Our guest on this week’s Wealthy Woman Lawyer® Podcast is attorney and business consultant, Nakia Gray, the CEO and Founder of Nakia Gray Legal P.C., a modern and virtual law firm helping creative entrepreneurs and artists establish a brand and build a profitable business by protecting and leveraging their creative work. Nakia is also the Founder of Beyond the Bar Institute, a personal branding and online marketing consultancy for attorneys who are ready to leverage the internet to build their own brand, attract more clients and create a freedom-based law firm.
We chat about why she left the fashion industry to become a lawyer and, ultimately, an online entrepreneur, as well as:
- Why she left Big Law to start her own business
- How she built a business model that worked for her family
- Best practices for (and challenges of) hiring remote workers
- Tips for taking your law firm 100% virtual
- The power of business coaching
- And more.
Mentioned in this episode:
- Website: https://beyondthebarinstitute.com/
- Website: https://www.nakiagray.com
- Website: https://graylegalpc.com/
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, and I’m so excited for you to meet our guest today. So let’s get started.
Attorney and business consultant Nakia Gray is committed to helping others create their own economy through branding, marketing, and passionate entrepreneurship. As CEO and Founder of Nakia Gray, P.C, a virtual law firm Nakia enjoys helping creative entrepreneurs and artists establish a brand and build a profitable business by protecting and leveraging their creative work. Nakia also is the founder of Beyond the Bar Institute, a personal branding and online marketing consultancy for attorneys who are ready to leverage the Internet to build their own brand, attract more clients and create a freedom based law firm. So welcome, Nakia, it’s great to have you on the Wealthy Woman Lawyer Podcast.
Nakia Gray: Thank you, I am super excited to be here.
Davina: Yay. Well, we’ve got lots to discuss, because there’s some very interesting things that you have done with your law degree and in business. So I want to talk about that. First off, though, give me a little bit of background, kind of your journey from childhood to you know, deciding to become a lawyer. Did you? Did you? Were you that kid that always knew that you wanted to be a lawyer? Or did you kind of discover that later in life.
Nakia: So interestingly, I always was told that I should be a lawyer, I was I was, I was the kid that was always chatting a bit much in class. And all of my teachers always said, girl, your mouth is going to get you in trouble one day, you need to be a lawyer. So I did grow up kind of thinking that I I’m the first in my family to go to college, no one in my family is really educated. So I didn’t really have an example, to model after, but that always kind of stuck with me. And so when I did decide to go to college, you know, just to give you an idea of how little I knew, I actually thought that I’d go to college, and I’d be a lawyer when I was done. And so my advisor was like, No, ma’am. That’s not how this works.
Davina: Dang it.
Nakia: I was like, Oh, really, I was like, so you mean, I’m not gonna be a lawyer when I leave here in four years? And they’re like, no. So at that time, I decided to switch my major. And I said, Well, I’ve always been entrepreneurial. I was also the kid, like, you know, babysitting, selling candy, you know, always had an entrepreneurial spirit. So I switched to business. And I said, you know, law school, seven years, I’m not doing that. I’ll do this four year degree, and I’ll be, you know, in business.
So I did that I have a marketing degree undergrad. And I went into the fashion industry, which I loved. There was still this little nagging thing in the back of my mind, like, girl, you know, you’re supposed to go to law school, you’re supposed to go to law school is supposed to go to law school. So September 11 happens, and the fashion industry really takes a hit.
Davina: Yeah, yeah.
Nakia: And I’m like, maybe now’s a good time to go. Yeah, so I enrolled in law school. And even then I really, you know, I didn’t, I’d love to say I have this story of I knew that I wanted to do this. I didn’t, I was just kind of going along with things. I was very drawn to litigation at first. And so that’s, you know, where I started, and I did that for quite a few years after graduating from law school, I started my own practice right out of law school. And I I was a litigator You know, when I tell my client, my current clients that now they’re like, what I was like, a pit bull in a skirt lipstick, like that was my life. Yeah.
And that got really tiring really quickly. And I was just like, God, this isn’t really not exciting me anymore. And it just didn’t feel right. It didn’t feel good. I was, you know, kind of had this persona that was wasn’t really me. And, and then, on a personal level, by my husband and I, our oldest was really having a lot of trouble in school. And we really wanted to homeschool her. And there was no way I could do that being a litigator. So we decided that I would, in fact, I was planning to just ditch the whole law degree altogether and just started online. My plan was to start an online business, right. And it didn’t even occur to me that that online business could be a law firm, but I was just like, I gotta get out of this and do this anymore.
