

4. Be bold

Scaling your law firm means putting yourself out there and taking risks – big, scary ones that could potentially result in failure.

This could mean the more obvious risks like hiring staff and narrowing your niche. But it also means owning your greatness and uniqueness, and communicating this as part of your message regularly to your audience.

Will being bold and putting yourself out there result in people not liking you? Probably. But remember, haters don’t hate you – they hate themselves because they don’t have the courage to take risks like you do.

The size and engagement of your audience depends on you being authentic and showing up and adding value regularly. To do this you need to put yourself out there, which many lawyers shy away from as they feel it is too risky. An engaged audience will help you scale your firm’s revenue, so putting yourself out there is a risk you need to take.

5. Apply your sense of urgency to your law firm growth

“I wish I’d waited to grow my law firm” ….. said no savvy law firm owner ever.

Lawyers have a strong sense of urgency when it comes to legal work. Court and contractual deadlines beat it into us. But most lawyers don’t apply that strong sense of urgency to scaling their law firms. They wait because of busy-ness. Even though doing the work to scale their law firms will help to alleviate the busy-ness problem in the medium to long term.

Ever since I launched Legal Beagle years ago, I have applied my strong sense of urgency to scaling my businesses. I plan every week around it and have changed my mindset to this: “I have enough time to enjoy everything I need to do this week.” This means I don’t wait to grow my businesses – I use my sense of urgency to work towards my vision every day.

I hope you give these 5 strategies a go – they will help to increase your law firm’s revenue and change your life for the better.

If you’re ready to have fun, take risks and apply your sense of urgency to scaling your law firm, check out Scale Up – this is an 8 week online course for entrepreneurial lawyers who want to capitalise on their experience, their expertise and their story to build a brand and an online legal solution that your ideal clients are thrilled to buy. Enrolment closes this Friday at 5pm AEST / 7pm NZT – there are 2 spots left. Enrol now.

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