Join Seth and Jay as they talk about their crazy mornings solving problems, and if there are too many conferences nowadays, as well as the role of a CEO who is almost out.
Hello Hello and welcome to this edition of the law firm blueprint. I'm one of your hosts Jay Ruane CEO of the criminal mastermind and managing partner over Wayne attorneys a civil rights and criminal defense firm in Connecticut with me as always, my man down there in the Delmarva Peninsula, Seth Price. Seth is the Grand Poobah of all things. blue shark digital SEO for lawyers, as well as managing partner of Price Benowitz. DC, Maryland, Virginia, Wyoming, Montana. You got to play some Yellowstone now too, right? Because of the show. You're all over the place. Seth? I know I've been beat up today. How's your day going? Yeah, similar.
You know, end of year we did our interview your quarterly is it is tough. I mean, the good news is I I kept to remind myself top line and bottom line numbers are good. But man is that sausage making tough. We did John knock Hazel flew in we did our, our quarterly that I just realized how much work there is to do. And part of it just was on the road. I spent some time with Andrew Finkelstein. And you know, every time I do a friend of the show has been on before, you know, when you see somebody who's running a firm, it's such an elite level, you sometimes feel not worthy.
You see what he's done. And you're like, Man, I gotta do a lot to get to that spot.
Exactly. And then, you know, talking to you and you're, you know, we're sharing a bemoaning employee leaving with a cell phone and the the havoc that could when you get to the point.
So yeah, so let me tell you, let me tell you probably tell everybody what happens this morning. So we have an employee who left when they left, they turned off their employee cell phone, turns out that employee cell phone was tied to our firm Venmo account. So we have all these people sending in Venmo. But we can't access the account. Now. I mean, the employee left on good terms, but they an operations person shut off the cell phone, so we lost that cell phone number. So I've got and then I said, well, let's just use somebody else's cell phone. But of course, I've got a bunch of millennials in those roles. And they all have Venmo already tied to their cell phone number. It won't take our text enabled office numbers, because they're not seen by their Venmo system as cell phone numbers. So I think after I get off the air with you, I got to traipse on over to pick up a cell phone probably just a burner cell phone, right. And I probably should call some of my clients and they can probably access a burner cell phone faster than I can just so we can get validated, get our money out and then set up a new connection. But it's like, you know, it's just one more issue on my plate. I am the one who the other day route all the ways to solve it.
I feel your pain. I had a email the other day we have a new marketing directors kicking ass but you know, it's like, oh, it's an old YouTube account. I'd love to get access to this. And I'm like, Okay, it's like, for whatever reason, they need to reset a password. The email was a just the a password from like, 15 years ago. And it's just like kick get there from here. And oh, I mean, that's it. Look, that is part of, you know, systems are clearly answered a much of many of our issues, right? If we had a process that was followed, when somebody left, we would possibly be in better shape on something like that. But the piece that drives me crazy, and you get this Oh, we'll know for next time. I don't know if that you hear that from your people? You know, you're they we had a new person come in a number of months back and they ordered T shirts without my approval. Now should the owner refer and have to approve T shirts? Probably not. But they ordered those god awful designs. So now I have a choice brand new employee Do you like you shit on them then now that people walking around the law firm with this like absurdly terrible design? It's that balance of of, you know, we have top line stuff we have to focus on. But the moment you sort of say, Okay, I'm going to delegate let these things happen. All sorts of nonsense can
Oh, I hear you. I mean, that's why one of the things that we have in our office for that issue is a style guide. So that people can't change things, you know, across the line on graphic design, that type of thing. What I found as a system, I'm gonna let you know when it comes to passwords. What I found as a system is that we've started using an alias software at rename attorneys, so that if we're signing up for software, or if we're signing up for a trial, we'll use trial at relators. We built a whole bunch of aliases, so that we can get access to accounts and people aren't using their own email address any more. Oh, ye like
admin? Yes, yes. And that look, that's the big I think that that's something going back to many of our audience that the earlier you get There's Sally, who's your lifeblood, who every account is set up through. But if instead it's firm at whatever that will make your life I wish I had done that. So anybody listening, I highly recommend if you're in the early stages of making sure that individuals do not sign up for software's with their firm email, but rather, and again, I going back and putting myself in somebody starting the firm, there's a slight price difference, and maybe 510 or $15, more for active accounts versus a forwarding password of forwarding email, and spending that money on a couple of as you call them aliases, so that you know, and there's nothing wrong, we have a ton of distribution lists, right. And that gets you so far. But there are a lot of things that the in only, not can't receive doesn't work for.
