When you commit to the marketing activity you most enjoy, you’ll become better at it — and you can skip the marketing things you most dread.
When lawyers get urgent requests from clients, they move mountains.
They may spend hundreds of hours working on a single matter, often working late at night and on weekends. But when it comes to their own most important priorities, such as building a book of business, it’s easy to delay and defer.
But here’s the problem: If you’re spending all your time on your client’s priorities, you’ll never address your own.
As Charlie Munger said: You need to start treating yourself as your most important client.
That means prioritizing the work — the marketing and business development — necessary for you to achieve your professional goals. If you don’t prioritize these things, it’s going to be really hard to build a practice.
To generate clients, you have to be visible. You can’t sit back and wait for business to come in. But you don’t have to market yourself in ways that stress you out and make the already difficult job of being a lawyer even harder.
Don’t Overcomplicate Things
There are many ways to build a practice. If the idea of public speaking or attending networking events makes your skin crawl, steer clear of those things.
Focus on activities — or better yet, a single marketing activity — that you enjoy. That way you’ll do more marketing, and do it more effectively.
Flow State: Find a Marketing Activity That Puts You in the Zone
In an ideal world, lawyers would have plenty of time to engage in marketing. But in the real world, there is little time available.
When time is short yet the task is important, we must draw on the superpower we all have available to us. It’s called flow state.
A 10-year McKinsey & Co. study found that top executives were 500% more productive when “in flow.” It’s the state in which we operate at our highest levels of performance.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, who coined the term “flow,” described it as the state in which “every action, movement, and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz.”
If you’ve experienced it, you know it — and the benefits in terms of productivity and effectiveness that go with it.
If you have experienced it more than once, you also know that it comes about more often when you’re doing something you enjoy — something that’s meaningful and satisfying.
You may not have much time for marketing, but if you focus on a marketing activity you enjoy, you’ll be more likely to work in flow and, as the McKinsey study suggests, be significantly more productive as a result.
You don’t have to write and speak to market your practice.
You can write or speak.
Either can help you gain awareness and build trust, which are the objectives of marketing.
You might as well lean into the marketing activity that you most enjoy, you’ll do more of and, consequently, you’ll get better at.
Alternatively, if you bounce from tactic to tactic, it will be hard to gain traction — especially if you’re engaging in tactics you don’t enjoy. It’s like trying to multitask your way through your legal work. And we know from the research that multitasking (trying to work on two or more things at the same time), or even toggling between tasks, inhibits your superpower.
Inducing flow state requires intense and prolonged attention on the task at hand.
Keep Your Marketing Activity Simple
It’s often said that marketing is a skill. But that’s like saying sports is a skill.
It’s true that most successful athletes have above-average athleticism. But in most cases, they’re applying their athleticism to a single domain, such as swimming or basketball. And even within those domains, different athletes hone unique skills — such as the backstroke or a turnaround jumper — that make them stand out.
What’s your unique marketing skill? Where will you apply it?
Again, you can market yourself in many different ways. But you shouldn’t try to do everything.
You can lean into your strength and it will take you far — much farther than if you spend lots of time brushing up on weaknesses. We’d all like to be Michael Phelps and excel at every stroke. But mastering the butterfly is enough to win a gold medal.
What do you like to do? What do you have an aptitude for? What marketing activity will allow you to more easily access your superpower and become 500% more productive?
Do more of that and you’ll gain traction.
Consistency of Effort Is What Matters Most
Are you consistently showing up with enthusiasm and generosity where your audience spends its time and attention?
- Do what comes naturally.
- Do it consistently.
- Assess your results.
- Look for ways to improve.
You don’t need a “comprehensive” marketing strategy. You don’t need a “multifaceted” approach.
Do more of the things — or the thing — you enjoy and you’ll become more effective at marketing.
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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT RESOURCES
One of a Kind: A Proven Path to a Profitable Practice. In this popular book — part marketing theory, part how-to — attorney, coach and legal marketing expert Jay Harrington teaches how to harness your creativity to: develop a profitable niche practice, build your personal brand, increase your visibility, and become a prolific, effective content marketer. Jay draws on his own experience, as well as the experience of successful attorneys who have used the strategies and tactics recommended in the book.
The Essential Associate: Step Up, Stand Out, and Rise to the Top as a Young Lawyer by Jay Harrington, is for young lawyers who aspire to grow, succeed and advance on a partnership track at a law firm. Jay’s practical, step-by-step guide is aimed at helping new lawyers thrive in today’s competitive law firm environment. It includes insights from dozens of successful lawyers at firms across the country, general counsel at Fortune 500 companies, and top consultants to the legal industry.