Podcasting exposed me to a new world of amazing Black entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs who needed my services.
I started my podcast to document my journey of running my own law firm. I started my law firm in July 2014 and it was a struggle; buts finally in May 2016, things started to make a turn. I started the podcast to vent, to find a community and to share tips and strategies I had developed along the way.
As I mentioned earlier, podcasting opened me up to a whole new way of running my business and has thought me so much about being an entrepreneur. I’ve narrowed it down to the 5 most important things I’ve learned this year. I also add two things I’ve discovered about myself.
(1) YOU HAVE SOMETHING TO SAY AND PEOPLE WILL LISTEN!
When I started my podcast, it was really to document my own journey of starting a solo practice. I didn’t know too many solo practitioners and it was frustrating. But, I didn’t think anyone would listen. I remember thinking that if I got 100 listeners, I’d be so happy.
But I quickly realized that people were tuning in and were listening to what I had to say! My journey and my advice were helping someone out there. So if you’re out there thinking, I just want to share my journey, go right ahead and do it, someone out there wants to hear what you have to say.Someone is waiting on you to tell your story. Your story is the motivation they need to get started. #legaleasepodcast #podsincolor #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
(2) JUST START!
I mentioned in Episode 19 with Rana Campbell that I had no idea what I was doing when I started my podcast. I didn’t even know what a download was and that it was a measurement of how well your podcast was doing.
At the beginning of the year, I set a goal of 3000 downloads, I figured I’d get about 250 each month and that would be a lot. I had absolutely no plan to market (still struggling with that) the podcast, to invite guests, or whether I’d even have guests, what type of guests, growing a list, gaining a following, etc. I was feeling my way through the dark.
But I’m glad I had no idea what I was doing because if I had known about any of the things I mentioned, I never would have started. Yes, planning would have helped, but planning can quickly turn into overthinking. There’s nothing like starting to teach you what you really need to do. You can read and read all day and get nowhere if you aren’t actually implementing what you’re reading.Start now, perfect later. Done is better than perfect. #legaleasepodcast #podcsincolor #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
My goal for 2018 is to do way more implementing. As a matter of fact, I want to fail more, because that means I’ve tried and I’ve learned. I want to do more doing and less reading and analyzing – seriously!My goal for 2018 is to fail more; because that means I've tried and I've learned. #legaleasepodcast #podsincolor #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
(3) YOU CAN’T DO IT ALONE.
One of the reasons I started my podcast is because I wanted to create a community of other entrepreneurs. I wanted to stop suffering and faltering in silence. Quickly after starting my podcast, I starting meeting reaching out to other podcasters, bloggers, and entrepreneurs. I realized they had been doing this for a while so I had something to learn from them.
Entering into a new field can be intimidating and everyone isn’t receptive to you knocking on their door. But I figured, the most they could say is no, then I move on to the next person. With that attitude, I’ve met and worked with some of the most awesome women in the online space. They have become friends, mentors, and collaborators.
Being able to turn text or email someone who’s been in the game a little longer than you is a great support system. I’ve made connections with the most amazing women (and men) that have forced me to take my business to the next level.You can't do this alone. Make friends because everybody who does what you do is not your competition. #legaleasepodcast #podsincolor #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
(4) CREATE SYSTEMS AND COLLECT AND ANALYZE DATA
Before starting my law firm, I took a few seminars about running a solo practice. They mostly were geared toward billing, ethical compliance, and managing client funds. It talked nothing at all about creating systems for the business of running a law firm or marketing and obtaining clients.
Podcasting has taught me that systems are important. When I started this podcast, I had “planned” on releasing podcasts every couple of week. I use “plan” loosely because it was just a thought I had. I never really put into my schedule how I would even come up with these bi-weekly podcasts. Shortly after releasing the podcast, I wanted to switch to a weekly format. That was a major flop and I stumbled the entire way because I had no system for producing a weekly podcast.