Right. So one of the things that we did, you know, as to, you know, belt and suspenders and protect us, is that our Google Drive folder that everybody has access to is, is actually at a it at Ruane attorneys email address, that's a legit email box that we use for some of our IT things. But importantly, it means that our users can't delete things that they shouldn't be able to delete, because not one person actually owns it. But it does. And it has a nothing can be deleted, you know, things. So it's a way for us to sort of check ourselves and make sure plus, it's another thing I can see who I can log in as it I can see who's downloading stuff in bulk, or not saving things because they haven't had access to the folders recently, which is, which is a metric that you should be looking at, I think if you have employees, because it's amazing, it's astounding to me how many employees are just I just save it on my desktop, and they're not saving it to the server so that other people have access to it. So you should be checking that, you know, at least at least weekly, if not quarterly, but definitely you should be checking it as you run to the end of the year to make sure all your employees are actually putting stuff where they belong, because people get lazy. And I mean, I I've seen some desktops that will astound you with just shit everywhere.
No understood and look to pivoting out of that to something that I picked up from Andrew Finkelstein, having spent some time with him. He was really big and talking about, you know, i chi issues with the cyber attack, which are getting worse and worse, we're getting more and more the gift card issue, you know, go and that they're spoofing your name. And that, you know, there are teams that his firm are using slack as I believe you guys do, but pushing more and more there and having protocols so that people know what you will and won't do that if you get an email asking for something you will come through slack or they'll come through text sheet letting people know this, he's working with some third party software's we're starting to try out, I don't want to push them yet because I can't I can't speak to them. But that are basically testing your employees with fake attacks. So that to see whether or not they're following procedures, and the rule eight and he's pretty draconian, you fail twice, you're out of the firm, like to be aware of what these things look like. And the you know, you the entire city of Baltimore was taken down by one of these, we in some ways have less liability with so much in the cloud. But it is it is so you know, I think it is so important that people are aware and are trained and that it's not sexy. It doesn't make us money. But if not to do it, I got the wake up call. So we are doing a fire drill trying to figure out what is the best way to continuously test people. You know, as recently you know, I left Facebook Messenger because I'm middle aged. You know, I got one through my father in law that I clicked on inadvertently, just because my father in law turned out he had been hacked, and I had to unplug the computer and just make sure nothing has gotten any further. It is getting real and that, again, not a fun topic for today. But one that to just think about if nothing else. Well, you
know, it's funny, it says as we are ending the year where we're talking about, you know, we're not ending the year on an up note, we're in sort of getting towards December and realizing all the stuff that we should have been doing in January and February. But that's really what this is all about. It's about growing and scaling your firm and addressing issues. You know, something that you find that hits you, I can then learn from it, get proactive, address it so that it's not hurting you and that's why we share these things to everybody out there is because, you know, we don't want you having to go through some of the same headaches that Seth and I have gone through over the last, you know, 20 years of doing this And if we can even just share our stories a little bit, and this dovetails into the next thing and it's interesting because you just had John and I'm going to be starting with John in the in the springtime, actually in January is when I when I started up with with them helping me with my firm and I know he's big on dashboards and I was at a drive thru the other day and I looked through the window and there was a you know, a whiteboard when it was you know, how many drive thru orders without a mistake and you know, they had you know, the best was 193 or something like that, in this race, which is astounding because I always get screwed at the drive thru. My wife says, Because I order, order, you know, I don't just take what they give me I ordered like, I don't want pickles. Well, I don't like the taste of pickles, folks. So I
mean, either I didn't ever do that about you all these years. I'm not a pickle guy ate Pickles.
Pickles. You my son. I gotta put this as a Jew.
