Are you an attorney who is interested in joining a supportive group of fellow attorneys? In this podcast episode, Jim and Tyson explore the impact of their mastermind group for lawyers.
Today on the podcast Jim and Tyson share a conversation they had about the 6 things they know to be true.
1:30 you are understaffed
3:40 you take too much money out of your firm
6:36 you lie to yourself
9:27 organizational chart
13:19 the only limits you have are the ones you place on yourself
16:35 you’re not giving yourself enough credit
Jim’s Hack: Listen to the words you say and think. Listen for resistance words or thoughts like can’t, but or just. The simple act of noticing this might create a little shift.
Tyson’s Tip: Book: The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right by Atul Gawande
Watch the interview here.
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Run your law firm the right way.
This is The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
Your hosts, Jim Hacking and Tyson Mutrux.
Let's partner up and maximize your firm.
Welcome to the show.
Jim: Welcome back to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast. I'm Jim Hacking.
Tyson: And I'm Tyson Mutrux. What's up, Jimmy?
Jim: All right. So, the topic for today are the six things that we know to be true. The six things that jumped out at us. It's actually three for each of us. And it's based on all the conversations we had at the conference, all the great speakers we had at the conference and then, of course, the time spent in the mastermind with The Guild members the day before the conference.
So, we've been thinking a lot about running law firms. We've been thinking about marketing and systems. All those things. And for me, at least, spending all that time with lawyers and law firm owners really helped distill down what I know to be true when I meet with most law firm owners. And I think you've come up with three of your own.
Tyson: Yeah, are they going to be-- like, we're not going to-- it’s not like we're going to hammer on every freaking one. But, I mean, I think we did knock out some of the biggest ones because you saw mine, I saw yours, and it's interesting. And I do think we kind of see things from different perspectives too because we were kind of chatting about it a little bit. So, I think we could probably come up with 30 of these things without having to think about it too much. But I think the things we've mentioned are going to hit home with a few people.
Jim: So, I'll go first. My first one is that you are understaffed. You, Mrs., or Mr., or Ms. law firm owner, you are understaffed. You have too many people doing too many things that need to be separated out and given to other people, that you are being too slow to expand, and that you're being too scared to expand. And, because of that, your team is understaffed and you're leaving opportunity on the table. And it could be that it's because you're doing too much legal work. It could be that you don't have enough time for marketing. It could be any of those things, but you and your team need to almost double in size. Like, I just know it. Based on everybody that I talked to, every problem, I think, most problems come back to being understaffed.
Tyson: Yeah. You don't really see many overstaffed firms be honest with you, Jim. You just don't. And especially when it comes to the solo’s and the small firms, you definitely probably need more people. You probably have way more business than you think.
But this is a really hard thing to explain to people. And it's a really, really hard thing to convince people to say, “Go hire more people. Go hire one more person. Go hire two more people. Go hire three more people,” because they don't-- I think maybe a part of it’s confidence because they don't have the confidence that the money's going to keep coming in. I get that. But to keep that money rolling in, to continue to build work on those cases, you're going to have to find a way. And it's not easy, okay, but you’ve got to find a way to add more staff so that you can start to offload things because, otherwise, your growth will be stunted.
Jim: Yeah. And we spent a lot of time talking about like how to figure out what to delegate, but we don't spend enough time, I don't think, on actually hammering home that point that there just aren't enough people at your firm doing the work that needs to get done. And I think it almost always impacts growth. And it almost always impacts the marketing side because, if you allow it, you could work on cases all the time. Like, if you allow it, just do that, you could spend all your time doing that. So, I think that what ultimately suffers is the marketing, is the growth. And, you know, getting more cases solves a lot of problems.
Tyson: Yeah. And I'm going to segue into my first one because it actually relates to yours heavily. And it's that you take too much money out of your firm so you're undercapitalized. You think you don't have enough money because you're sucking all the money out of it.
And you’ve got to start paying yourself a salary, even if it's a modest salary. Figure out how you're going to pay yourself withdrawals from the business instead of just, every time money comes in, you pull all the money out. I know exactly how many people do it. I did it myself previously. I used to do it.
And you can't grow because you're taking all the money. And you've got to stop doing that. You've got to stop taking all that money out of the firm. You’ve got to make sure you level out your cash flow so that you do know how much money you have in the bank on a regular basis and you know how much money you have to spend to hire people.