Creating a system for producing my podcast forced me to look at other systems in my law firm. I realized that not having a system in place was holding me back from getting client work off my desk more quickly, which in turn, mean more earning potential.
Another important lesson I learned was that you need a marketing plan. I know you’re thinking duh. But, when I first started my law firm, I had clients lined up because of my network (I went grew up in the DMV area, went to law school in DC, and worked at a major law firm in DC and a major corporation in downtown Silver Spring prior to starting my law firm). I was basically the only small (most awesome) small business/tax/IP/ estate planning lawyer like 500 other people knew. So I really didn’t have to market my law firm to get clients.
Once I realized I had to market the podcast to get downloads and listeners, I realized that I needed data to figure out how to market. I needed to know who was listening (new entrepreneurs? been in business for a couple of years), when they were listening, what episodes they liked most, what was their biggest concern, etc. In order to get that information, I had to employ different methods and tools, but it took me a while to understand fully how important collecting data about my audience.
In the podcast episode, I discuss how using that data helped me create my highest selling product in my contract shop.
(5) KNOW YOUR TRUE COMPETITION.
Comparing ourselves to others is something many entrepreneurs struggle with and having an online business amplifies that.
I’m not normally someone who automatically sees others in my field as competition – because I know my skills and what makes me a unique and awesome small business lawyer. However, I spent a lot of time on Instagram this past year and couldn’t help but to kick my tires. That’s not always a bad thing but when it makes you doubt yourself, consider lowering your standards or your prices just to get wins, then something’s wrong.
There’s no secret that I’m one of many black female lawyers in the online space, as a matter of fact, I partnered up with the other most amazing one and I’m now Of Counsel of Creative Law Genius. But, there are plenty others around and many are WAYYY better at marketing their services than I am (just being honest). Many also charge way less than I do (stuff I wouldn’t even charge as a first-year associate with no experience). And for some reason, I began to see those people as my competition. And when you do that, you start focusing on getting wins and forget about the big picture and who you really are.
But what I didn’t realize is that not every trademark or tax lawyer is my competition. My competition is that awesome boutique law firm that is well known among the most awesome black female entrepreneurs – because that’s what I want to be. And my job is to find the gap that they aren’t filling and to fill it – and that’s what I do with my podcast.
So that’s my advice to you:Your TRUE competition is where you want to be. Find the gap they left open and fill it, that's how you compete. #legaleasepodcast #podsincolor #blkcreatives Click To Tweet
TWO THINGS I’VE LEARNED ABOUT MYSELF
Entrepreneurship has been one of the most introspective tools I’ve had access to. LOL And this year after interviewing about 20 guests and producing over 30 episodes, I’ve learned a few things about myself. But I’m sharing a couple, one good and one bad.
I’ve realized that I’m a bit of a risk taker. I get an idea, and I want to jump out of my chair and get started. Forget everything else that comes with it, I’ll figure it out later. I think that’s what makes me an entrepreneur at heart. I’ll bet the farm on my next idea and that’s gotten me in trouble before – but the worst that happens is I’ve lost a few thousand dollars and I’ve learned a lot. And I love that about myself because it forces me to jump off that cliff that my type A personality would otherwise want to analyze forever. Sure it’s gotten me into trouble, but like John Lewis says, #goodtrouble.
Okay, so one major thing I have to work on is discipline. This year has taught me that I have the heart of an entrepreneur, but I lack the discipline to I know I need to take my business to the next level. When I look back on 2017, the goals I set and what I accomplished, I realized that better discipline would have taken me much further along in promoting my podcast, marketing my services and meeting client deadlines.
Don’t get me wrong, I exceeded the goals I set for myself, but I faltered way too much and honestly, left too much money on the table. It’s a hard thing to realize about yourself, but the first step is acknowledging it. Next step is creating a plan and systems to be more productive, set realistic deadlines, and to hit shit out of the park in 2018!
That’s all I got for now. Check out the episode!
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