That's a big deal. Like, I'm like, your size but my family. Yeah, no,
but like everybody My son loves the pickles. He has ham cheese, tomato and pickle sandwich. That just looks vile to me. But anyway, I hate the pickles. I always get screwed in the drive thru. They always put the pickles on. And I always complain to my wife. And she goes, it's because you're customizing your order. And I'm like, You know what? It's not that hard to leave stuff off. man asked me for more stuff on. I'm saying leave stuff off. But anyway.
We have gotten so used to poor customer service, that the other night we did a dinner when my son came home from school, like a knife Mexican place where I've been going for years services is always okay, it's well managed. There were a few things that were wrong, a drink got spilled, they screwed up the order slightly wrong type of beans. Guy came by at the end and took like 30 $40 off the bill of a I literally was caught. Why? And he's like, Oh, because stuff wasn't right. Tonight. I've, I've gotten to so far to the point of it at 2060 40 that as long as the food comes out of quasi Hana. Okay, so I feel that anyway, continue.
So, so I'm thinking, you know, I don't have visual dashboard, like, like visual scorecards up in my office. And we do have a weekly report that I get that my C team my C level people get where I can see who's billing who's not billing, what our revenue is, how many intakes who did how long people were on the phone, how many file notes, they created, all of those things, so I can sort of track what's going on. But then I'm starting to think that maybe I should take one or two things and, and really have like visible scorecards, you know, like my reception is team, you know, the average amount of time that they are on the phone between the passing it right under a minute.
Part of it is but I got down that rabbit hole right with a pretty built out firm. Couple things. I'll save you some time. I hope the I thought you'd have one jumbotron like Jumbotron. Turns out they're generally three jumbotron there's never one I mean, it's right you have you could have an intake Jumbotron. You can have a case management jumbotron like how long or desperate PII cases etc. And you can have a money jumbotron meaning tied to QuickBooks Online or whatever you're using. And what's most frustrating is it's three separate processes. Like I was like, Oh, we just have one. And it is it is not yours Domo is very expensive. People love it, because it's tied into File, Vine. Power BI is what we've pushed with, and just full transparency, one of our jumbotrons great, and we're awesome shape, the other ones still work in progress, despite consultants working on it, and it not being where we want it to be. So
I use a company called dash this it's a, it's a French or Canadian company. And it provides, you know, it plugs into our Google Analytics, our Facebook or Google Search Console, all of that stuff. But it also allows you to import data by way of a spreadsheet to get to get reports. And so that's what my team uses to provide me with my management report every week. And what I think I'm going to do is I'm actually going to isolate certain metrics, create a new report that just displays online, they don't need a written report, they don't need to be able to print it out, but they can always refer to it with the link and I'll just get a catchy URL like Ruane dashboard or something like that, or ruin scoreboard.com. And they can navigate to that link and they can always check and see where they are, where they are compared to their coworkers. Because you know, it's interesting to me with my intake team. The best motivation for them really is I've done it the way sort of Kickstarter has done it, where I give them stretch goals per quarter, hey, if you have generate this much revenue, you're gonna get this much of a bonus, that type of thing. And they really have responded to that all year. So we'll say these things and they can then monitor that in real time where they're at and
can't hurt others. I think that's great. We've done similar team bonuses based on responsiveness, number of calls picked up. PSA, you know, a public service announcement, if you're doing LSAs, make sure that the calls are getting picked up. It's one of the few things you control. And you know, two steps forward one step back, I found we missed a call the other day, and I was like, you know, all I want to know, mistakes will happen is that it's not buried, and we can report a month later, but in real time, almost like a post mortem at a hospital. What happened? Let's get it fixed. Not Oh, if you're here at church, it was three or four in a month, that can't happen, because it's going to shut down your leads. Yeah,
I mean, the LSA is more than anything else is so dependent on their algorithm that if you become an outlier, they just they I mean, I have our main LSA account is being is well monitored. But I found that they were not archiving stuff in a secondary LSA accounts. And our traffic has really dropped into that LSA. So I'm hoping to clean it up and get more leads in that way. And these are the types of things that that matter, it's, you know, it's not the big things really now we're you know, and this is, this is interesting point, because, you know, we talk about the process of going from being in the business to being on the business being the CEO role. But there's really a lot like my problem with Venmo, there is some minutia that the person who, you know, I'm in this role, because I solve problems.
