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If you want to market effectively (without feeling smarmy, or like too much of an ‘attention seeker’) you need to focus on authenticity.

And when I say “market” I also am referring to what’s known as “branding.”

Now, before I explain a good process for getting started doing this well, I want to say this (since the words “marketing” or “branding” are loaded with preconceptions and personal interpretations)…

Solo and small firm business owners (including lawyers) are all entrepreneurs.

As such, we need to make money from our thinking and problem solving, etc.

And to do that, it’s best that we market our services (and brand ourselves) in ways that are true to who we are and true to our deepest values.

My friend Mike Kim‘s book You Are The Brand has some valuable insights about marketing as an entrepreneur, such as this:

“When you decide that you’re going to build a business around yourself—a personal brand business—something shifts. Entrepreneurship has a funny way of bringing out the best in you while also revealing the roughest parts of you.”

For me, one of the “roughest parts” of my entrepreneurship journey (both as a solo lawyer and now in my current business) has been getting hyper-clear about

  • What matters most to me
  • What type of people I most want to help (short answer: these folks)
  • And why I want to help those people

Below are three questions that Mike Kim asked me once, and which I’ve reflected on for a few years now.

As a result of that continued reflection, my answer to the questions has evolved and yielded powerful, practical insight.

My hope is that grappling with these questions will help you as well:

  1. What pisses you off?
  2. What breaks your heart?
  3. What’s the big problem you’re trying to solve?

Just so you have a sense of what my answers have evolved into, here they are in short form (which I can give more detail about in our discussion).

  • Hypocrisy pisses me off, and inauthenticity of any kind gets under my skin. Mindless authority (e.g. bureaucracy) also pisses me off.
  • Seeing people give up on pursuing their deepest passion because they don’t think they “should” pursue it (for whatever reason) breaks my heart.

So what’s the big problem I’m trying to solve?

I’ll discuss that in a future blog post. But, if you want a hint…

It’s closely related to those things that piss me off and break my heart.

For a long time, I wasn’t clear about that. But now I am, and it makes a huge difference.

That’s why I’m hyper-focused on helping solo or small firm lawyers like this.

What about you?

Who do you most want to help, and why?

Maybe those three questions of Mike’s will help you get some useful clarity about your business and how to market it.

And if the approach I described above appeals to you then check out Mike’s book.

It’s an amazing trove of practical insight into how to market authentically and effectively.

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