Starting a Law Firm | San Francisco MasterMind | Supplemental Income
This post is from the first blog I started, called “How to Start a Law Firm.” Over the years I’ve moved to different sites a few times and wanted to catalog all of my content in one place. If an article refers to a link and there is no link, sorry, that’s consequence of the move. Enjoy!
It’s been a whirlwind couple of days for me, in a good way. On Friday afternoon I hopped on a jet bound for San Francisco, ready to figure out how to take my practice to the next level. And I’ve got to tell you, it was a great experience. And it’s exactly what I’m going to talk about today. In addition to that, I’m going to answer a reader’s question about supplementing your income while opening your law practice. Here we go! Oh, and one last thing, after you get done reading I want your comments about MasterMinding. Do you think it’s bogus? Would you do one? What’s holding you back? Thanks in advance!
San Francisco MasterMind – Getting Out of Your Fuselage
Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend a MasterMind session put on by my business coach, RJon Robbins. You all know who he is. I’ve talked about him a lot.
The idea of the MasterMind, from my perspective, is this: we’ve all got messed up stuff running around inside of our brains, and for must of us, the stuff is different. There is one common theme though, with this messed up stuff – it works to sabotage our efforts to start a successful law firm. Now, this stuff I’m talking about isn’t big stuff. It’s not like we’re all crackheads running around out there. It’s more subtle than that. But that’s what makes it so powerful and so dangerous. The goal of the MasterMind is to figure out what that messed up stuff is, how to work past it, how to recognize it, and how to move forward without it.
I can’t go into too many details about the actual experience in San Francisco, and there’s a reason for that – it’s confidential. When we are in that room together we are sharing our most intimate secrets. We talk about our law firms, what is working and what isn’t. We talk about out lives, what is working and what isn’t. And, for some people most importantly, we talk about our pasts and how our experiences have shaped the way we view the world. It’s the feeling of safety that allows for so much sharing, so much self-inflection, and so much growth in such a short period of time.
And, by the way, the best thing about the MasterMind is that we all walk away with a plan to triple our law firm revenues. At least. My plan, for example, if executed, takes me over one million in revenue.
Now that I’ve told you about the results, let me tell you about the process. We met in San Francisco at 5:00 p.m. on Friday. I was there, my wife was there, RJon and his wife were there, and there were about 8 other attorneys there (some with spouses, some without – the spouse was optional, I just wanted to include mine because I knew it would give her a great window into the way I think about my law firm). After dinner we watched a movie to kind of set the scene for the weekend and give us all a firm analogy to work with when either explaining our problems or helping people with theirs. Once the movie was over we talked about it, setting some ideas in our minds for the next day, and went to bed. Our homework assignment was to come up with one or two things that we thought were holding our business back.
Let me digress here for a moment. There are many things that hold our business back, and they fall into two different categories; mechanical and intellectual. The mechanical stuff is easy to fix – it’s the stuff that processes and procedures can help with. For example, the way the phones are answered, the way that potential clients experience you and your staff, and the forms you use are mechanical. It’s the intellectual, or emotional stuff that’s hard to fix. Examples of this include the way we feel about money (our relationship with money), the way we view ourselves (otherwise known as self-esteem), and the rules that we’ve created that hold us back (that in actuality aren’t rules at all). This is what we try to become aware of at the MasterMind.
When we get back into the room on Saturday at 9:00 a.m. sharp, we each take a turn going around the room. We record our experience (just our turn, not anyone else’s) so we can remember everything. It starts by giving a little bit of background about us, talking about where our law firm is at, and then laying out our one or two “intellectual” problems. Then everyone takes a turn going around the room giving constructive feedback on what can be done to become more aware of the problem (otherwise known as fix the problem).
The great thing about this MasterMind specifically is RJon’s presence. We don’t do these every day. Some of the problems people have I can’t identify with and have no idea how to fix. And someone needs to be there to make sure no damaging advice is given. That’s what RJon does. He’s got both creative and practical solutions for everything, and more importantly, he’s got the experience to know how to flesh out the underlying problems. What that results in is you learning something extremely valuable on everyone’s turn in the hot seat. Everyone’s experience provides you with helpful things to take away and implement.
