S2 E 26: PTI Edition Seth vs Jay

This week Seth and Jay duke it out over common questions a law firm owner may face, and you get to be the judge as to who wins! Score the contest in the comments below!

Transcript

Jay Ruane

Hello, hello and welcome to another edition of maximum growth live. I'm one of your host Jay Ruane, CEO from flex your Social Media Marketing Agency for lawyers, as well as managing partner of ruined attorneys, a civil rights and criminal defense firm here in Connecticut. With me as always, my friend, my compadre, my amigo, Seth Price that is the founding partner are one of the two founding partners of Price Benowitz, your DC Maryland Virginia and South Carolina criminal defense PII and family law firms, as well as the founder of BluShark digital, a SEO for law firms and assorted other industries. Seth, how're you doing down there in DC? What's going on?

Seth Price

I'm feeling great. You know, we talk about networking and doing stuff and a guy cold called me It turned out great guy with a gazillion friends in common. It was just one of those energizing coffees where you're like, I got to be doing this more often.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, the idea of that, just having to go to coffee with people, I don't drink coffee. So it's my way of avoiding having to do coffee.

Seth Price

And this guy didn't either he I ordered him a hot chocolate. So yeah, you know, and you know what? And I will, I will, I will say I call BS, I don't care if you don't drink coffee. It was like we had an we had a guy we brought in as a senior guy to build a book of business. And we said, we're gonna pay for your lunches for a quarter, take everybody else you can out for lunch, and the lunches stopped. And we said why he's like, Well, he's getting fat. I'm like, you can't make this stuff up. So I don't care if you don't drink coffee call it an iced tea.

Jay Ruane

That's, that's a good, that's a good segue for what we're going to be doing on in a little while. Sort of a point counterpoint type of thing, because we agree on a lot of things. But there's a lot more that we disagree on. And I've sort of been keeping track of some of the stuff that's come up over the last couple of months. And I want to run down with you some of those and sort of get your thoughts on my thoughts on them. And let our audience sort of see and hear how we process what's the right move to make. Because when you're growing your business, when you're growing your law firm, there really isn't, there really isn't a right way, there's a decision that you have to make as an owner. And that's something that you have to sort of think through all the permutations of. But before we get to that, I want to talk to you a little bit about some things that have happened recently in the news, and among our greater community, because I think there's stuff that we should talk about, for our for our audience, and one of the things that you picked up, you got an email about immediately pinged me I saw it and immediately thought of the show, is the announcement that MailChimp, which is a an email and does more than email now the social advertising and all that stuff. Platform has been bought by intuit the people who have Quicken QuickBooks and inmense for personal finance. And it's really sort of interesting, where that's gonna take you when you saw that, what did you think?

Seth Price

No, look, it's it's the SAS based amalgamation of companies, we've seen certain instances where you get great new features. And that's awesome. And I'm curious to see right now we have Salesforce and seeing whether Salesforce really takes advantage of Slack integration to date they hadn't with that merger. And we can see stuff like AVO that when it got acquired, you know, we found that much less useful for our purposes, and it was really, you know, bastardized into a lead gen company. So, you know, hopefully, there are more bells and whistles, what I've seen historically is that they will monetize it more and that as it becomes slicker, it will be more expensive, which, as you build your email list, it's not nothing, you know, it gets to hundreds of dollars a month to keep a substantial email list. Part of me has always wanted to take the time, and basically just, you know, upload and download the emails so that you're not paying $400 a month for a frickin email service that you use, you know, sometimes as little as once a quarter. So, no easy answers. But, you know, excited, cautiously optimistic, but know that it'll cost more.

Jay Ruane

Well, it's never going to cost more, you know, it's interesting, I've been using MailChimp really since I started doing my stuff, and MailChimp, powers my drip campaigns for my intake team. It powers our monthly newsletter, and we've got a newsletter audience of about 12,000 now between the 5000 or so a clients that we've had and we actually send a separate distinct newsletter email newsletter to the people who have not hired us. So I mean, my, my, my mailing list between all of the different permutations that I've put together over the years and the lawyers that I've met and that type of thing. I mean, we're talking you know, 40 50,000 and it is hundreds but You know, we're getting a lot of use. And it's gonna be interesting though, since you've got the really, QuickBooks is the Small Business sort of accounting platform that so many small businesses, small law firms use to run their books, and you've got MailChimp there. I'm curious if they're gonna say, hey, look, your business is only spending, you know, 8% on marketing, others in your industry are spending 10 Why don't you use our MailChimp product to monetize the people that is that because if you've got their email and you're emailing them an invoice, it's going to be very easy for you to bring that over into MailChimp, and send them a newsletter. So I think there's some opportunity there, I we find hope there's opportunity there.

