September 08, 2008

Solosez Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico - Go If You Can

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/f/f9/Hotel_Santa_Fe_New_Mexico.jpg

I've written about Solosez before, yet it was only last year in 2007 I had the opportunity to attend my first Solosez conference in Philadelphia.  It was great because I finally got to meet the people behind the blogs I read, those I've conversed with regularly and to make friends with other Sezzers from across the country...sometimes the world.

I won't be able to attend this year ('thank you' to all who asked :-) as I am deeply entrenched in building Solo Practice University.  However, if you can you should go to National Solo and Small Firm Conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico on October 2-4  and meet some of those people you've come to feel like you already know:

Here is the conference schedule and along with all the great speakers it looks like, in my opinion, one of the the special highlights will be Jay Foonberg  who will be discussing " Nine Steps to a Successful Law Practice."

If you go, let me know how you enjoyed it. Have fun!

September 05, 2008

5 Blogs & 5 Blawgers

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/8/8c/Award_numeral_5.pngIt's been a long while since I've received a “five things” meme! Jordan Furlong of Law 21 tagged me in his recent post  to continue this game: “The idea is to post links to five great blogs (other than law blogs) on your blawg and tag five of your favorite blawgers to do the same under the post title ‘5 Blogs & 5 Blawgers.’”

Since it's a slow and short work week I thought I would play along. So here are my favorite non-law blogs:

PickTheBrain - A blog on motivation and self-improvement with professional contributions from those who write beautifully and really get their messages across.  Their posts resonate with me on every level as they just make good common sense and provide valuable tools to implement.  I encourage you to put them on your feed.

Men With Pens - James Chartrand is a gifted business writer who really imparts tremendous value when teaching how to copywrite and brand.  I love to write.  I read incessantly.  When I read his work (and Harry's) it is a three-dimensional experience in an otherwise two dimensional internet world.  It reminds me just how powerful the written word is, the artistry of the truly good writers and how we all can paint vivid pictures, even in the business world, to bring our products and services to life which get those clients to pick up the phone and contact us.

Wallet Mouth - "Your wallet is a mouth.  When you spend money, you tell the world how you want it to be."  This blog is all about ways to improve our lives by exposing products and businesses which work against the greater good for people and the planet.  Yeah, I'm a little bit of an environmentalist and against Big Pharma and Big Corporations who put profit before people.  I believe in business, just not business where dollars come before your health or mine as businesses calculate the cost of your life versus making changes necessary to actually save your life.

Diva Marketing Blog - Authored by my friend, Toby Bloomberg, it is a brilliant blog discussing all things social media as she is the social media queen connected to everyone and just a marketing genius.    And on top of that, she is just a warm, genuinely nice person. Enough said.:-)

Home Office Warrior - Authored by my good friend, Grant Griffiths, it explores all the issues facing those who work out of their home.  With 20 million 'lone' wolves, to have one place to go to meet and greet, share and care about others in the same situation regardless the profession, is great.  In addition, most are entrepreneurs...my favorite kind of people!

So, now I tag five other lawyers to share their non-legal internet musings.  And they would be:  Finis Price, Victor Medina, Nicole Black, Anne Reed and Vickie Pynchon.

Enjoy the reading!

September 01, 2008

Current Law Students Eligible For Lifetime Scholarships at Solo Practice University

(Note: For those who have already contacted me regarding scholarships, no need to do so again.  You will hear from us shortly.)

On August 20th we broadcast a special message to subscribers of our Solo Practice University™ E-zine who identified themselves as 'students':

On August 25th we broadcast the following message to our subscribers at Solo Practice University

Perks of Being A Law Student (And Subscribed To This E-zine) (and subscribed to Solo Practice University™)

There are some perks to being a law student!

When you subscribed to this e-zine,  you identified your status as that of a 'student'.  And I am all about helping law students.

If you have been following our progress at  Solo Practice University™ then you know we are building a revolutionary new web-based educational and professional networking community for lawyers and law students.

Here comes the perk.  We need you to help us private beta test the site.  And as a thank you for helping us to private beta test the site, you will be able to enroll at Solo Practice University™ tuition-free....for as long as you remain a practicing lawyer.

