In this episode, Steve Fretzin and Neil Tyra discuss:
- Decoupling yourself from the courthouse.
- Podcasting for education.
- Understanding your audience in podcasting or in blogging.
- Outsourcing those things that are not cost effective for you to do.
- Outsource everything that you don’t need to do yourself.
- Don’t jump at every shiny opportunity that goes by. Say yes only to the things that you really need.
- Learn from other people in other industries.
- It’s just an endless time and money suck if you don’t learn from people that have been there and done it.
“There is such a need, a hunger, for the information that addresses the question ‘what they didn’t teach us in law school about running a practice running a business.” — Neil Tyra
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Call Steve directly at 847-602-6911
Show notes by Podcastologist Chelsea Taylor-Sturkie
Audio production by Turnkey Podcast Productions. You’re the expert. Your podcast will prove it.
podcast, lawyer, people, book, practice, law, attorneys, personal injury, steve, read, law school, business, guest, substitute, grow, question, writing, bookkeeping, voiceover, build
Narrator, Steve Fretzin, Neil Tyra
Neil Tyra [00:00]
Little did I know that there was such a need a hunger for the information that addresses the question what they didn’t teach us in law school about running a practice running a business. That was 272 episodes ago, a little over five years, and the podcast is still going strong.
Your listening to be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for growing a successful law practice. Each episode, your host, author and lawyer Coach Steve Fretzin, will take a deeper dive helping you grow your law practice in less time with greater results. Now, here’s your host, Steve Fretzin.
Steve Fretzin [00:45]
Hey, everybody, welcome to be that lawyer. I am Steve Fretzin. As announcer just mentioned, just happy that you’re with us today. As you may know, Fretzin is development coaching and training peer advisory company where we help lawyers take things to the next level, more specifically to help lawyers to be that lawyer someone who is confident, organized and skilled Rainmaker, and this show is all about providing tips and takeaways and ideas and suggestions so that you can continue to grow your law practice and no better guest for me today or for you today, I should say. Then Neal Tyra, who is the law entrepreneur, and he also has a law firm. How’s it going, Neil?
Neil Tyra [01:21]
It’s going really well, Steve, thanks for having me on today. I’m happy to be here.
Steve Fretzin [01:25]
Yeah, well, I’m returning the favor. You had me on your show and just loved being your guest and kind of going through your routine. And we put together a pretty good show.
Neil Tyra [01:33]
Yeah, it was just it hasn’t aired yet. So looking forward to all the feedback that people give. But it was a great show. I’ve listened to it twice. Now. If I do say so myself, we’ve covered a lot of ground.
Steve Fretzin [01:43]
I think it was great. And so if you wouldn’t mind just giving a little background on yourself your law practice how you got into helping lawyers with their growth?
Neil Tyra [01:50]
Yeah, sure. Well, law is my fourth career. Some said that I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up. And I think that’s a fair criticism. I originally cooked for a living, I spent 20 years plus building hardware software systems for the government, principally DOD and NASA. And then all that time, I was a practicing martial artist. So when I left, the computer science Corporation, opened up a commercial martial art studio 1000s of kids and students, the martial arts. And then I always had the idea that I wanted to go to law school. And I kind of looked at the calendar and my advancing age. And the fact that I had two kids that were growing up, and figured I better get in front of them for the money train, before ran out. So I sold the martial arts studio, and was lucky enough to get accepted to Catholic University’s School of Law. And I treated going to law school like a full time job. Regardless of what my classes were, I got up, I reported to law school at 830. In the morning, I stayed till 530 In the evening, and I came home, had dinner with the family, and then did my evening work that I needed to do to graduate in three years. And I was only going to, I told myself, I was only gonna take the bar exam once. That’s interesting. If I didn’t pass it, I would move on to other things. Now, fortunately, I pass it on the first attempt, so I never had to put that to the test. So that was 15 or so years ago. And originally thought it was gonna put bad guys in jail, I thought I was going to be a prosecutor. And very last second, I had a crisis of confidence. So well, let me just see what else is out there