Seth Price

Almost cynical, I think it's, I think it's just the money thing and the same audience so that your sales team can cross sell, and then even SAS base. So it's not even sales team, it's, you know, they can target these people. You know, it's you always talk about this, I'm going to have a ticket practice. So I can upsell PII or other criminal cases. You know, I think they're looking at this as they are going to be able to cross market to these two different small business communities. Seems like it seems like they should be able to take one on one and make three. But generally, you know, they will also somebody's got to pay sort of like when you see a major league player sign, somebody's got to pay for that. And you see seats go up the next season.

Jay Ruane

Yeah, they definitely do. They definitely do. I mean, it's expensive to go to a ballgame. Now, any any type of ballgame. It's it's ridiculously expensive. But that's what it is. Okay, another question. Another issue that came up recently, and it was all over the forums this week, a lawyer we know out in Colorado actually was emailed by a competitor saying, How are you getting all of these reviews, you can't be getting these reviews ethically, and I don't want to have to report you, but I will, if you keep getting it, basically, if you keep beating me up and taking the business, you're gonna, I'm gonna have to report you. And I don't want to put her put the person on blast. But it's interesting, because as you start to take market share from existing dinosaurs want to call them, there is a natural sort of, well, if you're beating me, you must be doing something wrong, because nobody's beat me with the way that I do business. And I think younger lawyers coming up are trying new things building their rep. And I think there's, you know, these older lawyers, and I'm not trying to a be ageist here, but there's a lot of older lawyers who their business is going away for a million reasons. And they're looking for an easy and convenient scapegoat. So they're blaming the young lawyer for, you know, just doing the type of thing that you need to build your business. And that's generate Google reviews, don't you think?

Seth Price

Well, look, I responded to this lawyer, Allah, looking at, you know, a couple of boys, hey, I remember I can empathize. Because I saw this, as we started to build our firm and market that the dinosaurs came after us, we actually made a misstep at one point. And our one of our marketing contractors did something they shouldn't have done, it was wrong. And you would have thought the sky was falling. We fixed it in two seconds once we heard about it. But it was one of those deals where you have a target on your back as you start doing things differently. And I think you need to be aware of that. From an ethics point of view, I think there are two things you worry about, right? One is the bar ethics rules, which it doesn't sound like anything here is close to the line. And the second is that they're not fake reviews. And the second is Google, you know, and their definition of what a, you know, a user of your services is and it cuts two ways. Because you see restaurants or frankly, law firms that get blasted if we have most of our negative reviews are people that never signed with us. But somebody who was upset, we didn't take their case, there was an issue with intake, there was something that rubbed them the wrong way. That was before a lawyer was even involved. And Yelp, which has had a stronger Terms of Service has usually said it has to be an actual customer experience. That's kind of vague. So in this case, if somebody has used a lawyer in some form, or fashion, or can speak to the workings of somebody at the firm, you enter a very gray area. This isn't something where people are going out and getting somebody like i see i There are people and Google is not taking these down that go to a state fair and say if you want a giveaway, or you want to enter our raffle, you need to review us and they say that in the frequent review, and Google doesn't take it that's because lawyers rather safe with what's going on. But know that like anything else, the terms of service say it has to be an actual customer experience. And so you know, somebody's getting bitter because this person is being creative and how they're doing it. At the same time, these old school guys are seeing a number that's passing there's and they're feeling desperate.

Jay Ruane

You know, it's interesting. I You know, just from a technical point of view, one of the things that I do I mean, I get, I probably get, you know, five to 10 calls a week for people who want to consult about a complicated DUI case, either a lawyer, or someone who already has a lawyer, and is maybe contemplating either a switch or a trial or wants to get a second opinion, that type of thing. And what I've been doing for the last two years is starting off the conversation with Look, I don't know if this is going to turn into you hiring our firm or whatever. But if I give you some advice today, if you if you think that was valuable, at the end of the call, I'm gonna send you a link to get

Seth Price

That that's not even close. That's not the issue. The question is when you go well beyond that, and, you know, and so look, that to me, clearly good. The question they like, and I'm not saying I'm not, I'm not one of these guys that sits there is going to worry about it. I remember what avo first did its roadshow, they're like, You can't do this, you can't do that. Well watch them. So again, there's risk with everything that you do. And it is not like this person's going like way, they're now in sort of an uncharted territory. God bless. I support it. But it's not like, you know, what you're doing is great business in my mind, because it is the but...