Jim: It's so funny, because, you know, everyone says they don't want to be on the roller coaster - the economic roller coaster, the financial roller coaster. But when that big check comes in, or when you have that really stellar month, then it's like, “Woohoo, let's redo the patio, or let's go to Disney World,” or something like that.
So, it reminds me of one of my favorite questions from Jerry Kelowna which is, “How have I been complicit in creating the conditions that I say that I don't want?” How have I been complicit in creating the conditions that I say that I don't want? I mean, I love that question. It applies to all six of these factors. It applies to anything you don't like about your firm.
But it certainly applies in the cash flow context. If you're sucking money out like your firm is an ATM and there's no regulator or no balance to that, then you are going to have that feast or famine thing. And you're, by definition, going to feel a lot of stress when reserves are low.
Tyson: You know, it's funny, I don't get as excited about, you know, settlements as much as I used to. And I kind of miss that. That dopamine hit, I think, is what you get whenever you-- like, you take that big cheque and you put in your personal bank account. That's great, but you cause yourself all those cash flow problems.
Like, we just settled a case, not too long ago, for 350,000 bucks and you know, our fee’s 35% of that. And it's like, “I know now.” Like, it's all split into buckets, right? And so, I don't see that big gigantic chunk anymore. This part goes in for taxes. This goes into the profit account. This one goes into the payroll account. It's all just split out and spread out because you don't have that-- you’re not like, “Oh, all this money is mine anymore.”
And so-- but that's fine. Everyone has a salary. Everyone's getting paid. And your taxes are being paid. All that. So, it's you don't get those huge dopamine hits but, you know what, you've leveled out and you know that you've got income coming in and that you've got income that's going to pay all your employees. So, for the long term, it's far better for you.
Jim: And that's an interesting point about the dopamine hit. I mean, I do think some people do sort of ride that high of getting a little bit close to, you know, “Am I going to make payroll? Am I going to--?” You know, they ride that sort of emotion. And then, once they hit that money, then they're like, “Woohoo,” like saved again.
Tyson: Yeah. It’s what it is it. And it feels great, right? It feels so, so good to have that, but it's a very risky thing to do. Like I said, it's just going to choke your [inaudible 00:06:27].
All right, Jim, we get into your second one.
Jim: My third one is that you lie to yourself. You lie to yourself. A lot of law firm owners, try to avoid the pain of reality, try to avoid looking over in the corner at the things that are sort of scary. They lie to themselves about reality. And, you know, in the 12 steps, the first step is to admit that there's a problem.
And from a personal standpoint, you know, I've been screwing around with my weight for a really long time. And I started with a coach this week. And we have a plan for me to lose some weight. And I'm excited about that. And, you know, like I said, the first step comes in admitting it.
And, you know, one great thing about people in The Guild, especially, but also in the big group, and people that are willing to come hundreds of miles to go to a conference is that they have that growth mindset. And they're least open to change. But that change really starts with, you know, acknowledging exactly where they're at.
Tyson: One of those major lies-- and we could list a lot of lies that people tell themselves. But one of them is that they're good at everything. It's really, really hard to convince someone that they're not good at everything. I've not met one person that's good at everything. We all have our weaknesses.
I wish we were all, you know, great at everything. And that would be fantastic. And make all of our lives a lot easier. But you've got to start trusting people more. And you've got to start trusting just in the fact that you're not the best at everything. You need to hire people to fill those roles. That way they can do those because they can do them better than you.
And it's usually starts with leads where, you know, “I've got to be in that room. I've got to be in that room. I've got to make that close.” And it's just not true. You're just lying to yourself.
Jim: That's a great point. You know, there's probably really only one thing that you're best at, maybe two. You know, other than that, someone else out there can do it better than you.
Tyson: Yes. I mean, no doubt.
And the reality is, for the most part, we're all replaceable. Every single one of us are replaceable. So, there's someone out there that's better at everything than us, probably. There probably is. If we're being truly honest with ourselves, that's the reality.
So, if you really wanted to-- and there are firms that have done this. There are people that have hired and they've replaced themselves at every aspect of the firm. They just own the firm. I'm not saying you have to be that way. You don't have to do that but everyone's replaceable.
Jim: I heard a quote that I really liked. And that is that the graveyard is full of people who thought they were indispensable.
