The Business of Divorce (Ep. 4)

Sometimes, it is hard to put a label on things like your job title and what field your business is in.

Justin Sisemore and Sisemore Law Firm have experienced this trouble before.

In this episode, Justin, Andrea, and Mary discuss how to curate your business to best showcase your skills to find your most ideal client.

Justin, Andrea, and Mary discuss:

  • How being a divorce attorney is not Justin’s only job, he is also an entrepreneur who’s passion was found in the early years of his life
  • Insight on how to fine-tune your business to showcase your specific skills and abilities
  • How to thrive during the economic downturn, especially as a young entrepreneur or business owner
  • Techniques to customize the customer’s experience to suit each of their individual needs
  • And more!

Schedule Your Case Consultation by calling 817-336-4444 or clicking HERE.

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Connect with Andrea Jones:

Read the Show Transcript

[00:00:00] Nobody wants to end up in family court. But if you do you want an honest, experienced family law attorney by your side, to help minimize the stress mental anguish and legal costs that divorce and custody matters. Bring welcome to In Your Best Interest. Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur, Justin Sisemore of the Sisemore Law Firm, entrepreneur, Andrea Jones, freelance writer, Mary Maloney, and guests share insight on what to expect and how to handle family law matters.

The changing landscape of family law and living the entrepreneur’s life now onto the show. Divorce and business go hand in hand, not only is divorce, a big complex business in the realm of family law firms. It’s also a business that can involve the complex division of marital assets. Business-related assets in today’s episode of In Your Best Interest, we’ll discuss how clients benefit from working with an efficient well-managed [00:01:00] law firm, especially clients looking to protect business-related assets.

We’ll also talk about our passion for entrepreneurship and share tips on how to run a successful business during good times and bad. Hey everybody. Thanks for joining us for this episode of, In Your Best Interest. I’m Mary Maloney and I’m joined today by attorney Justin Sisemore, an entrepreneur, Andrea Jones.

And today, Justin, my first question is for you, people that know, you know, You’re a divorce attorney, but that, isn’t your only job that you’re also an entrepreneur. And it’s also something that you are very passionate about. Explain how that passion and formed your journey from being a child of divorced parents into the transition, into launching your law firm in 2007.

Yeah. So obviously in, and we’ve talked about this before, uh, obviously in, in, in a divorce setting, uh, you’re dealing with the issues of business. And one of the things that I was really concerned about becoming a, an [00:02:00] attorney and being parents, or having parents who were attorneys, uh, was just whether to follow the path of, of your parents.

And I think a lot of people go through that. Uh, mindset when you’re figuring out what you want to do in life. And I was really more concerned too, about the nature of the complexities of divorce, the emotional tolls and all those things that I’d seen over the years. And, and really how my education in entrepreneurial finance and, and, and that could marry up with the business of, of divorce litigation.

So, uh, long story short, I think. Probably when I started doing consults with people and learning about their businesses, that I really appreciate the aspects of how you could marry entrepreneurship with the business of family law first and foremost, and then second of all how you can really utilize those skills to impact the case.

And so once you really understand fundamentally how. Business works, uh, you understand P and L’s, you understand how to look at advertising, um, how to look at how to [00:03:00] hire employees, how to manage employees, uh, you really, you don’t understand fundamentally how to dissect a divorce case and look what for what’s best for a client until you’ve really been in the trenches of, uh, of.

Complex business, I guess. And so over the years, as, as you develop as an individual, as a person, a human and entrepreneur, uh, you really start to see the parallels. And for me, it’s been a really eyeopening experience, very dynamic, um, and applying all of that to. Our team and how we manage the customer flow.

Um, how we, we are a customer service oriented business. You know, you really learn from other aspects of entrepreneurship, how that all fits together. So Justin, for young entrepreneurs that are listening in, can you share a little insight on how you fine tune the business kind of more specifics perhaps, and positioned it for growth and maximize the results that you get for your clients as well?

Yeah, sure. So, you know, in, in service oriented businesses [00:04:00] and a lot of entrepreneurs, especially young ones will start out in some form of service, whether it be financial services, insurance, uh, law, or whatever else, uh, is kind of that first job opportunity that, you know, Um, what I, what I’ve seen and what we’ve seen is that, you know, you can be the guy or the girl you know, and, and have to do all the work and all the heavy lifting.

And what happens oftentimes is people get so consumed by their business that they don’t. Think about how to compartmentalize the aspects of the business, because the famous saying is you’re working in your business and not on your business. Um, and obviously when you’re starting a business, it becomes very challenging to work on your business and not so much in your business.