that I might be interested in. I got an offer to go to a small boutique, personal injury office in downtown Washington DC, which is no longer small, no longer boutique, but Simeone. And Miller, Tom Simeon was my very first guest on my podcast, as we’ll get to in a moment. And Craig Miller has also been on on the show. And so I did personal injury for a couple three years. But then those same kids that I was talking about, started to get older, and my son was a very accomplished athlete, he was going into high school. I knew he had a chance to start varsity soccer and varsity wrestling as a freshman. So I was going to need a lot of time off. I didn’t want have to ask anybody. So I’d already owned the business. So I thought, hey, I’m gonna go start my own practice. He thought that made sense, and jumped without looking, figured out what could go wrong and already made all the mistake, one can make running a practice or opening a business. And little did I know there was a whole range of new mistakes to make as an attorney, proceeded to make all of those. I started off doing personal injury on my ventually added family law, because I have enough pain in my life. So it’s litigating personal injury and family law cases. But then those same kids it always comes back to those kids. They graduated college and moved away. They live on the West Coast. If I needed to do something to decouple myself from the courthouse, so I’d have more flexibility to visit them and to go to the beach is where I’m heading this afternoon. So I started researching how to provide service to people, the estate planning area. And now I’ve transitioned my practice, almost entirely over to estate planning. And I’ve been doing that for the better part of four years
Steve Fretzin [05:25]
was the trials and tribulations of building growing, affirm changing law, practice areas, all that stuff, and obviously having to go out and get clients. Is that sort of what, you know, all those mistakes and all those things that you figured out? Is that sort of what led you to wanting to help other lawyers and be involved in that?
Neil Tyra [05:42]
Well, that’s exactly right. I wish I could say that. I started the podcast for altruistic reasons. But the fact of the matter is, I started it for selfish reasons. I had disappointments in terms of coaching and related kind of mentoring. And so I was a podcast junkie, back then, anyway, and listen to probably 20 hours of podcast a week. And why don’t I do a podcast? What I could do, I really need some free advice. And so I started the podcast to get free advice. I figured if I could spend three to six months, which is kind of what the average podcast length of existence is, if I could spend three to six months interviewing some smart people, or successful attorneys that I would learn something from them and might be better off for it. Little did I know that there was such a need a hunger for the information that addresses the question, what they didn’t teach us in law school about running a practice running a business. That was 272 episodes ago, a little over five years in the podcast is still going strong. There’s a big game before what you do our podcast, because frankly, in my humble opinion, law schools and Bar Association’s are committing professional malpractice by not providing to students or to their association members, some Bar Association’s are doing a better job these days, I think it’s coming around, but it’s way too slow. The industry has relied on people like yourself podcasts like mine, and the lawyer and some others, because there’s been this void in leadership and training. So we hope to kind of solve that issue.
Steve Fretzin [07:30]
Yeah, I’m talking to some law school professors who are getting into teaching networking and teaching business development, practice management’s. It’s coming around slowly, but and I’ve spoken at all the Chicago law schools on the subject, they’re all deer in the headlights coming out of school like they were 20 years ago. And
Neil Tyra [07:48]
I’ll give you a perfect example. When I came out of law school in 2004. It wasn’t a great market for attorneys. And a lot of these young kids I call him young, because they were my kids age that I went to law school with, I was the oldest person in my law school class, several of them couldn’t get a job only way they had to possibly recoup to loan expenses was to start their own practice to jump in, and hang their their shingle out. These are the same young people who never had a checkbook, who only their personal finance was their debit card. And so asking them to manage an IOLTA account, which, to this day, I’m shocked that the law school jet give you any kind of training, couple of them got in trouble. And that further solidified my commitment to doing the podcast to help keep people out of trouble.
