Episode Notes

How much growth is the right amount? How will you know when your business has grown enough?

In this episode, Stephanie talks with Paul Jarvis, author and co-founder of Fathom Analytics, about escaping the growth-for-growth’s-sake mentality. They discuss the expectation of hyper-growth for business owners, and if that actually serves your needs, both professionally and personally. 

Listen now to learn why more growth isn’t always better.

If today’s podcast resonates with you and you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, get the first chapter right now for free!

Thanks to Posh Virtual Receptionists, Berkshire Receptionists, & Lawyerist Lab for sponsoring this episode.

  • 7:12. Redefining success.
  • 12:32. Finding alternative solutions.
  • 16:39. Retention is better than acquisition.
  • 25:25. Company of One mentality.

Transcript

Announcer:

Welcome to The Lawyerist Podcast, a series of discussions with entrepreneurs and innovators about building a successful law practice in today’s challenging and constantly changing legal market. Lawyerist supports attorneys, building client-centered, and future-oriented small law firms through community, content, and coaching both online and through the Lawyerist Lab. And now from the team that brought you The Small Firm Roadmap and your podcast hosts.

 

Stephanie Everett (00:32):

Hi, I’m Stephanie Everett.

 

Jennifer Whigham (00:36):

And I’m Jennifer Wigham. And this is episode f42 of the Lawyerist Podcast, part of the Legal Talk Network. Today Stephanie is talking to Paul Jarvis about how to have a company of one mentality.

 

Stephanie Everett (00:48):

Today’s podcast is brought to you by Posh Virtual ReceptionistsBerkshire Receptionists, and Lawyerist Lab.  We wouldn’t be able to do this show without their support, so stay tuned, we’ll tell you more about them later on.

 

Jennifer Whigham (01:00):

Stephanie, I’m really excited about this interview because I read Paul’s book a while back and it really resonated with me because I love the idea of not growing your business for the sake of just growing it. Cuz I think we get these messages all the time of just growth, growth, growth and what does that mean if you’re not being intentional? So I was wondering if you could tell us a little bit about kind of what that means to you in the interview, what it means to our lobsters, things like that.

 

Stephanie Everett (01:25):

Yeah, I was excited to talk to him about this idea of not growing for growth’s sake and instead just being really intentional about what it is you want for your business and more importantly for your life. And I feel like a lot of his message just really resonated with me and what we are already teaching in Lab and in this community about thinking through what do you want out of your life and then creating a business that will give that to you and being really intentional with the decisions that you make along the way.

 

Jennifer Whigham (01:56):

Yeah, and not just profit for profit’s sake, you know, maybe you wanna make a certain amount of money because you wanna have a certain kinda lifestyle, but if you’re just, your only goal is to make money for money’s sake, you’re not gonna be happy and you’re not being intentional and you’re, you’re not gonna meet your goals because money is not a goal.

 

Stephanie Everett (02:13):

Yeah. And we talk about this like I asked him, you know, what is enough? Yeah. And I think that’s a question really for all business owners. You know, what is enough for you and how do you know when you’ve gotten there? And knowing that obviously the answer can change and we talk about that like maybe when you start you’re single and then you have a family. Well, enough may change. So it doesn’t have to necessarily be a static answer, but it’s one you should always be asking yourself.

 

Jennifer Whigham (02:41):

Yeah. And I don’t think we hear this message very often in business society because often, you know, even things like if you go on LinkedIn, so much of it is about, you know, pushing towards this goal and pushing no matter what and just pushing, pushing, pushing. And I don’t often see the why behind why you’re pushing or why you’re even doing it. And it always has bothered me. So it was just, I think a breath of fresh air to read his book. And I’m really excited for the interview too because I think he just has a lot of really good things to say.

 

Stephanie Everett (03:10):

Yeah, and I guess I’ll add, I think it’s one of the things that makes us around here at Lawyerist proud is we know there are other companies out there that are offering coaching services and offering help to lawyers. And sometimes people will get on a call with me, especially if they’ve already had those other calls and they’ll say like, What are your stats? How much growth should I expect to get when I join Lab? Like, how much more money am I going to make over what period of time? And I always kind of say yes, that is a thing. And we certainly have labsters that are really focused on growth and they’ll join our program and they will see that growth happen in terms of profit cuz we focus on profit not revenue or they add team members or they do other things to grow and improve their business.

