Season 1, Episode 004
In this episode of Legally Blissed Conversations, we are joined by Kristen David, mentor, counselor, speaker, and writer. Kristen is the Founder and CEO of Upleveling Your Business LLC, a business coaching firm centered in Seattle, WA.
Kristen has been committed to equipping business owners with the strategy, resources, support, and accountability they need to grow profitable, systems-based businesses that allow them to live the life they want to live.
Listen in to hear how Kristen ‘makes her mess her message.’
DISCLAIMER: The following is the output of transcribing from an audio recording. Although the transcription is largely accurate, in some cases, it is incomplete or inaccurate due to inaudible passages or transcription errors.
Suzi: I’d like to welcome Miss Kristin, David, the Kristin David, I absolutely love that. Kristin David is an attorney who double her law firm revenue numerous times. And then she taught other people how to do that as a coach at a nationally recognized Consulting Group. Kristin loves to help people realize what is possible and recognize that they don’t have to suffer with their law firms. She was there working over 85 hours a week. And life is so much better on the other side. Now she’s living her best life in Paris a third of the time, at her home in Seattle a third of the time and traveling the rest of the time. She founded her own coaching business, the Kristen David, up leveling your business to teach other business owners how they can build a business that lets them live the life of their dreams. In fact, she now empowers business owners to build profitable businesses that are self managed. I love that. She recently told me in an email life can be anything you want it to be so welcome again to the podcast. Kristen, I’m so happy to have you here. Where are you in the world right now?
Kristen: I am actually in Seattle, Washington right this minute. But I’ll be back in Paris in about four days.
Suzi: Good. Good. i It sounds like you definitely have the travel bug. How’s travel? been the last guest here for you? Have you had to stay a little more? As in place?
Kristen: Yes, yes. Definitely, definitely impacted through all the COVID stuff. But that’s been good. It’s allowed us to plan and strategize some travels better and to, you know, just make the most out of where you are when you’re there. And really kind of dig in and do some of those things that you otherwise maybe don’t have time to do, and the flurry of all the travel and moving around. So it’s been great.
Suzi: So let me ask What have you learned over the past year? Because of COVID? Like, have you? I know you’re a big systems person. And we can talk about that? How have you improved your business or change your business over the last year to kind of meet changes of of COVID.
Kristen: So we’re 100% virtual company already. So we are already ready for that before COVID hit. So we were doing good on that. But I will tell you pretty much all of our clients, we help them pivot and learn how to do more sales over the phone, how to really cater to the client’s needs better. And our clients like almost all of them doubled in in during the last 18 months with the exception of dentists and med spa owners, those two categories. They kind of need butts and seats in order to make it work, right. But lawyers CPAs do so many people can still give great value over the phone and through zoom and even just wowing your clients with little gifts and cards and things like that. So we’ve done a lot more of that where since we couldn’t do the in person events and things like that. We’ve done a lot more virtual a lot more workshops, a lot more sending fun things. So few tweaks in there that we’ve made.
Suzi: Yeah, yeah. Okay, so this is really fun that you mentioned gifting. I’m a big fan of gifting. I think that’s such a cool thing to do for our clients. So what are you doing this year? That could be like a little different unless you like don’t want to let the cat out of the bag right now.
Kristen: It’s okay. So there’s a number of things we do. We’re doing again, in fact, everybody will get this next week here in December we do. We use a company called Sofia’s cookies we work through a fulfillment house and they personalize every box box with our clients name on it. And they have a couple of you know, some popcorn and some you know granola or cherry mix and chocolates and stuff. That’s always a favorite. Everybody loves that the teams love it because you know, it’s it’s little snackies that everybody I in an office can eat. We we’re a big fan of catch people doing things right and we send lots of gifts, whenever we want to celebrate somebody’s win. Now it might just be a some brownies from with send out card, which is all virtual. So you can just go to send out cards and order a card and some brownies to go with. Sometimes we go to Etsy and find little personalized things we love to celebrate when business owners are going on vacation and getting going off grid and leaving their business behind to keep running without them. We celebrate when they have like their best month ever, we also tend to gently nudge sometimes not so gently, if they’re not doing the things they need to do, I’ve been known to send a size 13 hiking boot, just one with a note that says this boot shall sit on the edge of your desk as a daily reminder kick in the butt to do the things you need to do. And honestly, for some business owners that can help them increase by 20 30,000 in a month, because they finally do the marketing they need to do or they finally get their invoices out or whatever it is they need to do that that mental reminder is such a good nudge. So we do the whole gamut of gifts from like the fun to the, in the you know, inspirational to even sympathy. We’ve got a great memory jar that we send to people that’s always well received. And I think in today’s day and age, you’ve got to be a part of your clients lives, you’ve got to, you know, be part relevant to what they’re going through. So we have lots of fun with it.