Yeah, but I would challenge you. And look, I have, we now have a head of ops who's moving into a CIO role, the more you do that, it's gonna cost you money, it's gonna be a six figure spot, that person could do most of that. Sure. And if you're willing to get there, in fact, that was we did a really interesting exercise, not cable yesterday, where it was like, the one thing, it's pretty, pretty interesting. You had to go around the circle of the people in the management team, look, everybody in the eye and say, the one thing that they you know, love respect about you, as a business person. And then on the flip side, what is the one thing if you could change it immediately, you should change. And that sounds pretty scary. Yeah. And, you know, what, you know, my, you know, it was nice hearing the nice things, because that's where you go. But you know, what I got was, make sure that I go through our ops person, rather than going directly to and again, it's that exactly the same thing. But for you, it's not because the person you're speaking to is now intimidated by you, which has been my issue is, I come in today finding out that we missed an LSA call. And I'm like, you know, trying to talk to a 24 year old about how do you internalize this is a big deal. I mean, imagine $25,000 wasn't in your bank account this morning? How would you feel and wanting them to have that that goosebump moment to relate. But the problem is, when I do it, and I go directly to joy, for me, it was going through for you, it may not be because the people don't like you, people like you, but for your own building of a business until you funnel stuff through. Even if it takes that person an extra two hours to go get the cell phone, it will be better, you know, forcing yourself in that so that you have a real scale firm?
Oh, absolutely. And these are, these are the challenges that I get, you know, the last 2% of out is the hardest, because it's not something that you can, you can anticipate Systemising you know, it's one of these things where you need somebody in the role who can actually assess it and solve it rather than that's,
that's right. So as great as you are with systems, it only gets you to some point you're constantly creating,
right like, here's here's the thing, and I've been watching his show the terminal list on on Amazon Prime, and it's pretty good. And it you know, it follows the follows a Navy SEAL after he's discharged from the service and some things that happen to him not gonna blow it all up. But in some respects, when you're a CEO, and no disrespect, it's like you're the Navy SEAL. You never know what situation you're going to find yourself in. So you've trained for everything, and you aren't where you are because you can improvise, adapt and overcome and all of those things, whereas the people who are below you may not have that. And so finding that diamond who can step in is a challenge, and I
challenge Jay this year to find that it's great to have an archangel come in But until you have that person where you're not that ops person, you're gonna still be the Navy SEAL doing the Ninja.
Right. And but here's my thing. And this is I guess, maybe this is a question for therapy. Like, I, my kids are in school, I'm not going anywhere. Doesn't matter. And, and
what when I was doing a buying a cell phone,
right, but anyway, what's that? Let me question if it was gonna say it's gonna cost me $125,000 A year or $100,000 a year to put that person in that role, right? Well, what am I going to do with that time otherwise, because why not take that 100 grand and put it into marketing,
I that to me street or you could make that argument a lot of stuff. First, you have some sort of admin, presumably it's there's not nobody there, right? So it's not as 125 It's upgrading a person potentially. Meaning it's a position. To me, that's the linchpin if you want it like you have Michael Gerber at one end, saying everything has to be met. At the other end, you're just like, Hey, I like this, I'm going to do what I want to take, that's 10,000 a month into marketing, you want to put 10,000 a month in marketing, you make a good salary, take $10,000 a month and put it to marketing. To me, it's a non negotiable, you want quality of life, worry free to me. You want to go, I don't want to go to court, you want to go to court, go to court, you want to work on your business work on your business, you're telling me that if you didn't have all that stuff on your plate, you wouldn't come up with systems, or business divisions, or were thought on things that wouldn't be worth it, that all of that mishegoss in the middle taken out wouldn't make you more money. I challenge you on that 2023 idea that you're saving on an ops person, I don't buy at all, I think that that you say a lot of great stuff. I think there you're sort of, you can't see the forest for the trees from where I'm sitting in that. That is a nominal amount of money, if it really does free you up from that stuff. Okay,
I'll take your point, I'll consider it,
go sit it fucking go. Go Go take your kids to school every day and pick them up. If that's what you want to do, I do whatever. But you know, I'm saying like, do the thing
like I'm in a pretty good spot right now I really enjoy my life. And I don't, I don't think