 

(03:56):

But I also always tell them that a lot of people who come and join our program and wanna work with us have a different definition of success that’s not just tied to dollars. And I think if you listen to the podcast long enough, you know, you’ve heard this, that we have labsters who wanna work from anywhere and travel and do other things or stop working on Fridays and take time with their family. And that’s more important. And maybe they would say like, yes I could handle one more client if I didn’t work on Friday afternoon, but I would rather be off on Friday afternoon and enjoy my life and spend time with my family. So personally I always kind of push back and struggle a little bit answering that question. And sometimes I’ll say like, if you’re just looking to make, I mean there’s nothing wrong with making money and having that as a goal. And oftentimes that is also what a lot of our labsters are working on. But to me there’s also more to it. Maybe that’s the answer. It’s not just as simple as dollar signs.

 

Jennifer Whigham (04:52):

Yeah, exactly. I mean if you don’t know why you wanna make that money, I think you’re gonna feel hollow about it cuz you’ll have a pile of money and what are you gonna do if you don’t know why you’re making it the purpose of it. I, I mean I think that we do focus on that. So well let’s go ahead and listen to your interview with Paul.

 

Paul Jarvis (05:14):

Hey, I’m Paul Jarvis, I am the co-founder of Fathom Analytics and I also wrote a book called Company of One.

 

Stephanie Everett (05:21):

Hey Paul, great to have you on the show today.

 

Paul Jarvis (05:24):

Yeah, thanks so much.

 

Stephanie Everett (05:25):

So before we jump into some of the stuff you’re doing in your book, I have to first ask, have you had an encounter with a bear or maybe a muscot?

 

Paul Jarvis (05:35):

So actually two days ago we were my wife and I were supposed to go kayaking with our friends cause we live on the Pacific Ocean in the woods on an island. And our friends whose house we were going to sent a photo and there was a black bear literally standing right by where our, all of our kayaks and standup paddleboards sit for the summer. And so we still went like the, the bear had left in the, the five minutes it took us to get over there. But still, I thought it was kind of funny. I was like, does the bear wanna join us today?

 

Stephanie Everett (06:05):

So yes, I mean like really what my daughter wants to know is do you get to say hey bear a lot and does that work <laugh>

 

Paul Jarvis (06:12):

No I actually, I bike a lot so I see a lot of bears in the woods. This sad snakes me sound so stereotypically Canadian

 

Stephanie Everett (06:21):

<Laugh>. Well, but I know, but to fill everybody in, like your story is you kind of moved, I mean you packed up one day and moved to the island that I know because we’re a big fan of the show Alone at our house and I understand that’s filmed like not far from where you live. So when I’m, when I pictured you, you know, I pictured all the contestants on Alone as they were out there battling the elements and the animals

 

Paul Jarvis (06:45):

<Laugh> never, I actually run into them. I do, if I do see bears, I, I typically yell nicely at them. So I want them to leave cause I want them to stay safe and stay scared of people, which they pretty much all are. So it’s good.

 

Stephanie Everett (06:59):

Yeah, good to know. I mean that is a little bit of your story and maybe I think ties into some parts of the book is that one day you woke up and said, What am I doing? And that maybe prompted a move. I don’t know. You tell us.

 

Paul Jarvis (07:12):

Yeah, I mean I guess I’ve worked in the tech sector for I guess about 25 years now. And I think in that sector specifically, and I, but I think it’s kind of bled from tech to a lot of other markets and niches and types of work is this just idea that hyper-growth and growth at all costs in business is just the right thing to do and is just like, this is what is expected of a business. Like if you succeed, you grow, no questions, let’s all just, let’s all just drink this Kool-Aid and move forward in that regard. And I guess I just started to think about it and I was just like, well wait a minute. Like I don’t want this. And if I’m the person running my company, which I am, then what if I just don’t choose this? What if I choose to think about success in a way that works for me personally?