Jay Ruane

But here's my here's my point with that, I can pretty much guarantee you that though those other lawyers that are you know, the dinosaurs in that market aren't even doing that. And so they're golden opportunities to sort of get those good reviews.

Seth Price

Doing those things, no, net J. Like, so...

Jay Ruane

Yeah, that's true, too. Okay, so here's what we're gonna do. We're gonna do a little point counterpoint. Actually, there's a lot of things that I think you and I disagree on. And so what I like to do is I want to take a quick break, we'll hear from our sponsors, and then we come back, we're going to do sort of like a rapid fire PTI style, sort of back and forth. But we're going to try to keep it tight. You know, why you have your position? Why I have position, maybe you get a chance to respond, and then we'll move on to the next one. We're going to blow through these. But I think there's a lot of sort of stuff that people can gain from our perspectives. Having been through this for 20 plus years, if they're just starting out, they might, they might be something that I just thought of one that I want to I want to add to the question, so we'll see where we go. So let's take a quick break. We'll be right back with more maximum growth live.

Jay Ruane

Hi, I'm Jay Ruane, one of the founders of firm flex and a practicing attorney for over 20 years. Anyone who knows me knows how my firm runs on the systems we create. And it has allowed us to flourish. Even in tough times. I spent years and hundreds of 1000s of dollars until I finally figured out a way to engage my audience and drive top of mind awareness with social media. And what did I do once I figured it all out? I built a system for it. And now you can put that system to work for you. You seen we took the hard part, creating the content and finding the images and made it foolproof. Every day you will have curated social media topics to post designed to make your firm constantly remind your audience about your firm, what you do and how you can help. And the best part, you don't even need to hire a dedicated social media person to do this for you. In fact, you don't even need to hire anyone new. We design the system to make it easy for you to delegate to your receptionist, assistant or paralegal and have them execute solid social media for you in just five minutes a day. It's like having a content writer, researcher and graphics designer at a fraction of the price it would cost to hire in house. Sign up today for the social super system and start building your brand where your clients already are on social media.

Speaker 3

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Jay Ruane

And we're back more with maximum growth live and today we Seth and I are going to do a little a little sparring. We tend to agree on a lot of things but I want to get sets input on something and I think he's going to be flat out wrong on some so let's start off with with the first question, right set. Your first hire, are you going to hire an experienced lawyer or a brand new lawyer and knowing you I think I know where you're gonna go with this. And I think we disagree. So what's your perspective?

Seth Price

I, to me, the ideal sweet spot is three to eight years out, I cannot like again, we have had more trouble with people right out of school exceptions to every rule. We've had some rock stars, but more often than not trouble breakage turnover, when we get somebody who knows what they're doing substantively, we can then bring them into our business model and work with them, but the risk and the chance of losing them in those first 12 months, the number of people that turnover generally across the industry in the first 12 months, just too high for my taste.

Jay Ruane

Okay, so here's where I think you're wrong. I think you want to hire somebody right out of law school, because if you're hiring somebody, three or four years into practice, they have already developed the bad habits, that if you have a highly systemized practice, and you want them to do things in a certain way, they are going to be basically fighting against the tide to go back to their bad habits. And I've seen it time and time again, I bring somebody in with a couple of years experience. And what do they do, they don't follow the way I want my practice to run, they insist on not sending letters, they want to talk to clients, and then they talk to the clients. And there's no record of what was said. And so as a result, you have people with two different ideas of what was said in the meeting. You know, that's just one thing that springs to mind. Plus, there's going to be a premium that you're going to have to pay for someone with basically barely a little bit more experience. I mean, I think if you were to go somebody with 10 Plus experience, maybe that's somebody who you can do, but hiring somebody with right out of law school, you can mold them into the lawyer you want them to be. And since they know nothing, they're not going to bring those bad habits. What's your response?

Seth Price

No, I get an academically you that's the career pathway, right? Everybody comes up there learn how to write a letter, they learn how to do everything their way, and I get it. And there's there are definite benefits. But to me, one of the issues have always seen besides, I want somebody to get their malpractice out in the first three years, when I look at with a few exceptions. And we have, you know, 40 lawyers currently. So over the time, in the firm, we probably had 80 lawyers total through the door, if I look at the turnover for people, majority of our turnovers, and it makes sense, one of the issues I've talked about is that when you hire somebody right out of school, this is part of the problem, you hire them for, let's say as a law clerk at 40, you know, 50,000, pass the bar 55 start worrying 60. Next thing you know, a year later, they may be worth 90 in the market and your lockstep often doesn't catch up quickly enough and you lose people, or there's just the issue of what is the likelihood that they're both going to like the area of law knowing they haven't done it before, and get good enough that you can rely upon them. I don't love putting clients with somebody, that Jr, one on one. And so to me, I want somebody where I know that they've made the mistakes, and I have a track record, I could do my due diligence to make sure there's a basic understanding and then can mold them into our firm.

