how to build a law firm, what's blocking me from building my law practice, be a better lawyer, law firm building blocks, Dina Cataldo, best coach for lawyers, best life coach for lawyer, best business coach for lawyers

#279: 7 Blocks to Law Firm Growth

You may be an amazing attorney bringing in tons of a referrals.

But do you have control of the leads you bring in?

Whether you're building your own law practice or you're a partner bringing in business for your firm, today is a Masterclass in bringing in clients.

There are 7 blocks I see to lawyers building their business, and I want to help you tear them down, so you can build your business easier and more sustainably.

You'll learn the 7 common obstacles to bringing in business and what you can do to overcome these obstacles.

Grab a notebook, take notes, and dig in to this material.

It will help you take control of growing your practice.

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Thanks for listening, and I'll talk to you next week.

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7 Blocks to Law Firm Growth

Hello, how are you doing today? We've got another great episode here. It is a masterclass in building your business. I'm gonna be talking about the biggest blocks that I see to lawyers building their practice in a way that feels good. And these are tried and true things. I wanna share that they are obstacles I needed to learn to overcome, to have some awareness around. They are blocks. My clients who are building law practices all need to overcome and we work through in our coaching together. And I wanna talk to you about it. And so as we go through this episode, I really want you to treat this like a masterclass that I would do. I'm gonna be making reference to some other episodes. I'm gonna link to those episodes in the show [email protected] slash 2 7 9. I want you to dive into this because once you learn how to overcome these obstacles, you will be unstoppable.

And one of the things I wanna share with you that I am helping my clients with in redesigning some of the one-on-one coaching that I'm doing, is to help them move through these obstacles faster and faster. Like that's my job as a coach. As I think about my clients, it's not just the time we spend together on the call that we have each week. What I'm doing is I'm really thinking about what do they need, what are their commonalities and how do I help them? And one of the things that I am doing is I am developing a program that every single month I'm going to put on that is a training in business. So if this is something that you desire, something that you want to work on in your practice to build your business, to help it run simply to help it run smoothly, I want you to book a strategy session with me because that is the only way you'll be able to join this program, is to be a one-on-one client of mine.

We're gonna have a once monthly group in which I'm gonna be teaching a class. It is going to be a mini master class. And then I'm going to be able to coach people on those topics or whatever else is going on in their business to give them that little extra support that they want to continue building their practice. And it also provides a space to work on your business each month. So often I hear that lawyers just don't have time on their calendar. Well, I'm helping them for those who want it, put it on their calendar, and when they put it on their calendar, they can use that time together to really focus on getting together what's needed. And not only that, I'm also including a session every year so that they can plan out their strategy to build their business. It's gonna be a half day event this year.

It's happening on December 2nd. And my one-on-one clients are gonna have access to that for no charge. It's something I'm including. And I want you to know that it is something that I needed in order to give myself the support that I needed in my practice so that I could do what I'm doing this year, right? So every year I think ahead in my practice about what are the main marketing items I want to accomplish? How do I want to accomplish them? What am I going to be doing? What am I gonna be delegating, if anything? And I want you to know you can do this as a solo practitioner, even if you don't have any employees. I am somebody who works you know, solo. And I also know, hey, these are the most important tasks and I'm not gonna beat myself up if I can't do all of the things.

I'm just gonna make sure that the things that I do are the most impactful actions. So I want you to know that this is totally accessible to you as you grow your practice, no matter where you are. And when you get to the point where you're hiring people on, or you're hiring maybe even a part-time paralegal or somebody online to help you as an assistant, they can help you grow your practice too. There's so many options out there, but what I want you to know is that I am available to you as a resource and that all of these resources and concluding accountability and the knowledge of how to manage your time to really understand why you're feeling overwhelmed, to overcome the obstacles we're gonna be talking about today, you can do all of that with assistance. So book a call with me at dina cataldo.com/strategy session if you want some support, if you want to learn how to get out of the hamster wheel and feeling overwhelmed and feeling like you have zero time to work on your practice.