 

(08:07):

What if I think about maybe the, the byproduct of success is freedom and not just growth. Mm-Hmm <affirmative> or maybe growth is something that can be questioned because obviously you need growth if you’re starting from scratch, you need to grow a business to have customers or clients, right? Or you need to grow business from zero to, I have revenue and profit, but I think where that ideology of growth that all costs kind of falls down is that people don’t question, well what if I reach enough? Like what, what if I grow to the point where it is enough growth? And so I just started to think about that and think about, okay, for me personally, what does that look like? How would my life be better if there was more growth? And for a while it was, it actually would be be better in the following ways.

 

(08:56):

And then it reached a point where it was like, okay, well if I have what I need, if I’ve covered my bases, if I’m saving for the future, then more growth would mean maybe promoting myself out of a job I like doing into a job I don’t like doing. So I don’t like managing people. That’s just a personal like personality thing with me. So I wouldn’t want to have to hire people to do the job I wanna do and manage those. I feel like there would just be resentment. Yeah. Or something like that. So I’ve never wanted my co like my company right now I think we’re about eight people and that feels good. Like that feels like we can get what we need done. Everybody is able to do a job that they really enjoy doing and we’re profitable. And I think sometimes too, even if you’re not chasing growth, growth can be the byproduct of just running a company where everybody likes to do the work.

 

(09:45):

You’re doing something that customers like and they like to give you money to trade for the product or service that you have. And like our company does grow, we’re not chasing growth, we’re not after it. But if the revenue increases month over month because we’re doing things in a way that we like doing, then cool. But that’s never like, okay, growth is the top thing we’re going after now let’s do everything we can to get there. Now it’s like, okay, we’re doing the things that we wanna do and if growth happens then that’s pretty cool.

 

Stephanie Everett (10:15):

Yeah. I don’t think a lot of people stop to think about what is enough.

 

Paul Jarvis (10:21):

Yeah. I think Edward Abbey said it best in the seventies, the growth for growth’s sake is the ideology of a cancer cell. And like that’s pretty harsh to think about it in that way, but it also feels like well that kind of makes sense. Like if you don’t have a reason for it, then it could end up being really bad.

 

Stephanie Everett (10:40):

Yeah, no, that resonates. And I think like one of the things you hit on, I think in the book and and your work is this idea of maybe what’s in your intrinsic motivation and what you want out of life versus what everyone tells you. Like we have it in our head and lawyers like to be fair we’re, we’re kind of built on this, we’re our whole lives probably for a lot of us, we were, you know, we had to make the A in school, we had to be the best. And then we get to law school and it’s like, well you gotta get this, you gotta get a law review or you gotta make mock trial right. We’re always kind of chasing that next best thing. And then we start our own businesses, maybe we’re in the firm, there’s this idea, you gotta be a partner or you gotta start your own firm and then you have to grow your firm and it’s all this extrinsic, like who says that? Who says that? That is the definition of success. It’s just something we’ve bought into our whole lives and we don’t always stop to take a look and say, Wait, what is it that I actually want? And what am I doing here?

 

Paul Jarvis (11:39):

Yeah. And a lot of that is tied to, I guess kind of the same mindset that business schools teach. I think is probably very similar in law schools where it’s this kind of overarching idea that like there’s, this is the way you do it. If you wanna be successful, you follow this blueprint. And it’s interesting because I think a lot of us, regardless of what we do, start our own business because we feel like, oh well I can do things in a way that works for me and then we start our business and then we get caught up in that same rat race that we were trying to avoid. If we look at it like five years later or 10 or 25 years later, in my case, you look back at it and like, okay, my initial idea for working for myself was I wanted to do things differently.

 

(12:20):

I wanted to focus on different priorities. But then once I got caught up in it and if success actually happened, then I feel like, oh this is just the way I have. And it’s like, well no way. When I started I wanted to do things differently. So I think if we always just kind of have that, I guess you could call it a check-in, you could call it being introspective, you could call it being thoughtful, whatever. Whatever resonates. But I think if we don’t think about well how much is enough? How will I know when I’ve reached it and will anything change for the better or worse? If I do reach that enough point then we’re just gonna keep doing the thing that worked previously, which was growth because it does, like I said, it at a hundred percent works in the beginning. I’m definitely not anti-growth. I’m more questioning growth and making sure that it’s continuing to do all the positive things it did in the beginning when we started our business.