Jay Ruane

All right, well, I think we're gonna have to agree to disagree. Topic number two, and I'm gonna go first here, and this is do you invest your time and money into developing referrals at first? Or do you go straight into digital marketing and invest a lot of time and money into developing your SEO? And I'm going to say for 90% of the people that are listening to this right now, they are probably spending $0.00 on developing their referral marketing practice at all. I have seen so many lawyers over the years basically invest no effort, they're getting referrals sort of haphazardly. But if you actually take some time and some effort and some money, and you put that into developing a referral pipeline, you are going to wind up making more money in your in your career than any amount of digital marketing that you can do. So tell me I'm wrong. Seth Price. Mr. SEO.

Seth Price

You're wrong. Jay Ruane I love referral. But to me, the digital marketing SEO specifically is the gift that keeps on and keeps on giving. I wouldn't have the firm I have today. Without SEO, we scaled to 40 lawyers, not because of referrals. I love referrals just talked earlier about just doing a coffee. So it's there. But when life gets in the way, you've had four major life events through through the birth of your firm, right for kids for of special events in life, sicknesses, you know, birthdays, everything gets in the way. And to me, this is the one thing you go to sleep, it's still working for you. And as you scale, very few people are Jay Ruane, and there's nobody better referral marketing than Jay agreed. But there's only one of you and how many people have really genuinely done a decent job of referral marketing with your for besides yourself. So to me, I have a couple at 40 I can count on less than a hand how many people actually are proficient and usually bring in referral business but to me This is what allows me to control control everything. Whereas while again, as a sole, you got to start somewhere. But if to expand over time to me, if you don't have a marketing channel, it's going to hamstring that unless you're a second generation firm.

Jay Ruane

Alright, well, I understand that my main concern for all the people that are listening now is that you can see people investing three, four or $5,000, into, into SEO regularly monthly. And that's probably a starting point. I know people spend a lot more. But if you're taking that amount of money and that amount of tension, and putting that into referral marketing, you're gonna get results. And you're gonna get results, I think that are going to at least keep pace with the with the digital marketing. And I get your point, that it's the gift that keeps on giving, because it's always working for you. But I definitely think that a lot of people are losing out on the opportunity to invest money and time into their referral marketing. But let's take...

Seth Price

I would say, look, there's nothing like in the b2b space, absolutely. But in the b2c space, b2c space we both work in particularly where you are, I think you're a unicorn. To me, I love like, I don't mind going to BNI meetings, but I just the odds of actually picking up a client from they're so remote. And while you're an amazing gifter, and that's freaking awesome. That that is not normal and for most people in their in the b2c space, the ability to get meaningful numbers through referral marketing is a lot harder than it sounds. And don't you know, just because Jay says, you know, it's sort of like, you know, don't try this at home, I feel like what you've been able to accomplish is remarkable, and I don't want to take anything away from it. But for the average person, the average market with the average b2c practice, it is much, much harder to scale the referral than it is digital.

Jay Ruane

Well, I'll tell you, the people we have listening here are above average viewers and above average listeners. So we'll leave the average people to that maximum lawyer podcast and our maximum growth live people that are listening to this live every week. They're above average, and I want them to invest in that referral marketing. Okay, here's another question.

Seth Price

I got you at first, I'm just gonna finish this one, I'm gonna just finished. No, no, no, no, no, I'm gonna, I want to compliment you, which is, I don't think that you know why? Because we're supposed to only argue, but the truth is, they're synergistic. If you get digital and you get the people in house, then you have people to market you from new cases. If you if you just start flat footed with only referral, I think that's my point.

Jay Ruane

Should I blog or should I not blog?

Seth Price

My classic answer is do you like to write, if you like to write and you're in a niche market, God bless. But if you don't love to write, and you have other things you can do with your time. To me, the blog is not the first place. That's been my time and attention.

Jay Ruane

Gotcha. Okay, my perspective is absolutely you should be adding content to your website, every day, the easiest way to do it is by way of a blog, it is very simple to utilize technology to add this content to your website. Every day, if you are a person like me, who started my career heading out to courthouses every day, you take that 15 minute drive, you record yourself talking about the issue of the day, you send that out to be transcribed, you copy paste, you put that into your thing, and you're getting new fresh content on your website every day. Yes, it means you're not gonna listen to Howard Stern or listen to the radio on your on your commute. But that's okay. You need to utilize these downtimes in our practice, when you are driving to be able to create something, and the more content you create, the better you're gonna be long term, even if nothing else, that you're going to give your your potential new clients, more lines in the water to find you, when they go fishing. For us for a key phrase, you're going to be putting that out there. If you are not creating new content daily, on your behalf, you are missing out on the greatest opportunity to connect with people. So that is my perspective on it. You should be creating content daily. Seth, what's your response to that?

