Anyone that has followed me over the past 15 years knows that I am a firm believer in the power of writing a book for business development purposes. In my view, it is a big audacious business card—period! If written as a business development tool—it lets prospective clients inside your world and how you think. It is a strong credibility builder since “you wrote the book on the subject.” Over the past 15 years, I have written 6 books, which have lead to millions of dollars in revenue. But NOT in book sales. Yes, I have been an Amazon bestseller, and that revenue is incidental compared to the substantive consulting and coaching revenue. It is truly a business development tool.

I would recommend that you start by figuring out what area of your practice you want to promote and/or own in your geographic area.

Here is what this book should not be: a scholarly book on your practice area, a how-to for your competitors, or a vanity project about you and your firm.

Here is a conversation I had with fellow author John Hinson, Marketing Manager at Spotlight Branding, to pull it all together. Between the two of us, we have nearly two dozen books under our belt.

1. As you know, I’m an advocate of using books as a business development strategy; what is your position?

Hinson: Having a book as a business development tool is arguably the biggest credibility piece you can have in your office. There’s something about how we’ve been conditioned over the years to see a book and at least appreciate a lot of perceived hard work that went into writing it, even if we don’t actually pick it up and read it.

A book also demonstrates authority. There’s a reason the cliche “he/she wrote the book on ____” exists. If you’re one of several business attorneys in town with a book on business law, you’re more likely to be seen as the expert on business law, even if you’ve only been practicing for a few years compared to the others.

2. How would you advise a lawyer to pick a topic to write about?

Hinson: This might be the hardest part of the entire process, whether you have 22 different things you want to write about or you can’t think of anything at all. The key, however, is straightforward: Write what you know and are passionate about. For example, if you’re an estate planning attorney and you’re particularly passionate about special needs trusts, your book can center on special needs and how to properly protect those loved ones.

You can also take a shortcut. If you’ve had a solid marketing strategy in place for a couple of years, you can convert your blog articles into an anthology and simply write in a few transitions to make everything flow together.

3. As you and I know, taking the next steps after you have committed to a book as an element of your strategy—the blank page gets pretty intimidating. What would you recommend the first few steps they should take to get started?

Hinson: Between the book I curated for Spotlight Branding and my own personal projects, I have published 16 books in seven years. I don’t say that to brag, but to tell you that it isn’t as difficult as you may think. Here is my method for getting started.

1) Pick the topic as we discussed. 2) Build your outline: craft the rough outline of your book so that you have something to guide your thoughts as you write. 3) Flesh out the outline: Once you have your framework, start filling the space in between. You can do this in multiple steps, too. Either write it all out at once or get your main points/thoughts out and then go back and fill in any gaps.

4. How do you approach proofing and editing?

Hinson: Once I have my rough draft, I usually go through a three-step editing/proofing process.

1) I read through my document once to make sure everything flows together like I want. 2) I read through it again as I go back through and format the book to adhere to the publisher’s standards. 3) I read it aloud once I get the proof copy from the publisher to make sure everything looks and sounds like I want it to.

5. What do you think the biggest obstacle is to writing a business development book?

Hinson: Outside of picking a title, your ability to say you have a finished product is the hardest part. Most lawyers are perfectionists, and after reading over your book multiple times, you may be tempted to do wholesale rewrites or scrap the project entirely. DON’T! People – even your attorney peers – aren’t going to judge your work as harshly as you do.

Trust in your own intellect and ability, get it “good enough,” and move on to publishing.

That is so true, John! You hit at the heart of the inability to use this productive method of business development. I would point out that print on demand makes it so easy to update a book and makes your recommendation so doable… get it GOOD ENOUGH. And remember who you are speaking to, your potential clients. Write it in the language they understand. It’s not for Law Review.

6. In the early days of my book strategy, I paid to print thousands of copies, stored them in my office, and shipped them when we received orders. I would NEVER recommend anyone use that method today! On-demand printing makes it so easy to self publish. What has your experience been navigating the process of self-publishing?

