IN THE FIRST BLOG IN THIS SERIES, I discussed perfectionism and a few work-arounds to get you past analysis paralysis so you can start moving the needle on your marketing efforts. If you missed that blog, you can read it here. Today, I want to talk about the fear of missing out a/k/a FOMO and three secrets to overcome the fear that you are not doing nearly all you should be doing to grow your law practice.
Does this sound familiar?
I should be…
Doing more Facebook Lives
Going to networking meetings
Going to Bar luncheons
Meeting up with other lawyers
Better at SEO
Buying Adwords on Google
Boosting my Facebook posts
Redesigning my website
Upgrading my AVVO score
Getting more people to like my Facebook business page
Ordering new business cards
Redesigning my logo
Taking new headshots
Getting more speaking gigs
Creating a speaker sheet
Creating a banner
Becoming an event sponsor
Writing a book
Attending more conferences
Getting a billboard
Creating my own radio show
Does it seem like every time you check a marketing task off your list, you scroll through a Facebook group and see something else you aren’t doing or haven’t yet done that you “should” have?
It’s understandable. What is both the blessing of the modern solo—that there are so many fantastic ways to get direct access to our ideal clients and best referral sources—can also feel like a curse. Sometimes, it can feel a bit overwhelming trying to keep up with all the marketing options, especially when we need to actually focus on the purpose of our businesses: serving our clients in a way that is both personally gratifying and profitable.
If you can relate, then keep reading because I’m going to share three secrets I wish someone had told me when I was starting my practice more than 10 years ago. Take them to heart and it will help you shed the weight of all that shoulding.
Secret no. 1: You own your own business and there is no right or wrong; there is only what you choose and what you do not choose. You get to decide what you want to do and what you do not want to do. Don’t get caught in the trap of doing what you think others want you to do. First, you don’t really know what others think. Let me repeat that so you get it in your brain: You don’t really know what others think, even when you think you do.
And, second, so what if they do think what you think they think. How do you know they are right? Ultimately, you, and only you, get to decide what is best for you. That’s why you started you own practice in the first place, isn’t it?
Let me give you a personal example from my own life: When I bought my first new car, my dad did not approve and he let me know about it. He had never bought a new car in his life because “they decrease in value the minute you drive them off the lot.”
But what he did not understand was, at the time, I was a young woman, living alone in a big city (to me, it was big), far away from my family, and I wanted a car that was reliable and one I knew with almost 100 percent certainty would not break down. And if it did, by chance, break down, I wanted to be able to call AAA to come get me and tow me to the dealer and for the dealer to fix the problem and give me a loaner in the meantime. I was willing to work overtime to make enough money to pay a premium for the sense of safety and peace of mind this plan afforded me.
My dad, on the other hand, is the kind of man who once, when my 16-year-old-self let my first car—a used Toyota Corona—run out of oil, tied one end of a rope and chain contraption to the engine, threw the other end over a very large, sturdy branch of a venerable oak tree in our backyard, and then pulled the engine out and rebuilt it. Took him weeks, but he did it.
It took me many years to learn what was right for him was not necessarily what was right for me. His advice, while well-intentioned, did not suit my needs at that time. As loving as he was (and is), ultimately, I had to make the decisions I thought best for myself based on my own perceptions. It is the same with you and your business. There will be many well-intentioned people with ideas about what you should and should not be doing in your business. And then, there will be those who just have opinions and like to hear themselves talk. None of them are really thinking about the impact their words may be having on you, the anxiety they may be causing.
Here is my advice to you: You must learn to tune them out and to trust yourself. You’ve got this.
I know some days, it might not feel like it. It might feel like you need to listen to one more webinar, or ask one more person on social media, or get yet another opinion on your logo. Pick your few advisors (I prefer mine to be experienced, and I prefer to pay them so I know it is in their best interests to bring me their best advice), ask their advice, do you own research, and then make your own decisions and take action. Do this over and over again and soon there’ll be no stopping you. Winners run their own race. Run yours. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing.
Secret no. 2: Marketing, like business (and, life, quite frankly) is a process. To quote Abraham Hicks: “You never get done, and you cannot get it wrong.” Create a plan. Pick your top three priorities and work those until they are accomplished or nearly accomplished, and then reassess and remix. Keep what’s working; reconsider what’s not. You don’t have to miss out on anything. You can pick and choose one thing now, and another thing at another time.
You can accomplish everything on the list I wrote, in fact. However, you may or may not need or want to because some of the items on that list may not be pertinent to your practice. For example, if you are a criminal law attorney, LinkedIn may not be the best place for you to make connections with prospective clients. You might be better served to invest more heavily in creating YouTube videos and Facebook live videos where you answer frequently asked questions about criminal matters. Or, if you can afford to do so, you might invest more in search engine optimization or Google pay-per-click campaigns.
If you absolutely despise networking meetings, just take them off your list altogether (see Secret no. 1). Think about who your ideal clients are, where they hang out, how you are going to get in front of them, and what to say when you get there. And then pick your “marketing mix” to match. The most important factor of marketing is to focus on listening to your clients, getting crystal clear on their most pressing problems and then effectively communicating to them how and why you are the best person to help them solve those problems.
Platforms and channels will change. Back in the olden days of marketing, we only had radio, TV, billboards, print ads, tradeshows and the like. Now, we have all those options, plus, the internet, social media, podcasts, video, livestreaming and so much more. Who knows what the “next big thing” will be. Some say it’s all virtual reality from here. My point is, there’s always some new and exciting technology rolling out. When we stay in the excitement energy of it instead of the fear energy of it—whether that’s the fear of the technology itself or the fear that we aren’t adopting it fast enough—we can be confident that we will adopt it at just the right time, that everything always works out for us because there’s always something new and we cannot get it wrong…
Secret no. 3: Miss out on less and gain more by delegating. While I encourage you to develop the marketing strategy for your practice and to not abdicate your responsibility as a rainmaker, particularly as a solo or small firm partner, I highly recommend you very quickly begin delegating some of the more routine tasks. Unless you are an artist or graphic designer by training, outsource the design of your website to a professional. One or two clients (for you) likely will cover the cost of a professional website design and you should make that back at least ten-fold if it includes good on-page SEO. Certainly, blog writing, consistent social posting, regular emails to your list and other such marketing activities can easily be outsourced and automated.
There are myriad tasks others can help you do for much less than one hour of your hourly rate of $200, $250, $300 or more an hour. Make a list of all the activities that take up way too much of your time—time you could spend billing—and then start researching alternatives. You’d be surprised the resources available to help you. To assess whether or not you outsourcing is best, try using this simple form I created for my private clients.
Like all fears, FOMO is in the mind. You can choose to look around you at what others are doing and think you are missing out, that you are not doing enough, you are not good enough, or you can choose to think you are exactly where you are meant to be at this exact moment, doing exactly what you are supposed to be doing.
The best rainmakers I’ve ever met are that way because they always believe they are in the exact right room at the exact right moment. And, you know what? They’re usually right.
If you’d like help with creating a custom, strategic marketing plan for your practice, let’s talk. Schedule a complimentary consultation to discuss your particular needs. It’s easy! Simply complete and submit this brief business assessment form and we’ll contact you to schedule a video chat.