Seth Price

Yes, I agree content daily. Yes, I agree making it a priority taking away from some things you may love. But I don't the idea of a blog unless you're great. And digging deep and resonating. And we've had people you know on our show at the Connecticut employment lawyer blog, amazing example. You go big God bless. But otherwise, I would rather see targeted content, not blog style, but I'll call evergreen content for all of the towns around you for all the different types of charges or cases that you want that you will do better with evergreen content written regularly than you will with something abstract. We spent years calling away the crappy blogs that were sort of that were often outsourced, admittedly, but that unless you go and do a really great quality and dig into a meaningful area. And again, for areas like yourself, where it's where you are in a instant gratification world, I've been arrested. To me location charger type of case is so much more valuable short term unless you're one of the great ones.

Jay Ruane

Okay, here's the next question I have for you. And this is a big one, and I think we're gonna have some major disagreement on it. Should you add a new niche to your practice? Or should you double down on the things that you are already doing? What's your perspective?

Seth Price

You know, I have done well by diversifying. I like the idea that that you can play off each other, I am sure that you will give us great reasons that you want to stay in siloed. But to me, I believe in multiple silos, not one lawyer doing multiple things. But if you're able to build a business, and I think the issue the reason why I believe in that is that as areas max out that once you become number one in your market for something, there's only so much more that you can do now you can expand your geographically. Or you can add other areas, in order to get to the income levels, you want to get to.

Jay Ruane

See, here's where I think you're wrong. Everyone sees the grass is always greener on the other side. And so a criminal defense practice will say, Well, I want the money from PII, or a PII practice will say I want to add trust in the States for some positive regular cash flow. But here's the truth until you have maximized the revenue 100% Out of the practice area that you're in, and that you know, and that you have contacts with, taking time and attention away from that practice area is leaving money on the table. And you can't tell me today, that Price Benowitz owns 100% of the private criminal practice in DC, Maryland, Virginia, you just don't I mean, I don't own it here in Connecticut. But I know that my team and my support staff and my marketing team are all focused on developing criminal cases, criminal leads, and that type of thing. And as a result, if I say, Okay, tomorrow, I want to start a PII practice. Now I need staff that can handle that. Now, my marketing has got to change, because it's a different type of marketing, my intake team has to have a new process, you know, everything changes, and all it does is muddy the waters. And so if you have not maximized every dollar that's out there for your practice area that you're in now, stop chasing shiny objects, double down, focus on the area that you already have, are well ahead of everybody else on owning and focus on that and own it. And only then afterwards, did you look at another niche that.

Seth Price

Did great, great points. And there's something there's some that certainly resonate. For me, there was a diminishing, you know, sort of diminishing returns at some point within a practice, that's not actually the case for everybody in all places. But you know, when we became sort of the largest player in the in a market for a type of law, at some point, there is a diminishing level of return. And that's where I pivoted. I think what I've learned objectively and humbly, is that we may have gone too far out as far as diversification and things we've done during COVID has been to sort of, you know, jettison some of the underperforming areas. So it's, I agree with that concept. And I think that like most things, the truth is somewhere in the middle, but if you're if you do have green pastures in front of you, God bless and expand. I felt that for us, we got to a point where we had a diminishing level of return that if I added more resources, I could get better ROI by diversify.

Jay Ruane

Okay. All right. So here's another question I have for you. Who should I hire first, a junior lawyer or a paralegal. I'm a solo right now. I've got a shingle, maybe I outsource I have a VA who answers my phones, that type of thing. But I am getting to the point now where I need I need help. Right? So do I hire a paralegal or do I hire hire a junior lawyer to do the work? What's your point?