We haven't announced to the general public yet that Solo Practice University™ will be an extremely high value, low tuition membership site, but we're pretty confident most readers have already figured this out :-)

But that won't be an issue for those who help us private beta test because they will be on 'full' scholarship for being the earliest adopters.

So, if you have a genuine interest in going solo, please send me a confidential e-mail at susan (at) solopracticeuniversity.com confirming:

  • your law school status;
  • your law school;
  • whether you remain sincerely interested in going solo;
  • why going solo is your chosen route for practicing your profession;
  • how you think Solo Practice University™ can help you achieve your goals;
  • your personal e-mail address AND your school e-mail address (both required).

We will make available 100 scholarships to current law students.
This means you will be starting your 1L, 2L or 3L  (or 4L if you are part time) year at law school in September 2008.

If you know of others who may want to participate, please let them know this opportunity exists and to send me an e-mail at susan (at) solopracticeuniversity.com with the requested information.

We have 37 24 10 scholarships left (as of 12:00 p.m. 8/31)

If you a current law student, or someone you know is,  and are sincerely interested in going solo and would benefit from a lifetime scholarship to Solo Practice University™, please send me an e-mail answering all the  questions asked in the e-zine and listed above.... as soon as possible. We are limiting our lifetime scholarships to 100. The next round of private beta testing will begin shortly.

Yours truly,
Susan

August 05, 2008

For Virgins Only

If you are still 'virginal' about blogging and the fun bloggers can have once they lose their blogging virginity (even as lawyers)...you must read the esteemed Victoria Pynchon's Blawg Review #171.  It is one of the best Blawg Review's ever.  And having hosted Blawg Review #142, I know the sweat and energy one expends just to write something palatable for our esteemed Ed.  Congratulations, Vickie!

July 14, 2008

Aaaaaaaaah! I'm Taking A Blogging Vacation.

http://www.floridastateparks.org/stgeorgeisland/images/STG-BeachChair-mar.jpgIt's time to take a well-deserved break.  A lesson for all of us who blog.  Don't feel you have to churn out constantly.  You are allowed to take the pause that refreshes.  I'm not going anywhere.  Just need a chance to devote more time to Solo Practice University as we start ramping up.

So,  I decided to dig through the archives to resurrect some of the more popular posts geared towards lighting a fire for the wannabe entrepreneur, inspiring the new solo practitioner, posts geared towards quelling the anxiety.  Some you may not have seen or, if you've seen them, might like to read, again.  Some snarky, some inspirational, some enlightening, some encouraging...but always on point.

Did You Know The Word Boss is Dutch for "Baas" Which Means 'Master'?

Do You Have A 'Herd' Mentality

Only You Can Say If Solo Practice Is Right For You

7 Ways to Overcome Fear of Failure When Starting A Solo Practice

Stop Telling Me What I Can't Do!

Blawg Review #142 - Letter to A New Lawyer

Hitch A Ride On Someone Else's Ego - Learn How to Be A Lawyer Under Fire

7 Things I Learned in 2007 - Goals for 2008

Enjoy. Digg, Stumble, Tweet, Save on Del.icious.

I'll be back soon :-)

July 10, 2008

If You Are A Current Law Student Who Wishes To Go Solo.....

...there has never been a better time to sign up for the Solo Practice University E-zine*....widget to the right---------->>>>>  and identify your status as 'Student.'

At 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, August 20th I will be sending a special broadcast just to law students for a very special opportunity relating to Solo Practice University.

So, again, if you have a genuine interest in going solo and are going into your second or third year of law school this fall make sure to sign up for the Solo Practice University E-zine to learn why it's never been a better time to be a current law student interested in going solo.  You'll find it out in our special broadcast just for you, the student. Until then, enjoy the e-zine and start learning how to think like a solo.

Feel free to pass this along to current students you know who may also qualify.

*Please do not use your law school e-mail address as often the firewalls at the school will prevent your verification e-mail from reaching you which you are required to confirm in order to be fully subscribed.

July 02, 2008

Wanted: An Excellent Virtual Assistant

(UPDATE:  7/6/08  Thank you for all the responses.  I will be going through the voluminous number of e-mails I have received over the next few weeks and everyone will be contacted.)

