So you’ve decided to make a move. You’ve decided to start your own law firm. I want to talk to you about, you know, what you should do next. You know, and it probably should be summed up as knowledge, acquisition and validation, right? I mean, you know, even if you’re somebody that wants to go fast, you know, even if you’re a little bit more of a take this job and shove it kind of person that is more inclined to resign from their job and hang a shingle, which there’s absolutely nothing wrong with, it’s not the way that I roll, but like, if that’s, even if that’s you, you still are going to likely have to do your homework even if you’re, you know, kind of building the plane as you’re flying it. So regardless of whether you go fast or slow, if you are working for somebody else, and you’re going to make the transition for, to work for yourself, if you are going to go, you know, from, as I was big law firm partner to someone who’s going to launch my own law firm knowledge acquisition about what technology is out there and you know how to go about putting all the pieces together and then validating the information that you hear out there, making sure it’s relevant for your practice, you know, is, is certainly something that you need to do. And the validation part of this is important because, you know, if your experience is anything like mine, you’re not going to be able to go to every person out there that has something to say about law firm management and just adopt their playbook exactly to your situation without adapting it. Right? I mean, I will be the first to warn you all that everything that I’ve said so far and everything I’m going to say going forward has a bias towards my practice. And I’m certainly not trying to make it that way, but that’s all that I know. You know, my practice is some litigation, you know, it’s a lot of transactional work. You know, I do work all over the country, but I try to focus, you know, my work around Chicago, where I’ve practiced law for 22 years. I am the, the product of my own experiences and my own blind spots and my own prejudices. And so you need to take what you hear me say and you need to filter it through. You need to validate it for yourself and make sure that what I’m saying has practical application to your practice area, to your geographic area, to the kind of work that you do to the kind of clients that you serve. You know, I’ve made the point that I thought that I wasn’t taking this huge risk. I was just taking, you know, 20 years of risk compressing it down into two years, you know, or so of trying to launch the firm and then, and then saying, well, if it didn’t work, I could be gainfully employed once again in Chicago, you know, just like that because I have the advantage of having worked in the same town in the same area for 20 years. That is an example of something that might not be true for you, right? And so maybe I’m a little bit more gung-ho, maybe I’m a little bit more willing to take a risk because my circumstances are different than you. So when you make the decision to go, whether it’s fast or slow, when you’re going about this process of acquiring knowledge, you got to be careful to validate how much of it is relevant for you. You know, one of my favorite words, you know, is oid or, you know, sort of like, you know, survey the battlefield, you know, to try to figure out what’s out there and, you know, to try to make a plan. And, you know, I think that what you have to do once you’ve decided to go is you got to oid or correctly you have to do your knowledge acquisition, you know, by, by taking it all in and validating it in the right way to make sure that what you’re hearing has applicable applicability for you. You know, if you are, you know, a partner at a large law firm that is used to a certain kind of practice, you know, I assure you that there is a ton of knowledge and information that you can get from people who run small law firms that is going to be extremely valuable for you. You may not think that’s true, but I’ll bet every dollar that I have that there are lots of people out there running very different kinds of firms than you are going to launch now that have a lot to offer you in the way of wisdom and advice, but you can’t adopt their playbook. Exactly. Okay? Because if they are, you know, business to consumer lawyers, if they’re selling to people out there, you know, whereas you, if your practice is like mine, I’m, you know, B2B, I’m business to business. Almost all of my clients are businesses. Almost all the people that hire me are general counselors or business owners, believe you me, the people who run those small law firms and are putting this amazing content out there, you know, in groups and masterminds and courses and podcasts. They absolutely have something to teach you, but you might have to kind of filter it through the filter of, you know, 70% of that really hits home. And that’s right. And I’ve learned something important, but I’m going to have to tweak it a little bit to make it apply to my practice. So you want to be careful to take in great content, take as much as you can, but then to validate how much of it applies to your circumstances, right? OID or correctly. Another thing you’re going to want to do is avoid salespeople. There are tons and tons of people out there, you know, in the law practice space that are going to want to sell you something. And boy, you know, when I decided to start interviewing a bunch of different vendors when I was looking to launch my own website, you know, to try to build up that foundation for my practice, I was struck by how many people out there wanted to try to sell me something different. Some people said that, you know, I need to use a WordPress website because I have more control and ownership over it, and they could help me, you know, set that up. And others said, no, no, no, don’t do a WordPress website. We’ve got some proprietary technology where we’re like, we’ll host your website on our platform. And, you know, the latter turned out to be something that I absolutely am glad I avoided. I’m super glad that I made the decision