I enrolled in Marie Forleo’s online program, B-School, which taught me how to start an online business. Halfway through that, I realized, wait a minute, I have my Oprah aha moment. And I’m like, all these are all these questions about, you know, trademarks and how to protect your business. How do you start a business? You know, what kind of contracts do you need? And I was like, wait a minute, this is my online business. I’m going to be a lawyer for these people. They need a lawyer. And so that’s how I started my online lawfirm.
Davina: Right. I’m also a B-School grad. So I did that, too. It’s been a number of years now. But, um, yeah, I and I really enjoyed it.
Nakia: I did it in 2014.
Davina: Yeah, I can’t even I can’t even tell you what year I did it, it probably would have been about the same time, I don’t know. 13 or 2014. Yeah. But, but, and, and I loved it, I loved her model. I love the online model, the way that she teaches online and everything. So you started your virtual firm, and you started. So you really want to talk about starting a virtual firm. And it’s a lot of attorneys, a lot of women law firm owners have maybe started out with a more traditional law firm. And then circumstances like with this pandemic, or maybe before that decided that they would shift to a virtual model.
You started out with that when you were making when you kind of got out of this other law practice. It said, you know, I’m not a good fit to be a litigator. It doesn’t make me happy. What was it like to start that out? At right from the beginning? What kinds of things do you think you did differently? Because when because you’re coming down from the business owner model, instead of the lawyer model, saying, the lawyer is going to then go into business. Now you’re coming out as a business owner going? What kind of business can I have? That’s an online business, which is a very different way of thinking, right? You know, the way most lawyers would purchase, so what did you decide at the beginning that this needed to look like for you?
Nakia: Well, I knew that it needed to serve me. And that was, that was a decision that I made, you know, going into law, I’ve already told you my story, I kind of fell into it, you know, I just was, you know, letting the chips fall wherever they may. And this time, I wanted to be very intentional about that. This law practice this business needed to fit my lifestyle, and what I needed and what I wanted for my family at that time. So I was very intentional about that. I knew, you know, my daughter was homeschooling, and I had my daughter in, in some group classes with other homeschool students. And those classes took place on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So those were the only days I could work.
So I had, you know, an online scheduler used to use this system Vcita that kind of acted like a little, you know, online receptionist that would pop up and say, Hey, welcome to my website, and so on there, the appointment, I did not have a phone number, I did not have a phone, you had to book appoint an appointment through vcita. And the only availability was Tuesdays and Thursdays because I was homeschooling, Monday, Wednesday, Friday. So it really, I really approached it in the sense of creating the business that serves the life that I want. And the business that I’m doing is law. And so it kind of had to go in the reverse. And it worked great. Because of my clients. I knew that I wanted other online business owners, I was appealing to them as a lawyer because I got them, you know, I understood what they were building, I was building the same thing. And so it was very easy for me to, to talk to them and to know how they want it to work.
And they didn’t need a phone number, they were fine with booking an appointment, because that’s how they had their business setup. So I really kind of it worked really, really well because of that. And so I had to get really good really quickly with technology and processes and understanding, you know, virtual staff. I mean, I had I hired my first assistant right away, because I when I when I started, I was leaving a pretty nice, you know, a 40 member 40 lawyer law firm. So, you know, I had we had a bookkeeping department, we had all these people and then, you know, Friday I leave there Monday I’m in my own practice and it’s like, wait a minute, it’s just me and my computer. I gotta get somebody I needed. I knew I needed staff like right away. So I really quickly how to duplicate that traditional model in an online space in a virtual space. I had to learn that really quickly.
Davina: Right, right. And, and it is a it is a challenge. The online model can take years for some people to learn because if you’re setting up it has a lot of moving parts like it To people engaging with it, it may not see it, you want it to be as simple and seamless as possible. So for, for that to be the user experience, you have to do a lot on the back end to get it there. And sometimes that requires learning something that’s out of your wheelhouse from a technology standpoint, sometimes if it requires you to hire somebody else to do it and manage the process. And so I imagine you’ve learned a lot about yourself, about leadership, about management about technology in those years that you were setting it up.
Davina: Yeah. And how did you how did you? What kind of mistakes sort of stand out in your mind? Were there things is you remember something in particular, that was like, Yeah, I wish I had known now what I knew then?
Nakia: Absolutely. Oh, my goodness. You know, I think that it, I kind of overcomplicated it a lot and thinking that it was so completely different from, you know, the traditional law firm, and lots of it is, but but the fundamentals and the basics are still the same, right? Meaning, you know, there’s a vetting process that you go through, when you’re hiring a legal assistant or paralegal to come into your physical office, well, you don’t abandon that common sense when you’re hiring a virtual staff member. And so I think that I, you know, I overcomplicated it and making it be very different, and it really wasn’t.