Steve Fretzin [08:44]
And just out of curiosity, I mean, like one or two of the best tips or pieces of advice that you took in from the podcast or that you heard on the podcast that you kind of reshare
Neil Tyra [08:56]
Well, I will tell you that one of the very first guests that I had on the podcast was the former direct solo small, firm section of the Maryland State Bar Association. And she was particularly at the knees and solo and small, firm practitioners, Pat ubix, and had your three recommendations. One was hire a bookkeeper. Two was invested in yourself and three was hire a housekeeper. And I thought from a practicality standpoint, those were brilliant. So yeah, hiring a bookkeeper was one of the first things that I did. Now does bookkeeping services, financial support services can be done online interactively. There’s a number of folks I use Suzie Q, bookkeeping, q bookkeeping.com. There are others out there those substitute for having professionals provide that type of service. So that was one of the first things that I think one of the biggest takeaways from my guests. The other one was to not jump at every shiny object and it goes spy, because there’s a steady stream of things. And probably the best thing to do is to say no first, and then slowly say yes to the things that you really need. And I’ve learned that the hard way. I say that, freely admitting, that’s not how I operated. When I opened my practice, I spent money like a drunken sailor on every shiny object that floated by, I wasted so many 1000s upon 1000s of dollars, until, you know, I started listening to smart people, and not spent a lot of money. So you can get by, with just some handy resources and handy tools that are cheap to use, learn technology, there’s no substitute for that, you have to learn how to leverage technology. The fact of the matter is, is most attorneys, when they invest in technology, say a practice management systems are a suite of office products, they only end kind of using 20% of the capability of that tool. And never really master program never really leverage it for what it can do. And so that’s another thing. When had you ever said invest in yourself, I didn’t invest so much money in myself, I invested time to learn the tools that I had better.
Steve Fretzin [11:22]
Yeah, it’s just an endless time and money suck if you don’t learn from people that have been there and done it. And so, you know, the recommendation is always, you know, talk to lawyers that have in the shoes that you’re going into, and make sure that you’re studying your show, my show, whatever, reading books, anything that’s going to cut away the learning curve, and the amount of money and time you’re going to spend to get up to speed. And to get those resources those automations in place. I’m a shiny Penny guy myself, I’ve one point I was running four businesses at the same time and doing all of them halfway, instead of doing one of them all the way. Right. And so we learn these lessons. But you know, people don’t have learned the lessons the hard way the way we did as long as they can pick up good ideas from others. You know,
Neil Tyra [12:05]
there’s also no substitute for a good book. I find it ironic that so many attorneys say well, I don’t have time to read, and less books on entrepreneurship or management or technology and but you have time to waste on other things. I mean, I think, why would I pay 1000s of dollars for a tool, trying to do some work flow, step or product, when I can read a book for 20 bucks. That gives me that and more.
Steve Fretzin [12:38]
I think books play a role. I mean, I have three and people say well, I could just read your books. And then I can go out and develop a million dollar. There’s not a substitute. I’m just saying like, that’s there’s books, I love to read. And I love to take ideas and tips. And this is how I figure out that a podcast is for me or I figure out you know, get acuity or Calendly. For automation for my scheduling, shark. There’s all kinds of things that you need to do to make sure you’re staying on top of it. But you also have to understand that if I give you a book on how to fish or a book on how to play tennis, right, that’s not the a substitute for big getting on the court and getting a coach or getting teacher
Neil Tyra [13:14]
know for sure. I do think that we as attorneys, oftentimes, we read so much in law school, like I’m not reading another book again, what I like point people to is not so much books written by other attorneys, all those are valuable, but learning from other people in other industries. Like I keep touting this book over and over again. Never lose a customer again by Joey Coleman. But does the best job of tracing the client or customer experience from start to finish that anybody I’ve ever read or heard of. And or small business owner, I defy you to read that book and not say, oh, man, I could put a ton of these principles into practice right away. I have a great resource, look at it and say, I get a little piece here. I’m gonna put it right in practice right away.
Steve Fretzin [14:00]
I’ll give another one that’s interesting. And someone will say to me, Steve, which books should I give them my books with their new client, or I send them books. They’re like, What books should I read first, I also send them getting things done by Ballard right, David Allen and I say, why not read the book on time management first, because if you do, and you can apply what it says then you can have time to do. So it’s like chicken or the egg? Well, this is the kind of stuff that we have to do. But but it is amazing that when you can get organized through a book like that, or through automation, then you do have the time to do things. Otherwise, you might just feel crushed and that reading a book is going to be impossible.
Neil Tyra [14:35]
I know it takes time. That’s why podcasts were so the podcasts you can listen to in the car on the treadmill. I’m a real visual learner these days. So I don’t have time to read a book about how to use a product but I wear out YouTube.
Steve Fretzin [14:51]
It’s interesting. I have a question for you. So your podcast has been around a while it’s very successful, but I’m curious as a lawyer to write it How has it raised your profile or helped you in your actual business of practicing law?