to go with a WordPress website, but what did I know back at the time when I was first beginning this knowledge acquisition phase? Because there were salespeople who were good that were in my ear, you know, with the different ideas for what I should do. Lots of different people are going to want to sell you different marketing strategies. Some are going to say, you know, that you should enroll in their course. Some are going to say that you should place ads through Google. Some are going to say that you should play a long-term search engine optimization game on Google. Others are going to say, avoid Google entirely and just try to stay top of mind to the people who are near you. These are all well-intended people, and they all have something, you know, important to say. But make sure that you don’t get hooked in by a salesperson that is adept at talking to people like you. Because, you know, there’s a difference between people out there who launch podcasts for non-commercial reasons that are just, they get a kick out of talking about these issues and they want to put some knowledge out there in the community. You know, there’s all sorts of well-intended lawyers that are going to, that are going to be willing to befriend you, you know, in mastermind groups and otherwise, you know, that are not looking to get your money. Watch out for salespeople because, you know, I, I made it as a buying decision, you know, I half dozen times and then I changed my mind because, you know, I mentally sort of bought what the salespeople were selling me, and I’m really glad that I was able to kind of, I made the decision, I’m going to say yes, and then I’m like, wait a minute, let me explore a little more. I, I was able to make good decisions about not, you know, getting reeled in by people trying to sell me something. So there’s a difference between people who are just putting information out there for free because they find it to be interesting and people that are actually trying to sell you on something. I would say that, you know, if you want to do this, you know, correct reckon ordering, you know, figure out what the top 10 20 podcasts are that are out there in the law practice space and listen to them religiously. You know, if you are, as I was several years ago, not running from something, I had a fine job. I wasn’t running away from it. I was running to something. I was running to the idea that I was going to have a better and more meaningful life for my wife and my four children, a better and more meaningful career for my sp for myself in spite of how much I kind of liked the gig I had at the time. You know, I couldn’t get enough content, I couldn’t subscribe to enough newsletters, I couldn’t read enough blogs, I couldn’t listen to enough podcasts because it was so interesting to me, you know? And so consistent with that idea, you know, from from the last episode, the, this, you know, who not how, who is out there who can tell you how, who are the people that are running the best podcasts with the best blogs? Who are the ones out there with the most important information to say? If you’re going to reckon order correctly, you’re going to find those people. Okay? Another bit of advice is don’t follow people who don’t know. I mean, there is an extremely low bar for somebody to go out there on some of these freelancer sites. You know, Fiverr and Upwork are two really cool marketplaces that I use to get tasks done for me by the who’s out there that are able to do the thing. ’cause I don’t want to learn how, I just want to hire a who, so I’m not, you know, down on, you know, Fiverr and Upwork in marketplaces like that. But there’s no bar to certain people getting on those platforms and saying, I’m an expert in search engine optimization. I’m an expert in building websites, like, I’m going to get leads to come into your inbox. There’s nothing that stops anybody out there in the world from signing up proclaiming them an expert, and then, you know, trying to sell you something. And you have to be very careful. There’s a lot of people out there that don’t really know what the heck they’re talking about, okay? And it’s not just people on platforms like that that are looking to do freelance work for you. Some of the least intelligent, least meaningful content that I’ve ever taken in about launching and running a small law firm comes from bar associations. You know, I mean, I have gone to seminars where I’ve listened to people who, you know, are talking about what it takes to run a law firm, to launch a law firm. And these are people that are invited to speak on the Bar Association stage. And my jaw is literally on the ground because these people don’t know anything. They’re living in an era that doesn’t exist anymore. These people are living in a three ring binder world, not a digital world. I mean, as recently as a year or two ago, you know, I heard people have, you know, this asinine debate about, you know, does it make sense to do any kind of digital marketing, you know, YouTube, video, LinkedIn, Facebook. I mean, let me just say that we’re past that. And anybody that doesn’t appreciate the importance of doing some digital marketing, not necessarily to the exclusion of other kinds of marketing, I still like to press the flesh with people. I still go to lunches, but I’m sitting here at a bar association seminar that I paid for listening to people debate the merits of digital marketing. In this day and age, my jaw was on the ground. I was ready to get up and leave. So like, don’t follow the advice of people who don’t know. And there’s a lot of people out there, not just people that want to sell you something, not just freelancers, but also people that get to step up to the desk at the Bar Association, you know, and, and, and other groups that have a little cache where you’d assume that maybe there’d be a higher level discussion in there would be. I’d also say that one of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever been given, and this was actually advice given by one of my mentors and former law firm partners at the big law firm, was the foremost powerful words in the