So there was that, you know, the hiring has been a was a huge issue for me. And understanding, the best way to vet and also understanding, you know, in this whole virtual assistant world, now that I’ve got years of experience, and I’ve had many different assistants is that they’re just humans. And so virtual is like the word that we put in front of it. But the skill set is not universal, you can have a very great virtual assistant who’s good at admin, who might be horrible at client relations. And so you so I had to really define the skill set that I needed in each position, and hire accordingly. Instead of thinking I’m going to get this, you know, this virtual Genie who’s going to be able to like, do your book billing, send out invoices, take good care of your clients, do your graphics, post on social media?
Davina: That, yeah, I know, I have that. I’ve had the same experience and the same conversation with, with, with people that, you know, I’m going to hire a virtual assistant, and they’re going to be able to do my copywriting and do my graphics, and you’re like these two different, we don’t do my scheduling. And to my crap, it’s two different things way way our brains work, right. So somebody who’s a graphic designer, you if you’ve had a physical office, you would never consider hiring a graphic designer, to be your executive assistant to manage your schedule and book your travel. But yet somehow we’re in the virtual world. It’s like, oh, virtual assistant should go do everything.
And I had a great conversation with another attorney who owns several businesses. And one of her businesses is a is a staffing virtual staffing service for attorneys. And she uses something like 12 virtual assistants, and she says like four of these are just my personal virtual assistants, one books my travel, one does my scheduling, one does my Facebook, one does my Instagram, you know, it was like a whole. And and it was an eye opening moment when I had the conversation. Oh, yeah, you know, I really thought about with a virtual assistant, especially if you’re going through a service or somebody who’s got other clients, you can’t just hire them to handle one aspect of all the things that need to be done in your business.
And so you can have multiple virtual assistants, you don’t have to find this sort of unicorn, VA, who does everything right, naturally. Because nobody, nobody, not even you and I, I mean, there’s something that we do better than anything else. And that’s the thing that we need to be doing. You know, exactly. Yeah. What kind of lessons did you learn from that experience? Did you have some bad hires? I’m sure you had to?
Nakia: Oh, my goodness. Absolutely. And it was it was the same thing expecting a virtual assistant to do multiple things and not recognizing what what their skill sets were and where their strengths were. And I say this all the time. You know, I have a online business manager and she kind of manages the whole team. And she always jokes about how I say, you know, that’s not your ministry. You know, copywriting is not your ministry. That’s gentlemen. To do that to get out, but it took it took years of expecting someone to do something that was not, it was not in them to do you know, and so I had lots of stories of that I had one virtual assistant nightmare, where she was just a bad hire.
And it was not, you know, it could have happened, you know, I’m sure whoever she worked for in person, she was probably not that great then either, you know, but it takes a while for you to realize that that’s just the way it is it comes with doing business you you’re gonna have, you know, to kiss a few frogs. Yeah, in order to get that team to where you need it to be. And I think that I was putting so much pressure on myself to be this perfect leader and CEO of this business, and that I was taking it personally, instead of every single time. What did I learn from this? Okay, what do I know, now, you know, check references. You know, that’s something that you do, you know, there’s lots of ways to do it. The other thing is, I got really, um, I’ve gotten very clear on what I need, and being able to communicate that in a way that is effective and very clear.
From the beginning, rather than expecting people to read your mind, you know, in my welcome packet, or the application packet, I have a section me at my best, and me at my worst, I’m very, I’m brutally honest, I’m very transparent, I am not an easy person to work for.
Davina: You just let’s just put that out there.
Nakia: Put that out there. And so I now have a team that knows that and embraces that there are there are people who enjoy that challenge of being two steps ahead of a of a person like me. And so there are people whose that’s their ministry, they are good at that. They’re good at making you better. And so, you know, I think that, as women in particular, we’re always so apologetic about all of those things like, you know, oh, I don’t want to be you know, I don’t want to be labeled as a listen, if you’re going to be a leader. And if you are really building something that is going to have impact and legacy, you are going to have to be very stern and intentional about what it is that you want, and be unapologetic about that. And so that’s taken me years to get to that place. But it has been it’s so freeing, when once you just accept, this is who I am. And I always say, you know, Beyonce is like my favorite. And I think about the success that she has in the empire that she’s built. And whenever I feel myself, you know wavering or what he’s like, would Beyonce do this? Would Beyonce accept a dancer?
Davina: What would Beyonce do?
Nakia: Yeah, when she’s got a dancer who doesn’t know the moves. Do you think she’s going to go on a world tour and bring that dancer along? Absolutely not? We don’t. No.