Seth Price

Well, depending upon practice area, a lot of other factors to me the paralegal is is a is a great first hire in that it basically maximizes the lawyer's ability to practice and takes most advantage while keeping the cost modest, and allows you to build the systems that you will need to then build and expand later. So for me, it's paralegal first, then lawyer

Jay Ruane

Okay, for me, it's going to be lawyer than paralegal. And here's why. You know, if you are in the b2c space, like many of our viewers and listeners are like you and I are hiring a junior lawyer immediately allows you to raise your rates, right? Because whatever you are charging now is the rate that you're charging for that junior lawyer, and now you're above them, and you can charge more. So you're going to be making more profit off the same amount of work. And for me, the way we run things here is we actually go with a hybrid level in the middle and a lot of people opt for the hybrid which means I'm supervising the case, but I'm not directly involved day to day. So I'm able to get that increased fee for a lot less work. And that's going to significantly impact my bottom line over the course of the year and then allow me to accelerate the hiring of other people. Plus, when you have a junior lawyer working for you, and they are at your, at the beginnings of your firm, there's going to be incentive for them to want to grow with your firm as well, because they see opportunity, when you have firms like your firm in my firm that have been around for a while, younger lawyers may not necessarily see the opportunity to grow with the firm, because the there's sort of entrenched sort of management and ownership and that type of thing. But a junior lawyer will, you can take advantage of sort of their their energy and their desire to grow with something and get them hustling around for you, and give you free you the time that you need to be able to knock it out of the park when it comes to growing your practice. So for me, the hire is going to be a junior lawyer before a paralegal, especially if I have outsource people answering the phones and that type of thing that are able to help me limp by, I can spend an hour on Friday afternoon, opening up all of my files, doing the manual paperwork like that, as I count my cash on Friday afternoon. But I can't be in three courts at the same time. And that's going to significantly impact my bottom line.

Seth Price

So just something for the audience that sort of comes full circle from an earlier question, which is if your philosophy is an older lawyer, it makes the paralegal an easier answer as a first hire. Versus if you're looking at a junior attorney, this is where it becomes much more of a jump ball. And that the cost probably for an excellent paralegal versus a junior green lawyer isn't that far apart in a non major metropolitan area. And so I think that's where it becomes the waters become very muddy. And that decision is one where I don't see there's necessarily a perfect clear answer. And a lot of it depends on who walks through the door first, and who could solve your problem better.

Jay Ruane

Okay, all right. Here's the next question I have for you. Do you bring your marketing in house? Or do you hire out and choose vendors to solve the problems that you have with your marketing go?

Seth Price

Well, for me, I have seen and I feel like I've created a model with blue shark, because I saw how hard it was to do this in house, you know, understanding that a great in house team, like if you have can deliver ROI, that's awesome. But that the ability to keep that and maintain that over time, when you don't understand the sausage making of market where people come don't know what they're talking about extract large sums of money, you know, lay an egg, and then you have to be there to clean up the mess is something that we've seen over and over again. And it was part of what drove me to start a marketing agency, because I couldn't see a way to to basically bring in train and keep talent in a meaningful way that was cost effective. When all those factors are put together. That's where I see outsourcing as being a pretty desirous way to go.

Jay Ruane

See, and I think the way to do it is in house. In fact, I built an agency that's built around giving lawyers the tools they need to run it in house, because I don't think you can be number one as nimble as you need to be in the current competitive world by having to outsource it, because without sourcing it, you aren't necessarily putting the responsibility on other people for the for basically giving your firm the oxygen that needs to survive. And by saying that, I mean to say, I have an idea, I turn to my people in my marketing people and I say, let's get this done. And four days later, we are on our way to getting things done. If I were to outsource everything, I would have to call somebody wait for a call back, they would think about it, they would price it out, they would have to figure out how they're going to execute it, especially if they're a vendor. That's not local to me. I mean, we all know there's you know, there's a juggernaut in the industry that does videos, but those are not inexpensive. It takes months for them to get you in and get you signed up. And they got to write the scripts and all that stuff. And last week, I said to my multimedia guy here in the office, hey, I want to do 50 videos, and my content person got the questions ready. And we turned this around in less than a week. You know, if I were to try to outsource that outside of my office, it would be three months before we even had a time when we were going to film them. And so I want to you know, getting it done is more important than getting it perfect. In my opinion.

Seth Price

I agree. But to a certain set, you're a unicorn and you love it and you and you focus on it. Most of our audience. That's not the case. They may like it, but they're not Jay Ruane. And, you know, to me, I think part of the advantage of a great outsource group is that it protects you from you. The number of wild goose chases some great ideas that you've had that distract you versus saying, hey, if we do SEO, right, and we build content and build links, and we have somebody, we've paid the money, and they're not going to go out, they're going to keep experimenting for new and better ways to do it. But they're going to execute on fundamentals and make sure that we get ROI, the into a certain extent can protect you from you, picking up the phone, we had a client, a blue shark years ago, who like picked up the phone and bought a TV package with like a retired Mexican wrestler, you can't make this stuff up, the amount of shiny objects out there is dramatic. And if you have a marketing plan that has been executed by somebody where you get where you're in partnership, this isn't set and forget it. This isn't that you don't need a marketing person in house. But if the heavy lifting is being done by somebody where you don't have to worry about turnover, you don't have to worry about chasing some shiny object. To me, that's pretty valuable.