People like Andrea. W was very helpful for me to basically expand and keep me a involved in the business and be excited about new growth opportunities. And so I think the best advice and it’s, it sounds kind of cliche. Cause a lot of people say it, but, but you really have to survive surround [00:05:00] yourself by really good people that are different from.

Um, and recognize your weaknesses and recognize the strengths in others and never be too proud to put them in front of you. You know, and obviously when you’re starting out a small business, uh, as a young entrepreneur, you know, you’re trying to figure out how to pay for your next meal, much less higher.

But what you learn is as you get better at your business and you develop basically key formulas to how that’s going to look going forward, as long as you stay consistent with that and put people in their lanes and more importantly, keep them in their lanes. You can really, even if you’re not the smartest person in the room, which I’m clearly not.

Uh, you can surround yourself by people that can really pick up the pieces that you, that you’re not capable of. There’s a lot of good tests out there. Uh, I just did one, not too long ago that really dissects what your personality is and what motivates you. And you know, you oftentimes see entrepreneurs burnout, um, especially lawyers and people in the, um, service industries.

They kind of burn out because they, they get so focused on the [00:06:00] consumer. Of their products reaction. Um, and so if you create those buffers and you find good people to help you with that, uh, what you’re going to find is that all of the other aspects of business, you know, the financial aspect, the advertising, all those things, they, they really kind of stay in their lanes as well.

Um, and it allows you to kind of have this 50,000 foot approach. But in the beginning you’ve got to learn in the trenches. You there’s no other way, in my opinion, to do any business, no matter what it is, unless you’ve done all of it. Um, and I know that firsthand with the battery company, you know, I didn’t have a lot of training and knowledge in that area.

Um, so, you know, with the law, thankfully I started from, you know, basically the grassroots of it. I drafted every motion, drafted every letter I went to every court proceeding that you could possibly imagine. And then you start to learn how to fine tune that. But the, but the entrepreneur aspect of. Really applies in all businesses.

And there’s no exception to that. There’s no exception to the hard work that you have to put in the consistency. The [00:07:00] planning aspect of it is something that I wasn’t necessarily great at. So, I put very organized people, Samantha, my right hand in the firm. Samantha is a great example. She’s very organized, very detailed or.

Uh, very good about picking up the pieces that I’m short that are my shortcomings. For example short attention span and getting information to me, uh, is, is very important because if you don’t a, there’s so much, there’s so much information that flows through an entrepreneur. That’s running multiple businesses head that they tend to kick out things that don’t matter.

And so if you have good people underneath you, that can get that information to you in a succinct format. Um, you know, you can make decisions, uh, with a collect as a collective unit and, and you really, you really utilize all those forces and impact, you know, the business and how it grows and what that transitions to you know, Mary is, is it basically allows, it allows you to focus the efforts of, of satisfying the client.

And, and also cutting costs, making sure you have [00:08:00] time for the. Because you can stretch yourself further by scalability. And, you know, I think in small business, people kind of overlook the idea of scaling business. You don’t have to have 30 locations and be throughout the U S to scale your business.You can be a mom and pop and have a onesy twosy situation. But you still have to scale your abilities as an individual. And the only way in my opinion to do that is really set out a clear plan. And then put the people in place in their roles so that you can execute your part of the plan, whatever your strengths may be.

So I think that’s a perfect place for Andrea to weigh in as well because Andrea, you’ve worked very closely with Justin for many years now. You’ve got a background in operations, an extensive background in operations and marketing. So can you talk a little bit about how you guys work together and how you played a role in helping Justin grow the business, um, from where he was at and from where you came in until today?[00:09:00]

Okay. Sure. So doesn’t, and I, of course, as everybody has heard before we know each other through my divorce and he was my divorce attorney, and then several years later we got back together. And, um, I think it started out with looking at his business and a status quo in the marketing arena. Cause that’s where, that’s where we started.

So where are we at and where are you spending your money and what return on investment are you getting? So that’s that’s I think where we started and I saw a lot of. Areas that that could use a lot of improvements. So we started there. We really, we really analyzed what is, what is the firm doing? What are the clients looking for?

What is the competition out there? And, um, based on this analysis, we even did a survey of clients because it’s very hard. When you ask any business owner I’ve seen and ask him, what is your strength? Oftentimes they don’t really know. Didn’t they, they know they have strengths, but she’ll put them in words of what they’ve been writing is hard.