Davina: Yeah. So I love that. I love that. And I love you sharing this, that you’ve had these experiences, because I because I certainly have and, and I think that a lot of women law firm owners when they’re starting their business, and they’re growing their business, and they’re hiring people, and they have a bad hire. And they they take it so hard. And so personally, and women business owners period, you know, do that. And I and why I love that you share this is because like everything else is a journey. We aren’t just born with the skills, we weren’t born with the skills to be a lawyer, we had to take time to learn it. That’s why we practice law, right?
So we’re not born with these skills of knowing how to lead and manage people, you might have a natural inclination as a leader or as an influence or whatever. But it’s a skill, it’s skills that you must develop. And the only way that you can develop them you got to study obviously, but is by practicing, put them into practice, and you’re going to make bad hires. And what is so discouraging is when you see people get hold themselves back for years, because they’re afraid to make the next hire after that one bad or two bad experience. I hired this bad, you know, associated, it didn’t work out. And then I hired this one didn’t work out.
So now I’m scared to hire an associate. Or I’ve hired you know, a bookkeeper, that was terrible. And now I’m never doing that again. And it really holds us back. It’s hurting. It’s sort of taking the thing and like you said, looking at it going, you know, what did I learn from this? What was I meant to learn from this? Right?
Nakia: Well, and you know, what else you learn along the way and you’ve got to accept that this is you know, if you’re on the path of growth and I and I believe that anyone who listens to this podcast is in that category, right, right, right here to make a difference. Then you have to know that even the greatest person when you are trying to make your first six figures is not the person that’s going to get you to seven. So what got me to six you I’m on a different path. Now as I’ve grown, my firm is I’m not the same. So that that wonderful apparently, well, that wonderful associate. As your business changes as you grow, things change, and even someone who you thought was just a rock star may be a rock star for a firm that generates 200,000. But they are not equipped to handle a million dollar law firm. And that’s okay.
Davina: That’s right. Right, yeah. And I know I’ve had this discussion with a lot of people was exactly what you’re talking about is like, as you grow, your vibration changes, and some people are going to vibrate, continue to vibrate with you, they’re going to grow with you, and some people aren’t, and you’re going to feel that discomfort and that pain, and you can choose to go back down to where they are. Or you can choose to keep going in the direction that you’re meant to go. And let them find their own way.
And something else that suits them better, like, not holding on to that to try to, you know, keep keep this person because you feel like they’re gonna be lost without you let them go find their own path that may be better for them. So every bad hire you ever have, every hire that you’ve had made is good, and then one day is no longer a fit. If they can no longer, you know, you’ve already made the decision, they can no longer grow in your business, let them go, let them go, you’re not doing them any favors. And say, you know, we feel like sometimes we feel responsible for that person’s livelihood. And I don’t want to let this person go because they’re gonna, you know, what are they? How are they gonna feed their babies? Trust me, they’ll go on, and then later, they’ll Thank you for letting them go. Because they’re gonna find their purpose.
In what you talked about, at the beginning, being a litigator for you, if you imagine if you just stay 20-30 years as a collector, oh, my God, right? Same thing with me. It wasn’t where I wasn’t the highest and best use of me, on the planet, right? To do that, even though I have skills, right? And so what a gift to yourself to set to call that early and say, you know, no, I need to find something else. And some, and sometimes the universe helps us not just long, like in your case, your child needs you. And so you got to change things.
Nakia: Yes, absolutely.
Davina: I love that. So, with your virtual practice, how long now have you had the virtual law firm?
Nakia: The virtual firm I’ve had since 2015. So when I was in B-School, I was just testing the waters. And so I really kind of started from a an information product standpoint, I was creating digital products, creating contract templates. Because I was still at the firm, I was still a litigator, and I didn’t want to, you know, be breaking the rules there. So I wasn’t taking, you know, one on one clients. But that exposed me to a whole world like, oh, my goodness, this is great. So I started doing digital courses, and digital products.
And then at the beginning of 2015, I left the firm and I left that entire my whole litigation practice, and completely rebranded and reinvented myself as a as an online business owner for, for creative entrepreneurs. And so I started that in 2015. So I’m coming up on six, I can’t even believe it’s that was but that was I left a nine year career. And then this so I had been known. I mean, really known as being a divorce litigator and I had done hundreds and hundreds of divorces, I had made all types of super lawyers and top attorney lists as being that and I completely walked away from it all.