Jay Ruane

You know, it brings me to a point and I'll and I'll give props to Joe Vitale, for bringing this up months ago or even last year, maybe that there's two ways to deal with a problem, the first thing is to understand it and choose to invest in somebody to solve the problem for you. And then there's simply throwing money at a problem. And if all you're doing is throwing money at a problem, but you don't understand the problem, you don't understand how to fix the problem, you're going to be in a situation where throwing money at a problem is just going to eat up more and more of your of your net revenue. And you can wind up really screwing yourself. So make sure that if you if you're doing something that you're you're not just throwing money at a problem, you understand what you're doing, and you're making an informed investment in doing that. Okay, so here's the question I have for you. Should we buy an office? Or should we rent an office?

Seth Price

Look, I come from an urban environment, I wish I could buy but downtown, the ability to get it, and what it locks you into. You know, I started in a townhouse. And had I stayed in that townhouse, I wouldn't have the practice I have today not have a piece of real estate, that's appreciated. That's not nothing. And especially if you hit the right market, right timing, and I have friends who have very nice PII practices where they the founders bought something years ago. And it's a great, great asset. It's good for tax purposes, all of that. But if you're sitting there figuring out what you want to do, and how you want to grow, unless you want to turn into a real estate agent and sublet, and make yourself and buy enough space to grow into, it's, you know, my mentors have always said, rent what you want for the business that makes money, don't bootstrap the business because you have the real estate.

Jay Ruane

Well, and I'm going to say that after years and years and years of being a renter, I'm making some moves recently, to actually just buy the space and own it. And I'm buying the space for a couple of reasons. Number one, it allows me personally, to have a secondary income stream, the office can pay me rent, so I'm accruing and, and something that's going to have value down the line that I can, I can buy, I can rent it out, again, I can give it to my kids, I can do whatever, it's also guaranteeing me an opportunity to know what my spaces are, and not be in a situation where I want to grow. And yet I don't have space and I'm locked into a five year lease, you know, I can always if I need more space, look to buy something else, and then sell the space that I have. So there's a ton of benefits.

Seth Price

Jay what if I was taking your advice a couple of years ago, bought a place COVID comes half the staff for more is going to be working remotely, you don't need that footprint, it's not really sublettable.

Jay Ruane

Well, and well, that's the thing, you got to be very cautious about when you are going to buy and what you're going to buy, I don't want you to go out and buy yourself, you know, a 4000 square foot building, if you are a solo, and just say I'm going to get grow to the point where I feel this place. Because if you do that, and you're just growing to fill the space that you have, you may not be growing rationally, economically or financially prudent. And so but if you if you are small, I mean, some of my offices that I bought recently are, you know, 1600 square feet, ones 1000 square feet, I mean, we're not talking huge spaces, but they're strategically located in different parts of the space state, and I'm able to secure my GMB, I own it forever. And I have an asset that it's appreciating and valuable.

Seth Price

Okay, so great. But let me ask you a question. Assume for a second, despite with all the economics figured out, you can get a better location with slightly better space renting versus an inferior location. You know, do you are you willing to give something up to buy it and taking making your clients drive further etc? Or your employees? You know, what's the give and tug? Are you willing to sacrifice to buy because, look, there's huge advantages to owning. But there's often it's very hard given the current real estate market to just walk in and get ideal real estate for a similar cash flow from renting.

Jay Ruane

So I say yes. And I say yes, because now post COVID, you're more likely to meet with clients on Zoom. So it doesn't have to be the most convenient spot in downtown, if that's what you're looking for. And I think quite frankly, if you're renting downtown, you're going to be fighting with a lot of people in that three pack for SEO. Whereas if you're in the suburbs, you're going to have a lot fewer people that you're competing with, you know, to have that established digital presence, to use some of your own SEO tactics around you, more offices is better. But if I can own those small offices, you know, there's always going to be a need in a small community for one a one professional office building, or one professional office condo or however, you can do it, that you could rent out to a chiropractor down the line or a dentist or, or something along those lines or a hairdresser. That right now could be your law office, you know, I'm not so so..

Seth Price

I smile, because look, I love the dream, but I've lived it I've invested in real estate, hairdressers to me can be the most because think about it, you're getting rent from somebody who's been renting quote unquote, boots for multiple people. It's like literally a pyramid scheme of the business model. When it works. It's freaking awesome. But when people stop going to the hairdresser as they did during COVID You don't have any rent coming in. You're now in the real estate business. So like God bless love it. I wish I did it. But know that it is not a free lunch and that over time you are you now have a another business on top of your law firm. You're now running.