So if you have clients go back to your clients and do a survey and ask [00:10:00] them, what do you really appreciate about us? Whether it’s D is a law firm, for example, the conduct, that how they take care of me, how they communicate with you. So that kind of shows you and where you are. And then based on that, I mean, then we came up with a strategy to how we can we grow this and what needs to be in place.

And in my opinion, A lot of people forget. And Justin just touched on that. That is scalability. Are you ready for growth? Because if you’re ready for growth, growth is always uncomfortable and there are some things that you need to change to be ready for growth. And it comes down to the people. Do you have the right people on your team?

Do you have enough staff. If I do marketing and I bring Justin whatever, so many leads a day, does he have enough staff to handle the clients in a way that he wants to handle them? Not that they get a call back three weeks later because they’re so busy enough staff. And does the, do you have buy-in from your staff?

That’s I think an important issue to you. See, you may be, want to grow your company. But is your staff really [00:11:00] excited about growing? Cause growing then potentially means that they have to work more and more at work. Different might be moved in different positions is to staff ready. So that’s, I think the first one do people then the processes out of processes there is, is there a way to go from a to Z for a law firm for.

First touch of the clients, the clients hiring, what is that process? And, and not everybody comes in and talks to Justin and Dan high is the same day, but what processes are in place? What are we doing with potential leads and how are we moving them through the business? For example, we can put another, another legal software.

Um, that we use, we put in another, another phone system, which we’ll probably talk about later, how that helped us during the times of COVID. How do we follow up at potential kinds? And then one big thing is customer service. Do you really have servants at heart at your firm or at your company? Customer service is so very important nowadays because people and talk to each other.

And if you, you can be the greatest law firm out there with the greatest attorneys, but if you do not have any customer [00:12:00] service and that the clients feel. That they’re taking care of. They go someplace else, even if they have to spend more money or less money, it doesn’t matter. But do you really take care of your clients?

Many companies seem to forget that and the customer service nowadays, in my opinion, uh, belongs on the marketing. I cannot go out there and market the company. And then when the first touch they have with the company, it’s two different things. I market, they are customer service oriented they’re servants at heart, and then a first contact on the phone is something different than the marketing fails.

So, yeah, that’s the people. Are you ready for growth? We did a marketing plan. What are we going to do? We, we, we, we weeded out a lot of things that didn’t bring anything. Cause there’s a lot of bright, shiny objects out there for any firm where people tell you all, you need to do this and you need to do that.

And it’s going to help you. It’s going to bring, but unless you really truly track what is bringing you business, you have no idea. And you need to really track. I mean, that’s one of the one, one of, one of the most important things. What kind of tracking system do you have in. We switched a [00:13:00] few things around and then, and then we measured the return of investment.

And up to this day, we constantly adjust, adjust, adjust, and make it better. And I think it’s been working. I mean, we’ve been very, very successful over the last several years. Yeah, Mary, I mean, in, in to kind of touch up on that point what Andrea’s been fantastic about, you know, there, there are entrepreneurs that are rainmakers that can just go out and get business.

And then, you know, like Andrea said, the follow-up is, is mission critical. It doesn’t matter whether you own a law firm, a battery company, you know, a donut shop or a huge business. It’s, it’s all the same on how you create process. And, you know, Marcus, Limonus used to always put the people process product.

And if you could get the three P’s together, then the business can run succinctly. And if one piece of that stool or one leg of that stool was missing, then obviously that’s where you would fill in the void. And it sounds really simple, but at the end of the day, it is really simple. If you have the right people and you cultivate process, [00:14:00] and at the end of the day, you marry that with a good product, which in our business.

We’re a service oriented business. You know, it, it’s not that complex. And when it comes to the individuals inside of the business and what their roles are, one of the things I’m terrible at is, is basically the execution of making sure that people are held accountable. Cause I, I tend to be a little bit of a people.

And, and in that regard, and in that respect, if you acknowledge that, okay, well, Justin, look, you know, when you’ve got a rock star, like Samantha at the top of the game, why are you focusing effort on, uh, or 80% of your effort on people that were not. Uh, rowing in the same direction of the core culture and key values of the company.

Uh, you know, and that’s why those tests, like the culture index is a great example of that. Some people need to be diagnosed and some people I think have a level of humility to them where they, they [00:15:00] kind of understand where their weaknesses are and they have enough. Kind of self-awareness to know that, Hey, I can, I can add this person over here.

And, you know, the running joke was for me was, well, the only reason why these businesses are successful is because the people around and, you know, Sisemore isn’t necessarily the smartest guy in the room creating this. And I agree with that. I think I categorize myself as a people entrepren. Right.
Um, there’s there are process entrepreneurs that can create automated you know, provisions for their company that, that allow everything to be just perfect and seamless and all that. But the one thing that you see as an entrepreneur, especially when you’re diving and doing deep dives into these businesses, is that all businesses.