Hinson: I personally use Lulu for publishing my books. Paula, I know you and several others have had great success using Amazon’s on-demand self-publishing platform.  With both these services, you can simply list your book for sale online, print as many copies for yourself as you’d like, and that’s it!

If you’re not technologically savvy, the actual publishing process might be a little difficult, but just take your time, do a little Googling for any steps you don’t understand, and you should be fine.

7. I agree with you, John; it is simple. But to be honest, I have a graphic designer that does the layout and uploads the book on Amazon. It’s a reasonable expense to incur that allows me time to create a book’s marketing strategy.  Speaking of marketing—How do you recommend using the book to develop business—marketing?

Hinson: Once you have your finished book, it should become a big lead magnet on your website. Have your webmaster put the book cover on your home page and build a form where people can request a copy. You can choose to give it away for free (physical or digital copies) or make it available for purchase – but whatever you do, make sure it’s prominently displayed on your website and in your office.

I agree with you, John, and I would add that you give them to your clients and referral sources. Use them to get speaking gigs and give them away at your events. I would remind you that the cost associated with the book should be put into your marketing budget. Contrary to common thinking, a book like this is not passive income—it is a BIG AUDACIOUS business card! 

If you would like help to strategize or produce your business development book shoot me an email,



From the Archives

Ran across The BTI Consulting Group’s concept of “Targeting Clients with a Market of One Approach.” Their “market-of-one” approach does not mean you only market to one client.  Obviously, starvation would quickly follow.

This is also commonly referred to as client-centric marketing and business development.

They mean that instead of focusing your marketing on your firm/practice area or concentrating on a geographical area, you should approach business development and marketing from the client’s side. You should direct your efforts, especially toward key clients, as if each were your only client. More specifically (extracting from the brief BTI video snippet), you need to be:

  • seeking client feedback, and yes, act on what you hear;
  • making sure that the responsible attorneys’ objectives are in line with the clients, i.e., the client’s objectives and strategic plans are the partners’ key concern and focus;
  • increasing value, for instance, by providing specific client-focused CLE;
  • and treating each client so they perceive themselves as your most important client.

This is also commonly referred to as client-centric marketing and business development. BTI’s terminology is just another way of stating that if you put the client at the center of the universe, rather than yourself or the firm, your marketing efforts will pay much greater dividends. Not only in improving your bottom line but making more sense than a shotgun or scattered (brain) approach to marketing.

2020 taught us much about resilience, strength, and adaptability. The obstacles that each of us faced throw us off our game, and sometimes the stress was unbearable. But—we adapted, and some of you actually flourished in many ways.

I had clients that…

  • Grew their revenue by 40%
  • Hired a team of contract lawyers, paralegals, or assistants
  • Spent good quality time with their family like never before
  • Wrote the book they had intended to write for years
  • Became skilled on zoom to give speeches, conduct depositions, and appear in court
  • Received honors and awards
  • Picked up the guitar again and finally took lessons

And they had lots of moments that touched their heart…

  • When he took the vow… “to have and to hold—till death do us part.”
  • She heard her son giggle with delight to have mommy read a story in the middle of the day.
  • A couple stopped in the middle of the day to dance salsa before going back to their desks to work.

Every one of my clients found a silver lining in the darkness, as I’m sure you have too. View the video filled with inspiration and actionable steps to help you build upon everything you learned and the challenges you overcame to help you thrive in 2021.


It’s January, baby! We can finally wave the disaster of 2020 goodbye and start fresh. For us, that means making some business-focused New Year’s resolutions to put our company on track for greater success. If you’re chomping at the bit to get started in 2021, we’d suggest doing the same for your firm. These would be our top four resolutions for you based on our experience.

If you do all four of these things, 2021 will not only kick last year’s butt, but it just might be your business’s best year ever.