Suzi: Yeah, I love that. And that’s something that, you know, I teach or that I have in my community is the importance of client experience, right? Whether or not you like whatever kind of service you’re providing whether or not you own a med spa, or a dental office, or your business coach or law firm, like, really providing an amazing client experience is, is like of utmost importance. Now more than ever it like at least in my opinion. So I think it’s so important that our clients, like know that we’re thinking about them. And of course, there’s different ways that we can do that, you know, have you heard of the book, the five languages of love are the Yeah, one of those is gifting. And it’s really funny because like, that’s like one of mine. So I like love giving and receiving gifts. And it’s always been important to me, like, you know, it’s just an attorney, I think it’s so important that your clients know that, that you’re thinking of them. So I’m glad that you you know, you’re willing to spill the beans a little bit on what you’re going to be doing this year.
Kristen: So and I would go and I know you do this to Susie is is we like make your mess your message, you know, like there are plenty of days that I have wonderful days and I get to you know, go for a walk along the Seine and then or go to a lunchtime concert and then open my laptop work with some clients and beautiful days. And then there’s also days where I spend eight hours filming in front of hot lights or, you know, not every day is a perfect day. It’s there are some grueling days as a business owner as a person and I you know, my our first year anniversary, I shared all of the ups and downs, I did an hour livestream, we shared all the ups and downs every person I hired and all the you know, hurdles we had to overcome and same with the second year and I think that’s definitely you know, having that openness and being willing to share with others. Like it’s not always perfect and it’s life is a journey.
Suzi: Yeah, and I think that we tend to compare our bad days with people’s Instagram highlight reels, right? Like we think oh, she clearly has her stuff together but today I am not feeling it right. So I think I actually love that make your mess your message. And you know be be authentic as you’re as you’re growing in your practice or whatever business business you own. So I have your book here up leveling your business up level, your life. I hope that’s coming out correctly and not but it’s no, it’s perfect.
Kristen: no, it’s perfect. And it’s been so much fun. That book is like the gift that keeps on giving. I mean, it just keeps getting accolades and getting different things. It’s been so much fun.
Suzi: Tell me now This book, so we pre ordered.
Suzi: That is amazing. I love that. And I was incorrect about the date because it says your copyright was 2019. But it actually published in 2020. So it’s really super recent. And then you have these amazing accolades and 2021. How cool?
Kristen: Well, in a lot of that I think for all of the business owners out there is that you’ve got to have a marketing plan, you’ve got to be strategic, and it’s about planned publicity. And you put yourself out there and you present the opportunities. And then often it just gets it picks up and it keeps going. And that’s the beautiful part of it. Right is is about you know, you start the marketing going. And then it just gets that cadence, it kind of snowballs. So always fun to do. And I love supporting other people that are writing books or publishing books, just because I think once you’ve done it yourself, you’re like, ah, yeah, there’s a lot of work that goes into that. So you always want to support others.
Suzi: Absolutely. My sister just finished publishing a couple of children’s books. Yeah, that was quite a feat. I’m very, very proud of her for doing that. So it’s like, what’s my book gonna be on? I don’t know, maybe I’ll maybe I’ll write a book one of these days. But I know that this was no small feat. And I love I was just, I haven’t started reading it yet, I did kind of skim the table of content, your pillars, you have your four pillars, which I think is really cool the way that you structured this, like a book like in its, it runs parallel with a lot with your programs, to some respect, in some respect. Get clear on what you want is your first pillar, marketing and selling pillar to management, pillar three and pillar four financials. Where do you see lawyers in particular, I know that you work with a lot of different business owners, but with lawyers and like you having been a lawyer like you, you know how, you know, a hit all right, can get a little crazy. Where, where do you see lawyers and law firms struggling the most with the implementation of these pillars?
Kristen: Yeah, you know, a lot of it is pillar one is planning. I mean, little planning goes a long way as and I think as we get so bogged down with the day to day and we think that our client’s needs are the highest priority. And we don’t set aside that 30 minutes or 60 minutes to really plan for ourselves and, and just a little bit of planning goes such a long way as the the pillar to on the marketing and sales. No offense lawyers, but I know a lot of I did legal malpractice defense as a lawyer for 15 years. And there’s a lot of lawyers that practice door law, door law as you handle anything that comes in the door. Well, that’s one of the quickest tracks of malpractice and right like, you end up taking on a client that you don’t really believe in a you don’t really know the content, you don’t know the strategies and and then you’re hesitant to want to work on that file and you listen to you know, 80% of your headaches come from 20%.
