I used to be your typical, hourly billing lawyer. I know, hard to believe, right? And then I discovered the power of productizing your knowledge with online courses.
As a result, I was able to completely detach my personal income from the day-to-day client work so that I could actually work from anywhere, anytime in the world, and today, I'm going to share with you exactly how I did it.
Three years ago next month, I signed a five year lease for an office condo here in Cary, North Carolina. At the time, my goal was to build a team of lawyers and staff that were going to work with me to help me build a top of the line boutique law firm.
Honestly, I intended to follow the traditional law firm model which was get more clients, bring on more staff, bill more hours, do all those things, and that was how I was going to build my business. But little did I know when I signed that office lease three years ago, that in just about a year after I signed the lease, the world was going to be thrown into absolute chaos with the global pandemic that was COVID-19.
I still remember sitting at my desk in March of 2020, thinking to myself, “What the F am I going to do now?” Because the courts were closed, I couldn't meet clients in person anymore, which was my bread and butter.
I had just let my legal assistant go prior to the pandemic and was in the process of trying to hire somebody else. I didn't know if I'd be able to afford to hire anybody else, I just didn't know what to do. And I didn't know what was going to happen.
Almost overnight I went from a growing team of three people that were working with me to a solo attorney whose dreams were shattered and I really didn't know what I was going to do and how I was going to pay the bills next month.
I've never said this publicly, but business was so bad at the time that I actually strongly considered applying for unemployment. My wife wasn't working, we had three kids at home to take care of, I didn't really want to dip into our life savings to make ends meet so we didn't have a whole lot of options.
We had actually just come off one of the biggest years financially, 2019, that my law firm had ever had and things were going really well and I was really excited about the future of the business, but now I found myself literally going through the credit card statements and saying, “Okay, we don't need that service anymore. We don't need this service anymore.”
Also, we thought about delaying our mortgage payment, we ultimately did not have to do that. I had a car payment, we had student loan payments, and then on top of all that, I was paying rent for a six office condo that I didn't even need anymore.
The attorney that was working with me in that office within a couple months, he was actually going to be gone because he decided he wasn't going to spend money on office space anymore, just was completely wasted space and wasted money.
After I finished cutting expenses everywhere I could, except for the rent that I was paying, I started thinking, “Well, what can I do to earn more revenue? If I can't deal with clients in person face to face, what am I actually going to do? How am I going to make this work?”
This is where the idea of productizing my knowledge, my intellectual property that I had, into some sort of product or service, that's where it really came from for me. This is something I've thought about doing for a long time, something I'd always been interested in doing, but honestly, as a lawyer, we build law firms, right?
If you're an entrepreneur and you're a lawyer, for the most part, you're building a law firm, that's the goal. I never really thought about the idea of doing online courses or coaching or anything like that, that just wasn't in my wheelhouse.
But then in April and May of 2020, I actually launched the beta version of what would come to be known as my Online Business Legal Toolkit. It's now my OB Foundations monthly membership.
It took a lot of work, it took a lot of effort, I surveyed my audience, fortunately, I had an audience on my YouTube channel, so it wasn't as big as it is now, but it was still something that I could tap into to figure out what people were looking for in terms of a solution and how I might be able to fill that need for them.
That launch back in the spring of 2020 really served as the foundation for what my online business is today.
Not only that, but more importantly, that is what allowed me to free myself from the one-to-one client work that I was doing and that I was so heavily reliant upon at the time and was the reason why I was so scared and nervous when everything got shut down in March of 2020.
Last month, the reason why I'm sitting here in what used to be my son's bedroom in the upstairs of our house was that I found a tenant to take over the final two years of my office condo lease and this past weekend.
I moved everything from what was my current law office into a spare bedroom in our house. Fortunately, we have a room. I'd never thought this was going to happen, but somehow my sons decided that they wanted to share a room together, who knew that was going to happen, and as a result, I was able to take over my son's former bedroom.
I don't want to mislead you, I still do work with legal clients. I have a handful of very carefully selected legal clients that I do work with, but it's not nearly to the level where it was just a few short years ago when the pandemic hit.
My days of relying 100% on client income are completely gone. If I didn't have any clients right now, things would still be okay because of the coaching I provide, and because of the template store that I have, and because of this YouTube channel, and other sources of revenue that I've been able to generate since the pandemic started.
Honestly, when I look back three years ago, if you would've told me three years ago when I signed that office lease, that I would not finish out that lease and instead I'd be filming YouTube videos in my son's old bedroom, I would've told you, “You are freaking nuts. There's no way that's happening.”
But I am and I'm sitting here and in a few minutes, I'm going to head downstairs and make some lunch with my wife and working from home and I am absolutely loving it. I love the fact that I don't have a commute, I don't have to get in traffic except to pick the kids up from school, but what are you going to do about that?
I love the fact that I can make videos from home, I can do my podcast from home, and it has completely transformed my life in ways that are not immediately evident to those of you that are watching this but in the next few months, I've got some big news that's coming down the pipeline that I'll be able to share with you about how this has changed our life even more.
Yeah, so it's pretty cool. I'm pretty excited.
If you're a service provider who would like to know more about how I made this transformation, so that maybe this something that you can do as well, click here to check out this other video I did on how to systematize and scale your service-based business.