As Spotlight Branding has gotten busier and busier, I, as the founder, have found myself with less and less to do. And we think that’s how it should be! No one becomes an entrepreneur because they want to work themselves to death and have a terrible work-life balance. To lighten his load, along the way, I am constantly looking for opportunities to delegate and build trust in others. This year, we have a challenge for you: Grow your firm in a way that makes your personal workload go down.

There are a few ways to do this. First, you can look around at your team and see who might be able to take on your least favorite tasks. Then, if there aren’t any good candidates, either create a new system or process to make the task easy enough to pass off or hire someone who would be able to take it on.


Almost everyone resolves to lose a few pounds on January 1st, but while we’re focused on our waistlines, we often forget to lean out our businesses. Think about the people in your office. Is there anyone on staff who wasn’t a team player last year? Have you found yourself making excuses in your head for why you shouldn’t fire Person A or Person B?

Let’s get real. Very few business owners get an adrenaline rush out of firing someone. It’s almost always an awful experience. But as much as we hate to admit it, sometimes an employee becomes “dead weight” and needs to be let go for the good of the company. This year, resolve to lose that weight before it drags your business down.


One of the biggest lessons we learned in 2020 was that while being diligent and thoughtful has its place, more often than not, the thing holding you back from progress is the speed at which you make decisions. The longer you take to consider a course of action, the longer it takes to actually accomplish something. Think about Thomas Edison. It famously took him more than 1,000 tries to make a working light bulb, but he did it!

To succeed, you need to be willing to take leaps and make mistakes. Start thinking of your decisions in terms of quantity rather than quality. If you try two solutions in a week and fail both times, but your third attempt in week two succeeds, you’ll still reach your goal faster than someone who thought for three weeks before choosing the successful path. Ultimately, when you stop talking about things and just try them, the results are net positive.


Three things trended up last year: Zoom stock, mask sales, and the demand for content. Content continues to be king, and social media platforms are growing around the world. Last year, people trapped at home because of the pandemic consumed ads, blogs, videos, podcasts, and social media posts at a record pace. TikTok burst onto the scene, and thousands of large businesses added content and editorial teams to their marketing divisions. Content is still trending upward, and it’s not too late to get on the bandwagon! This year, resolve to crank up your content creation (with our help or on your own) to reach more people and generate more leads, referrals, and revenue.

If you do all four of these things, 2021 will not only kick last year’s butt, but it just might be your business’s best year ever.

Recently I was featured on Spotlight Branding’s newest venture—the podcast CENTER STAGE.

John Hinson and I had a great conversation about the importance of social media for lawyers and finding a way to embrace it. I have to admit that I certainly was not an early adaptor. Find out how I eventually found the value of social media and even have fun doing it.

I am honored to announce that I am the winner of the Daily Business Review—Best of Awards for Legal Business Development Coach. I’m thrilled! Why this year? Let’s take a closer look.

Sometimes it’s hard to see the impact of our business development initiatives. It took some refocusing and connecting the dots.

For the past 4 years, I have received recognition from the voters in the Daily Business Review—Best of Awards for Legal Business Development Coach. (I never did any campaigning as some do.) For 3 years, I received #3, #2, #3. And because I received recognized as one of the top 3, three years in a row, they have a Hall of Fame designation. So, my big question is—Why did I win this year? What was the difference?

  1. My client base has been growing, but not at some enormous rate that could have made the difference.
  2. I made 12 speeches or podcasts to groups of lawyers at Bar Associations— in past years: 9-10. Undoubtedly not significant enough to make the difference.
  3. I wrote 15 articles— in past years: 8-10. Surely not significant enough to make the difference.
  4. I have posted 3060 social media posts— in past years; I averaged 360. Now THAT is significant!

Once I recognized that social media could be the difference, I also looked closely at the speeches I made. They were no longer in person. They were online. One of the lectures I gave was to the Florida Bar Senior Section, which had 1001 registrants! Wow! I have never had that many registrants for my live speeches.

So, back to my original questions. Why did I win this year? What was the difference? Answer: My online presence!