Suzi: Yes, I think that this is huge, like, figuring out who your ideal client is. Right? It’s just as important for your mental health and your prevention and malpractice. And it’s for that person coming in your door. Right. And that’s interesting that you mentioned that because that’s what I remember being taught that as a young lawyer as well, that, you know, how one of the ways to prevent malpractice is at the door. Right. And people, you know, attorneys will have heard them, you know, say like, oh, they have a check in hand. They’re, they’re a client.
Kristen: I ask people all the time, like, So who’s your ideal client? They’re like, one that pays. And I’m like, well, listen, I can show you plenty of people that will pay you, but you’re not gonna want to deal with that. Right? Like, life is short, choose who you want to work with. And it goes in hand with like, go to work happy, right, like work on the type of law you like to work on work on the type of cases, the the type of clients, you know, you can choose where you want to go. And as you build your business, you you can hire other associates to handle, you know, maybe more high conflict cases that maybe you don’t want to deal with? Or, or maybe you love the conflict cases, you know, it’s everybody’s different. So, yeah, I think that’s, those are the first two, the final one, manage it with a final to management, law school shirt and teach me how to manage people are well how to, like, organize and create the systems. That’s a big part of as you get busier, you’ve got to take care of those great clients and back to what your client experiences, right, like making sure that it’s a smooth journey as they come through. And then finally, financial controls, I mean, pillar four, it’s even more prominent as you grow and get bigger, but you’ve got to be a good money manager don’t work your butt off only to pay everybody else like you’ve owners, you’ve got to orchestrate a profitable business from day one, like, and it’s never too late. Like sometimes, we work with people all the time, and we like hit the reset button. And we’re like, okay, are we even charging the right prices? Are we even offering the right things? Can we streamline this process? Can we give more value? Can we what can we do to make it a better environment and a better experience for the client and get paid? So yes, lawyers have, like many business owners, they, you know, we all have strengths and weaknesses. And we all kind of have an idea of where our weaknesses are where we need to get a little help.
Suzi: So let me ask you a little bit about system is a system that systematization. And because I know that something that’s really important to you, and you talk a lot about it, and it’s part of the reason that, you know, you’ve built your own business, that’s essentially self managed, right. And this is, this is why you get to go visit fascinating places, and not just visit Paris, but also live in Paris. So sort of a big sort of big deal. And so what if you were going to give like just one little nugget of advice for a small law firm or solo practice in terms of system zation? What is what would be a great piece to put into play right now for them?
Kristen: So systems are really just the culmination of a policy that says, Why are we doing it a procedure that has the step by step instructions, and then you couple in maybe a video, that’s three minutes, here’s how to do it an example. Or like, Here’s what a plus looks like, or a template, so they can fill in some people like checklists or a little diagram. Remember, we all learn differently. I’m a very visual learner, for instance. So I love my diagrams and workflows and things. But as you hire other great people to help you, our goal is to get that person up to speed fast, and to help them see what is good look like. So if you’re, no matter who you’re hiring, if you’re hiring an assistant, a paralegal, a bookkeeper, the best time to get started on building these systems is as you’re training somebody, and so you explain to them how you want it done. You have them take notes as they listen. And their job from four to 430 Every day is to type up that that procedure, type up those tips, those tricks that how you want it done, even have them video you with a phone or something, or hold it over your shoulder as you’re explaining a file, like inherits how we do this. And here’s how we do that. If you’re training on Zoom, you could just hit the record button right and that becomes a little three minute training. So again, these are little quick ways that small business owners can just get started on building those systems. And what happens is over time they build up and next thing you know, you’ve got, you know, five little videos and procedures for the legal assistant on calendaring and email and Oh, contain files and you know all the day to day stuff. And then you’ve got, you know, 10 trainings on for the paralegal on how to do like in your world, you know certain, you know, documents that you do for clients and how we go on the internet and double check information and follow up and right, like you just start somewhere like that, I think that’s the biggest tip I give is, don’t get overwhelmed, just get started.
Suzi: Right. So it’s like, the best time to plant a tree might have been yesterday. But if you didn’t do it yesterday, no big deal. Just start doing it. Just plan it today. Right like, start, start today start small. And I also I love what you said about doing the video, I think that we sort of think that everything needs to be kind of like these formal written procedures, right at some point they need to be. But training videos are excellent.