Large or small startups or long long-term businesses have problems. They all have problems. They may not advertise them, obviously, cause you’re trying to mitigate them. Uh, but they all have problems and you gotta be able to address them. And th the culture for me is [00:16:00] probably the most important transition of our business that I’ve ever seen.

Cause I’ve, we’ve had some cancers in our businesses before and we’ve had some people that. You know, row in the same direction we’re pulling their weight. And Andrea was very helpful. Uh, our team has been very helpful in making you understand that and when you cut that cancer out and you really keep people in their lanes, what you’re going to find is that the attitudes.

Back to the product that you’re selling the attitude to the customer, the service level is just a thousand percent better. And for me, that, that is the secret sauce and the hard part, especially with COVID and imply, you know, supply chain and an employee shortage is people just want to put people in a seat and to Andre is.

When you are, I think you want to be in hyper-growth mode and finding good people is a problem. And you are a people-based entrepreneur. Like I believe I am. You don’t just put a heartbeat in that seat because you want to grow your revenue or your bottom line. Um, you know, you’ve got to sink through that and think, okay, [00:17:00] well, is this going to be a detriment to me in the short term or longterm?

And if I put these people in place, yes, they can answer the phone. Yes, they can. Respond. Yes, they can do these, these tasks, but are they really going to take the business to the next level? And that’s where I think, um, if you sit down and just, you don’t have to write out some complex Harvard based business plan, just sit down and really think through, all right, this is what I want to do.

This is kind of how I want to grow. This is how many people I need to make these numbers be realistic. You know, if you’re a one person shop and you’re a one person law firm, for example, you can only build so many hours. Uh, you’ve got to have personal time and all that. So you’ve just got to kind of look at what that looks like on a calculator, on an Excel spreadsheet, and then just marry the people up with, with kind of those goals and then measure, measure, continue to measure the people.

And you need to anybody you have in any position in your firm going your company, they might change. So, so they might’ve been. In, in, in the job, whatever a year ago, two years ago, but maybe they fit better somewhere else. They might develop gifts on skills [00:18:00] that they’re fit better. And the worst thing is you put somebody like Justin said in a seat and they don’t have a gift in that area.

Every person has a gift and you just got to figure out what is their gift? Where do they shine? Because once they start shining, they are such an asset to the company. And if they’re just a heartbeat or a person in a seat and they cannot shine. With what they can actually do then, then you miss out and you’re going to go someplace else.

You got to always pay attention to where are they graded and ID, are they doing the job you hired them for? And it’s not, that’s not, justness not the greatest. And when we, when we come to them and say, Hey, there’s an issue because he’s just such a great person and never wants to get rid of anybody or, or write anybody up.

But sometimes that’s it. That’s what it takes. You have to measure, measure, measure. If you want to grow your business and adjust, make changes. If next. Yeah. And that’s really good for the employee too. Is, is that when you’re proactive about that, that helps them, you know, maybe take that different role or maybe it’s time for them to go find something different somewhere else, which is actually better for [00:19:00] both sides of it.

For sure. Yeah. I grew up, I grew up out. I mean, that’s, that’s how I see that go up with us. All you have to, we have to grow you out of this position because you might, and again, there’s nothing wrong with that. People developed, there’s nothing wrong in telling that. You might not be the right person for the future of this firm.

So we’ll do everything possible in, and we’ll grow you out into something that you might be a benefit, and you’re going to be happier not being with this or with this company somewhere else. And we’ll help you. It’s not, I fire you tomorrow. No, that’s help you to grow out to. And I think another thing that you guys touched on too, is the fact that you have to have people around you that are honest and that are going to tell you like it is.

And we all know, Andrea will always tell you, like it is, you know, if you don’t have the, have it in you to, to discipline people or whatever, you really need people to tell you that. And also if they disagree with you too, I think that that’s, it’s very important to have people on your team that are gonna tell you, you know, I don’t think that’s a good move for sure.

[00:20:00] You don’t want yesterday is around you and Justin is absolutely right for me, the same thing in my marketing company. It’s I put people around me that are smarter and areas that, that I I’m, I know enough to be dangerous, but I don’t want to do the job and they’re smarter than me. And that’s, that’s what you do.

And you’re absolutely right. You don’t want to, Dustin, I have many arguments on not arguments in a negative way, but discussions about things that we can and cannot do. And that’s positive. You have to have people around you to tell you. The truth and I’m not say yes, then you can do it yourself. You want other opinions or the.