Tyson: Yes. It's funny. someone credited that for John Morgan. It's not a John Morgan quote. I actually looked up the origin of that quote. It's a French quote and it's been translated. But I think it's a fantastic quote. It's a really, really good quote because it kind of makes you think, “You know what? I guess that's true.” It's a fantastic quote. I'm glad you mentioned that.
It's not a John Morgan quote. So, whoever keeps saying that, it’s not a John Morgan. He's repeating it but it's not his quote.
Okay. So, do you want to go with your second one?
Tyson: Yeah. You don't have an org chart, so no one really knows who's responsible for what, and they don't know who's responsible to whom. And it's funny, this is a really common theme in our mastermind group where people just didn't know who did what in their firms.
And you asked the question, “Okay. Well, who's in charge of the firm?” “Well, I do this. And he does--” “No, no, no. Who's at the top? Who's in charge of who?” “Well, I guess we really don't have all that figured out.” And it's a very, very common theme.
But once-- I think, you’d agree with me, like once you figure that stuff out, a lot of stuff really kind of works itself out. It's a self‑irony thing where, you've all those in your firm, and you put out the org chart, and they just kind of just easily kind of smooths itself out and people start to think for themselves. It's a liberating thing whenever people know who reports to who. That way, they can just kind of figure things out and they can get comfortable. Who's their boss? And what do they do? And what do you do? It's just a really great thing.
Jim: I remember, when we were recording Maximum Law in Minimum Time, which is the Kajabi course that you and I have, when I was discussing that transition from stage one into stage two. Now, I'll never forget a day that I was sitting there, working on my computer, and Adela was showing a new employee, maybe employee number three or four, around the office. And I remember she said, “Yeah. We all do the same thing around here.” And I was like, “What?” Like, she said it out loud. And I didn't know that she thought that. And I didn't know exactly why that was wrong. Like, that's not something that we should be proud of or aiming for, but it’s like it shook me up enough to sort of sit down with her and drill down. I'm like, “Hmm, maybe we can rework that.”
And now, with the growth that we've been having, now, we're in this other cool part of things where people are inviting others to stay in their own lane. So, we're just at this point now. I've just started seeing it. I've probably seen it three or four times in the last six or eight weeks, but that people are sort of starting to claim their lanes and encouraging others to focus on what they're good at.
Tyson: Oh, wait, that's been a big issue in my firm over the last few months is like, hey, the phrase “stay in your lane” has been used several times over the last few months so I completely get that.
I do want to say something though, because we've been talking about the pod system for a while now. And I want to just tell everybody. The pod system does not mean that everybody in the pod does it, okay? We have some overlap in the training so people can help each other out with that pod system, but it does not mean that everybody does everything. Everyone still has their responsibilities. But you can, if there's some gimmick where, “Okay. Adela’s gone next week so maybe, you know, Amany fills here, right, or there.” It's one of those things. You have a little bit of overlap to fill in but it's not an excuse. I wanted to point that out--
Jim: Just real quick. For us, core value number six is we are a team. And core value number two is we do what's in the best interest of the client. So, you can take vacations, people can be sick, but those two core values sort of kick in then. You know, “What's in the best interest of the client?” and “What team member can help me out?”
Tyson: A love it. Like, you even named off the core value number. Excellent work. I like it. Nicely done.
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Tyson: Jimmy, do you want to get to the next one?
Jim: Yeah. So, for my last one that I know to be true is the only limits you have are the ones you place on yourself. And I really believe that. I really believe that having sat around a table with 12 other law firm owners, having spent two days listening to awesome speakers.
And, to me, what's the most inspiring? The stories of Guild members who've gone from stage one to stage three, or from stage two to entering stage four, some very quickly. The one thing I noticed more than anything is that their mindset is very, very open and that they are not accepting conventional wisdom when it comes to what's possible.
And I'm thinking of guys like Paul Yokabitus who, as you know, famously started his law firm and was on our show the very same day, three years ago. And it's already a seven‑figure law firm. And he, I believe, has crushed the idea that there are limits that people place on themselves.
I think you and I have sort of opened up ourselves to bigger and bigger things. And that the more we're open to receiving things. And I'm not talking about woowoo, The Secret, you know, channeling or what's that word that they use that-- manifesting. I'm not talking about woowoo stuff. I'm talking about doing the legwork but not accepting that just because things are a certain way means they'll always be that way, or that you can't change them, or that you're limited or capped somehow.