Kristen: It sounds like you went you went a little inside scoop on my business. Yeah, I went from January of 2020 until January or December, January of 2021. From for people employees for team members to 18. Now there’s no way I could have done that and had to reiterate all that stuff to all 18 of your 14 of those new employees. Last year, and this year, we’ve grown even more. And but at what I did is starting from the day open this business, every new hire, I tried to record four or five videos with each new hire. And by the you know, the ones I was doing in January of 2020. I was, you know, that then became one of the videos like, Hey, let me tell you a little bit about our core values or our culture, or let me tell you how we work our calendar to be proactive. Every single employee since then has watched those little three and four minute videos, right? And so now everybody is on the same level playing field. And they all refer back to those videos and talk about them. And but yes, I mean, I don’t have enough hours in my day to have reiterated all that stuff over and over and over again, there’s no way right, you would go crazy.
Suzi: And it’s so much more efficient to do it that way. So you’ve had a lot of growth over this last year. So let’s talk a little bit about that about hiring. And, you know, what is it? What should we look for? Like, I know every business is so different, but like when we’re initially vetting prospective employees, are there. Is there anything or like any best practices that you recommend? And I’m asking you this point, you know, because I think this is very timely, because you’ve gone through, you know, a lot like you didn’t just like hire What 14 People like you also probably interviewed and vetted. I don’t know how many people right.
Kristen: So we have we have a whole vetting process and such and actually so my are we actually published earlier this year a hiring and onboarding bootcamp, in six weeks, people can build out and automate their whole hiring process and build an entire onboarding University for their own business. We give you all the scripts, and we give you like 250 documents and like all the stuff. So let me back up in the beginning. But let’s I’ll give you a couple of nuggets out of here, some business nuggets. So first of all, you’re finding the right person, it’s an employee market. And we’ve got to get really clear, who are we looking for? And for what position so that job description, and then really thinking about what’s the personality? What’s the type of human that we want? Sometimes you might need a grinder in the back room as a carer or an associate. Sometimes you need a bubbly personality as your client happiness coordinator or your receptionist, right? Like you need different people at different times. Same as if you have somebody that goes to court versus works in a back room, right? It’s different. So in your job ad, we kind of break it page one into three parts. The first part is a hook, ask some questions. What are the ones that used to love to do or that we have lawyers do sometimes is are you a lawyer? Are you a systems person Trapped in a Lawyer’s Body? Whoa, now you’re grabbing the attention of somebody that thinks in systems but they recognize they’re a lawyer, right? Do you love helping people move forward with a strategic legal plan? Oh, you’re grabbing people that like strategy and legal plans. And then maybe you add in with your legal team. So you’re not just looking for a lone wolf, you’re looking for a team player, right? So sometimes those first three questions can be that hook to really start resonating with that ideal person.
Suzi: Then, and not resonate with the non ideal person.
Kristen: Yes, yes, it will deter someone that’s like no, I don’t like I don’t think in systems I don’t like systems. There’s the door.
Suzi: Right? And you don’t waste your time like interviewing them. Right? Yeah. Time. And it’s almost like, they’re, they are the ones that are initiating, saying goodbye, right? When they’re kind of looking at that at that job description, they see those questions like, okay, not for me, not for me.
Kristen: And that’s what we want, we want them to, you know, self select out, then you really have to mark it too. So your second section of page one of your job ad is really marketing to that ideal candidate saying, we are growing business with robust marketing plans looking to hire immediately, right, we want to let them know we’re stable, we’re strong, we’ve got marketing plans, like we’re going somewhere, nobody wants to come join a company that’s like, stuck in a rut, right? Like they, they people love to join and be part of something that’s growing and moving and, and get to help them thrive. And then the third part is really started identifying your core values. You know, we’re looking for someone who’s a team player who loves to innovate, and streamline and find better ways to do things. Because we know that every day we want our team to feel productive. Right? If you know, and we’ve been put, like, that’s why innovation is one of our core values and teamwork and rate so that you really have to like, again, resonate again and let people know, wow, I’m really interested in this place. Then you go into, we’re looking for a paralegal who blah, blah, right? Like, stands out from the crowd. I mean, we help We help business owners like build these job ads and, and do this. So that was tip number one is like in today’s market, you really have to attract and resonate with that person. And then part two is we’ve got to engage that that potential applicant, and we do it with a applicant tracking system, ATS system, those used to be ATS systems used to be just for big corporations. Now they’re built for small and medium businesses, and they are amazing, they are such a game changer. And that way, as soon as someone applies, they get an immediate email back. Hey, thanks for applying, would you mind share something that’s not on your resume? Help us get to know you better? Right? Like, you’re just you’re immediately, because we’ve all been there where somebody applies, and they don’t hear from anybody for four weeks waited like they, they’ve gone and found another job by now. Right? So use systems to help build that hiring process, and engage that applicant and really show him yes, you’re in the right place. Yes, we’re excited to have you and, and that also helps you learn more about the person. So then once you get them on, and you offer the job, that onboarding University, and you might be at scratch today, and that’s okay. And the goal for next year might be every quarter, build out five videos for the onboarding University, right, like, start slow. You know, we take people through in a six week process like staff members, like one or two staff members can build the whole thing in six weeks. But not everybody’s, you know, ready for that some people are you grappling with getting all the legal work done, you’re trying to do some marketing and you’re trying to manage your people, right, there’s a lot going on your plate. So start small, but that’s one way to kind of start to attract and bring in some great hires.