Yeah, a hundred percent. So let’s take a little turn here. You guys, you know, Justin, you often say that running the firm, like a business has had a huge impact on how you help people dealing with divorce and business interests. Can you kind of take it a little deeper dive into how that works? Sure. Yeah. So, you know, when it comes to running your own business or businesses, you, you have to analyze.

The F the, the key pieces that matter. So you start in my opinion with kind of the core culture or value [00:21:00] or whatever that you’re setting out, uh, for your general theme. And I’ll do the same thing in a trial. Right? I, when I, when I set up a trial, I come up with a theme. And then I, I really don’t know.

Take it past two or three key points to marry up underneath that theme. So, uh, you know, when we talked about the people process product, I think that’s why it’s a simplified way of saying that. But yeah, so the, the key points of the business of any business are going to be the people and the financial aspects of the business, as far as.

Key performance indicators of how your employees are engaging and what their level of responsibilities are. And in a law firm, it’s a little easier because you have billable hours and they have to be very detailed about what they’re doing all day. So, you know, when you’re sending an invoice to a client, what I tell people is, look, if you’re reading an invoice and you see.

Simple things on a bill, like, you know, court setting, write a letter to a client and you charge them to do that. [00:22:00] I sit there and go as a consumer. How would I read that? How would I value that as a, you know, actual value add? And so what I tell my people is look, be the consumer, sit in the seat and look at exactly that invoice.

And we use our invoices instead of. You know, so like I see some lawyers or some businesses use the invoice to get paid. We used our invoice in a different way. We try to take everything and spin it to a direction of how does it impact the customer and how does it inform the customer? So our clients, for example, uh, you know, they can go back to the bill and see exactly what’s been done and kind of how this, how the sauce is made.

Um, and I think a lot of times in business Especially seasoned entrepreneurs. They forget the explanation part because they’ve gotten, they’ve gone to so many different levels that they forget kind of how to explain the process to a, to a consumer. So in all of my businesses, we’re very big on. Not doing it in an arrogant way, but explaining, look, this [00:23:00] is not something you do for a living.

Okay. So we’re going to walk you through each of the steps. And then more importantly, you can go back to the invoice and see exactly how those steps marry up for what you’re being charged for. And then from there we’re establishing kind of next steps. So there’s, there’s this constant matrix and people call them KPIs or key performance indicators.

I think that that’s true in every aspect of law firms. Your key performance indicators, for example, in a divorce case are going to be, how long does my divorce take? How many external resources did we have to go higher? How much did we spend on the process? How much time did it take the way from my business and what I do for a living?

You know, and then from there, You can really establish, all right, these are the good people in the business experts. For example, I use two, maybe three experts total in my career. Um, and I’ve used them for a long time mediators, same thing. Uh, it establishes consistency of the product that we [00:24:00] provide.

I can go to those people and say, listen, you know, this was not the way that I want our client to receive this information. You might have a highly intellectual client that. You to talk in these, you know, obscure natures, and you might have somebody that look, they just kind of created a business and it, it, it went off to the races and they don’t want you to talk in this, you know, highly complex.

So I think understanding your customer, understanding what their desires are. And most importantly, marrying up people in the expert side of that so that they can assist them. And I think every good entrepreneur out there is self-aware of, Hey, look, I, I’m not great at this. We talked about it. The first part of the.

Same thing in a divorce case. You know, when we’re dealing with experts, when I know that, uh, one of my experts can put together a detailed report and it can take away the time from an individual having to do that on their own, then we’ll certainly utilize those resources. We can do that ourselves.

Some customers say, Hey, look, [00:25:00] Justin, I don’t, I don’t have all these dollars to just go throw at this expert. And, and again, it’s, it’s really about serving the customer in that regard. And so how does that apply to business and entrepreneurship? Well, it’s the same in any business. If you have a, I was just listening to a Papa John’s deal last night, and they were talking about how with inflation.

They’re going to be able to serve their customers as the price of cheese goes up and pepperoni’s go up. And, and those entrepreneurs at the top levels of those organizations are thinking about every type of customer. I, you know, I was chuckle when I hear, uh, we’re, we’re just the highly complex. We only do the high end divorces.

Well, if you do that, you represent maybe. Oh, 2% of the cysts of the society. And granted, some people can get away with that. Uh, but I think those kinds of firms lose touch with the individuals that don’t have all the success stories and, you know, you have to serve every type of consumer. And when you have the heart that really desires to do that, really [00:26:00] help humanity really serve people.