 

Stephanie Everett (13:13):

Yeah. And I think like you talk about this idea of your company of one mentality, which I wanna dig into, but it’s this idea that maybe is it better, It’s not bigger or bigger’s not better. Like it’s easy to grow through problems, right? I think is, yes. I’m not saying it as eloquently as you, but tell us about that and what you mean and what we should be maybe doing differently.

 

Paul Jarvis (13:32):

Yeah, the, I think the easiest way in business to solve any problem is to throw more at it, right? Like if you have a lot of customer support that you have to do, the easiest solution is to just keep hiring people where the best solution may not be to hire more people. It may be to look at your documentation and maybe that could be updated so customers can help themselves maybe onboarding. So bringing a customer from not working with you to working with you. Maybe there’s some like a PDF or something that you could make that could teach them or answer the questions that most of them have. So you could reduce support, but that takes work, right? That takes thought, that takes, okay, well what is the best solution? Not just the quickest, the easiest, the more solution. So I think a lot of it is that is thinking about, well is growth the best solution? Because more isn’t always better, Better is better. I think that’s, I think that’s what I wrote in the book as a sentence, kind of like that.

 

Stephanie Everett (14:31):

No, I love it. It makes sense. And so I kind of been jumping all over the place with you on this because I’m just so super excited and maybe you’ve already described it, but what is a company of one mentality? Like what does that really look like?

 

Paul Jarvis (14:44):

Yeah, I think that the main thing there is the questioning of growth. The book title is a bit like people tell nowadays, because I have a company of a bunch of people, they’re like, Well I thought you were a company of one. It’s like, I totally am a company of one can be any size, but they just have to question growth. I was just talking about customer support. We literally just hired a new customer support person two weeks ago. But that was because we did all of the things previously to see if we could solve it without adding more to it. We reached a point where it was hurting too much to not have somebody doing this job full time. So we needed to bring somebody on board. And a lot of it came down to myself and my business partner. We’ve been running this company for four year, I think it probably started value analytics around the time the book came out.

 

(15:34):

Cause I think the book came out four years ago and it’s been about that for this business. And we realized like it’s taking a mental toll on us to have to support the thing that we built every day. And support never stops flowing in and people have ideas or criticisms and stuff and we’re so close to the product. It made sense mentally and for our own mental health to, to take one step away from that and to have somebody, And we realized we couldn’t focus on the big picture stuff because we were always in the reactivity mode. Right? So we couldn’t be good business owners because I don’t want to be reactive in what I do. I want to think about things. I it takes me a very long time to come to an opinion or a decision because I need to weigh all the options and think about things. And it was becoming really hard to do that. So I think yeah, really the def the long winded answer of the definition of company of one is just questioning growth and seeing if growth is the right answer. Because it sometimes is, yeah. But sometimes it isn’t

 

Stephanie Everett (16:39):

<Laugh>. Yeah, that makes sense. So far we’ve sort of been talking about growth in terms of adding staff or team members, but you also really question like your client roster. Like is this idea of retention better than acquisition? Like should you go deep with your existing clients and talk a little bit about that.

 

Paul Jarvis (16:59):

Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a, there’s a study done in the states where, I think it was, it was done through the White House. I don’t remember which administration doesn’t matter. I don’t need to get into that. But there was a study done that showed that acquisition costs on average five times more than retention. And it cost doesn’t even necessarily mean financial. It could mean time sales takes process. I’ve done everything from like a six figure contracts to like the soft price sell now starts at 14 bucks a month. So I’ve done everything from year or two long contracts to just, I’m selling a product as a service at the moment. And so I’ve kind of seen it from all sorts of, like the volume that I needed to do work at the higher end was far less than volume. Now, the volume for a book, it doesn’t make sense to sell a book to 10 people a year.

 

(17:46):

Whereas like the services I was doing definitely did. So the retention versus acquisition, it’s like when whatever I’m doing, I think about, okay, well if it’s cheaper in every regard to retain somebody, what can I do to accomplish that? So if it’s one off services, maybe they’re, I would think about things like retainers, which I know is pretty popular in the legal world or things that you can do on ongoing basis. I know I pay my corporate lawyer every year just to be available for simple questions and to do my year end AGM kind of thing. And that’s a cost I’m happy to pay because I know that if I have a question, I can just email her and get an answer. And it’s, it’s worth the money to me. And so sometimes there’s years where I don’t contact her at all and she makes that money, I’m happy to pay it every single year.

