Launching a new solo law practice is doubly hard. Why? Because you are actually launching two venture simultaneously. You are entering the legal profession as a lawyer and simultaneously, 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 market 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 actually running a live business.
Your biggest marketing challenge as a solo or small firm owner will be attracting a consistent stream of ideal best clients.
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. You want to know their preferences, hopes, concerns and internal rules. Practically speaking, you want to know how they like to pay and be communicated with. All that takes time to discover, and it’s also the marketing step most lawyers skip. We’re not big into client avatars or client journey maps, right?
Well, that’s gonna change. Because as the market shifts more into a buyers market, law clients are savvier and have more options besides a traditional lawyer to solve their legal problems. (Did you read Jordon Furlong’s book, The Law is a Buyers Market?) Consumers want legal solutions that also include a great client experience.
This is the reason why you should delegate market research and marketing material creation 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 administrative chores is wasteful. Your time is better spent on revenue-generating activities like face-to-face networking as a lawyer. (People do business with folks they know, like and trust).
Hire a virtual assistant to do the market 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 law firms. It’s your secret weapon for targeted advertising and messaging that is more effective and cheaper to distribute, But that’s a lesson for another day.
You might be thinking, well, nice but how can I afford that?
I hear ya. As a new solo practitioner, 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
Research both your client market, say divorcing parents, as well as any related groups/services for divorcing parents. That way you create a big picture map of their life and the people with whom they interact.
Some virtual assistants are simply research hounds; let them do this for you. 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. US-based virtual assistants start at $50/hr. I’d use Upwork.
Want a little more security? Try Firecite, a freelance outsourcing marketplace exclusively for lawyers.
Once you know your client is and what they care about, 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 to write copy the same way you learned to do legal writing, but do you really want to? Hire someone already good at it so you don’t waste money on your own mistakes.
Sharing your message is critical to attracting clients but I bet it’s not at the top of your to-do list. It wasn’t at the top of mine. I hired a social media manager to take over my Pinterest accounts. Nothing to learn and Dee (of Dee Dee Creative) make me look like a rockstar!
Find out where your ideal best clients hang out and hire a social media manager to manage for you. There are 3 parts to social media management: curation, production, and distribution/promotion.
I suggest that you delegate all three tasks after deciding on your delivery frequency. You never become the bottleneck who wastes your manager’s time with late or lost content. Pricing for full management range from a few hundred dollars a month to over $2k a month. There is someone for every price point.
Studies show that over 80% of legal prospects check you out online- your website and socials- so it makes sense to have both functioning well right from the start.
Is your head spinning a bit from all this? I understand it can be overwhelming. Do you want to learn how to hire a Virtual Assistant?
Great, your timing is perfect. Get all your questions about finding and hiring a virtual assistant answered. Sign up for my free webinar, Hire a Virtual Assistant for your Solo/Small Law Firm- The Good, the Bad & the Ugly: Q&A Webinar on Dec 27th