Making the switch to a running your own solo firm is rife with challenges.
Perhaps the toughest transition is handling non-legal tasks, like marketing. If you find yourself consistently frustrated with your marketing efforts (or lack thereof), take a step back and create a marketing plan that works for you.
Step 1: evaluate your strengths
The best marketing plan is a diverse and well-rounded one. Before you diversify, however, figure out what types of marketing you excel at and what types are not your cup of tea.
For example, social butterflies are usually great at marketing lunches and happy hours, but tend to find online marketing boring. Others can nail a CLE, but cannot maintain smalltalk over lunch for more than five minutes. Some attorneys have an outstanding social media presence, but avoid in person networking.
Once you find your niche—your comfort zone—develop your marketing plan around your strength.
Step 2: create a plan and stick to it
Let’s say you decide that having power lunches is your speciality—whenever you have lunch with someone you think it will turn into referrals down the road.
Depending on your availability of course, set a goal of two networking lunches a month, or once per week, with people that you think can make a difference in your practice. Set a deadline that by the first Friday of every month, you will have your lunches arranged for the rest of the month.
Even if you’re a great talker, if you never go out to lunch, your social skills will not benefit you. Forcing yourself to stick to goals and a schedule helps ensure the events actually take place. Based on my informal poll, solo attorneys are spending between 20-33% of their time on marketing, which is useful landmark for creating your plan.
Step 3: review, revise, and diversify your plan
As noted above, a diverse marketing plan is the key to success. A diverse plan means that you are doing certain types of marketing out of your preferred zone—which also means you are exposing yourself to situations and people that you otherwise would not.
Quite simply, the more people you meet and talk with, the more opportunities you have for success. If you just started out, set long term goals, like teaching a CLE within the next year, or giving a presentation within the next six months.
Lastly, be sure to keep track of your efforts and track where your clients come from. This will allow you to strategically refocus and revamp your efforts in the future.