Davina: Wow, that is that is huge. That takes a lot of courage and really faith faith in yourself faith in something higher faith in your, you know, and for your, for your family to have that faith in you and know that that’s gonna mean that it was going to be good. What um, with your with your, your business, your law firm? How did you decide you had to also probably re educate yourself in a couple of different practice areas like refresh your memory and take some CLEs and, and really learn because an online business is there certain there. They’re not every law practice translates into an online business. So I’m sure you were very deliberate and intentional about what you chose to do. Can you tell me about that process? Did you go all in on all these sort of things? Or did you sort of rollout one first one practice area first, or how did you approach that?
Nakia: Sure. So I was very nervous about that because I had done you know, I had dabbled a little in a few things, but I was by no means equipped. So I signed up for every single CLE, I really wanted to do business, and IP just kind of fit together, I knew I didn’t want to go the patent route, I didn’t have a scientific background and no intentions on taking on the patent bar. So I really stuck with trait learning trademarks, learning copyrights. And that was really, you know, that was it. I bought every book, I am really kind of, you know, networked my way, you know, Facebook was there, I don’t think there were as many Facebook groups as there are now for lawyers.
So I was really involved in the local bar association, the ABA, I joined the ABA, and, you know, those listservs. And all of those things, just I really became a sponge to learn it as best I could. And I also signed up with I am based in DC and Maryland. And so I signed up with the both of them had volunteer volunteer lawyers for the arts programs where you can take pro bono cases. So I took tons of those, just to get myself, you know, used to murder. Yeah, absolutely. And and like you said, it’s two different skill sets, you’ve got the business part. But but then you if you get the client, you got to service them, you’ve got to know what you’re talking about. So that was very difficult, because I didn’t take I didn’t even take IP in, in law school.
Nakia: It was a lot of learning that I had to do.
Davina: I took patent law, but I only because there was nothing else I could take at that time. But I couldn’t be a patent attorney because like you don’t have that science background. And and also, I’m not very good at it. Thank you very much. Because I don’t think that way, you also do some business contracts and stuff as part of this firm as well, right?
Nakia: Yes, I do. And and that part, just kind of, you know, still comes from a place of service, just wanting to service your clients as holistically as you possibly can. And you know, you can’t unring the bell, right, I’ve got the business background, I’ve got the marketing background, I even went back to law school, I went back to grad school after law school, and I have a master’s in communication. And so all of that experience just makes me uniquely me. And I can’t just say, well, I’m just your lawyer, I’m not going to tell you that that’s a bad branding decision that you’re making there. You know, that just kind of comes with the package.
Davina: You’re really consulting and a lot of ways with the with the clients and not yeah, it’s not, I wouldn’t do it that way. Right, exactly. So you have that now you have rolled out of Beyond the Bar Institute. So tell me what Beyond the Bar Institute is?
Nakia: Sure. So you know, when I first was, I hired a business coach, when I first before I enrolled in B School, which I highly recommend, everyone should have a business coach and multiple, different ones for different things. But at that time, I was looking to transition. And so I needed to talk to someone that helped me talk through it. And one of the first exercises that she gave me was, what is it about your current job at the firm that you love? What is it? You know, we talked about what I hated, which we knew was the litigation and all the drama that came with family law, but what is it that you loved. And for years, I had been a mentor to new lawyers. And that was the one thing that I said, you know, when I leave, I’m going to miss that. In my account in the county that I’m in.
I was this mentor and I had won all kinds of awards and did a lot of pro bono service in that in that way. And so she said, Well, why can’t you keep that going? Why do you have to you don’t have to give that up? You know, maybe you aren’t mentoring them on how to file a divorce complaint, but what is it that comes naturally to you? And that you you could do? And so that’s how I started Beyond the Bar Institute in that. So I started just I noticed, especially coming out of B school, that oh my god, lawyers don’t know this stuff. There’s so much about this online space. So I started Beyond the Bar in 2014. With It started as a blog called think like a brand, not like a lawyer.
And I was just blogging. And then I would do workshops. You know, I would do workshops, here and there. And then the Bar Association. I do lots of speaking and teaching on technology and online space and virtual law firm and all of that kind of stuff. And then I’ve just continued it very, I would say, you know, informally for so many years, and then the pandemic happened last year, and people were going crazy, like oh my goodness we’re stuck in our houses, we’re gonna be out of business. You know. So I started a, I did a free five day challenge online visibility challenge to help lawyers bring themselves online. And things have just spiraled from there.
So I am now doing I have a group coaching program of lawyers. And I’ve got one on one coaching clients, where I’m helping people to build a brand and income online. And I’m so excited that you know lawyers are catching up with the guy to the rest of the world in this online space. And so it’s so much fun, I enjoy it, I would do it for free. I did it for free for a long, long, long, long time. And I’m just now seeing, you know, kind of making it more of a business, I would say.