‘Cause What we do together is start to make time for you. And I've been adding stories onto my strategy session page of clients that have worked with me, have gotten results, and I want you to listen to their stories. When you go to my strategy session page, you're going to hear from Karine who really was a calendar skeptic. She was somebody who, you know, didn't really think she needed a calendar. She thought her to-do list was sufficient, that it was getting the job done. And she just decided she was gonna hire me. And she was going to do the things that, you know, we learn about on the podcast you might have been hearing about on the podcast and really implement them. And when she did, she saw the difference. And so if you're a calendar skeptic, you can be forgiven. Because I was a calendar skeptic too.

I thought, what of all the things is gonna help me? A calendar's gonna help me. And I want you to know it is such a huge help in learning how to manage your mind because it is a tool to help you manage your mind. And I help you with that along the way, step by step. So we're gonna work on mindset. We're gonna be working on strategy to really think through the problems that are happening in your practice and create solutions for them because I guarantee you there are solutions for them. But you need support. And if you want that support, you can book a strategy session with me and we can talk about what it would look like to work together one-on-one, exactly what issues we would be addressing, why would we would be addressing them in that way. And you can ask me all the questions that you want.

So go to dina cataldo.com/strategy session and let's get started. Okay, so let's talk about what's going on in your practice in growing your practice sustainably. I see a lot of lawyers doing an amazing job in their practice, so amazing that they're getting continual refers from their referrals, from their clients. And that is absolutely fabulous. What I also wanna share with you is that if you're someone who's staying up late at night worrying about where your next client's gonna come from, what's needed are sustainable business prac building practices. And this is what I wanna talk to you about today in this episode, because there are a lot of obstacles that are between us and creating the business that we want. And we don't know that there are obstacles that have solutions. And I wanna share those solutions with you too. The longer I've been building my business, and the longer that I've been coaching lawyers to build theirs, the more I see these simple fixes to business building and their blocks and they're being blocked because you just don't have awareness around them.

It's not because you've been, you know, doing anything wrong. You're probably working really hard, so hard that you just haven't, you've just gotten too close to the problem and you haven't been able to take a step back. So the good news is, is once you have some awareness around what's preventing you from creating sustainable business practices, whether you're a partner who wants to build your book of business, or you're a solo practitioner who wants to grow your practice, maybe eventually hire on some employees, these principles apply to you too. And it's really easy to ignore building your business. There's so many responsibilities you already have, right? Like you're serving your clients, you are thinking about what they need, you're trying to make sure that the phones are answered, that you're checking your email, that you're being responsive. But what I wanna share with you is you can make your bills business building easy, simple, and very clear.

And one of the episodes, episodes that I wanna share with you is how to build business simply. I'm gonna link to it in the show notes and in there I really talk to you about what it looks like to start bringing clients into your world and start talking to them in a very simple way to grow your practice. Now, these are things that I have learned over the years. This was not something I learned overnight. I was building a business for years while I was a full-time criminal prosecutor. And I was doing all of the things right? I was studying the business books, I was working on my own business, I was hiring coaches, I was joining programs. I mean, you name it, I was doing it. I was listening to all of the business podcasts, Amy Porterfield. I was watching the me for Leo videos.

I mean, I was all in the world of entrepreneurship and I was looking for the magic bullet, the thing that was gonna help me and I couldn't find it. I'm like, well, what is the thing? And I was trying all of the things, I was experimenting with all of the things, and I was driving my cr myself crazy doing it, okay? I was in all of these circles of entrepreneurs who were building their businesses outside of the legal field and seeing all of these amazing techniques that could be applied to the legal profession. But I didn't really see lawyers doing it. And when I started applying some of these principles that I was learning, the ones that worked for my business, the ones that were the best for growing it were the simplest ones, we're the ones that had no must, no fuss and are very easy to explain.

And when I see that with my clients and we start applying those same principles, they start doing the same things. And it all starts with time management. That's why I put such a focus on time management in this podcast and with the clients that I'm onboarding, is because I'm looking at how are you spending your time right now? And one of the biggest obstacles, we'll just start right here. One of the biggest obstacles I see to business building is not managing your overwhelm, not properly managing your time. Thinking that a to-do list is the answer. It's fine. I've got a to-do list, it's fine. And I was talking to a lawyer recently who was very familiar with, and you might be familiar with Monday hour one through the life coach school. Now, for some people that simply doesn't work. So what I do is I make my own alterations to it, and I work with the lawyer depending upon how they're practicing the law so that we can make it work for them in a way that is practical.