Tyson: Yeah, I’ve got to say-- so sorry, to really say this to people, but the whole manifesting thing’s bull crap. It’s just total bull crap, right? You can't just take something into existence.
However-- however, I do think that, what you can do is you can place those mental limitations on yourself. And just thinking something is not good enough. You must actually do something, but you can actually think-- you can create limits on yourself by thinking certain things and then preventing yourself from doing those things because you have placed those limits on yourself.
David Neagle, he spoke in The Guild about this. He was on the podcast not too long ago. He was kind of talking about this how, once he removed those mental limits, I think, he doubled or tripled his income in a short amount of time and he's made a lot of money. He's a guy who I don't believe had any college education and has done a lot with his life. And it's because he removed those limits.
And Christopher Nicolaysen talked a lot about that and has talked a lot a lot about that in the past, not taking-- I think he calls it-- it I think he may have gotten this from David Neagle, that middle‑class mindset. And if you remove that from yourself-- and it's hard to do. It's part of those lies that you're telling yourself, Jim. Part of it is is like, okay, lying to yourself to make yourself feel better. But part of it is you lie to yourself about things that you think are true that, you know, you can't do something because of something, right? That's all bullshit, too. All of that’s just bogus. There's nothing to back that up. You just told yourself that for some reason that, you know, you don't deserve this, or you don't deserve that, or you can only make so much money. I don't know why we do it, but we do. You’ve got to find a way to remove those limits from yourself because it's all just bullshit.
Was that enough bullshit’s where, now, we've got to make this explicit?
Jim: I think one curse word does that.
Tyson: All right. Well, good.
If you're in the car with the kids, I'm sorry.
All right. The last one that I have on my list, the last one, we have number six. You're not giving yourself enough credit. And this comes a lot from what Jason Selk teaches. And we spend so much time beating ourselves down. Like, just think about-- I'm actually pretty good about it nowadays. But, I mean, I used to just beat down on myself so much, you know, having that perfectionist mindset that, “I didn't do this or I didn't do that.” And I do have to catch myself sometimes where someone gives me a compliment on something and I'll say, “Yeah, but this-- or, I could’ve done this.” And I'm really bad about that. I will say that. And we just don't give ourselves enough credit. We beat ourselves down all the time.
Like, take a moment to just like sit back and think about the things that you've accomplished, the things you've done.
And I was able to do this. Jim, you wrote me that letter of recommendation for the top 20 under 40. And I had to fill out a questionnaire. It was really interesting because I had not thought about some of the things in a while and I really-- I get to like think about the awards I've gotten and my accomplishments. And it was a really cool process to go through.
But you should practice giving yourself that credit. You know, what are the things that you've done over the last 24 hours to move the ball forward, right, towards your vision? And doing that exercise, on a daily basis, it's just good for your soul. But it'll help increase that confidence. You’ve got to-- You have to start giving yourself more credit.
Jim: I'm so glad that you brought this topic up. And it's a great one to end the show with. And the reason that I'm glad, is I happened to go back and forth between the two rooms. And one of the days I walked into, let's say the last five minutes of the speaker’s talk. And I enjoyed the end of it. I liked it a lot. And I was reflecting on it later on because, when I came in, the speaker, twice, in two minutes, mentioned something cool that the speaker had achieved and negated it by saying something unkind about themselves.
So, in other words, it was like they were on stage presenting to all these people who were literally eating it up and loving what the person was saying, but they put themselves down twice in the first two minutes which is, you know, the last five minutes of their talk. And I didn't say anything. I didn't do anything, but I Facebook messaged him and I said, “Why do you talk meanly to yourself?” That's all I said. And they're like, “Huh? Huh? What?” And then, I told them what I just witnessed. And they're like, “Man, I do do that. How did you notice that? Like, I do do that, and I know it's something that I do, And I haven't ever told anyone that that's what I do.”
And I said, “Well, the reason is, is because when you do it, it's funny. The things you say about yourself. They're funny, so people laugh.” If I had sat through the whole half hour, I don't think I would’ve noticed it, but it was because I walked in right then. So, I think I just happened to catch that person in a conversation loop that they have with themselves too often. So, I love that point. And that was like one of the highlights of the conference was this Facebook message back and forth and then talk to the person about it. And it sort of was one of the highlights of the conference, for me.