Yes, it's that time.  I need a virtual assistant so why not take advantage of my own blog to advertise?

With the growth of Solo Practice University I need a dynamic, very personable, hardworking, highly organized  customer service driven, virtual assistant who is at home on the internet and with the latest technologies.

A legal background on any level is not required.  Being excellent at dealing with all types of people and being comfortable with technology is.

If you are interested, or know someone who could be that fits the bill, drop me an e-mail at susan(at)solopracticeuniversity.com

The position promises to be a lot of fun and you will get to meet some seriously interesting people.

Are You A 'Tuned In' Solo Practitioner?

I've recently completed the pre-released version of "Tuned-In" written by Craig Stull, Phil Myers and David Meerman Scott and I can only say if you have any desire to understand how to tap into opportunities that present themselves in your legal practices, then BUY THIS BOOK.  (Disclosure - the only benefit I get from discussing this book is helping you!)

I'll take the blurb right off the back because I can't say it any better:

Tuned In argues that the key to business success lies in understanding and connecting with what consumers and markets want most.  Being tuned in to the needs of buyers, whether those needs are expressed outwardly or not, is the ultimate secret to creating and marketing products and services that people want to buy.  For anyone who markets a product, service, or ideas in any business, industry, or organization. Tuned In delivers a simple six-step process for discovering real and deep insights into any market: finding unsolved problemsFront Cover, understanding buyer personals, quantifying impact, creating breakthrough experiences, articulating powerful ideas, and establishing sustainable connections.

Tuned In shows readers how to stop guessing what consumers need and stop wasting time and money building, marketing, and selling solutions that the market doesn't value.  This insightful book shows readers how to connect with their market in order to create products and services that truly resonate with people.

How does this relate to you, the solo practitioner?  In every way imaginable.  Your services are a product and you are creating a brand in how you deliver your product to the client via your marketing message and client interaction.  Your core competencies are your legal skills.  Your distinctive competencies are your brand, what differentiates you from your colleagues with the same core competencies.  These distinctive competencies are a blending of your ability to listen to what the client really needs, who you are and what you ultimately choose to deliver and this is impacted by your own wants, needs and desires.

The most important differentiation you can make is in creating a total client experience that resonates with the client.

Here's the chapter list:

1. Why Didn't We Think of That?
2. Tuned Out... and Just Guessing
3. Get Tuned In
4. Step 1: Find Unresolved Problems
5. Step 2: Understand Buyer Personas
6. Step 3: Quantify the Impact
7. Step 4: Create Breakthrough Experiences
8. Step 5: Articulate Powerful Ideas
9. Step 6: Establish Authentic Connections
10. Cultivate a Tuned In Culture
11. Unleash Your Resonator       

This book is filled with real life examples of why some businesses succeed and others do not based upon the principles discussed in the book and the way the book is written brings the theories to life and makes them eminently relatable.  And Tuned In has now become a  'must read' for my clients.

I discuss these concepts in further detail in issue #14 in the Solo Practice University E-zine.  If you haven't signed up already you can do so in the widget to the right. ---------------->

Oh, and one of my favorite principles of Tuned In thinking.....when your're thinking about products or services to market to your clients, always remember, "you're opinion may be great, but it's completely irrelevant."  What matters is what the client thinks and what the client wants.

(And, by the way, the book mentions Grant Griffiths as a Tuned In Lawyer.  Congratulations, Grant!)

June 25, 2008

I Have Some Good Problems...Please Help Me to Resolve Them

Recently, I have been inundated with e-mails from purported PR people asking me to discuss the content of their PR pieces.  I have also been receiving requests to link to blogs, give my biography to new listing sites, review books, provide advertising and affiliate opportunities, questioned as to how to be featured in "Going Solo; Confessions and Inspirations" or "Passed the Bar - Hung a Shingle" and more.

I view these as good problems.  I guess it means people consider this site worthwhile and a place for their product or service to be seen.  Thank you for that, truly.  (Ironically, when I've read what I am about to write here on other sites I thought "I would never do that."  Now I understand why they do it and why I need to, also.)

