I will write more on this topic next week, but I am anxious to share with you a gratifying success story from one of my clients. I just got off the phone with her from our monthly coaching call, and with her permission, I share this with you. About this time last year, we were focusing on 2005 goals. She wanted to get away from day-to-day drafting. Spend more time meeting with clients, delegate more to staff, have more time with her family, and pursue some other interesting aspects of her thriving estate practice -- specifically, she wanted to get involved in appellate work.
We discussed several aspects of this plan, including protecting her revenue stream and profitability while pursuing new interests. One thing we talked about a lot was making a plan to free up time in her schedule to pursue the appellate work. She was already working too many hours, it was clear she could not add something to her schedule without first clearing some empty space.
Long story short ...
She just finished arguing a case in appellate court about whether a copy of a signed will is sufficient to establish the content of a missing well ... I was treated to a most enthusiastic re-telling of the courtroom banter and the ins-and-outs of the case ... Sufficient for me to note that she is very happy with this new aspect of her practice which provides her such an intellectual challenge.
She is pleased to see her firm is now tasting from the whole estate law pie -- contested litigation, estate administration, probate, appellate work, as well as estate planning. She has a new associate and a legal assistant to handle most of the drafting -- which she then reviews ... Precisely as she had wanted.
"Now I mostly just meet with clients," she said. "I have handed off most of the drafting."
She continues to pursue more creative outlets for 2006.
But, you may ask, what happened to her profitability? She has a new associate and an assistant? What happened on the expense side of the ledger?
Well, my buttons are about to bust on my sweater as I tell this story. She met with her CPA last week and, to her chagrin, they will owe a substantial tax bill this year. She whined to her CPA, who responded -- "What are you complaining about? You more than doubled your net income this year!"
Yes, that was NET. She was able to pursue her dreams, serve her clients, and still TAKE HOME TWICE AS MUCH MONEY. Her CPA congratulated her, "You have really gotten your expenses under control!"
”So,” she asked, "how do we avoid paying these taxes?"
Her CPA replied, "Don't make so much money!"
Of course, neither of us plans to incorporate THAT into the 2006 marketing plan.
So, certainly one of the benefits of becoming a low-cost provider is the freedom to pursue your dreams, to pursue intellectual challenges -- while still meeting your financial commitments. Do it well enough, and you may find that you can have your cake and eat it, too. For this savvy client, she is enjoying her work, pursuing new challenges, and taking home TWICE AS MUCH money as she did before!
Some of her strategies?
Ahhhhh -- now that's material for yet another posting! Stay tuned next week and we'll look at some of the VERY SMART things she has done to get where she is ... And the new challenges that accompany such success!
In the meantime, HAPPY THANKSGIVING. And thank you. I am reminded daily of the many many blessings in my life, not the least of which is the privilege to work with such interesting, challenging, and giving people. I am thankful for each of you.