And we can't always think that through. We need somebody to start working through the problems that are coming up in our practice to make it work for us. And I will tell you like this is something that is not a one and done. Because if we are trying to change a habit in our life, changing a habit like time management, when we've been letting it go for so long when we've been just relying on a to-do list or just using our calendar for hearings, and that's it, it's a habit. And we believe that we can't change that. There's nothing we can do different. And that belief becomes a brick wall. And when we want to do something different, when we want to change our practices, when we want to calm down the overwhelm, it's like taking that new belief, that desire, and wanting to do something new, like using a calendar.

And it's like taking our bare fist and punching it against that wall, which is our old belief that we can't change, that what we're doing is the best that we can do. And of course, if you keep punching that brick wall over and over again, your hand's gonna hurt and you're gonna give up and then you're gonna feel like a failure. But what I do with my clients is we start working through what are the problems and what are the solutions, and we work through that together. And that is why Kare, you know, when you listen to her story on the strategy session page, that's why she made the changes that she did, is because she learned how to stop punching the brick wall and start dismantling the brick wall methodically, she started taking it down brick by brick using the tools that we work together on in coaching.

Okay? So that is one of the biggest obstacles I see is really thinking that you're too overwhelmed and that you simply can't change, that there's no time, right? And you feel scattered when you don't think there's any time you can't focus. So it makes a lot of sense that you wouldn't be making time to build your business. That is foundational work. That is what when you come into coaching, we wanna work on immediately is we wanna start calming the overwhelm and start helping you manage your time in a way that works for you. Because that is going to be the very foundation for the rest of what we're gonna be talking about on the podcast for the rest of what you're gonna be working on in building your business and doing it sustainably, not grinding, but making it as simple as possible. So it's something you can do consistently and keep bringing in the leads that you wanna bring.

So that's also why I believe so firmly in creating this monthly gathering of people of lawyers devoted to helping lawyers like you build your business in a very simple way. Okay, so let's look at the second thing that I see as an obstacle to building your practice, which is really thinking long-term. And that's why I am, why I walk through with my clients what their three-year plan is like. We wanna know, th what is you? What do you even want three years from now? Do you wanna close down your business? Do you wanna sell your business? Do you want to grow your practice? Do you want it to stay the same? Do you wanna work fewer days? We've gotta know what it is you want and you may not even know what you want right now, which is why I'm there to ask you questions and kind of pull it out of you.

But ask yourself this question, what do you want three years from now? And then what we wanna do is we wanna break that plan down year by year, and in our time together on December 2nd, what we're gonna be doing, and I hope you'll be there with me, is we are going to be breaking down 2024 in a way that is quarter by quarter, month by month. And for a month we're going into the weeks and, and then you plan your weeks weekly and you get your days planned, and then you just follow through. But when we think long term, we can do that. When we think a year out, when we even think six months out, we can do those kinds of things. We can strategize, we can think about what are the things that we can do right now that are gonna help us versus going into our week scattered, never making a plan, never even making, carving out a time to make a plan.

We want to create time so that you can plan your year out for very simple things that you can do to market your practice. And so we're gonna start working on that. But this is the obstacle I want you to overcome, which is this idea that you can just let things go, that you can just go with the flow. It's very easy to do that if you have a successful practice that seems to be growing incrementally. Each year I see it with my clients and they're just like, wow, like, you know, the time management alone is helping me grow my practice. But then when they start to throw this rocket fuel under their practice of the planning, the long-term planning, then they start to say, wow, it's really is possible for me to make a lot more, not just a little bit more each year, but a lot more each year just by planning ahead.