I think it makes it much easier. It’s not this complex formula when it comes to. Being entrepreneurial and the aspect, it’s really just thinking about the customer, marrying it up with what they want, what their desires are and having the process into place to be malleable inside of your business to handle.

By the same token, you have to have some focus. You can’t be all over the place. So we get asked the question all the time. Justin, can you handle this personal injury case? Can you handle this real estate matter? I, you know, obviously with family members in law, they, they think you can do all things. And I give the analogy of the doctor, you know, I don’t want to go to a brain surgeon for a heart issue.

And in law, there’s a very fine out aspects of what you need to be kept up to speed on. And the same is true for business. And so when you really focus what you do for a living in your business, and you keep your customer focus and you keep your core processes focused, it really gets pretty easy, honestly.

Um, and in the beginning, you’re kind of scratching the surface to [00:27:00] figure out what your identity. Um, and I think for young entrepreneurs, especially, and even ones that may have had businesses that have gone all over the place. I think if you really look back as to the failures in that business, what you’d see is that you didn’t have to have this complex business plan, but what you actually.

Failed to do was recognize your customer and recognize what it is that you do and what you want to do most importantly, because there’s a lot of people out there, especially in today’s world that just do what, you know, kind of pays the bills. And it’s not about necessarily doing what you love. I wouldn’t say that.

Even 70% of, of some of the things we do in business, we love and in today’s society, you know, it’s kinda like you watch Facebook and you look at these other things and you think, well, I’m not doing what God has put me on the planet to do, and I’m not happy doing this because it involves some things that weren’t exactly fun.

You know, my, my definition of fun may not be. Situation. And my dad was very different. He loved every [00:28:00] minute of being at the office. In fact, when he would get away from the office, that was not his happy place. And so I think the balance there is critical and I think the understanding fundamentally, yes.

Really the key pieces to asset division, property valuation P and L’s hiring, firing what it’s going to look like. If we represent wife that hasn’t had access to the business, her husband, who hadn’t had access to the business, how do we divide that? It’s not just this cookie cutter. Okay. You get half the business because there may be partners involved.

There may be partnership agreements that prevent a client from having any kind of control or access to the financials of the business. And so in those circumstances, I use my own failures, uh, in business where I’d given up some control and I’m not a control freak, but I’ve given up some control to somebody and they let you down.

And you know, what I know is what I, what more of my heart is in my heart is there for the people. My heart is there for the consumer. And so sometimes I have to [00:29:00] get away from the people-pleasing aspect of myself and say, look, Justin, you’ve got to take control of this because they need a leader. They need somebody to step up.

They need that check and balance. And you not doing those things because you’re trying to make someone smile in a given day. Is not servicing anyone. And it’s really easy for me to do that with my clients, but it’s really hard for me, honestly, to do that for myself. I just, I try to keep this selfless mentality.

But sometimes you have to step up in that, that arena and really, really take the driver’s seat. And, and I’m working on that day to day. So kind of in closing here, and I’d like to ask both Justin and Andre about this, because you know, one of the biggest challenges that entrepreneur entrepreneurs face is to keep their businesses afloat when times are tough, like the recent pandemic.

And based on your experience, you guys really worked together and collaborated to actually. Thrive during a time where many law firms did not. Can you guys talk a little [00:30:00] bit about how you accomplish that and maybe provide some tips for entrepreneurs to, actually thrive in a struggling economy.

We’ve got all this inflation and war going on right now. Um, would love to hear what you guys have to say about. I mean, I think the processes that we had in place for the law firm helped, um, to keep, to keep us afloat. I mean, we had a legal system, a cloud-based system cloud-based system, and the staff did not have to come to the office to get their work done.

We had a phone system that can work remotely. So we were high on tech, on a technology piece. So when people could not come to the office at the very beginning of the pandemic, they could take their phones, home work from home, and the phones would steal me. And to process a state and place. So there was no supervision per se of the employees necessarily what Justin talked about earlier, you know, what an employee is doing.

And then on the marketing side, the same thing, everything was in place that it could be done. Remotely processes, people were in place and it worked and yeah, and a lot of. When we looked at reports, many law [00:31:00] firms during the pandemic hit like 35% loss of revenue, I think. And Justin’s firm we’re on the plus side.

So we were like 50% above the average law firm during that time. And it was because it was a well oiled machine. If one part falls dead, the other parts pick up and, and it worked well. I think we had it all in place and we were looking back. We were grateful, but, uh, sometimes you don’t even know what you have in place until you you’re, you’re challenged or you come to in a bad situation.