you should, I think you'd enjoy it more. And that you would, that the that you would end up with higher top line revenue. If you got yourself out, I'm taking my own advice. I have that team. I've for years automated marketing person, we have a marketing person now and like a senior level, the shit they're getting done instead of me is unbelievable. And the ops personnel is a junior. And again, it's expensive, there's money, I have to look at the bottom line to make sure that that is there. But for stability, and ability to build and grow. You know, to me, what makes you great is you're like, oh, you know what, I see an opportunity to tickets, I want to go in there. The way you do that is to have the bandwidth to work on
that. Right? Like, that's what I did. So my whole Monday was devising it. So I'll talk a little bit about it. And maybe I'll post it in the group. If I get enough comments down below that people want to see it. So one of the biggest challenges is I've gotten into I've gotten deep into YouTube pre roll ads. I've talked about it a bunch of times on the show. I love them right now, Sam moly, a couple of weeks ago, we were laughing about how, you know, don't tell everybody about this because they're great. But one of the biggest challenges for us as law firms is when that 40 year old potential client hands their phone off to their kid. And now the kid starts watching YouTube. And while they hit the demographics of their, of their profile, you know, we don't want to show our ads to children. Because it's a waste of our it's a waste of our spend, even if the spend is a penny or less than a penny per view. So what I what I did is on Monday, I said there's got to be a way for me to determine the top, you know, 1500 or so kids YouTube channels, both by video views and by subscriber count. So I got those, I figured that out, scrape that down, put it into a spread list, spreadsheet, and then I was able to take that into my YouTube campaigns, exclude all of those. And so now my ads are only showing on MSNBC, Fox, CNN, you know, those types of things, and adult facing YouTube channels. And this even this week, we've started to see, you know, a couple of more people calling Oh, I saw your YouTube video, which means that I was wasting bandwidth before but it's because I had the time to just sit down be like there's got to be a way right
and that's, that's what's gonna make you money. You don't know it because if you didn't have the time because you're gonna get the cell phone on Monday then you weren't even able to do that. Yeah, okay, I got less less things and we got to wrap up. But for hopefully our final show before the end of the year, the topic of AI content exploding everywhere. That's all I've actually been playing with it this week. Let's let's save that for the next show. Let's look, let's do a deep dive.
Okay, before we go, though, a lot of people have messaged me privately and said to me, Jay, what conferences are you going to be going to next year? Because they want to sort of plan it out. And, you know, it's sort of like a rubber band, you know, that has sort of sprung back. After a, you know, everyone being away from each other for so long. There just seems in the last six months, there have been a ton of conferences, no argument, you're on the road every week.
because you're you leave on Friday, you know, you're on the road.
Understood, and it is, I think that we've seen this fall, in particular, a ridiculous proliferation. And that, look, there's positive to it, I can tell you still, there's rarely a conference, I go to that I don't learn or pick up things that I don't bring back and further monetize what I'm doing. Right. That's that that is a positive. But forget about this recent proliferation. I think it's a solid question. Regardless, right now we're seeing a crazy spin out of it. So it's, there's a lot of them, and they're different levels and tiers. I think the key is, you know, where you are in your growth stage. One of the reasons I love about putting those systems in places and having an off person is it allows me to do that. It's almost like a luxury to say, you know, some days I'm taking my daughter to a concert, some days, I'm at a conference and it for me, it's an okay, balance. But I think that as I was building my firm, there are points where you know, what you need to do to get to the next level. And while I'm not saying I'm gonna compromise, absolutely go to conferences, and the networking and the substance, but there are times when you're like, do I go to a third or fourth conference, and there's points where you're like, I need to get shit done. And making sure that you don't forget that.
I mean, I love the idea of going to conferences, and I know people love them too. Because you get to go to a new city, you get to see your friends from that you've met at other conferences, and you're all focused on growing and scaling your firm. But what I see is a lot of people go from conference to conference, but don't actually execute the stuff that they learn. Because they're
also go back to my point, which is, if the team at home is there to execute, it gives you that, that luxury of doing it. Potentially, I'm saying that would be a reason where you feel it you can't go away not only for personal reasons, because you don't want to be away. But if you don't have that person sitting there, then you really can't because the place does fall apart. If you're not there.