What will this mean to my practice in 2021? Daily Business Review—Best of Award of Legal Business Development Coach, reinforces credibility with potential clients, like awards such as Super Lawyer. And it keeps our names “top-of-mind,” which is essential when potential clients are searching for people to do what we do.

In conclusion, the ROI on your business development initiatives may not be so easy to recognize. You will need to ask the questions and be open-minded to see the possible answers. I have clients who found me via my online presence in the past. With all the things I’m doing online and the recognition that the award adds, hopefully, 2021 will be the best year ever!

I wouldn’t be a good business development coach if I didn’t make the “ASK.” Here it goes—If you or anyone you know would like to build a successful practice without sacrificing everything else in your life, shoot me an email at

Here’s to a fabulous 2021!

If looking at your email inbox makes you feel overwhelmed and anxious, then you’re in the same boat as most of the lawyers we work with. Good email management is an underrated skill, but it can free your mind up for more important pursuits. However, if you’ve never tried to come up with a system of organization for your inbox, it’s difficult to know where to start. This post can help!

Our team gets a boatload of emails. As a digital marketing company, the majority of our communications come over the web. So, in order to manage that digital flow over the years, we have come up with two simple strategies that make the process of managing emails simple.

Email is a system that delivers other people’s priorities to your attention. It’s up to you to decide when that priority should be managed into your world. It’s not the other way around.” —Chris Brogan

STRATEGY NO. 1: Set a designated time to check your email. 

When your email inbox is open all day long, it becomes a distraction. So instead of letting it monopolize your time with constant notifications, close the window while you’re working on your to-do list. Then, set designated times throughout the day to open your inbox and deal with all of the messages at once. After all, no one who emails you is expecting you to get back to them within an hour. If something is truly urgent, they’ll call. Try out this strategy and watch your productivity soar.

STRATEGY NO. 2: Separate your inbox from your to-do list.

When you open new emails with requests for assistance inside and then let them sit in your inbox until you complete those requests, you’re turning your inbox into a to-do list — which is not what it’s designed to be. See, email platforms aren’t task managers. They don’t allow you to set due dates or effectively prioritize things. So, instead of using your inbox as a to-do list, invest in some task management software (if you don’t have it already).

Once you do that, if you get an email about a task that will take more than five minutes, you can transfer that task into your task management system. This will help you keep your priorities straight, and make you feel less scattered.m


Hope is the power of being cheerful in circumstances that we know to be desperate.” ― G.K. Chesterton

Are you familiar with the concept of “door law”? If not, it’s the oldest trap in the lawyer book and a myth that’s run many freshly minted attorneys into the ground before they even got started. Practicing “door law” means leaving your door open to any client who wants to walk through it. Door law lawyers practice family law one day, personal injury the next, and real estate law the day after that. Instead of specializing, they take every call, attempting to be everything to everyone in a desperate bid for steady cash flow.

I know that description makes door law sound awful — and that’s because I truly believe it is. However, I also know it’s a strategy many lawyers have used at some point in their careers in order to get by. I completely understand why people choose door law. If you’re a solo practitioner or just starting your firm, the simple truth is you need money, and someone has probably told you that door law is the key to earning it. It’s a common belief that the best way to maximize profits is to cast the net of potential clients as wide as possible. But in my experience, the opposite is true: The best way to maximize your profitability is to choose a niche.

Discarding the majority of your practice areas might seem counterintuitive, but in my years of working with lawyers, I’ve seen proof it’s the most effective strategy for growth. When you niche down, these five things will happen to boost your revenue:


People want to work with specialists, and if you specialize, your experience will heighten your reputation and credibility in your field. Think of it this way: Who would you rather have fix your roof? A dedicated roof repairman who spends 40 hours a week with shingles or an all-around handyman who would be just as happy unclogging your sink? Odds are you’d choose the roof repairman because you’d trust them to do the job right.