I think. We had a done pretty well. Yeah. I mean, Andrea, you know, it was so funny because the things that seem simple, like changing the phones, it creates mutiny inside of small businesses. You know, when you, when you change a software system, it can create mutiny. Everyone feels like you’ve disrupted their environment sometimes.

And, and I think what’s important is to keep pushing people, uh, to be better and keep pushing organizations to be better for. Like the simple things, the internet, the phones, the laptops, how we, we didn’t necessarily even have to evolve that much. Uh, but because [00:32:00] we kind of knew, Hey, listen, the world is changing.

People are working all over the place are working long hours. So how do, how do we serve them? Uh, better. And, you know, we started doing phone consults and people. If they’re not in front of you, they won’t see your office in your building and how nice things are. And they won’t sit in there and fill out the forms.

And I was like, I hate sitting in a doctor’s office for two hours waiting to fill out a form and all that. And Andrea Andrea’s magical at, at really taking ideas and putting them into action. She was very good about saying, okay. Justin, this form is ridiculous. You’re not even reading the half, this stuff, half of it’s chicken, scratch that people riding on this thing.

And then we had tens of thousands of consults where we literally just threw the, in the papers into our recycle, you know, our secured recycle area. And I was like, Why are we not figuring out how the customer got to us, why we lost the customer or whether we could have helped them in a different way? Keeping data points, keeping contact with them, you know, and Andrea was just [00:33:00] magical it making that all come to fruition.

Um, and so when we got more virtual. Uh, in that aspect, when we got more to where we could serve the customer from their office or from their home, when they’re raising their kids, what we found is yes, we had a downtime, you know, in the first part of COVID because the courts were closed. But what we found is we could solve problems.

In other areas we could set up, uh, alternative mediation solutions, private judges, um, situations where we can. Do zoom hearings, zoom conferences. Uh, and I think everyone knows these things. These aren’t unique to the business, but what, what was unique is that, okay, now that COVID has kind of reared its ugly head and we’re starting to learn how to develop better with it and deal with it better.

Do we go back to the way it was? I kept hearing, you know, let’s, when are we going to get back to normal? You know, and what I would say is. I think that the greatest thing that has ever happened with the COVID process is it made entrepreneurs and business people. Who’ve done the same things for a long [00:34:00] time, rethink the way they work their business.

Uh, it made them be innovative again and get new systems and, do a little homework because you had a little free time and what I would say. Free time with entrepreneurs, you go two different directions. You can either get very comfortable in the fact that you’ve been successful financially and you get bored.

Right. And so you just kinda sit around and stare at the computer screen and don’t think of ways to evolve. So what I would encourage if you’re that kind of person, because I have. That tendency. Sometimes you get, get somebody like an Andrea that literally kicks you in your backside. Samantha, that literally keeps, keeps you organized and enforces things.

You know, those are, those are what I talk about. The people doing those. Those are the specifics of that. You know, we all have highs and lows as an entrepreneur. You, you, you have moments where you wake up and you just don’t want to go into the office. You don’t want to perform, you know, and you have to kind of put a smile on and fake it, you know, through your, through the day, analyze what’s causing.

You know, because if you’re not challenged, it may be just a situation of, of, of pipeline. Like you’re [00:35:00] just not busy enough in your pipeline, but staying busy is not making you successful. In my opinion, you know, with respect to COVID and all the things that we’ve done. Staying busy was, was really not an option in certain days because you didn’t have courts.

I mean, it changed our entire system. So we reevaluate, how do we get back customer facing and how do we solve their problems without the courts? And that’s why we had a down quarter just trying to solve those problems. But what we learned was now that we have, you know, the, our new marketing tools, our new platforms, our new constant contact, our new ways to reach out to the customer We became a lot more engaged with them.

It was a lot more, in my opinion, eyeopening because you now you now know a lot more about them, cause you’re talking to them on the phone more often. Uh, you’re not just running over to a courthouse every 10 minutes. And it, we found that that was actually an evolution of our business in a good way.

And I think the one thing that many businesses forget is the easiest client. If you’re looking for new clients, Stop looking [00:36:00] for the new client. Look for the client that you already have many, many businesses forget that retention. It’s the low-hanging fruit. And we’d changed that. And Mary, you were a big part of that in sending out amazing blog content.

We interviewed Justin and once every four to six weeks about different topics that we think are important or that, that are searched for a lot. And then we put good content out that all of our clients potential leads existing clients for clients receive. And then Mary is amazing and writing does getting Dustin’s thoughts on paper.