Suzi: That’s invaluable information. One thing you had mentioned that thing is really interesting was were the core values for your company. And of course, it’s important, right? That your core values align with other people’s or you know, with your prospective client or employee, what about company culture? I know that you’ve spoken on company culture a little bit and in this highly wfh environment, right work from home environment, where we are not as like in the office as much as we were, you know, two years ago how, like, Where does company culture come into play? Like in general, like for your clients is even for your business when it went? Yeah, huge. And yet still, like even though we’re, you know, like, this is on top pajamas on the bottom half the time like they’re still right. They’re still like, they’re still culture. Yeah.
Kristen: That was actually one of the first programs that I built out when I start Did my business and 2019 was the build your culture masterclass? Because I believe that, listen, business owners culture will develop, even if you don’t do anything like it might not be the version you want, but it will develop. So it’s important to build your culture intentionally. And be clear on what you’re trying to build, and recognize how we as employers, as the owners, influence and impact that I, I have plenty of people, I’m sure you’ve worked with a lot of people like this, but they say, oh, I want a collaborative culture. And yet they’re like a dictator. Wait, this is a little inconsistent. So yes, I part of it is way we all have our own weaknesses and strengths. And, you know, what is the culture you want build that collaborative culture or you know, more of a hierarchy, everyone’s a little different. And it’s often a more of multiple things. But it’s, that means talking about in the core values, talking about it in our marketing, in our day to day with our team, with how we respond to our clients. Culture is how we help people work when you’re not there. Right. It’s how we just innately are, that’s part of who we what we represent as a company, and, and so building that culture intentionally, in fact, that we can make that a freebie for anybody listening to this, they can jump to my website, up leveling your business.com resources, there’s a ton of business nuggets and resources, but our core values are on there, go in there, download it, swipe file, freely use the ideas and the verbiage seriously, like it’s, I’m an open book, like I use what other people have done as a jumping off point, to start to develop your core values in your culture. But But anyway, so we’ll, we’ll reiterate that later. But culture is also a bit of like the team builders you do, especially running like a virtual company, or even in person, like reminding the whole team, we’re humans and get to know one another. But also, we want to help them be learning and honing their skill sets and thriving and learning new things. And so foster that in your environment and give people that outlet to kind of how can they learn? And how can they teach one another, some of the great skills they know, that’s part of building a culture where everybody’s in it together. So yes, culture is like one of my favorite things to talk on. We could we could spend a whole nother episode on culture.
Suzi: It’s actually really interesting. You know, because I’ve been in this world, you know, the business world and the law firm world for for almost 20 years. And I am aware of culture, right? Like, like, maybe I can’t explain it, but I can feel it when I go into a law firm. Right? I know of the law firms, and I worked for three different firms that they all had different cultures. Right? Even I’m like, I can’t necessarily like put my finger on it. Um, so I do think it’s, like, fascinating that this is coming up because this is the first time that I’ve really talked with anybody about about culture and and of course, like, I’m kind of, like, I have this myopic like law firm, like, you know, like, I’m kind of like in the law firm like, and but I know that it you know, it obviously, obviously exists in any business and, and I love that you. I think you made a really great point that it is going to, like your company culture will, like manifest in some way, no matter what, so you better be proactive, and guided and define it. way that you want. Let’s take a quick pause for message from my sponsor, prominent practice.