 

(18:38):

So for things like that, it’s okay, well if I have a customer, then how, what can I do to keep them? And sometimes, like I said, it’s things like maintenance or ongoing contracts or even offering new services. On the other side, if you’re doing things like recurring services, then what can you do to just make the customer happy to pay you every month? Like maybe it’s being able to answer support really quickly. Maybe it’s continuing to add more and more value to the product you’re selling. Like we sell software, so we’re always adding new features to it, and we want to make sure that our customers don’t wanna leave because it’s easier for us to operate in that way. And the other thing is we like to try to think about if we already have a customer, then what can we offer them that maybe costs a little more so that we can generate more revenue per customer.

 

(19:28):

Like if we have 10,000 customers and we offer something that’s a little bit more money, we could generate a lot more revenue than going out and coming up with like a marketing campaign or sales campaign to, to do those sorts of things. So we’re always trying to think, okay, one, how can we make our customers as happy as possible and how can we continue to engage with them? If they are happy with us, then maybe they want more from us. Maybe there’s more than we can provide. And then what are those things that we can do to facilitate that? I also don’t like sales. So the more that I can do to not have to sell a thing that I can just keep the relationship that I have with somebody going, I’m happy for that.

 

Stephanie Everett (20:06):

Yeah, I mean it sounds like everything you do and, and your whole approach is just all around being very intentional.

 

Paul Jarvis (20:14):

Yeah, definitely. I think that especially in the the thinking about, okay, if this business is mine, if I, if I’m the one running the business, then I think that in the past there’s been this slight, well, if you have a small business, then you’re running a lifestyle band. I’m doing air quotes that people are listening in audio, you’re running a lifestyle business. And that kind of can feel like a, or can come across as a slight intentional or not that it’s a lifestyle business, but I think every business is a lifestyle business. It honestly is whatever business you’re doing, whether you’re working for a Fortune 100 or working for yourself or, or a startup, your business is typically the thing you do for most of your waking hours. That’s always going to impact your lifestyle. So for myself, I want a business that supports my life and not a life that exists just to support my business.

 

(21:05):

So I’m always thinking about, obviously the business needs to make money or it’s not a business, the business needs to serve the customers, but to some degree you have the ability to decide like, maybe I don’t need to work 80 hours a week. I don’t think anybody needs to work 80 hours a week, but maybe there’s a way that you can do things where you’re working 30 instead of 40. Or maybe there’s a way that you can do things where you’re able to take two months off a year kind of thing instead of two weeks or, or whatever it is that people get. I don’t, I don’t even know. But I think that we have the ability to adjust for these things and to kind of think about, okay, well if this is the type of success I want personally, then what decisions can I make in my business to achieve that? Right? So it is, there is a lot of introspection in a lot of the things that I, that I write and the way that I think about business because I think it’s sadly lacking. I think the reason we’ve ended up with like sociopath huge corporations is because there is that lack of thoughtfulness and insight into how we should treat each other. It sounds hippy dippy and altruistic, but there’s so many examples of companies that just crush it and also think about doing things in a way that works for the all the people involved. So

 

Stephanie Everett (22:25):

No. Yeah, if I was like highlighting I would’ve had my highlighter out from us. All the things you just said is what I was thinking while you were talking. I was like, Yes, yes. That is what we preach all the time. And I think like the good news is it’s what we’re seeing, I was telling you before we hit record, like a lot of the lawyers were working with these days are coming in and they’re like, Hey, I wanna run my law firm from Europe this summer. Like, I wanna go rent a house somewhere in Madrid. I mean I, Europe seems to be a hotspot Costa Rica’s another. But that idea of this like I wanna go live and be somewhere and still have this business, but how do I create a business that allows me to support that life and I’m all for it. I’m like, Yes, let’s do it. You can do it. It, it’s not an overnight switch. Maybe for some it’s easier than others, but it’s all about then, okay, once we know that’s the goal, how do we build a business that supports it? So yeah, I love it. Well, let’s take a quick break, hear from our sponsors when we come back. I wanna shift just slightly.