So I want you to recognize that thinking that you're kind of fly by the seat of your pants is gonna work, or doing more is gonna work. As in you hit the office and you're like, okay, what do I do today? I guess I'll make some phone calls. I guess I will see what, you know, networking events I can go to, and you're just doing it fly by the seat of your pants is going to feel scattered, it's gonna feel hard, and you might be feeling overwhelmed. And if you are, I want you to know it's because you just haven't taken a step back and thought about what you want and planned long term. All right, the, this kind of dovetails into the third obstacle that I see, which is overworking. Overworking is killing yourself to get things done. It's that grinding feeling. It's the pressure in your chest, it's the staying late.

It is thinking about work at all hours, even when you're at home. And you really would like to be relaxing on the couch with your partner. And instead all you seem to be able to think about is how you're not working hard enough and that you should be doing more <laugh>. And I want you to know you're in good company. This is definitely something that I was doing. I was beating myself up, telling myself I should be working harder when I wasn't even acknowledging all of the work I was putting into building my business. I wasn't acknowledging all of the things that I was doing. Instead, I was telling myself, it's not good enough because I don't have the amount of money that I want to have. I'm not seeing the number of clients that I want come in through the door. And when we do that, we block ourselves from building our business.

We block ourselves from really like really living our full life. And the best way I can describe this is being present to our lives. Because when we're not present to our lives, we cannot be grateful. We cannot appreciate what is around us and the blessings that we have. And the universe is not gonna give us more when we can't even appreciate what we have. We are people who are, you know, we're ambitious, we're high achievers, we want more. And the practice, instead of overworking is to take a pause and to remind ourselves, okay, look, what have I accomplished? Well, what did I accomplish today? Let's start there. Well, today I accomplished serving X number of clients. I worked through a difficult problem. In a certain case, I managed my calendar, I sent out an email to my email subscribers, and that is what I did today, and that is what I had time for today.

Or, but what we tend to do is we start to say, okay, that wasn't enough. I don't have enough. I don't have enough money, I don't have enough clients, I don't have enough this, I don't have enough that I'm not working hard enough. And so when we get into that mode, our brain starts to just beat up on ourselves and it stays in that state. And we wanna get out of that state and we wanna just call it a stage. It's just a stage, it's just a moment in time and it doesn't have to be permanent. We can pull ourselves out of it. And a lot of times we tend to, to go to the worst case scenario when we feel like this, that there's something that's gone wrong. I did an episode called Ebb and Flow states, I'm gonna link to that in the show notes as well.

Ebb and flow states really describes how our mind works when it's in these stages where we feel like we're not doing enough or we're not doing well enough, we're not good enough, generally <laugh>, right? We have these emotions that come up and they feel so strong that it can become anxiety inducing because we think we're just gonna stay there. And I want you to know that you're not going to stay there. That ebb and ebb and flow states are real. You're gonna have highs, you're gonna have lows. And if you're in a low right now, it's okay. You can come out of it. And if you listen to ebb and flow states, if this re if you relate to this, then I think that you'll have a better understanding of where you are right now and know that where you are is not bad or wrong, it's just that right now you might be in an ebb stage instead of a flow stage, and we can get you out of that.

It's just a matter of you recognizing that this is not permanent <laugh>, that you can definitely come out of it. Alright? Another obstacle that I see to lawyers building their practices is not having an ideal client in mind. And you might've heard this concept before. People call it an avatar. They call it an ideal client avatar. And basically all that is, is an idea of who your absolute favorite client is. And think of that person right now. Think of who is your absolute favorite client. Maybe they have an amazing personality. What is that personality like? What about them makes them the ideal client for you? Maybe they asked great questions during your consult. Maybe they were able to pay your fee. Maybe they come from a a certain background that you wanna focus on, you know, people that you wanna help in particular, why are they your ideal client?

And write it down. Have that person in mind because that ideal client is somebody you wanna have in mind when you are creating any marketing materials for your business. And a lot of people are gonna think, oh, well, if I just talk to that one person, I'm going to miss all of these other people. I wanna tell you absolutely no, you will not. I can tell you that from personal experience. I focus if, if you've been listening to this podcast for a while, I focus a lot on women and socialization. I focus a lot on feminine energy. I talk a lot about feminine and masculine energy. I talk I talk about spirituality sometimes, right? But do all of the people who come into my world, are they all spiritual? Are they all women? No, they're not. I have men, I have women, it doesn't even matter.

