On this week’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer® podcast, we focus on three ways to avoid the planning pitfalls too often made when engaging in goal setting, and how to successfully implement strategies for success in the new year.
Like many of you, we are excited to close out 2020 and welcome in a new year and a new chapter. Our mission in 2021 is to continue providing you with more tips, teachings, and trainings to support you in your law firm growth and wealth-creation journey.
We hope you enjoy this episode as we discuss:
- How to assess your strengths so you can lead with them going forward
- One thing you must have before you write your new plan
- Why KPIs are so important and which ones I recommend you start tracking now
- The surefire method to use if you actually want to get things done
- Why success is not a solo project—even if you are a solo
- And much more.
Mentioned in this episode:
Davina Frederick: Hello, and welcome to the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast. We believe all women lawyers deserve to be wealthy women lawyers. Our mission is to provide thought provoking powerful and practical information to help you in creating your own sustainable wealth generating law firm without overwork or overwhelm, so you can live your best life. I’m your host Davina Frederick. So let’s get started.
Today’s edition of Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast is going to be a little different, because it’s just going to be a little old me. My plan in 2021 is to bring you more tips, teaching and training content, to provide extra support for you as you continue to grow your law firm and create wealth. This content is going to be in addition to interviews with other experts and women law firm owners. We’ve had a great lineup of guests and several episodes lately already in the can, as they say, so I can’t wait for you to hear them. Now, though, as we end 2020. And we are should I say as we say good riddance to 2020, and we head into 2021. I know a lot of folks are using the last few days of December to begin preparing for the new year. I’m sure you’ve been thinking about your law firm business, your career and your life in 2021, and wondering what it will be like, and maybe you’re even making lists of all the changes you want in the coming month.
So I’ve been helping women law firm owners for years now with planning. And this is a really busy time for me, this time of year is always busy because of that. And it’s been my habit for a long time before I even started this company to use this time of year to plan. I absolutely love creating strategic plans in guiding the clients in the implementation of them. In fact, when I took the Clifton Strengths Assessment of the top six strenghts, four of them fell into the category of strategic planning, and two in relationships. So it’s a really good thing because strategic planning and relationship building are critical skills, both as a lawyer and as business coach. So if you haven’t taken the Clifton Strengths Assessment, I highly recommend you do yours. There’s a link in the show notes. If you want to go to take the Clifton Strengths Assessment, it is Gallup, gallup.com, gallup.com and then you go to services, and click on Clifton strengths, there are two different options there for you. And let me know how it works out for you.
But back to the topic of planning, I share my experience. So you’ll know I’m not just making up crap when I’m sharing with you what I’m going to share with you today, which is the top three planning pitfalls that I’ve seen so many people fall into and mistakes I used to make myself when I first started doing it. And I’m sharing this, I’m sharing this with you in hopes that it will help you to avoid making these mistakes as you’re sitting down to do your planning for the year. If you’re where you can take notes I advise you to do so if you’re running or driving or some other activity while you’re listening. I know I like to listen to podcasts, oftentimes fun working out, then just listen down and you come back later to refreshment. Okay, so planning pitfall number one is not conducting a year in review based on data.
So when you’re starting your planning process, it’s very important to start with every view of the past, I’ve worked with too many women law firm owners who appear to never even look at data. And many of them even struggle to keep data at all right? So maybe that’s you, if that’s you, I still want you to do this stuff and not skip this stuff. Even if you don’t have a good data or a lot of data. And here’s why. We can’t set clear goals of increase and growth unless we have a starting point. We have to know where we’re starting from, it’s like planning a trip, if you’re gonna plan a trip and you put in your GPS, the destination, you have a starting point we have to know where we are now, before we can plot out our course to where we’re headed. In fact, I often like to look back two to three years at least and assemble data on so I can see the trajectory of growth. So if you were looking at clients information, we would go back at least five years or more to or to the day when they started their business and stern looking at their day.
So what do I need my data? What I’m talking about when I say data or key performance indicators, so these figures and other data that tend to help More business. Here are some of my favorites. And where I would start if I were conducting a review of your business. So number one is I could look at total gross revenue. I want to know what income you brought into your business before taxes before expenses. That’s what gross revenue is. On some, QuickBooks is one reporting on their reporting documents, they call it gross income, on its gross revenue. They call it gross income, right? I think income is personal, usually. But that’s a number we’ll be using to establish arm from soul for the new year, we have to know the standard number if you want to predict the percentage increase from one year to the next.