Neil Tyra [15:04]
Well, it’s interesting question, what do you like better podcasting or lawyering? I guess they’re separate. But I kind of think of almost the same thing. You know, if shipbuilding, that was the cornerstone of my marketing practice, I would be going to events or having meetings with influence potential referral sources. And we would be getting to know each other and exchanging ideas and offering suggestions and connecting other people and all those things that are involved in referral marketing, management, or networking. I think that the podcast is just me doing the same thing except with a bigger bullhorn. You know, and with a wider footprint. I mean, clearly, most of my audience is North American, and a great many concentrate in and around the Washington DC area, which is where I’m from, but not exclusively. So it’s helped me build relationships here locally, but also all across the country. And I get a lot of legal work from people who have heard my podcasts or and know that I do estate planning, here in the Washington area. So if you’re in Chicago, or if you’re in California, and somebody says, I got a friend or I got family in Washington, DC, they needed an estate planning attorney, you wouldn’t happen to know anybody there. And matter of fact, I listened to this guy every week. So it’s just kind of a natural extension of my practice. I won’t say there’s a direct one to one correlation between the success of the podcast and the success of the law firm. But both are doing well right now. So maybe there is some correlation? Well, and I guess
Steve Fretzin [16:51]
one of the reasons I’m asking is because there are lawyers that have a lot of different options, as far as how they’re going to build their brand, how they’re going to develop relationships, they can write articles, they can speak, they can run networking groups, etc. And podcast is now you know, a very affordable and easy option for them to do and so coming up with a topic or what their angle is, or what direction is, and then how that relates back to getting business into their law firm. So that’s really kind of, you know,
Neil Tyra [17:19]
yeah, I think the challenge there is the same way, it’s the same challenge that lawyers who blog have, like, who am I writing for terms of a podcast? Who am I creating the podcast for? You know, if I’m writing a blog post about the changes in the law with respect to child support? Am I writing that for other attorneys to educate them? Or am I writing it to for potential clients? To demonstrate to them, I know what I’m talking about? Am I trying to create the podcast or write the blog post? For as a marketing tool? In which case, I think the inference is different, more of an educational perspective? For instance, if I did a podcast on family law, who would my audience be?
Steve Fretzin [18:15]
It could be other right? Maybe think about what your topic and then who you’re looking to target with that seller? Who’s interested in that, right? Is it financial planners? Is it leather lawyers?
Neil Tyra [18:25]
Is that a significant enough audience to make it worth your while, right? If you aspire to have a podcast that’s sponsored, that actually pays his own way, and then some, which I’m lucky enough to have, then you have taken a footprint and big enough audience to make that worth your sponsors, time and money. Yeah. And so that’s the trade off. That’s the challenge.
Steve Fretzin [18:53]
And the interesting too, is I think a podcast can be used as a branding tool. And for me, it is for sure, getting the word out and interviewing great people. And it’s very expansive, right, nationally, or even globally, because of ability to promote it yourself, and then for your guests to promote it and to share in that promotion. The other thing that I’ve gotten out of it, and I think is really critical, has been in you mentioned this earlier, is the relationships, the idea, when I interview you, Neil or I interview someone else, or whatever, we get to know each other, we get to talk and maybe after we’re done recording, we have a few minutes to talk. I think that’s so critical for how you can expand the breadth of your relationship with other lawyers or with other business professionals. That can be the greatest value.
Neil Tyra [19:35]
Yeah, for sure. Your Branding element, depending on how close is aligned with the type of law that you practice may be a more synergistic approach, but definitely the case.
Steve Fretzin [19:48]
And the only other one is somebody who wants to do something that’s way off topic, but it could become popular for them. So for example, you mentioned that you used to cook and I’m sure you’re still a bit of a foodie. But let’s say you did a food show No. And it’s all about, you know, great food and wine and you’re interviewing chefs and you’re interviewing and people that are really into food with love that the fact that you’re a lawyer, how much business you’d get from it, I don’t know. But as far as building out your name, and you know, the fact that you’re a lawyer might come along with that. What do you think about something like that it is an avenue,
Neil Tyra [20:18]
I think there’s a lot of value to that I had a guest on recently, who does voiceover actor. And so he has this whole persona associated with his voiceover work. But soon the people in the voiceover world came to know that he was an attorney. And so he started getting questions about, you know, can you help me with my contract? Can you help me with the legal aspects of being an actor or a creative individual? So to the voiceover world, he’s an attorney, he’s a guy who’s a voiceover. So there is crossover, there’s recognition there. And sometimes the to practice become the intersection between this law firm and his voiceover work?