Tyson: Yeah. And we do it because we're taught that you’ve got to be humble and you shouldn't, you know, beat your chest. And you should not talk about your successes. And so, what we do is we beat ourselves down and we’ll say things like that. We don't realize how destructive it is to our self‑esteem and our confidence. And so, you’ve got to stop doing it.
I've got to teach myself to stop doing it. I still do it. Like, what I talked about, like making comments like that. It's hard to do. We think it's something to make us look humble but it's actually very destructive. So, just stop doing it.
But, Jimmy, it's time to wrap things up. I do want to remind everyone to go to the big Facebook group, if you've not done so already. If you're interested in a more high‑level conversation with a lot of great sharing, I mean, it’s fire lately, in The Guild, go to maxlawguild.com.
And, if you've never given us a review, right, and I need to start doing this in the beginning, Jim Hacking, is please give us a five‑star review. It helps us spread the word. And we would love for you to give us some reviews. If you don't mind, please do so.
Jimmy, what's your hack of the week?
Jim: I am very happy to give my hack of the week but, before I do, I need to mention that tickets are on sale for MaxLawCon 2022. If you failed to attend and feel that you missed out, which you did, it's going to be on June 2 and 3, at the same venue - the Ameristar Casino, in St. Charles.
So, make sure to get your tickets now. They will only go up in price. I don't know exactly what they are right now, but they're headed north, not south. We don't say that our tickets cost $2,400 and then email you the day before and say, “Hey, you can have one for a dollar.”
Anyway, my hack of the week is this, and it goes along the last point that you made, and that is, listen to the words that either come out of your mouth or come in to your head. If you're hearing things like can't, but, or just as in “it's just (blank).” Like, listen for resistance words - no, not, you know, that won't work. Won't is a great word to listen for. Listen for those words either coming out of your mouth or that you say in your head and just note it. Don't do anything special. Don't go on some grand crusade to not do that. Just note it and just try to pick up on it and see what happens because this simple act of noticing it might start something of a bit of a shift. But, for now, just stay in the moment, listen to yourself, and catch yourself when those kinds of things happen.
Tyson: I love it. Very cool. I like that.
Oh, look at that. As we're speaking, a contract is signed. That's fantastic. I love seeing that. I love it.
The price to MaxLawCon 2022, by the way, maxlawcon2020.com is $997, James Oliver Hacking III.
So, I'm going to recommend a book that was recommended by Brian Mittman. And it is a very, very good book. It's super simple, by the way, I'm going to tell you that, but it's still a really good book. And I think all of you need to listen to it or read. I listen to it. It's called The Checklist Manifesto: How to Get Things Right. It's by-- I'm going to chew this name up Atul Gawande?
Jim: That's it. Perfect.
Tyson: Oh, perfect. So, it's a really, really good book. And it's funny, I recommended it to Jim. Is this the one I recommended to you and you said, “I already read it”?
Jim: Like four years ago.
Tyson: Yeah, four years ago.
It's a really good book. It's super simple. It's a fairly short book, I think. It didn't take that long to get through it. So, I recommend it. The Checklist Manifesto. That really just kind of explains why checklists are so important.
I'll be honest with you. I've sort of kind of against checklists for a long time. I've been more in favor like tasks and build a track of tasks. But having an actual checklist, a physical checklist, for my people. I've told them what we're putting together and they were condensing all of our lists down to one page so that people can just have it, kind of like an aviation checklist. And they love the idea. So, we're building that now. It's almost done. We should have it on everyone's desk the next couple of weeks. So, it's something that people are really going to like.
And I can't wait to use it because it's going to break down the most simple tasks for people. That way, they just don't forget the small things because I think all of us can relate to the idea of people forgetting these little, tiny mistakes-- making these little, tiny mistakes and then you can't do anything else. For example, like on sending a demand on a case and you can't send a demand because you're missing once stinking record. So, things like that. But Checklist Manifesto, check it out.
Jimmy, I don't even know how to end these things now that we don't have a guest. So, I'll let you finish.
Jim: All right. So, we'll see you all next week. And good being with you, Tyson.
Thanks for listening to The Maximum Lawyer Podcast.
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Have a great week and catch you next time.
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