So if you’re wanting to set a goal for 2021 $500,000, and you look back this year, and if you’ve only made $100,000, it made me more challenging for you to get to $500,000 in a year, let’s not say you can’t do it. I don’t want to put that out there for you. Because I’ve seen some people make some, you know, crazy increases, doubling tripling their revenue. But you need a good plan to do that, right. So it’s important to know where you’re starting from, to know what you need to do, and versus you need to be in the coming video. The other thing I’ve looked at is how many clients cases or matters that you’ve had in the past year, I’d also look at the average value per matters, I put these numbers together to give me some information about on how much how many clients you have to have, and about how much you make on average per matter that comes into your firm, right?
So that’s going to help me if I have that information, then we’ll be able to predict how many you’ll need in the coming year. And getting those and how much we need to stretch them because we may need to raise rates right? Number four is I would look at each billable employee and see how many hours they have worked. So I would expect to see at least a 1560 a year of billable hours for billable employees. Now, if you are the attorney and you’re also running your law practice, then you might have fewer billable hours per year, because you might not be able to build this much.
But if you have an associate who’s working for you, and that is only their job to work through the work of clients, it is not their job to bring in business, then 1560 hours a year is not unreasonable, it’s very doable. It’s six hours a day of billable work that leaves in two hours a day of non billable work or whatever administrative things they have to do on most law firms in big law will require anywhere between 2000 and 2500 billable hours a year. So move for a small firm, it is very reasonable to set 1560 I have some clients who kind of in the 1800 on amount for those attorneys who all they do is fiddle. So you can decide there, but anything above 1560 is gravy.
And so you want to look at that for all of your billable personnel. So your paralegals, your attorney, your associated to the lease, that kind of thing. I would also look at the source of your clients. That’s number five, the source of your clients. Hopefully, you’ve been tracking this data, because it’s going to be hugely helpful and impactful when you consider your marketing in the new year, if you know where the majority of your clients are coming from. And I know oftentimes a lot of people just don’t buy sort of a gut feel on this where they think they’re coming from, oh, I get attorney before rolls. But when I challenge people on this and get them to look at their data, they often were surprised how many clients they’re getting for one or two sources. And they start getting scared because they look at that and they realize, oh man, what happens if one of these sources goes away, my business will be cut in half. And I’ve seen that happen to a lot of solo attorneys. So or even venture firms? So if your clients are coming from one or two sources, individuals or business returning referrals Did you really need to think about in the New Year expanding that.
So there are a lot of other KPIs that look at as well if I’m analyzing your financial data, but this is going to be a great tip for you. Okay. And I would encourage you to do this exercise, even like I said, even if you can’t answer the questions completely or if it feels hard for you, in fact, especially if it feels true, because this action is the first step to getting clarity And being totally brutally honest with yourself about the state of your business, we cannot improve On what? On, you know, data that we don’t have, right? So if you want to improve, you have to have that data first. All right, planning, pitfall, number two, too many goals to effectively implement. And I remember making new year’s eve resolution list as long as my arm. Have you ever done that? I remember one time standing in my kitchen talking to a friend about my new year’s resolutions. It was like, in the new year, I’m going to lose 20 pounds, I’m going to learn French, I’m going to travel around the world, I’m going to make a million dollars. You know, this has been many years ago.
But can you relate to that? Have you done that? I know a lot of people get excited about New Year’s and we create a lot of resolutions. And then people realize year after year, they don’t accomplish your resolutions. And then they say, Well, I don’t believe in resolutions anymore. But the exciting thing about a new year is the new part. It’s about all that’s possible in the unknown and the unknowable, and it frightens some people, I’m one of those people who really feels energized by the new possibility of a new year. And I know it’s arbitrary, but I still use it as a touch point for examining my life and, and thinking what I want in the future. A number of years ago, though, I discovered a book that turned my thinking on attendance. And it’s called the 12 week year. In it, the author’s take on the arbitrary nature of the annual calendar.
