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Struggling to grow your law firm? You might need to stop thinking like a lawyer

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Getting something like a law firm off the ground is always a hustle.

When I first launched my online legal solution, it took me 18 months to land my first client. 18 months of trial, error, experimentation, and ultimately a complete mindshift away from how I measured success as a lawyer.

I am a perfectionist. I’m also a maths nerd. And I was a lawyer, with a foundational understanding that referrals and word of mouth were my most valuable assets in terms of revenue generation. That combination made me fiercely resistant to investing in a marketing strategy that wasn’t pulling in immediate business for my firm.

It took a lot for me, with guidance from a digital marketing expert, to adopt the experimentation mindset that would help me land my first client, scale my law firm rapidly and ultimately, form the bones of Scale Up – my software and coaching system that’s helped hundreds of entrepreneurial law firm owners scale their law firm to seven figures.

Scale Up offers a blueprint for law firm owners on their journey to seven figures, but letting go of a traditional view that lawyers don’t ‘do’ marketing is critical to getting any kind of business strategy underway.

Here are five lessons I’ve learned from experience that help lawyers stop, well, thinking like lawyers.

Nothing is perfect.
When you approach marketing with a perfectionist’s attitude, you’re limiting your ability to embrace the flaws and learn from what went wrong. Sometimes, you simply need to put something out there to see what kind of a response it provokes. Worrying about the imperfections, unknowns and ‘what ifs’ is a fast way to considerably slow your progress. The more willing you are to experiment with your messaging, sales strategy and advertising channels, the sooner you’ll find a formula that starts generating revenue for your firm, at scale. Nothing will ever be perfect, but perfection is not the goal.

Release often and early
Agile practice is a concept adopted from the software development world, and one that offers so much value to how brilliant marketing strategists think. The idea behind ‘releasing often and early’ goes hand in hand with the above lesson – nothing is perfect. The sooner you release something to the world, the sooner you’ll start learning of its impact. Focusing on the results and iterating on the product, message, campaign or whatever it is you’re trying to improve, is the best way to fast track the winning formula your firm needs to succeed. Don’t hold back. So long as you’re gathering and analysing results, and you’re prepared to make changes in response, you’re better to just get the thing out there and start learning.

Good things take time
When you don’t see immediate results from a campaign, it is sooo tempting to trash it and start again. But sometimes, a brilliant idea can take a long time to realise. It pays to really think about what’s going on when a campaign fails. Is it the messaging? The channel you’re advertising through? Is it the budget? Timing? Think about the experiments you could run before starting again from scratch, and know that sometimes, you’re simply reaching your audience before they’re ready to buy. Be patient.

Marketing is not ‘dirty business’.
I work with some of the most innovative lawyers in the industry, and one thing we often discuss is this weird idea that proper lawyers don’t do marketing. Think about it, if you’re operating in an increasingly digital world in which the relationship between lawyer and client is less and less personal, in line with modern consumer expectations, it makes sense that you invest in revenue generating activities that align with this new climate. Gone are the days when we could rely on word of mouth and referrals – entrepreneurial lawyers must embrace business-savvy strategies to compete in a digital, consumer-driven world. End of story.

One client can pay for a whole campaign.
When you first start out, it can feel counterintuitive to spend money on something that is not guaranteed to generate revenue – marketing is one of those things. Logically, we know that the more people see and hear about our brand, the more likely they are to use our services when they need them. But, that doesn’t make it any easier to cough up $1k and hope for the best.
If you’re applying all of the above lessons about early release, tracking the numbers and making incremental improvements, you shouldn’t stress about investing in marketing. Not every person you reach will become a client, but every one will give you feedback in the form of analytics, if you’re tracking things well. And think about it this way – it might take just one conversion to make back your investment, and then some.

To succeed as an entrepreneurial lawyer, sometimes it really pays to stop thinking like a lawyer. We’re trying to revolutionise an industry rich in tradition, not all of which is conducive to modern business practice and the trend toward digital legal services. I’ve been there, and I know how hard it is to let go of perfection and embrace the unknown in order to learn, and learn fast. But I also know how impactful experimental marketing and agile thinking can be on the outcome for a growing firm. If you need help letting go of the long held principles that govern the practice of law in order to move your law firm forward, talk to us about Scale Up, our blueprint for success.

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