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Kristen: So I did this 10 week build your culture masterclass designed 25 minutes every week during like a lunch break for like an owner and a key administrative assistant or something to watch. And that was kind of the audience that I crafted that for. And, and in the beginning, it’s like, what are some of the culture types, right? There’s like that hierarchy, there’s a dictator style, there’s like, more or less a fair, let it be, you know, like, everybody’s a little different. And then next, going into what are the different leadership styles and recognizing that as the owner, as the CEO, our style very much impacts the culture and what we’re saying we want to build versus who we are. And and Listen, everyone, no judgement zone, I used to be a micromanager, like, when I was a young lawyer, like I was on every assistant, because I didn’t yet know how to create written systems to say, here’s how we want it done. Here’s how we do it in our business, and teach and train them how to step up to do that great job. And then you don’t have to micromanage. Right. So, you know, a lot of that was building and, and then building the systems that correspond, you know, if you want to really loose, you know, innovative, everybody can kind of create their own world, great, you can have that kind of a culture. It’s not my culture. But that’s, you know, that there’s no right or wrong, everybody can have their own way. So, but it’s been intentional about whatever it is you do want to build. And so it goes back all the way into the hiring mean, coming back to the hiring. So I was vetting some, I bet. Every week, I’m on the phone that you know, talking and going over some of the candidates and there was this guy, and every time I said the word systems, he like, we’re in zoom, and he starts leaning back and leaning back and leaning back. Next, you know, I said the word systems getting he crosses his arms, right? And I’m like, oh, what’s going on here? And I finally asked, the guy was like, I can tell you’re getting pretty disturbed. And he’s like, systems are shit, they you know, it’s just a fuzzy word. You know, nobody, you could write it down all you want, it’s never gonna work that way. And, and I was like, and there’s the door. Like, clearly this person was never going to fit in my culture of my business, like very clearly.
Suzi: All right, well, at least you’ve learned that early on, right? Absolutely. Absolutely. The cool thing is that you were able to be on a zoom call with him. And you were actually able to observe his demeanor, which I think is really important. When you’re interviewing people, you can actually get a whole lot just from their body language.
Kristen: Absolutely. Yes. I mean, you can’t change a personality, you can’t change it, if somebody is not resonating, not like vibing with who you are and what you guys represent. That’s a big orange flag that like, not the right fit. So yes, it’s. So culture is one of those things that I think finally businesses and more businesses are paying attention to, and really starting to develop intentionally which I love.
Suzi: And you have a bootcamp on that right.
Kristen: So the build your culture masterclass, we actually wrapped that into our business mastery college, I always wanted so the book is some people like to read, some people need more hands on learning. So the business mastery College has all the lessons from the book in there with videos and workbooks, and the bonus, build your culture masterclass. And all the every month we I’m a big give person. So every month we do a free webinar, like the art of delegating, and how to conquer your email, you know, you have all these different things that we need in every day of our business. And people jump in there because I wanted to I wanted to create the thing that I never had when I was a young lawyer running a business, like, please just tell me how to terminate this person and do it in 15 minutes or less. Like I don’t have eight hours to watch on how to terminate a person. I got 15 minutes. So that’s what I created is all these little bite sized lessons like, oh, you need to do this. Watch this video. Here are the documents get on your way?
Suzi: I think I think that is so you know, like, it’s not that our attention span is getting smaller. It’s just or shorter. I think that we just want our information in smaller chunks like, you know, I’m not going to sit down and do an eight hour Of course, these days, like, even though I like I kind of would love to have that luxury, right? Like, you know, someone who loves to learn, I’m just probably not going to do it. But like being able to sit down and take in, you know, like a, like a 10 minute lesson, I think is is like that’s brilliant of you to do that.
Kristen: When we actually saw one of the learning lessons, we moved from like, click funnels, we started off the business, embrace it, oh, Click Funnels is what you use. And we moved to Kajabi. Because we can have all these lessons on your phone, your tablet, right? So if you’re sitting there a tenant night, and you’re like, oh, my gosh, I need to terminate this person. Great. Jump on there. And, you know, watch that video. And now you know what to look out for it. Yeah.
Suzi: So yeah, that’s interesting, because you know, that you mentioned how to terminate because I think that that is like, such a the first time a lawyer goes through that, right, like how to terminate a client. And I presume is that when you’re talking about a client or an employee?
Kristen: Birth, or either.
Suzi: It can do wonders for your mental health. That is, right. It’s like, I don’t care how much you’re paying me. I do not care. It does not matter. We are never getting back together like that Taylor Swift song, right? Yeah. Ever? Yeah. Like I’m a Taylor Swift Fan. That’s kind of like my, you know, guilty pleasure. But yeah, so that is, yeah, like just being able to hop on there, do a quick search for the information, quick lesson, the amount of just the number of people who have probably had like, really quick improvements in their mental health just because of that, right, just being able to terminate that client or that employee. Yeah, that’s key. And it’s like, you know, go ahead, go ahead.