They asked this question, what if it What if the year was only 12 weeks? Right? Instead of 12 months? is only 12 weeks? What would you focus on in that 12 weeks to accomplish in that module, right? You see, when you have a long list of goals, you get so excited about them at first. And maybe we even started out, implementing them with tremendous enthusiasm. But by February merge, that enthusiasm has usually waned a little bit. And then, you know, spring with spring break, and the kids were on spring break. You know, we’re too busy then. And then we may have a couple of good months. And then next, you know, it’s summer. And everybody’s got fun on their mind and the summer vacations of whatnot. And then we roll into September. And people are like,
Well, yeah, I need to get something on this. But schools going back and, and you know, whether you’re right now we’re homeschooling, which has made it even more difficult for people, right. But then people have that on their mind. And then the next you know, it’s the holidays. And then here we are again, and you really have an accomplishment of your goals. And if you just want to see proof of this to go to the gym in January, and then again in March or April in January, you’re gonna see the crowds and March and April, you’re down to just a regular, okay, so flecked on your own life and think about those big trainings and goals that you have, that you haven’t accomplished and how many years they’ve been moving with you on your resolutions list. So now, by employing the concept of the 12 week year, we can begin to prioritize our goals in a way that makes them achievable. Um, because really, how much can you accomplish in 12 weeks towards your major goals, while also continuing with day to day? So probably leave one or two major goals, right? So if we just say, I only have 12 weeks in a year, in 12 weeks, in 90 days, what can I accomplish? Well, I have all these priorities on May 1, I’m going to pick one, maybe two, because any more than that, and there’s just not give me enough time to get done. But imagine so the cumulative effect of accomplishing just one major goal every 12 weeks, right? If you just accomplish one major goal every 12 weeks or two major goals in 12 weeks, within 365 days, you will have accomplished four to six to eight major goals on your list. Do you see the power of that?
The 12 week year allows you to just laser focus on accomplishing one or two goals at a time, in addition to living your regular life. And it makes you much more effective in implementing your plan. This is a method I’ve met that I’ve used over and over again, not only for myself, but for my clients. And because of it my clients have hit some really high financial goals. they’ve written books, they freed up time on their schedules, to do more of what they love, they started podcasts and so much more. So when you’re planning your year this year, consider only planning for the next 12 weeks. And then after you’ve acquired accomplish your first one or two goals plan for the next 12 weeks. It’s an it’s incredibly powerful stuff.
Alright, so the third planning pitfall on our list is a big one. It’s failure to implement because of lack of accountability. accountability is critical to successful implementation. Most people who have failed in accomplishing their goals do so because they rely on motivation and, or willpower. If motivation and willpower works, we would not have the obesity crisis that we have in this country. And we’d have a lot more successful small businesses instead of all the ones that fail within the first five years. So rather than relying on our mood, right to work toward our goals, what I’ve found to be most effective is creating a support system of like minded people who inspire you to continue even when you don’t feel like it.
Now, I want to tell you a little story about me and my friend, Linda. Linda, if you’re listening, you are going to get a chuckle out of this, because Linda is also an attorney. And she and I were in a coaching program together eons ago. And in the program, we decided we would pair up to be accountability partners, because we just love each other. I mean, we make each other laugh, we have a good time together. We’re two peas in a pod. We’re both ambitious and, you know, accomplished women. So we agree, we would talk each week and we hold each other accountable for what we were doing. You know what each of us said we were going to do for that week, right? I don’t even think we made it to the first week with this idea. I mean, we tried it for a few weeks.
But neither one of us was very disciplined at the time. And we both still had a lot of mindset work to do. And so we just let each other off the hook. Because I mean, really what’s going to be if I say you will, you really should get that done. And what’s the consequence of not doing it, you know, and so we were terrible accountability partners, we would laugh and laugh and we wouldn’t get a damn thing done, right? Have you ever had accountability partnership like that, like you and a partner maybe agreed to go work out together so you can hold each other accountable for getting your workout done. But then you go get ice cream after? Because you know, best friends right? After a while if you just skip the workout, and you can write to the restaurant or the bar and you have fun.
Okay, so I’m telling you, my story. I’ve done that. Yes. Have you done that? Here’s my accountability tip. And this is one that has worked for me and for my clients. hire a coach to help hold you accountable. having great business coaches are what is allowed me to accomplish all I have in this business in this coaching business. And now I’m going on eight years, including serving hundreds of women law firm owners and growing their businesses, starting at community creating a podcast writing a book, which is soon to be published, creating an online program and wildly surpassing my financial goals. It’s also helped my numerous clients achieve some really high bar goals as I mentioned, for so like making five, multiple six and seven figures in annual revenue, all the while taking more time off than ever before.
You see the difference between an accountability partner who is most likely going to be a good friend, because you know, we’re not going to pick accountability partners that we don’t like, right. And a business coach is the nature of the relationship. The coach is focused on you and your goals alone, when you are engaged with them. And they have cultivated the skills and the training to help you move forward. When you encounter obstacles, which we all do when we’re on a growth journey, we all are going to encounter obstacles, whether that is an external obstacle, or an internal obstacle obstacle, which is, you know, some the reason why you’re not getting something done that keeps moving forward on your list over and over again, is likely because there’s an internal obstacle holding you back and coaches are trained to help overcome those. Also, it’s important to surround yourself with a community of like minded, goal oriented people who are on a similar journey to the one you’re in.