English language are, will you help me? Okay? And what I found is that as I’m rec ordering and I’m trying to do it right, and I’m trying to get to the, the who’s out there that, you know, can help me, you know, figure out how I’m figuring out how to, how to crowdsource through the mistakes of others, you know, most people are going to be willing to help you. If you say, will you help me? You know, most people are going to be willing to hop on the phone with you and give you some advice. I’ve hopped on the phone and I’ve talked to, I don’t know, 20 or 30 people that have thought about, you know, should I start a law firm or not? And how would I do it? You know, I feel like I’ve got an obligation to pay it forward. I’ve been the beneficiary of a lot of people that graciously and generously gave me their time, but the best way to get them to agree to do that is to say, will you help me? Or will you help me please? Because if you say those four words to any decent person, you know, they’re going to give you a little bit of their time. You know, and you’re really going to, you know, as part of this theme of crowdsourcing the mistakes of others, you know, when you identify those smart people who are out there, who are graciously making content, you know, generously giving their time, approach them, call them, message them, you know, on Facebook, you know, email them and say, will you help me? And if they won’t give you a little bit of their time, these are not people who you want to, you know, waste any of your time on anyway, you know, and something else that I’ll give you just as a word of caution, just as I started this by saying, you should take what I say with a grain of salt, because it’s all biased towards my experience. And you might need to filter what I’m saying to you to cast off that part of it that doesn’t apply to your circumstances. I’ll, I’ll warn you that this content that I’m creating now could get dated very fast. When I first started to think about sharing my experiences of going from the large law firm partner to, you know, somebody that’s running a business, you know, and I first started to frame out in my mind what might I like to talk about. This was before, you know, chat GPT, this was before the ais. I mean, even just in the last couple couple months, the world has changed and it’s been turned on its head, you know? And so whether you’re taking this in a year after I’m recording it, or three years or five years, be careful that what I’m saying to you hasn’t gotten dated. I think it’s likely to be pretty evergreen for a while, but you know, the longer time passes from when I record these to when you’re listening, you know, the more and more of this that you’re going to want to really take with a grain of salt because the world, you know, is going to change fast. When I’ve just for kicks gone back and I’ve listened to some of the podcasts that I was taking in five or six years ago, and I mean, I was riveted by these podcasts. I thought that people talking were like the smartest people in the world. I’ve gone back and I’ve re-listened to some of those podcasts just for kicks. You know, ’cause they, I ’cause I’m interested in this area and I could not believe how little value it seems now with the benefit of hindsight, these podcasts, you know, are to me now because, you know, almost nothing that they were saying to me several years ago, which was so meaningful to me then and was so essential to me, being able to launch my firm and to survive, you know, the adolescence of my firm. Almost none of it is any application to me now. And I really thought I would go back with a little bit of, you know, whimsy and nostalgia. And I, I remember I was jogging when I heard this podcast and wow, it was so awesome on some level. I do get that when I go back and I listen to them. But on another level, I listen to ’em and I say, wow, I’m really beyond this. So, you know, this content, like all content could get dated fast. So if you’re going to reckon order it correctly, you’re going to take what I have to say with a grain of salt. You’re going to validate it for yourself as you acquire knowledge, as you try to reckon, order it correctly, finding the right people out there. Do not take everything that I say and adopt as your playbook because it’s not going to work exactly for you. It’s my hope though that what I have to say will help you out, you know, quite a bit. Next up in the series, I’m going to cover a, a little bit deeper, a risk reward and the simple math that you need to do that. If you’re anything like me, it’s going to strike you like a bolt of lightning and help you realize that you can probably work a lot less than you are now, but make a lot more money. If you only remember one thing about this podcast, it’s that you need to begin to acquire knowledge and to validate it. This is true, regardless of whether you are committed to launching your own firm or whether you’re at the very early stages of toying with the idea. The only way for you to figure out what you’re going to need to figure out is going to be to take in blogs and, you know, newsletters and podcasts and you know, information from other people. So go about that knowledge acquisition and validation. Now, you know, and if there’s one action item that you might want to consider along the journey towards launching your own law firm, I’d say pull out your phone, you know, and find the podcast app. I use an iPhone. It’s the purple app on your phone that you may have never experienced. Throw in solo lawyer, throw in small law firm, throw in law practice management, throw in, you know, any of those terms. You are going to find dozens and dozens and dozens of people talking about information that is going to be really helpful to you, regardless of whether you’re ready to say, take this job and shove it and hang your shingle tomorrow. Or whether you’re just at the very beginning of a journey of exploring the possibility about, about whether you’re going to launch your own law firm. I think that that’s maybe the most valuable thing that you can do right now to take some positive steps forward.