I can talk to one particular person in my audience and I still attract other people who are listening to my message and want what it is I have to offer. The same goes for you if you are an estate planner who wants to work with specifically people who are caretaking their parents, or you wanna work specifically with people in a certain neighborhood, or if you're a personal injury lawyer and you want to work specifically with people who are involved in certain kind of incidents, and you can talk specifically to those people and you're gonna receive other people who are interested too. So keep that in mind. You just want an ideal client so you have somebody in your head that you can think of, that you can talk to. And I'm gonna be expanding on these topics in my monthly workshops with my clients.

So if this interests you, make sure that you sign up with me because we are going to be talking through all of this and I'm gonna make it in a really fun way. I'm committed to this because I've read so many business books and they are so boring. I mean, you go to bed at night, you wanna read a business book, but you just glaze over at them. And I do not wanna create a business class where you're just glazing over. I wanna give you real life examples that are fun, that keep you engaged, that help you easily understand these concepts so that you aren't glazing over and you're able to implement these concepts. So if that interests you, make sure you sign up with me. Alright? Another obstacle I see from people who are trying to build their law practices is not creating content.

And that again, stems from the very first thing we talked about, the foundation that we talked about, which is making time for yourself, calming the overwhelm, making sure that you've got got that dialed in because then you can create space to create content. And one of my clients right now, I talk about her a lot on this podcast, I'll actually link to her episode, Nancy. Nancy is somebody who I've been working with for quite some time, and what she and I have done over the years is we've actually create, helped her create a plan where she could work four days a week instead of six days a week. So for a while she just decided, okay, I'm just gonna be working four days a week, but now she's gonna be using that fifth day to create content. She's decided that she wants to do different things in her practice, she wants to grow her practice and in a way that's bigger than she has before.

And, and she wants to commit to doing a podcast. And so to do that, we've been really working through who is her ideal client, who is she talking to, and who does she want to, how does she wanna structure this podcast? How is she going to promote it? So during that fifth day, she's really going to be thinking about that particular content. But what most lawyers face is not creating any content because they're so overwhelmed with everything else, they can't possibly think about creating a newsletter or creating a podcast or writing blog posts, or doing any social media posts or doing a video for YouTube. Like that just sounds crazy, right? And if you are in that boat, know that it's okay. Where you are is just fine. But what we wanna do is we wanna get you in a place where you can create content.

Now, why do you wanna create content? You're listening to this podcast, right? This podcast draws in more of my clients than any other source of content that I create. I absolutely 100% know this to be true. And it is a podcast that I am serving at a high level. I am sharing amazing content. I am helping people left and right. And I don't just say that because, you know, to toot my own horn, but to just let you know, when you are creating content, you wanna do the same thing. You wanna create content that really helps people because content is service. And when you serve at a high level, people are going to wanna come to you, they're going to wanna talk to you, they're gonna wanna help you. They are, they want to seek your help, they wanna refer you, they wanna talk to you, talk to other people about you.

But you can't get your name out there. You can't get your message out there with some, without some sort of piece of content. I mean, this is in addition to referrals, because you're likely in a place where you're getting referrals and, but referrals amazing. I love them. And you wanna have some sort of sustainable growth that you're in control of. And one of the ways you can do that is by creating a piece of content. So without the content, then you are not putting things out into the world. Content can also be speaking engagements. It could be you going out into the world and doing an M C L E. It could be you going out into the world and speaking to a group of people at a party. Those kinds of things are content, and we want to make that sustainable. And that brings me into the next obstacle, which is repurposing your content.

So once you have decided what kind of content you wanna create, a podcast, a blog, speaking engagements, a newsletter, whatever it is, then we really wanna start thinking about how can you repurpose it so you're not continually reinventing the wheel when you do content. Let me give you an easy example of that. You might already go out and do speaking engagements. I want you to take that to the next level. I want you to hire a videographer. I want you to have that videographer take video of your speaking engagement. And then I want you to hire that videographer to then divvy that up, divide that up into little segments. They could be one minute segments little videos that can get these little points out and they can give you like a set of 12 out of a one hour presentation, let's say. And then you just take that and you use it for your newsletters, you use it for your social media posts, you can use that for videos on YouTube.