So, on Saturday we went from 9:00 a.m to 9:00 p.m. only stopping for about an hour for lunch. And it didn’t feel like a long time to me at all. On Sunday we went from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. – no lunch. And again, I wouldn’t have traded it for anything in the world.
One last thing about the MasterMind before I move on. The one I attended last weekend was free. All I had to pay for was airfare, hotel, meals. Normally when RJon does these things he charges $5000 a seat (and that’s what he’s charging for his next one). While we were there he asked us for help describing what happens at these things so that people can understand the value they are getting out of attending. And I can see why he asked, because it is hard to describe without actually being there.
Why You Should Consider Attending a MasterMind
Before I go anywhere with this, I want to point out that I am not being paid anything by RJon for this post. Not a dime. If you sign up for a MasterMind with him I will not receive anything except a thank you from RJon and a thank you from you when you’re done.
I’ve got two reasons why you should attend a MasterMind.
1. It Will Make You Money
I told you when I walked out there I had a plan for a million dollar criminal defense law practice. And I can guarantee you when you walk out you’ll have the same. The people I was with practiced all different areas of law: estate planning; corporate law; family law; immigration law; and business law. They all walked out with ideas to dramatically expand their law practices in practical, real world ways.
Now, like any other ideas, these ideas require execution, which is all up to you. But the advice you get here will be like you’ll get no where else. And the advice you get will make you back your $5000 and then some (which should be the way you evaluate spending money – look at what you get, not what you put out – if it’s more than the cost, intrinsically or extrinsically, then it’s worth the price).
2. You Will Grow as a Person
One of the great things about owning a business is that it becomes a reflection of you personally. That’s also one of the bad things. The way to succeed in business is to also make sure you’ve got your stuff together personally. Much of that just requires understanding where you are coming from and why you have the perspective you have.
What the MasterMind session allows you to do is work on yourself while you are working on your business. To give you an idea of what I’m talking about, in my session we discussed my relationship with money – it’s an immature one. It’s immature in the sense that I haven’t yet fully grasped the potential and power of money for what it really is – a tool to get you the things that you want. In reading that last sentence that probably seems obvious, spending money to get what you want. If that were so, then RJons MasterMind sessions would be sold out. It’s the concept of spending money to make money that is known as a maxim of business but is hard to execute in real life.
At our session in San Francisco I had the opportunity to see lights turn on in people’s eyes as they made real personal breakthroughs. And if you don’t think you’re due for one of those then you are the best candidate to try this out and see just how many demons you’re hiding inside your head.
Bottom line, think about it, find the money, and try something like this. I recommend RJon because I know he knows what he’s doing. But there are others out there. If you aren’t looking to grow in this way you and your business are suffering.
Supplemental Income and Starting a Law Firm
Here’s a question I got http://www.blogger.com/img/blank.giffrom a reader last week:
This is completely off-topic, but I have a question for you. I recently went to a seminar with RJon, and he said that in order to be successful, you should put all of your energy into your new firm. What is your take on doing contract work to supplement your income while trying to establish your new firm? Thanks!
The answer to this question is simple – it depends. I don’t think it’s wise for anyone to just jump out there and get started without any kind of support. There’s a real chance you won’t make much money the first few months you are open. Having a support system, whether it’s by a contract position, covering for other attorneys, or a loan from friends and family, is something to think about and figure out before you get started.
As for contract positions specifically, I’ll only say this – be wary of using that as a crutch not to pursue your law firm. Starting a law firm is scary. Our subconscious doesn’t deal well with scary. Instead of just telling you you’re scared, it will do devious things to distract you, like convincing you how great the contract position is. If it becomes a crutch it’s bad, if you use it as a tool to move forward it’s good.
As always, I’d love to hear your comments and questions, particularly when it comes to MasterMinds. What is your hesitation? Is it the price? Is it the process? I’m curious!!