Launching a new solo law practice is doubly hard. Why? Because you are actually launching two venture simultaneously. You are entering the profession as a lawyer and you are starting a new business.
Funny, how legal educators leave out how to run a business out of law school education? NOT. As a prosecutor I didn’t have to worry about getting clients. They found me. LOL I didn’t learn how to run a business until I was running my own consulting firm, working for a multinational and finished my executive MBA. Even still, book learning is different from actual practice.
Your biggest challenges as a solo or small firm owner will be attracting a consistent stream of ideal clients then geting those clients to pay your fees on time without complaining or asking for a reduction.
It’s a Buyer’s Market
If you read marketing blogs then you know that understanding your ideal client is your most important job if you’d like to sell your services. That takes time, and it’s also something lawyers don’t generally do. We’re not big into client avatars, right?
Well, that’s gonna change. Because as the market shifts more and more into a buyers market (did you read Jordon Furlong’s book, The Law is a Buyers Market?), clients are becoming more savvy and have more options beside a traditional lawyer to solve their legal problems. Consumers want solutions that come with a great experience.
This is why you should outsource early in launching your new solo law firm. You don’t have the time to wait to get it right.
Delegate What you Don’t Know & Don’t Have Time to Learn
Hear me out. Of course you can do the research and writing necessary to create a client profile. After all, you’re a lawyer.
But just because you can, doesn’t mean you should, as my Grandma Weezie used to say. Spending the time to learn, even if you are a quick study, is wasteful. Your time as a lawyer is better spent on revenue generating activities like face-to-face networking. (People do business with folks they know, like and trust).
Hire a virtual assistant to do the research on your ideal client.
Your on-demand virtual assistant can research key questions like:
What’s their income?
Where they live in your area?
How many other lawyers with the same practice area in your geographic region ?
Who are the top 5 firms?
How are they attracting clients & referrals?
Your VA does the heavy lifting while you focus on the data analysis and planning your outreach strategy. By the way, Big Data is great news for small and solo firms. Your targeted advertising and messaging will be more effective and cheaper to distribute but that’s a conversation for another day.
You might be thinking, well, nice but how can I afford that? I hear ya.
As a new solopractioner, you think you’re saving money doing it yourself. Nah. You can outsource these projects without breaking the bank:
-market research to identify if your ideal client is in your area
-writing the messaging to explain how you help and why you’re the best fit
-social media management to increase your visibility, credibility and social proof
US based virtual assistants start at $50/hr and for this project, I’d use Upwork. Personally, I’d research both my client group, say divorcing parents, as well as related groups/services for divorcing parents to create a big picture of their life and who they interact with. Some folks are simply research hounds; let them do this. My guy, Sergio, was amazing with the pretty challenging research project I gave him (identify all the law and bar associations in the US). It would’ve taken me weeks to do it.
Once you have a better sense of who your client is and what they care about then you can hire your writer to create copy for your website and online profiles. I’d budget around $200 for a white paper under 10 pages but be open to negotiating upwards with the writer. (Popular, proven copywriters charge upwards of $10k for a sales letter by way of reference). The words really matter. You can learn copywriting the same way you learned to do legal writing, but do you really want to?
Getting your message out is critical to attracting clients but might not be at the top of your to-do list. It isn’t at the top of mine. That’s why I hired a social media manager to take over my Pinterest accounts. I didn’t have to learn a thing and Dee (of Dee Dee Creative) make me look like a rockstar! Find out where your ideal peeps hang out and hire a SM manager to post to that social outlet. Pricing ranges but I’ve paid anywhere between $100-300 for monthly service. Well worth it, too.
Here’s a podcast with Parker Stevenson of Evolved Finance talking about the Costs of Scaling. Listen closely as he says how, even as a cheap guy, he sees the value in outsourcing and has started outsourcing the podcast editing.
You know when an essential teammate like an accountant believes that outsourcing is cost effective for service firms it’s time to seriously consider this for your law practice.
Are you considering outsourcing??? Tell us in the comments.
Want to talk through whether outsourcing is right for your firm? Cool, let’s have a free chat
PS The other thing you might be worried about starting out is your fee. We’re talking more about pricing on Thursday- join us