Davina: Right, right. So I love that. I love that and what you said, too, about? You know, what, you’re seeing more and more lawyers going online, because our whole society has had to, you know, we have in the courts even I mean, when you see the courts actually zooming now. Who would have ever thought that was going to happen? Right? Right, I’m going for going from the talkies from the phone. And we’re finally getting that video to. And I think that there are a lot of attorneys, law firm owners, who are going to keep some aspect of that, if not the whole business model, they will keep some aspect, that aspect of that going forward, even as we everybody gets vaccinated, and we get back to kind of what our whatever the new normal is, right?
I think you’ll see a lot of lawyers do that, that all kinds of businesses actually finding ways to, because people have become accustomed to our clients have become accustomed to the luxury of being able to communicate with us this way and not have to drive across town to do something. So I think we’ll see a lot more of that. And it’s going to be really interesting to see how law firms evolve in providing services using online tools to provide more services, create more products, maybe yes, to help to help their clients.
What kinds of trends have you been noticing that you that you think I know that, like I polled my audience, women law firm owners, and just like your story, a lot of them started their own law practice, because they wanted the flexibility because they wanted to be available for their kids, a lot more their family a lot more. And I think that women are really leading this charge. Because we we still have, you know, in our society, the primary responsibility for the kids, right? And you’re seeing women leading this this shift that’s happening in a culture that is so steeped in tradition.
Davina: So can we build that big law on a virtual platform? I wonder?
Nakia: Yeah. And and that, and that’s the thing? You know, I think that I’m seeing it, you know, I know, when I first started, there was a, when you were a solo, it was like, you were struggling? You know, you were you it was not it was not pretty? There are people out why would you do that? Like, why would you want to do that. And I think that there is definitely been a shift in that in in solo firms. And I think that there’s also been a shift in a solo woman on law firm, being able to start with the big dogs, right. I mean, you got some powerful firms and people are understanding and they’re getting coaching, and they’re getting guidance on how to replicate that model. I do think, also that there that we are now in a space, at least I’ve noticed in through beyond the bar, that there are a lot of people that aren’t happy with what it is that they’re doing.
And we are we’re just looking for someone to give us permission to do it differently, to, to write our own rules to have our own, you know, voices and to use our law degree in many different ways. You know, some choosing to go the mediation route, some moving into parent coordination, because that’s the one piece of that they liked from their, you know, domestic practices, those that are are educating and doing coaching and doing consulting. This is the education information age, and this generation of young adults are look they are they love it, they are looking for it, they would much rather you show them how to do it themselves, than to pay you to do it for them.
So those women who are keen on that and see that and whether that’s in a legal space, or whether that is you know, how to organize, I don’t know, if you watch the home edit on Netflix, like we’re all tuning in to have these people tell us how to organize our kitchen cabinets and refrigerators. We just want people to tell us those things. And so, you know, I have seen, you know, courses on this and books and different things that you can do. So really finding what you’re really, really good at, and helping other people to be good at that same thing, I think, is what I’ve seen lots of lawyers now be calling themselves retired, or former lawyers kind of transitioning and doing something different. And I love it. You know, I love it, I think we don’t have you don’t have to go to the big firm and work 60 hours and wait 10 years to be promoted to partner. That’s not the way it is any more.
Davina: And you could still make your money doing something else.
Nakia: And you can still make your money doing something else!
Davina: Right? So I got it, you brought this topic up. Because I know for me, you know, you work so hard to become a lawyer, you go through law school, surprise, and you have to go to law school, right? Go to law school, and the stuff, you’ve got your undergrad degree, and then you’ve got to pass the Bar. So much effort into that, and so much weight gain subbing for the bar. And so you work so hard, and you become an attorney, and then you’re like, you know, this is you become disenchanted. And so but you feel like, Oh my gosh, am I going to be a failure? Am I gonna be a quitter? If I let this go, and this is my identity now, and it’s such a prestigious identity, yes, to be a lawyer, say I’m a lawyer, because people really respect as much as there are lawyer jokes out there people really respected whereas in the community, they’re the ones we, you know, we’re the ones that they turn to, when they have problems, right.
Nakia: We’re the problem solvers of the world.
Davina: Really. Exactly. And so there is a lot of there can be a lot of sort of soul searching that goes on. When you say, am I really going to not do this full time as my career? Am I really going to try something else and do something else? Is that okay? Does that did I just waste all this time and all this money?
Davina: And did you experience that? I know, I experienced that. Did you experience that when you started thinking about other ways that you could, you know.