Kristen: What do I was gonna say on that vein, if you wake up three mornings in a row, thinking of someone, not your spouse or significant other, like, they gotta go, like, you’re wasting way too much mental energy. I love the right fit.
Suzi: I love that standard, right? It’s it’s very objective, you know, three days in a row, you’re thinking about that person is not your partner, it’s time to like, get rid of them. It’s so hard to it’s, it’s, it’s scary, right? Because you’re thinking, oh, like, what are the repercussions? I’m losing money, this person is going to hate me. Are they gonna be able to find other counsel? Right, like, that’s something I thought before too, like, oh, my gosh, you know, but I kind of feel like you have to get to the point in your career and your life that you’re like, there’s nothing more important than my mental health.
Kristen: Absolutely. And, and it’s so hard because Law School doesn’t teach us this stuff. I mean, as a young lawyer, so quick story, I was went out to my paralegals desk, and I’m like, This is the third time I need you to fix all these typos and errors like this has to go out today. And I put it on her like credenza, like above her desk, and I like turn around to go back to my office. And she yells, no. And I’m like, I turn around. And as I turn around, I see stapler flying through the air at me. I’m like, leaning back to dodge getting hit. And in my mind, I’m thinking, Can Can I fire her? Like, I don’t know the answer to this. I’m a young associate, a young attorney, right young lawyer. And and I’m like, and just then she yells, I’m sorry, I forgot to take my meds. At which point I’m really thinking like, Oh, can I fire not fire? Yeah. I didn’t know. Nobody told me this stuff. And so I went back into my office close the door called a friend of mine, who was an employment lawyer. Like, I didn’t know how to deal with this stuff. No one prepared me for these things. And I, I wish I talked about that in the book, because you’ve got to know ahead of time, like what the exit strategies are, and it makes it so much calmer and easier in that moment, to be like, Okay, final straw. I don’t need to put up with this. This is not the right fit. There are other great people in this world. And yes, I always try to give people an improvement plan and time to like remedy but you throw staplers across the room at me like I’m done. Like that’s just not working.
Suzi: It’s interesting, like, you know, and you also mentioned just when you get out of law school like you go you know, you go to law school and you get out and like what do you know, you don’t you know, you don’t really know shit, right? You feel really awesome. graduate from law school, but at the same time, you don’t really know how to practice law. You don’t know how to how to deal with partners, right who give you the You don’t know how to say no, necessarily? Or if you should say no, do should I say no. And I need to say no, but I can’t. Right. And, and how do you navigate dealing with paralegals, right. Like that kind of stuff, it’s almost, um, you know, you kind of have to go to the school of hard knocks in the, in the law firm in many ways, right, and sometimes learn the hard way, and, unfortunately, get a stapler thrown at you. And I’m really sorry, that that happened to you?
Kristen: Well, you know, I think that’s part of why I’m so passionate about helping people with, think about the culture you want to develop, and then build those core values and share those with every new hire we read, you know, so I actually run our team is so big now we have a weekly team newsletter just for our team. And part of this is we’re virtual. And so I want every each department gets to showcase their wins their victories, their hurdles that they’re working on. And we often like every other week or so we’re talking about our core values. And sometimes we’re highlighting where we catch one of our team exemplifying our core values, or we just do we’re talking about innovation, or whatever we’re doing. And I think the more you can say, like that kind of abuse, verbal abuse, you know, talking about your diversity and inclusion plan is part of the culture you’re building of bringing in people’s with new perspectives to help us learn and grow together. Like, the more you talk about it, you make that an open conversation piece, the more that kind of behavior, throwing staplers is less and less acceptable, and, and people are just not going to do it, they’re not going to like that, that just doesn’t, that will never fly in, you know, in my world. And so, you know, when I first started a law firm, I didn’t know any of this stuff like it was hang your shingle and start practicing lawn, you know, so again, I think we all evolve. And that’s part of why I’m so passionate, though about helping people put this stuff in place is because I know how much better it is on the other side. And I know how much I struggled when I didn’t know how to do this stuff. So it’s it’s always fun to see people like really put together those businesses. And I know you work with a lot of different owners and help them in a variety of ways to it’s so rewarding to see that like, after they’ve put in the work the other side.
Suzi: It really is, yeah, it’s fun to see other people succeed and make money as well. I want to be cognizant of your time. So before I let you go, I do want to know a couple of things. First of all, what’s next for you? I have like your you’ve exploded over the last year like you published a book two years well, a year ago.