So while it’s not their job to hold you accountable, such as such a community will not only inspire you, but oftentimes, individuals in it will become a great resource for you as you will for others. It’s a bonding experience that can result in lifelong friendships and camaraderie, as well as a powerful, influential network. If you’re interested in being part of a community, as well as coaching with me, someone who’s been where you are in your business and really transformed their lives that I highly encourage you to check out the wealthy woman lawyer league. The wealthy woman lawyer league is a community I created just for women law firm owners like you, who were highly motivated to grow their law firm business, and there will in it, you not only have access to a community of other inspiring like minded women, law firm owners, some of whom are ahead of you on the journey, and some of you who may be behind you on the journey.
But you’re also going to have weekly coaching calls with me and other women law firm owners on in the community, as well as access to my million dollar law firm growth framework. Now, this is the exact framework I’ve used to guide all my private clients to success over the last seven, almost eight years. If you want more information, the link is in the show notes. Or you can go to right now to www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league. And that will have all the details on the program. The link is also in the show notes. Although the league is open year round, now is going to be a great time for you to join. Because of all the extra bonuses, I deliberately opened up the league. It’s open year round. I have created bonuses on that I think you’re really gonna love. One is my fastest path to cash blueprint. And it’s going it’s a training on how to bring cash quickly into your law firm business, which I know everybody loves and is excited about doing, especially when you go into New Year.
Also, you’re going to get consultations to clients a sales master training with sales master Shawn Karol Sandy, who’s the founder and CEO of the Selling Agency, and a good friend of mine. And also she’s she and I have masterminded together before, so you were really gonna get a lot out of this and she shared some really terrific gold nuggets in it. You can only receive these bonuses when you sign up for the league this month, though, before midnight on December 31. Right, I created the bonuses as an incentive to join the league at this time, because I know a lot of you are going to be doing your planning right now. And this, you will find it hugely, hugely helpful if you join us in the community now. So I really wanted to give you an extra incentive to do so simply 31st at midnight, that’s just in a few days of checking them now. I want to close with encouraging you to go into 2021 with a plan to choose you, and the fulfillment of your needs, including your physical, spiritual, mental, emotional, and financial needs.
All too often I have encouraged I’m sorry, I have encountered high achieving intelligent and driven women who consistently put themselves last on their list and in their plans. And this is particularly true when it comes to finances. This year, I want something more for you. See, I believe women lawyers work too damn hard to not be wealthy. Every woman lawyer I know, works really hard and serving others and serving their families serving their communities and serving their clients. And I know what it took to get where you are because I went through the same thing. And so I believe that every woman lawyer deserves to be a wealthy woman lawyer. And I hope you agree with me.
Lastly, I want to say thank you to all my clients and the wealthy woman layer community and all of you my podcast listeners. I’ve recently got a note. It was a comment on an Instagram post from some ladies in North Carolina. So the Association of North Carolina Association of Women attorneys I think it is who said that they are listening to the wealthy woman lawyer podcast and discussing it in their group. And I was so happy to hear that. It makes me so excited to know that you guys are sharing the information on from the podcast because we’ve had some terrific guests last couple of years who have brought some really powerful insights and information to all of us and so I’d love to hear that. The message is getting out. And thank you. Thank you so much. So every day I wake up grateful to have you been just so you know, every day I wake up grateful to have you. And I thank you for your contribution. And I really encourage you to keep up the good work in this coming year. I hope to see you soon, maybe in wealthy woman lawyer league. Thank you.
We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast. If you have we invite you to leave us a review on your preferred podcast platform. The more five star reviews we have, the more women law firm owners will be able to positively impact. Your thoughts and opinions are so important to us. If you are a woman law firm owner who wants to scale your law firm to a million dollars or more in gross annual revenue and do it in a way that’s sustainable and feels good to you, then we invite you to join us in the wealthy woman lawyer league. The league is a community of highly intelligent, goal oriented and driven women law firm owners who are excited to support one another on their journeys to becoming wealthy women lawyers. We’ll be sharing so much in the league in the coming year, including the exclusive million dollar law firm framework that until now, I’ve only shared with my private one to one clients. For more information and to join us go now to www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league. That’s www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league . LEAGUE. We look forward to seeing you soon in the league.