Nakia: I didn’t only because when I was in B-school, and I was meeting all of these women who were many were in multiple high six figure businesses, I knew that there was another way. So I saw that right away. But I do get a lot of people, you know, on their first call on just, you know, breakthrough sessions with me and I, they are relieved when I say to them, you can do this, you are still powerful, you that law degree, it can’t be taken away from you,
Nakia: And even when you leverage it into something else, you’re still gonna be revered as this powerful, you know, it’s still a prestige that is associated with you. And you’re just going to now multiply that by by really letting us get to know those other unique skills that you have, that are just as valuable as that law degree. And so I think that people just need to hear that. Um, but I think, you know, for me, I saw so many success, and I would be second guessing, like, Now, why did I go and take out all this money. I mean, you know, I had one client that I met in B school, and she had this amazing, high, very high ticket, coaching program relationship coaching for listen to this niche for men who just went through a bad breakup.
She was charging $50,000 for this coaching program, high powered executive men. And she was a seven figure business owner and I was thinking, like, to just listen to them, you know, sulk about this woman that walked out on them, like, I couldn’t believe it. But I got to see so many people who really took, you know, their skills, their passion, things that were very important to them. There are lots of, you know, home organizers that are making tons of money. So I was able to see like, Wow, you really can follow, you know what feels like it’s true to you and you can make, I can help anybody. I believe this, I can help anybody brand themselves, market their services to sell anything. I really believe that and I believe that anyone can be successful at that. It’s just there’s just some fundamental things that have to be put in place. And you can do it.
Davina: Right, right, right. It is so fascinating when you talk about other, when you look at niches, and how we, we, we impose limitations on ourselves that we don’t even realize we’re imposing on ourselves to say, I can now and now that I started down this path, this is the only path I can follow. And now I’m signed up for years of misery doing it. And there are some and there are some attorneys who love being an attorney, and they want their own business. But the traditional model is chafing. You know, it doesn’t suit what their needs are their family needs are what, you know, can they make their money and still enjoy their life?
Or do they have to sacrifice in sort of this traditional, patriarchal way, that this, that traditional law firms are set up? And it’s so exciting to see women lawyers ignoring what people say, and that you can’t and doing something different? Did you ever have any one who said, you’re crazy? You’re crazy. What are you doing?
Nakia: Oh, my God. Yes.
Davina: And how did you respond to that? Like, what what kinds of things were said to you? Is there anything that stands out?
Nakia: Oh yeah. So when I, when I first started doing the selling contract templates, and doing digital courses, and I was still very involved in the bar, and the Bar Association, and I was still, you know, going apart meetings and things. And, you know, all of my friends on Facebook saw what I was doing. And so many lawyers would say, to me, you’re crazy. Why would you sell someone you know, a $200 contract that you could charge them, you know, $1,000, to write for them, you’re gonna lose business, you’re never gonna make money, you know, all of these different things.
And I would say, well, the person who would buy a $200 contract template is not one who would pay $1,000 to have so I’m not losing that out on that. And I would get kept trying to explain, but but people did not get it. People couldn’t understand that. And it it sometimes it does, make you second guess yourself and think well, am I crazy? I probably am probably not. I’ll tell you what, what would make my crazy bearable was waking up in the morning to paypal and stripe notifications for people that had gone to my website in the middle of the night and bought things and I didn’t have to lift a finger. I did something once and got paid multiple times for it. So they could say I was crazy. But I was crazy walking to the bank. Okay.
Davina: That’s right. That and that is so inspiring. And I think a lot of I think a lot of women business owners need to hear that they need to hear that you may get I think you saw I read some meme or something on social media, and I’m sure you’ve heard it too is like, people who are doing better than you are not judging you. It’s the people who aren’t doing as much as you are, that are looking at you going, you know, people, you don’t get it. And and it’s not really your job to educate them. You know, it is your job just to go say be blessed and go live your life and, and, and, and show and then those same people are going to be asking you, they’re hiring you to say, show me how you did this.
Nakia: And there were so many you know what I was doing? When I go to the bar association, and I’m, you know, at the annual conferences, and I’m teaching on virtual law, I’m always asked to teach as I’ve probably done a million times, and it never fails. At the end of every single one. There is someone that raises their hand and says, but don’t clients, do clients take you seriously when you don’t have an office?
Davina: Oh, is that even a thing anymore?
Nakia: Is it even a thing anymore? But you would it everything there two things that they always challenged me on that? And aren’t you concerned about ethical violations when you hire when you’ve got virtual staff and client confidentiality matters? What’s the doggone difference than if you’ve got somebody coming in your office? Who could take your file your paper files and leave? And it’s the same thing, but I have to explain this every single time.
Davina: Right, right, right.
Nakia: It’s become a joke. Like I’ll say to my sister, how I’ve got coffee for you. If this happens, it happens every time.