Here's the thing.  If you notice there is no advertising, nor has there ever been advertising.  There is a legitimate reason for that.  It's not because I haven't been solicited. But as a consultant I have to stay completely objective.  While there might be many great products out there, not all products are right for solos or for each and every solo.  And by advertising the product on my site with an affiliate link it is an endorsement of that product and an implication I receive a fee for the endorsement.which could impact my objectivity.  That's why I don't advertise on this site.  Therefore,

  1. If you have a product or service, please do not ask me to advertise on this site.  However, there may be opportunities at Solo Practice University PROVIDING I have an opportunity to review your book, service or product at no cost to myself and I determine it is a worthwhile option for readers of this blog and the students at Solo Practice University.  And if it is a really worthwhile book, service or product for solos, chances are I've heard about it and will be posting at some point whether you contact me or not.
  2. If you ask me to review your book and I agree, I would naturally expect you to comp me a copy and you should naturally expect the review will be honest.  It doesn't matter if I know you, don't know you, like you, don't like you, the review will be honest.  And there is no guarantee I will even post a review on this site as the content may ultimately not be relevant for this readership.  I'm being totally upfront.
  3. If you are interested in being featured in "Going Solo; Confessions and Inspirations" here are the requirements:  750-1000 words about how you became a solo, your honest experiences and feelings about the process and how your story may benefit others.  Please do not submit puff pieces or public relations pieces.  I reserve the right to edit and/or decline for length and content. 
  4. If you are interested in being featured in "Passed the Bar - Hung a Shingle" here are the requirements:  You must have hung a shingle within 18 months of graduating from law school; 750-1000 words about why you chose this route, your honest experiences and feelings about the process and how your story may benefit others. Please do not submit puff pieces or public relations pieces.  I reserve the right to edit and/or decline for length and content.   
  5. I do not post press releases: If you are a public relations person, this is a BLOG.  It means I don't post press releases.  A blog is about conversations and relationships.  I am not a news agency or a publicity clearing house.  It's become necessary to write this because I am getting numerous press releases. I immediately hit delete. Sorry.
  6. Please do not ask me for link exchanges.  Write good content. I'll find you, possibly discuss you or share your content with another blogger and you'll get your link either here, there or in numerous places you least expected.
  7. If you leave comments like 'great post'  with the sole and obvious intent of simply providing a link to your service or product to get free advertising through the back door, I reserve the right to delete your comment or keep your comment and delete your link.  Add to the conversation in a meaningful way and I will leave everything intact. Harsh, I know, but it's not ego driven.  It just really, really annoys me and tells me you know nothing about the intrinsic value of blogging.
  8. And one last thing, if you are a new site in beta asking me to provide a biography with links to my site(s) for a free listing on your site, please don't tell me that after it's out of beta you may charge me for my listing if you think you will profit off my name by doing so.  That's just really bad marketing and shows you 'don't get it.'

I have always been very responsive to e-mails from my readers, guide them the best way I know how, will review appropriate books and more.  And I'm happy to do it because I enjoy promoting quality products and services and books. I learn, too, and look forward to passing along this knowledge.   I'm just starting to run into these 'good' problems in greater quantity these past six months and am looking to address it the best way I know how. 

Don't flame me for setting down some rules, OK?  It's not my ego talking...it's my e-mail inbox screaming at me. :-)

June 19, 2008

Carolyn Elefant's National Legal Events Calendar - Lawagora

This is an idea whose time has come: An online national legal events calendar, Lawagora, a marketplace of legal events.  Here you can see what's going on in your backyard or across the country. In Carolyn's words:

In the past few months, I've realized how many quality events, on and offline are available for lawyers - yet we often never hear about them because the publicity is either ad hoc, or directed at a speaker's mailing list, which others may not know about.  So I saw  a need for a centralized location for all types of events of interest to lawyers, identified ning.com as a decent platform and set it up in beta. 

Carolyn also provides an instructional video which shows you how to upload your own event to the calendar for that extra publicity.  This site is primarily driven by event coordinators being responsible for providing the information. For now the service is free. 

This is great for bar associations, law practice management groups, law firms, universities and professionals who service the legal community including accountants, insurance agents, mortgage brokers and more.  I encourage you to check it out and participate by uploading your own events or why not participate in random acts of professional kindness and upload events you have learned about which you think may benefit others.