This goes hand in hand with point No. 1. If you’re a specialist, you’ll command higher rates because you’ll be seen as more experienced, unique, and trustworthy. Scrap the roof repair analogy and ask yourself, “If I needed brain surgery, how much more money would I pay to have a brain surgeon do it instead of a general practitioner?” I’ll bet the answer was “a heck of a lot.”


If you try to practice every area of law, you’ll be competing with every other lawyer in your city. However, if you niche down, you’ll cut that competition. Depending on where you practice and how wisely you choose your specialty, you could even eliminate competition altogether by becoming the only specialist in your field.


When you serve everyone, “everyone” becomes your target demographic. This makes advertising difficult as you can’t tailor your campaigns to the needs, fears, and desires of a particular group, or use the resources provided by other specialists to find them (as discussed in last month’s newsletter). Choose a niche, and your marketing becomes much more efficient. You’ll know exactly whom to target and won’t waste money catering to people who aren’t interested in your services.


If you met someone who loved cooking and talked your ear off about it, odds are you’d be more likely to think of them when the word “cooking” came up in conversation than you’d be to think about someone who only mentioned the hobby. The same thing works for law. Specialists are more memorable and more likely to pop into the minds of their past clients when their niche comes up. Because of that, if you specialize, odds are your referrals will increase.

If you’re struggling to choose your niche or have just niched down and aren’t sure how to proceed, my team and I can help — marketing for lawyers is our specialty. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation.

It is only in the giving of oneself to others that we truly live.” —Estel Percy Andrus

It is a season to give thanks for what we DO have and show our appreciation for those that make life worth living. Thank you to all my family, clients, and colleagues. Thank you to those of you that have confidence in me and refer your friends. Thank you to all those that attend my webinars and speeches, read my blogs, newsletters, and thousands of social media posts.

YOU make this life of mine—meaningful, fun and worth living! Thank you!

In addition to being a coach, author, and speaker— I am an amateur photographer, a lover of travel, and words that inspire. Today I want to share a dozen of “my children” with you. I hope they touch your heart like they do mine. I invite you to share them with your circle of loved ones. Happy Thanksgiving!


All of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.” —Tom Peters in Fast Company

We’ve said it many times – video is a great way to break down barriers and show off your expertise. The best part is that you don’t have to be an on-camera professional like your local news anchor in order to make great videos. Here are a few easy tips that will make your next set of videos look great!

1. Think about the background

You don’t necessarily need to place yourself in front of a sprawling bookshelf full of thick legal encyclopedias. However, you may also want to reconsider sitting in front of a blank white wall. Find a good spot in your office, home, or elsewhere that provides an aesthetically pleasing background. If you shoot your videos outdoors, make sure you have a good microphone that filters out all of the background noise!

2. Think about how you look

As with the background, you don’t need to wear your courthouse attire for the video. People already know you’re a lawyer, so unless your firm’s personality calls for the suit and tie, you don’t need to feel pressured to wear one. Instead, wear something casual, almost as if you weren’t making a video, but you were just talking to someone on the street. Speaking of, that brings us to our next point…

3. Don’t script your content

Videos that are scripted and recited from memory feel robotic and make you look disconnected from your audience. Instead, just imagine that someone has approached you on the street (or maybe one of your golfing buddies asked you a legal question on the seventh hole). How would you respond in that scenario? Those are the kinds of off-the-cuff answers that make videos better to watch.

4. Don’t overthink your technology

While there’s certainly value in investing in a videographer with a good camera and microphone, people actually don’t mind watching a video where you’ve pulled out your iPhone and shot a quick message. Phones today are so technologically advanced that the recording systems on there are actually pretty good. You’ll get high-quality video from them, so don’t be afraid to shoot your next video on your phone and upload it straight to social media!

Hopefully you can see that shooting a set of videos isn’t that difficult. Just figure out what your videos will be about, think about the tips listed above, and hit the record button. If you still need help with videos, we provide that as a service! Contact us today to learn more.