Steve Fretzin [21:06]
Well, that’s really interesting. And so at the end of the day, I think you’ve got, you know, lawyers have to make decisions about how they’re going to grow their law practices. And I think your show and my show are very helpful to provide that kind of free advice, if you will, and all that at the end of the day, you know, podcasting may be an option that someone wants to take pretty seriously, because there’s a lot of upside, not a lot of downside. The only other thing I’d recommend, you know, outside, just like we said earlier, about outsourcing bookkeeping out, you know, I was talking to a lawyer, friend of mine coach the other day, he was doing all this editing and all this production and all this stuff himself, and it was just eating up all of his time I go, What are you doing, man, it’s not that expensive, it’s very cost effective to outsource. And so, you know, that would kind of be the last thing you don’t feel like if you’re going to start a podcast that you have, do this on an island by yourself, right?
Neil Tyra [21:53]
You know, for sure. In fact, my whole mantra for the last 10 years is outsource, outsource, outsource everything in my law practice and podcast. So I’ve been podcasts, you can get to the point where you hit the button, do the record. And when you’re done, send off the file, and you have all the work associated with producing the show. I have great producers out in Ohio crate media, who I hooked up with right from the very beginning. You know, you don’t have to do it yourself.
Steve Fretzin [22:27]
Yeah, the general theme going back to something you mentioned earlier, I don’t know if I read this somewhere or whatever. But it’s, it might be getting things done. But you know, it’s like the 20 to $50 an hour stuff, anything that’s 20 to $50 an hour that you as a lawyer are doing, it should be delegated. There’s no reason you at 400 An hour should be doing $20 An hour administrative work,
Neil Tyra [22:46]
simply an economic analysis, you know, take what your hourly rate is 350 an hour. Okay? Would you pay somebody 350 an hour to answer your phones? No, no, you’re going to outsource that for something less? Would you pay somebody 350 an hour to manage your social media? Now, you’re gonna pay some far less than that to manage social media so that that’s the only question you really need to ask yourself, what is the most effective use of my time. And if it’s not directly related to producing more business and growing your practice directly, either the actual legal work that you’re doing or the ancillary work to build that practice? If it’s not directly related to that you need to outsource it, find a way to do it.
Steve Fretzin [23:37]
Let’s wrap I think, you know, this is an opportunity for people to get a better understanding of podcasting of marketing and of how to make less mistakes as they look to grow their law practice. How do people get in touch with you and promote your show a little bit too. Great. Appreciate
Neil Tyra [23:50]
that, Steve. So the show is called blah, blah, entrepreneur. The hardest part about that is learning how to spell on. So the law entrepreneur, you can find it anywhere you find your podcasts, you can also blah, blah entrepreneur.com We have the podcasts hosted there as well. And my law practice Tyra law firm Tyr a law, email me at either Neil at the law entrepreneur.com or Neal tire at Tyrell law firm.com. And I’m happy to answer questions about podcasting, all the mistakes I’ve ever made in building my practice and transitioning from one practice area to another, which is another thing that I think is great about the legal profession, you can change if you build your skill level up to be compliant with your federal responsibility rules. So I’m happy to answer any questions anybody might have.
Steve Fretzin [24:41]
Wow, very generous of you. And I appreciate you being on the show. Neil. Thanks so much.
Neil Tyra [24:44]
It’s been my pleasure, Steve. Thanks, and I appreciate all that you do.
Steve Fretzin [24:47]
Great. And listen, everybody if you had good experience with this show and others that you’ve listened to please take a few moments after we’re done today. And like us, give us stars give us reviews, like make sure we get the word out to other attorneys that are Also we’re looking for great advice and tips and strategies to grow their law practice and you know get to be that lawyer someone who’s confident, organized and a skilled Rainmaker. Take care everybody be safe be well.
Thanks for listening to be that lawyer, life changing strategies and resources for grilling a successful law practice. Visit Steve’s website fretzin.com For additional information, and to stay up to date on the latest legal business development and marketing trends. For more information and important links about today’s episode, check out today’s show notes