In 8 years of coaching I have found that some attorneys, especially solos, actually give away money! You may not even know you have been doing this, but usually because of circumstances somewhere in your background, its happening. The biggest underlying cause I have found is that some attorneys don’t feel their work is worth very much. If this is you, let me try to dissuade you.
See if any of the following is applicable to your practice:
Attorneys make money based on their time and expertise. You have expertise and time……and you are an attorney, but are you giving money away?
So let’s begin by asking yourself these questions:
- How much am I worth an hour? — pleassssseeeee make it more than $150 an hour.
- How much of my time do I spend making less than my hourly rate? doing what?
- Can I pay someone less than my hourly rate to do the cheaper time- consuming tasks? (now, don’t whine that you will just have more time and less money….it doesn’t work that way).
- Am I consistently charging my hourly rate? or am I cutting it to get a client? (the solution to that: Up your hourly rate…..then you can lower it if need be.—this is all a psychological game anyway)
- Do I kid myself on the billing? This is when you really did five hours of work, but you feel you were slow, so you only charged the client for three hours. That’s a big, huge NO NO. Remember your product is expertise and time and you get to charge for both.
- Am I doing enough to get clients who have significant amounts of work and ability to pay? A $5,000 retainer is much nicer than 10- $500 jobs. You may have to target a completely different clientele. Spend some of that time that you got from hiring someone else to do your grunt jobs and NETWORK. Decide exactly what kind of cases you want and learn to articulate your wishes in 35 words or less. For example:
“ I’m the perfect lawyer for prosperous business clients with either significant problems or who want expert help in forming and growing their businesses while avoiding the legal pitfalls facing all entrepreneurs.”(see last week’s blog)
When you go to an event, commit to giving a spiel like that to at least 5 people. Hand them a card, smile and a Godiva chocolate.
Best of Luck and let me know if you can recognize yourself here.