Jay Ruane

Absolutely. Okay, last question for you, my man. You are able to hire somebody. And here are your options. Are you hiring Jim hacking? Or are you hiring Tyson Mutrux to join your firm.

Seth Price

Despite the Sox and the butchering of bagels, I'm going with Jim hacking. I love the system C setup I love the the the fact that he's created an international brand and market for himself and combined video with SEO with local referrals. I think he's he's the real deal.

Jay Ruane

So I'm going Tyson. And here's why I'm going Tyson. Two reasons. Number one, I think with Jim, while there is money in immigration, individually, you're going to max out on a per head basis. And the only way to generate more revenue is to scale with Tyson, the right pie case that's coming in, can can ring the bell and generate a lot more revenue number one and number two, he has a fascination with optimizing and automating things and I think every practice can benefit from trying to automate more I think his philosophy from what I've gotten to know listen to him on the podcast over the years has been has been automate first, rather than hire first. And I think that that's what every law firm should be thinking about in this day and age is how can I have something else do the work for me so that I don't have to do it? So that's my perspective. Why wouldn't you hire Tyson?

Seth Price

Well, I'm gonna say with Jim, I think what he's created, where he is allowed himself to become a brand. We talk about this a lot. And I think a lot of this is nonsense. You need to brand your business. And I think that for most people, individual local people, that's virtually impossible. What he's been able to do internationally, when his kids end up picking up his practice, where hacking is a household name, the way Mutrux is that you're going to end up with something bigger than himself with residual income in a way where he's not hustling every day is not based on his personal Rolodex, but it's based on an international brand.

Jay Ruane

Well, he definitely has that without a doubt. I mean, he's got a brand to be walking through airports and people, you know, coming up to him and saying, You're the immigration lawyer that that's just mind boggling. It's like he's a celebrity. You know, he's fractionally fame in that community. I mean, yeah, you know, it's funny, you know, we talked about it earlier in Episode months, years ago about how you can have, you know, fame like Michael Jordan has fame, but then there, lino, local basketball coaches who have fractional fame, and he certainly does. Okay, folks, what we're going to do is we're going to take another quick break when we get back we're going to wrap up this show this edition of Max growth live Stay tuned for our final thoughts. We'll be right back

Jay Ruane

All right, so we're done with our wonderful, he said, he said the bait sort of episode set. And I gotta tell you, you know, a lot of talk And I know I'm a little bit more ingrained in my thoughts after talking this through with you, I appreciate and value your perspective. But I just led me to believe that I won every single one of those debates, what are your thoughts?

Seth Price

Like, I love it. And that's why I value our friendship because it's you see it from such different perspectives. And as you see, like, oh, I always said our business, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and that as people go with the absolutes, it's why I hate the political shows, because the truth is, it doesn't make for good TV. But with each of these, there's nuances. And that's the nuances that will get you to the right answer. So while I know that I was right about everything that I stood for, I know that when you you actually are sitting there to make a business decision. While you may have a perspective you're coming from where I don't love answering hiring the junior people, there are times when I want to do that. And I'm guessing there are times when a first year is not going to solve your problem, and you have to get that more experienced higher. So you know, I love the different perspectives, but value and cherish the fact that those are there and that we can help each other build and grow towards bigger and stronger firms.

Jay Ruane

Absolutely. Okay, folks. So that's going to end it for this week's maximum growth live. As always, as always, you can catch us where ever you download your podcasts if you want to take this on the go. We of course, we are syndicated on the maximum lawyer podcast or you can find our max growth live podcast edition, available wherever you get your podcasts. As always, you can catch Seth every week on his SEO insider where he interviews the movers and shakers in digital marketing, and really sort of breaks it down for us so that we can understand digital marketing a lot better than then than most lawyers do. And I think that's something as a skill is something because like I said earlier in the show, when you know it, you're not just throwing money at a problem, you can make informed decisions. And taking the lessons that you learned from Seth, SEO insider is a phenomenal way to really sort of grow your practice. As always, you know, me and my love of systems. If you'd like to join my Systemising, your law firm for growth Facebook page, please do so we're up to almost 500 members exchanging ideas on systems every day. I post new ones multiple times during the week and I'm happy to have you as part of the group. And of course you can catch us always here live on Facebook every Thursday 3pm Eastern noon Pacific so that you can talk to us and we can talk to you about all the wonderful things you can do to grow your firm. Seth, any parting words?

Seth Price

No, just have a great rest of the week and we will see you next week.

Jay Ruane

We'll see you next week folks. Bye for now.

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