Kristen: Yeah, we make no bones about the fact we’re growing a multimillion dollar business as quickly as possible. We did our first in person. Workshop again in October with the Seattle experience. I’m all about hands on learning. And so for two days, we went around town, we worked with other entrepreneurs different things. And then on Monday, we created action plans to take back to their businesses. The next one is the Paris experience five days in Paris for business owners.
Suzi: April, right. Yes, April, I saw that. That was really interesting.
Kristen: That’s a lot of fun. We then have one’s plan for New Zealand and Greek islands in the years after that. So I’ll probably do a mix between I’d love to do like a Boston experience. And but again, it’s get out of you know, the the old funky cydnus CLE for three days or conference or we’ve all done that way too much. And there are so many lessons to learn about your law firm and your business from other businesses and from seeing what’s going on. And in taking those lessons like in Paris, I’m taking everyone to a Michelin star restaurant and talking about like the high caliber amazing staff that they bring in and attract, right.
Suzi: They don’t tolerate F players they don’t or people that throw staples sort of stay for the people. staplers are good. Our booth so yeah.
Kristen: So you know I mean, again, we’re gonna be hopefully doing a little more of those but they’re all small group experiences. We’re doing more virtual workshops. Again, I’m a big fan of train not just an owner but their team so January we have a big all day calendaring workshop virtual. The morning is admin team will build out the whole 12 month calendar and layer in all the things his business, IP all the things they need to do in the year. And in the afternoon, the marketing teams are going to get to get together with us. And we’re going to build out a 12 month marketing plan and layer it all into the calendar and use the calendar. So I love doing fun interactive things and helping the owners build, like get their teams involved, get them building and growing. And of course, there’ll be some policies and procedures that gets shared, because that’s just us. Of course. Yeah, so lots of great stuff. Um, yeah, we just keep growing and expanding and helping more business owners. That’s what it’s about.
Suzi: Okay, so you have amazing things in store. Yes. How can people find not Christian David, but the Christian.
Kristen: We did that to stand out, you know, part of our business plan was so many I’ve helped 1000s of business owners, and they all knew me from being in my workshops and different places all over the US. And so the business plan was to do the Christen David for the first 18 to 24 months, and then really build out up leveling your business as we go. And so we kind of transformed that. As you know, I now have there’s eight coaches on the team. I mean, we’ve got just such a robust group. And you know, it’s, it’s a lot of fun, but people can go to upleveling, your business.com. And if you go to Resources, tons of freebies, I’m big on giving away lots of freebies, from blog calendars, those core values are in there. But yeah, so people can go and learn, there’s lots about what we do. And listen, even if people just picked one good nugget added today, I’m happy.
Suzi: There are so many good nuggets. And so what I’ll do in the shownotes here, I will have a link to your website. And also I’m going to list in some of those really good nuggets, because you’re, you’re like the nugget queen.
Kristen: I’m telling bite size nuggets, baby like we as business owners, we’re busy, we don’t have time, we just like, give me what I need to know, like, help me understand it, and then move me on my way. That’s what it’s about.
Suzi: So sometimes we just have to implement like one little thing, like, one little thing a week, and those little baby steps ultimately add up, they really, really do. And then one day, you’re like, Whoa, here I am I have this thriving business with.
Kristen: That’s where I’m at. Awesome. That’s awesome. And anybody that wants to come to Paris, even if we’re not doing the Paris experience, let me know, I actually do a number of like little VIP sessions in Paris. It lets people kind of right off their trip, but also like, you know, it’s when you’re outside of your normal environment, you are able to look at your business with such a different perspective. And so it’s it’s always great to kind of get away and work on the business a little but also have fun.
Suzi: That’s so important. That’s another nugget Right? Like get out of kind of your, like, get out of where the sausage is made. Right? Like get go like work in a beautiful environment, like go stay in inspiring place. And I think doing things like that really helps you put a different perspective on your life and in your business. It can really just be a great way to generate some really good ideas.
Kristen: Yeah, absolutely. You learn so much from traveling. i i Absolutely. Believe that.
Suzi: Kris, and thank you so much for hanging out with me today. This has been so much fun. I’ve learned so much and I’m sure that our listeners will as well. So thank you so much. Thank you so much for hanging out with us today on legally bliss conversations. If you love this episode, and you want to hang out with other inspiring and light gold female attorneys, be sure to join the legally bliss community at legally bliss.com And be sure to follow me on Instagram at Suzan Hixon. See you next time.
Building Strong Business Systems and Teams with Kristen David
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