 

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Stephanie Everett (25:25):

All right, I’m with Paul. We’ve been talking about this idea of a company of one mentality. I’m not gonna just say company of one cuz I think it’s more the mentality than it’s one person. But you also talk about this idea of growing within an existing organization or company and kind of a, I think even adopting this mentality within that realm. And maybe I was hoping you could speak to that a little bit in how you, I don’t know, what are the pros and cons maybe of being in a company of one versus growing within an existing organization?

 

Paul Jarvis (25:58):

Yeah, I think part of it comes down to the organization’s willingness to let you have things like autonomy or to radically simplify. And so I, I think a lot of it, it doesn’t work for every big organization, but I have seen it work for quite a few. I definitely see it work a lot in tech who seems to be, not because it’s better, but just because it’s the way tech works willing to try a lot of different things. And most of the time they don’t work but sometimes they do. It’s almost like becoming an intrepreneur where you are internal to a company but you’re able to see what the company needs of you and or your team and be able to have the autonomy to achieve it without being told like, this is the rigid process that you have to follow. These are the number of team members you need to have.

 

(26:51):

That sort of thing. And a lot of times I see it working where it’s just a simplification most of the times the simplification of reporting or a simplification of just cutting out 90% of the meetings because a lot of meetings exist in big companies because somebody’s job is to set up these meetings, to run these meetings and that. So people need to do their job. So it’s not their fault that their job, it’s just like sales and and acquisitions. A lot of big companies have big teams for signing on new vendors and the process takes like six months. Whereas it could just be them clicking a button at like for bam, it takes two minutes to sign up for our software. But people wanna like, okay, well can we talk to the legal, Can we get the legal department all? And so a lot of the times for thinking with the company of one mentality within a business is just this idea of radical simplification and then the autonomy and getting buy in to say, you hired me to do this job.

 

(27:49):

I know how to do this job cause you hired me to do it and I wasn’t lying. So can I then be in control of how that job is accomplished? Mm-Hmm <affirmative>, like maybe it’s that you work from home half the time or most of the time maybe it’s that you have less check-ins with your manager because unless you’re doing something wrong, you probably don’t. Like with my company, there’s no communication unless something needs to be clarified, unless something needs to be strategized or unless there’s an issue. Mm. Then we have a meeting. Usually the meetings are five, 10 minutes. If we can accomplish something in just, I guess asynchronous text, then if it’s better served to solve the problem in real time on a call, we do it till we solve the problem, hop off, get back to work. So things like this, I think more and more companies are starting to things about this and adopt this idea of, well if we trust our employees, which probably should <laugh>, then you should trust them to be able to do the job in a way that works for them and in a way that still benefits you.

 

(28:56):

They still do the work but they just might do it in a different way. Right. So like, I’m not gonna lie, it’s harder to be a company of one and kind of have that mentality in a big company, but it can be possible. And if that’s something that resonates it, it, it can be worth exploring I think.

 

Stephanie Everett (29:13):

Yeah. Cool. So I think you’ve shifted gears since you’ve written this book. What are you learning right now? Is there something like are one of our values that Lawyerist is grow as people and so we’re always challenging our team members to learn a new skill or maybe experiment with a new skill. So what are you working on?

 

Paul Jarvis (29:31):

Yeah, I mean I’m working on having a company that’s bigger than me <laugh> to be like, honestly this is, this is where myself and my co-founder are at. Where it’s like, okay, we’ve managed to grow the company to a place where it’s more than just us involved. Like what does that look like? What is, what does HR and salaries look like? And these are things that I’m learning about that I didn’t know about. If I’ve never even paid myself a salary, I just take dividends. So things like that are interesting and a lot of the conversation and the introspection now is we can’t do all of the work to make the company function. Like in the beginning, myself and my business partner could like it was just us two and we could accomplish all of the tasks in order for Fathom to run. Now we can’t.

 

(30:20):

So it’s a matter of, okay, well what are the tasks that we want to do? And then if it’s not a task we want to do, does it make sense for us to do it anyways? Cuz it’s work, not super happy, fun time. So sometimes you have to do tasks you don’t wanna do, but it’s like, okay, well we hired somebody for support because that made sense for us because it was mentally draining for us to have the context shift between big picture and granular reactivity. So we had to hire somebody for that. We, we brought on another, another developer. We probably be hiring another developer very soon. We have two lawyers plus a third sometimes and a privacy officer who’s like a legal expert in privacy law because we are not lawyers or legal experts. And we started a company that is very involved in GDPR and privacy laws like CPPA and EP and PECR and a whole bunch of other ones.