Surely I can definitely get away. The place will not fall apart. I'm at That's
your new what I'm saying that meaning they're actual actionable things that are tied to you still because you okay, I don't want to spend $125,000 on a great executive. Because I want to I want to do it. That is that tethers you slightly more than if you had somebody where I got a phone call at the end of the day saying, hey, these things happen to this business, like yeah, these are all fine, maybe on this one thing twice. You know, that's, but that said,
So, before we go first quarter of 2023. I'm sure you've got some I know you've got NCL
again, to me if you're in the plane of space. And if you're not, that is a awesome conference, I think from both the substance point of view, but more importantly, it is as good a networking opportunity. If you care about meeting people well beyond your paygrade. I went there as a pretty junior lawyer of stumbled into the very first one about 13 years ago. And because of the low that was back at the lows that got it the access to tremendous minds, I think is almost greater here than other places where people are sort of, you know, often VIP rooms and things like that, that the accessibility to people at this conference is pretty tremendous thrown a lot. But I still think it's one of my favorite of the year. Yeah, I
agree. I always have a good time when I'm down there in Miami, and I'm going to be joining you in Austin. In February. I'm really looking forward to seeing your presentation on local heckling you from the from the from the seats.
That's sort of what you know, what's interesting is, you know, I had that same issue myself, and one sense, it's very prestigious to speak at PubCon. But you know, with the learning component, virtual, it takes a lot to go. But as you know, 80% of learning at PubCon is not from the stage, it's what goes on in the hallways. It was a beer night, it really is a
the thing with me with PubCon has always been you know, I've been there and you know, I know I was there a couple of times with your team in Vegas when they had it in Vegas. And it was you'd learn something in a session and then you'd come back and you'd be like, Okay, how do we apply this to our practice and what we're doing because I see what these ecommerce people are doing with retargeting, but how can we do something like that like cross platform retargeting.
Great, great example. You know, there was this whole big thing with AMP everybody was to be on amp at one point. And you know, it's no it's gonna be you're gonna make your site faster this and that. And I went there. And I remember there were the panel like four, or three or four of the top, like newspapers were who were going on a very complicated mind you but they had entire teams they and they need app, right? They have so much content, they needed it so badly. And every single one was like, Yeah, we screwed this up. We screwed this up. Not like, like, this wasn't like little stuff. This was like our site crashed for several days. And to me, it was one of those like moments. I was like, You know what, these guys with 20 person teams below them can't get it. Right. What chance does a the lawyer have? And I was like, you know, especially as an agency with responsibility for all these people. Yes, we'll be slightly less fast. But we're not going to have these catastrophic issues that all these guys came up with. And we see. So part of it. I think it's crowdsourcing that any one person just like, all the time, how often do you hear? Oh, yeah, I put a you know, I spent $10,000 on a TV budget. I'm crushing it. And then you find out, maybe not so much. They got one call that sounded good and wasn't but you know, so the idea is, when you crowdsource information, that's what those conferences are great app that you can sort of not just get one perspective, but bring all these perspectives together. Yeah, so
that's, that's my for sure. February plus, I can get some tacos and some barbecue in Austin, which is never a bad never events. Alright, so that's gonna do it for us this week says any final parting words? We're going to talk about a content by way of AI next week?
Absolutely. It's the hot topic right now. So we'll we'll get that in. And just have a great weekend. See you next week.
Have a great weekend, folks. We'll see you next week. Of course, if you always want to catch us and take us on the go. You can do so by downloading the law firm blueprint podcast available Spotify, Google podcasts, Apple podcasts, wherever podcasts are available, of course, give us a five star review. If you are doing that, and we are live every Thursday here at a law firm blueprint group at 3pm. Eastern 12pm Pacific, be sure to give us the comments down below. And if there's anything that you want us to talk about. I did some cool stuff this weekend. Did some filming for the law firm blueprints, I'm going to be posting some other stuff up in some stuff and next month to start a new year. We've got Melissa Shanahan who's going to help us and post some stuff like Jordan has done and Jessica has done in months past. So we've got a lot of great content coming for you in the group. Make sure you've joined the law firm Facebook, Facebook group, law firm blueprint Facebook group, as well. But for that, I'm going to say bye for me bye for Seth. Bye for now. Transcribed by https://otter.ai