And so instead of like taking multiple hours to craft a presentation and then do the presentation, and then that's it, you actually have a recording of your presentation and now you have 12 different items of content that you can place anywhere that you like. And do you see how powerful that is? Right? So this podcast that you're hearing right now, I'm not just putting it on to the podcast channels, right? It's also going on YouTube. I'm also making clips and I'm putting it on my social media channels. Now, I don't do that as big as I could, but you don't have to do it massively if you're doing this yourself, you could just pick a couple snippets and you can use those as social media posts. You know, sometimes I'll be talking to my clients and my clients will say, oh my gosh, you said this thing in the podcast and I have to tell you what it was, and they tell me what it was.

I write it down and I'm like, okay, well it resonated with them. I wanna make sure I do a post that talks about exactly what they shared with me so that it can reach more people so that more people can resonate with it. And when we start paying attention to content and repurposing content, then we're not creating so much. We don't have to spend so much time creating. We can just have like this log, this backlog of material just like I have with this podcast where I can go back and I can just be like, okay, what do I wanna post today? And I could just pick a topic. I can look at maybe the transcript, I can pull something from the transcript, I can, you know, clean it up a little bit and I can put it into a post, right? It's those kinds of simple things that you can do to make your content last longer and you're not there racking your brain, painfully racking your brain for new ideas because you have a million ideas that are already recorded.

And I want you to know that repurposing your content is such a game changer because you're not worried about where this, where this information, where this content is gonna come from, you've already created it. So those are the top obstacles that I see to building your business. And I wanted to share them with you. Again, the first one's foundational, managing your time, making sure that you know how to manage your time so you don't feel overwhelmed. Because when we feel overwhelmed, we cannot, let me repeat, we cannot focus, we cannot get things done as well without understanding how to manage our time well, the second obstacle I see is not thinking long-term strategically about how you wanna market your firm, how you wanna grow your firm and what you wanna do with it. So if you don't even know where you wanna go, then you can't really even think about how you wanna market it or who you wanna reach.

The next problem that I see, the next obstacle I see are lawyers, overworking. They're working late, they're constantly ruminating about work, and they're also beating themselves up about work. And that all comes under the umbrella of overworking, in my opinion. We're overworking our brain, we're overworking our energy, and we're unable to really take care of ourselves so that we can think clearly about our business and so that we can get to the next level and do the things that I'm talking about here. Really thinking about an ideal client, speaking to them and creating content around that. And then the other obstacles not having an ideal client in mind, not focusing the messaging on talking to that ideal client, not creating content and not repurposing that content and making your life as easy as possible. Okay? So these are just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what you need to know to build your business.

But they are such great foundational points that I really hope you take them to heart. I am gonna be linking to some episodes in the show notes because I really want you to take what you learned here and put it into practice. I want you to take these obstacles and turn them into solutions for your practice. Think about managing your time properly. You've got the Busy Lawyers Guide, right? I'll link to that in the show notes. That gives you an outline, a place to start. I have training videos there so that you can actually take it step by step. And I give you other podcasts to help you think through your business and how to manage your mind around thinking about these issues that I brought up here. But what I wanna share with you is that if you want more support, because my guess is, is that if you've been in this world of entrepreneurship, if you've been reading all the books, if you've been trying really hard and you see some of these problems showing up, the overworking, feeling overwhelmed, not really knowing where to focus in your practice, not being able to think long-term or not thinking long-term, I wanna offer to you that support is just what you need.

That you need somebody there to really talk you through some of these issues. And if that is support that you want to have, book a strategy session with me, go to dina cataldo.com/strategy session and this is gonna give you an amazing start. But to get maximum support, to get what you want and to make it as easy as possible, as streamlined as possible for you, I highly recommend working with me. So I hope to see you in a strategy session. But until then, I will talk to you next week. Take care.