 

(31:20):

We started a company for software. But because it is such a focus on privacy, we need to be very clear and very specific cuz our customers could get in trouble if we got things wrong. So we involve more lawyers and legal experts than developers and that’s just the way that it’s worked because our expertise is development and software. So a lot of it has been that it’s been thinking, okay, what can we, what is our core skillset? What do we want to keep doing? Right? And like I said in the beginning, I don’t wanna manage people doing the job that I do now. So it’s finding ways to hire out to do all of the peripheral things around it so I can still be the designer and the writer for the company and not feel like I’m stressed because I have too much on my plate.

 

(32:04):

I think a lot of company culture trickles down from the top. So myself, my, my business partner are very conscious of not overworking and not projecting that, that we’re always working to the people that work for us. I don’t want people to do that. Like I don’t do that sometimes if our support person are developer emails me at two in the afternoon, I’m like, Sorry, I’m out for a bike ride. I’m out for a paddle with a black bear on the ocean. So it’s like I, I ha I’m fine to have a life cuz everybody knows I get my work done, but I also don’t work from nine till five ever because that’s, it doesn’t accommodate for living in a rainforest where we don’t get a ton of sun. So if it’s sunny, I want to take advantage of the sun and do my work when it’s either dark or raining, which it will be very soon, like every single day. So,

 

Stephanie Everett (32:54):

Yeah. Makes sense. What do you wish I would’ve asked you?

 

Paul Jarvis (32:58):

I guess the only other thing would be that, like I talk about our own definition, like us defining personally what success looks like. It’s okay if you don’t know the answer to that or it’s okay if that shifts and evolves, right?

 

Stephanie Everett (33:12):

Yeah. Because it will naturally

 

Paul Jarvis (33:14):

A hundred percent, like none of our lives are that static, right? Like when I started working with my co-founder, he was a single dude and now he’s got a spouse and a kid, right? So like his, his vision of success in the future has very much changed. His day to day has very much changed, right? So I think it’s okay to not know. I think that the point isn’t to know what success is for you. The point is to make time to think about it, to make time to be introspective, to make time, to think through, well what is enough or what, what am I after with the work that I’m doing? And I think the main point is, is the process in the introspection there not having the answers. Cause like, I don’t, I don’t even, I wrote a book on this. I don’t ha I don’t know what the answers to any of these things are.

 

Stephanie Everett (34:06):

No, but I love that you’re asking us the questions and I think you’ve got everyone thinking about it now. Well,

 

Paul Jarvis (34:11):

Thank you.

 

Stephanie Everett (34:11):

Well thanks for being with me today. I super enjoyed our conversation and I’m headed near you soon. I’m going up to Alaska with my daughter and I hope to not see a bear. Well, I mean to see a bear not, I don’t know, not in, on a path.

 

Paul Jarvis (34:27):

Not to be surprised by seeing a bear.

 

Stephanie Everett (34:29):

Yeah. There you go.

 

Paul Jarvis (34:30):

<Laugh>. Yeah.

 

Announcer:

The Lawyerist Podcast is edited by Britany Felix. Are you ready to implement the ideas we discuss here into your practice? Wondering what to do next? Here are your first two steps. First. If you haven’t read The Small Firm Roadmap yet, grab the first chapter for free at Lawyerist.com/book. Looking for help beyond the book? Let’s chat about whether our coaching communities, are right for you. Head to Lawyerist.com/community/lab to schedule a 10-minute call with our team to learn more. The views expressed by the participants are their own and are not endorsed by Legal Talk Network. Nothing said in this podcast is legal advice for you.

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Stephanie Everett

Stephanie Everett is the President of Lawyerist, where she leads the Lawyerist Lab program. She is the co-author of the bestselling book The Small Firm Roadmap and is a regular guest and co-host of the weekly Lawyerist Podcast.

Featured Guests

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Paul Jarvis

Paul Jarvis is the cofounder of Fathom Analytics, a simple and privacy-focused website analytics tool. He’s also the author of Company of One.

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Last updated October 19th, 2022