How many journal entries does it take to realize you’re a coward? How many journal entries does it take to realize that you don’t want to actually do the work? Instead, talk about doing the work. Endlessly talk. Because the journaling feels like “the thing” as opposed to doing the real “thing.”
After moving my offices back to downtown NYC (ask me anything, but do not ask me to commute), I came upon about 5 books full of semi regular scribbles. Nonsensical babble about “different ways” to increase my business. Gems such as “newsletter” and “reach out to clients” after the case is over. My favorite-“ask them about Wills.” As if asking them to entrust you with planning their estate is akin to bumming a stick of gum. What do you call it when you write about the same things ad nauseum but you don’t actually know you’re writing about it ad nauseum? Imagine a movie critic, sadly stricken with Dementia, writing the same review of Top Gun, over and over again, not knowing that, yes, he’s already mentioned how wonderful Tom’s hair was in that motorcycle scene.
Do you know what’s better than constantly writing about setting up a monthly event for clients? Setting up a monthly event for clients. You begin by calling a venue. Perhaps a local watering hole, or a place where people sit to enjoy food. You follow this by saying “yes, I will pay for this space on October 12th.” You then follow this seemingly courageous step by sending out an email to clients that says “I would like to buy you drinks and thank you.” And, finally, for the piece de resistance, you show up to the local watering hole or place where they serve food on October 12th, and you ply your clients with drinks or food or adoration or kisses or whatever. You do not...YOU DO NOT...write about doing this for 4 years in cafes only to have a eureka moment in Year 5 and say “You know what I should do? I should put on a monthly events for clients!?”
In my little, ostentatious, expensive journal, I’ve described the following prescriptions for increases business and client engagement, in great detail:
Throwing a holiday party
Sending out a monthly newsletter
Hiring more people
Opening another office
Learnings Trusts and Estates law
Partnering with a litigator
Co-ordinating a monthly dinners for brokers
Networking 4 nights a week
Learning how to play golf (and thank you for telling me you play golf and everyone that you play golf because definitely the Crossfit people are more annoying than you.)
Putting together seminars on buying your first home.
Giving presentations at the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce
Sponsoring a Little League Team (this was always a little creepy to me, as I do not have children yet.)
Blogging three times a week
Doing a Podcast
Interviewing non lawyers on my podcast.
Hand written thank you cards for each client.
Gifts for each client at the closing.
A “how are you” email, 6 months after the closing.
Do you know how many of the above I’ve put into practice. One. I do a monthly newsletter (which I love.) For 10 years I have been “journaling” and talking and, in crunch times, saying I would bring 1-18 to life and nothing. Zip. Zero. Complacency and the fear of failure creep in. Business is good. Growing every year. But when did the equation become Business Good= Not doing anything at all. My business is growing in spite of 1-18.
The truth is, like many of you (or not), I fear failure. What if no one shows up at my monthly party? What if the presentation of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce ends in tomatoes thrown (at me)? What if I have nothing to blog about and receive emails that say “What the hell is this?”
Why does any of this matter to you? Because maybe you feel the same way. Maybe you want to take these very, very productive, ambitious business generation tools and implement them and see what happens but you just poop your pants at the thought of it and oh hey, here’s my journal! Push through. Do it anyway. You’re going to fuck up. People won’t show. People will complain. People will say your speech/talk/dinner could have used this and some of that and a little of this and oh by the way. Who cares? Do it anyway. There is no secret sauce to this. No silver bullet. Your website and your SEO and your fliers and your “leave me a review” emails. How is that working out for you? Me too. So just do this. Do one. Take one example and break it down into small steps and then act on each one. Act like someone has a gun to your kid and says “If you don’t do this, I’m going to shoot your kid (this works if you’re not Liam Neeson). Take chances. Get out there. Feel massively uncomfortable, but do it anyway.
I hid behind some pen and pad bullshit for years and I didn’t even know I was hiding behind it. I’m not going to “journal” for a long, long time. It’s a crutch. An excuse. A way to check a box on a checklist that shouldn’t be there in the first place. But I am going to take chances and have fun and hope it leads to increased business and if it doesn’t, who cares? At least I did something. It’s more than I can say about what I’ve done for the past decade.