And we send that out and people stay really engaged and they’re forward that information to somebody else. So they might’ve gone through divorce already and are done with that. And we’re a client, but now they constantly get blocks. For example, how to protect yourself in a divorce. When do I ask for divorce?

That is not applying to them anymore. They have a friend and therefore with the blog to somebody else. So, and then somebody else has the information and it’s not, we don’t think about this as a tool to constantly get new clients. But at the same time, we stay in front [00:37:00] of people and they get good information from us for free doesn’t cost, anything for free, good information they can share with others.

And if, hopefully they don’t. But if they come into a family law situation where they need a good lawyer, they remembered. Oh, wow. Three months ago, I read this article. That was amazing. What was the name again? And I go back to this firm. So I think that’s retention. Look at retention. Don’t always look for a new client.

Look at who you already have and how we can create more business there. Yeah, Mary, just on that final point to on the podcast itself, um, you know, when we look at why, why are you doing a podcast? Is it to hear yourself? The answer is no. What, what I, what I wanted to share with anyone who listens is okay, I can tell you and teach you some things about divorce and our strategy and how we, how we deal with these things.

But one of the things that makes happy people and unhappy world is, Talking through these issues together, how do we do business? And when you’re going to hear on this podcast, that coming up, we’re going to walk through specifics of a divorce, how we divide up assets, how we value, uh, and [00:38:00] we’ll, we’ll really get down into the weeds of some of that stuff, but we’re also gonna talk to you about just kind of.
The mental health professionals, how, how you can get outside of your box, how you can become entrepreneurial, how you can stay involved and engaged as a business, how you can help with your health, uh, and all these things. We’re just doing this life together and, the main reason. I really am inspired by what we’re doing now is, you know, when we talk on these blogs and Mary does all this, right.
I’m just fascinated. I sit there and go, how does she put that together? How did she come up with, you know, an organized, you know, sometimes when I’m all over the place, how does he put that in a train of thought? And I think that when we really fundamentally look at the definition of entrepreneur and why it ties into all businesses of what you do, I think what you find is you exploit those great things, uh, about what you’re doing in life.

You bring your family dynamic to the office, you bring your, you know, health and wellness, uh, your business aspect. And that’s what makes you a great entrepreneur. [00:39:00] You’re excited. You’re fired up. You’re ready to roll and you’re ready to get after it. And every day you wake up, you go, mine my day sometimes now, or what problems are getting thrown at me.

But you know, the other days I’m like, man, I, I think we’ve really getting on top of some of these things and I, and I’m really proud of. The teams that we’ve put together, and I’m really proud of doing these podcasts and, and I’m really proud of the content that we’re creating, because I do believe I’ve had some compliments from, from customers that St man, it was just really nice to just hear you talk just real and read some of your blogs and you know, not be this, you know, Uber.

Lawyer or whatever you call yourself, just really, it was just helpful. And Andrea and Mary and those kind of people, I think, as an entrepreneur, it’s not about just advertising. Advertising, gets the people in the door. And if you don’t have substance to the advertising, you don’t have a process in place.

You’re literally going to get overwhelmed with a pipeline of business that you can’t serve, and you will not be effective in any business that you ever start. So I think going at it backwards of looking at what your core human values are and then what the [00:40:00] customer is looking at. And then as you grow, how do we advertise?

How do we expand? How do we put processes in place? That’s an evolution and, you know, Coca-Cola and apple and all these other companies may have. Really done because they’ve got the luxury of lean and all these systems out there, but there’s a lot of entrepreneurs, small business, especially around us and throughout the us and globally that are just trying to figure out how to make payroll, just trying to figure out how to feed their kids, uh, and grow their business.

And we’re going to really touch on a lot of that throughout these segments. Um, and I like to intertwine the entrepreneurial aspect of it, to what we’re doing, because I think it’s, it’s mission-critical and there’s a lot of pieces. I think that’s a really good way to wrap up today too. And I mean, definitely, what we’re here to do in this podcast is to provide value to the people that are listening.

So if anybody has any ideas or they want to learn more about a specific topic related to family law or entrepreneurship, please let us know in the comments. We’d also love it. If you followed and shared this podcast, and if you [00:41:00] want to get ahold of the size more law form, you can certainly contact us at 8 1 7 3 3 6.4 4, 4, 4, or visit our [email protected] Thanks so much for listening in today and have a great day. Thank you for listening to In Your Best Interest with Texas divorce attorney and entrepreneur, Justin Sisemore, the content presented here is provided for information only and should not be construed as legal tax or financial advice.

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