Davina: How quickly. Is it going to happen in first 30 minutes or in the last 30 minutes
Nakia: Always at the end.
Davina: Yeah, yeah, they can’t because they just can’t wrap their mind around it. But I bet you after this pandemic this happens, you’re probably going to have fewer people ask that question. And because because these, you know, big law firms have have had to try to find another way to work. And they start to see that. And it’s interesting, because in some cases, people are discovering that distributed workers, remote workers may, you know, they may be employees and full time employee, but the benefit of being of them being able to work from home, and how that makes them more satisfied, and they can still be productive, you know, I think they’re gonna start to look at things differently.
So, before we wrap up, I’d like it, I’d love it, if you could share some advice to our listeners, about what if they have a dream for something, what they want to do? What would you recommend that they do to sort of get that going, if they want to make a shift from the way they’re working now, to maybe going virtual? What would you say that they do?
Nakia: I would say, talk to someone who’s done it, there is no better way for you to get the right information. On the pros, the cons, the ups, the downs, the peaks, and the valleys of something different than to simply ask, I think that there is this, you know, this fear that we have about, you know, kind of kind of coming out of our shell on that in that regard. And I would say just push past that, and just get the information, talk to someone and really hear their story, you know, binge listen to this podcast, and listen to other people’s stories, and then reach out to those people, I have found that people are much more willing to listen to you or to share or to help you than you may think. And so don’t sit on the sidelines, trying to figure it out for yourself.
That was one of the best things that I could have done, I can’t imagine that I would have, would have had the guts to walk away had I not invested in a coach who who helped me to see and I and I picked a coach who had left her previous job. And so she was able to share with me, there’s, there’s a way that this can be done. And these are the things and and and the the good part about that is that they can share their mistakes. And you don’t have to make them like this. Right, right, here’s what I did. That was totally stupid. And, and it cost me a ton of time or cost me a ton of money. Instead of doing that you do this, and now you know, it’s like, there’s so much value in that. And I think that we need to just, you know, open up.
Davina: Yeah. And, and, and people also don’t have to do things the way you also want to work with somebody who, you know, you don’t have to do things the way that they do it either. Because you, you have productized some of your services. And there are other law firm owners who are have virtual firms, and they’re still service based their interests, they don’t offer any products. So there’s multiple ways to do it. There’s multiple ways that you can show up and create a business. It doesn’t have to be an exact replica of other people. But thank goodness, we’re living in an age that we are because there are so many examples now that we can look at it, we can say, look, I’m going to look and see how this person is doing.
I’m gonna say this person’s doing it, we’ll see how, and then I’m going to come up with the right combination for me. And that’s the exciting, that’s exciting part. If it’s that idea of this person’s not my competitor, it is if if she can do this, I can do this. Yeah, you know, and opening your eyes to that. There that there’s plenty of pie out there for us. We just bake more pies. Yes. And we can bake all kinds of different flavored pies no matter what it is that we want. Right?
Nakia: I was gonna say because your, your, your secret sauce that you have that’s in every pie that you create. It’s not the same as mine. And so you and I could even do the exact same thing and it still wouldn’t be the same because you are you and I’m me and and all of us. We’re all different. And they’re so we could all get together and have the same idea do the same thing and the execution and who is attracted to us would be totally different. And that’s the beauty of it. Right? That’s the beauty of it.
Davina: Right? Absolutely. Absolutely. Well, Nakia I thank you so much for being here today. I have you and I have a lot in common and so I’m really excited that you were able to come on and talk with me and I’m sure our listeners are going to get a lot of value out of this podcast episode. So tell us how we can find out more information about you and your companies and connect with you. If you want to connect with you.
Nakia: Absolutely. So my website is nakiagray.com. And I am on probably most active on Instagram at nakiagrayesq, Beyond the Bar Institute is has its own website beyondthebarinstitute.com. And it’s on Instagram also at beyondthebarinstitute. And again, we are on Facebook, but Instagram is that’s where the party is happening. So come on.
Davina: Yeah. Okay. All right. Wonderful. Thanks so much for being here. I’ve really enjoyed it. And I’m sure will continue to stay in touch.
Nakia: Absolutely. Thank you so much for having me. This has been great. And I’m glad to hear we’re both B-Schoolers. How cool is that?
Davina: I know. B-Schoolers. I think there are a lot more out there of us than we realize. We hope you’ve enjoyed today’s episode of the Wealthy Woman Lawyerpodcast. 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. 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 client. For more information and to join us go now to www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league. That’s www.wealthywomanlawyer.com/league. League is spelled l e a g u e. We look forward to seeing you soon in the league.