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Melissa Shanahan

#205: Deconstructing Rocks: An Example Break Down with Jim Hart

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This week, Melissa is speaking to Mastery Group member Jim Hart. Jim is a trademark lawyer and founder of The Hart Law Firm, where he works exclusively with online business owners, coaches, freelancers, and other entrepreneurs to help them take legal ownership of their brand by securing Federal Trademark protection.

On this episode, Melissa is taking the opportunity to touch base with Jim on his quarterly Rocks. Examining your goals sounds easy and straightforward, but is often more challenging than you might think. You’ll hear what it’s like to break down and deconstruct your Rocks to gain complete clarity around what’s truly possible in a quarter. 

Listen in this week as Jim dives into his Rocks with Melissa. You’ll discover the primary projects Jim is working on this quarter, how Melissa helps him break them down into workable chunks, and the keys to better quantifying what you can really get done in your allotted time.

If you're a law firm owner who's thirsty for figuring out exactly what you're aiming for and making a really well thought out, deliberate strategic plan to get there, and then having accountability and coaching along the way so that you can really honor your plans, then join us in Mastery Group.

Show Notes:

What You’ll Discover:

The three Rocks Jim is primarily working on.

What developing specific Rocks looks like.

How Melissa helps her clients break down their Rocks.

Why it’s vital to think about your Rocks as a stack, even if it might not map out perfectly.

How to assess your working time for making your Rocks a reality.

Featured on the Show:

Create space, mindset, and concrete plans for growth. Start here: Velocity Work Monday Map.

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Join the waitlist for our next Monday Map Accelerator, a 5-day virtual deep-dive event.

Jim Hart: Website | YouTube | Instagram | Podcast

Jim's DIY Trademark Playbook






Atticus Advantage

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Full Episode Transcript:

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I’m Melissa Shanahan, and this is The Law Firm Owner Podcast, Episode #205.

Welcome to The Law Firm Owner Podcast, powered by Velocity Work. For owners who want to grow a firm that gives them the life they want. Get crystal clear on where you're going, take planning seriously, and honor your plan like a pro. This is the work that creates Velocity.

Melissa Shanahan: Welcome to this week's episode, everyone. I'm here with Jim Hart. I'm very excited to have him on because he's coming to us all the way from Portugal. Hi.

Jim Hart: Hi. Good to be here.

Melissa: I'm so glad you're here. Tell everybody a little bit about yourself, your practice areas, why you live in Portugal; that's amazing. Just a little bit about you and your business and your life.

Jim: I am a trademark lawyer. Well, I should say I'm a long-suffering former family law attorney who shut down my family law firm at the end of 2021 and spent the next six months packing up our family and selling everything we had and moving to Portugal. We moved to Portugal last July.

I had already been doing trademarks in my law practice, but we basically made the decision, or I made the decision, last August to go head on into trademark law and just make that the focus of my law practice. And so that's all we do now, is just trademarks.

We do help some people with LLCs, setting up those, mostly for people that are hiring us for trademarks. But we do occasionally do some one-offs. And we do some contract work here and there. But that's like a handful of clients. Most of my clients are trademark clients. And that's basically what we do from Portugal.

Melissa: Nice. Yeah, from Portugal. And when did you move to Portugal?

Jim: We moved to Portugal at the end of July 2022 after going through the whole visa process. It's interesting, because there's a lot of expats that are here that really despise the United States. And that's kind of tough for my wife and I, because we don't hate the United States. We loved living United States, and we probably are going to go back to the United States at some point.

We really came here because we were trying to expose the kids to; we have three children. We're trying to expose the kids to a new lifestyle, to a new language; we wanted them to become fluent in another language; and living something in a way that is a little bit different than the way we live in the United States. And seeing how that goes.

Also, it's a great stepping off point to travel all over Europe. Since we've been here, we've been to Rome. We've been to Madrid. We've been to, as I was telling you, the Azores Islands in the Atlantic. And next week, we're going to London. So, that is a big reason why we came here, because we can use our residency here to travel throughout Europe and see a lot of other things.

Melissa: Oh, I think that's so great. I shared with you, at some point I think, my husband and I, we went on our honeymoon to Portugal. So, we did Lisbon, Porto. We didn't quite have time to do much more than that. I really wanted to go south to Algarve. But the time of year didn't totally make sense for that. So, gosh, we fell in love with Portugal. What a cool place. It was pretty great.

Jim: It’s fun. People are great, the food's good. Yeah, it's great. But the language is hard.

Melissa: You did mention a little bit ago, before we started recording, that when you went to the Azores, that you're a vegetarian so that was tough. We actually found it tough to eat a lot of vegetables in Lisbon. I can't remember if Porto was a little better or not. And I remember someone asking for a salad, and they were like, “There's lettuce on your plate.”

Jim: Yeah. How long ago was that?

Melissa: That was 2017.

Jim: Okay. It's interesting because we went to a vegan/vegetarian restaurant close to us. And when we went there, we were talking to them about that. And they actually mentioned to us, we're like, “We're surprised. We didn't think there was going to be that many vegetarian friendly options.” And they said, “You'd be amazed, in the last five years it has exploded in Lisbon.” Specifically in Lisbon. If you go out into the country, it's harder.

But in Lisbon, in particular, there's a lot of restaurants that are trying to become more modern and do more than just the traditional Portuguese dishes, which is typically a piece of meat and potatoes or like boiled vegetables or something. So, there's places that are kind of moving outside of that's that comfort zone. And so, it hasn't been hard for us. It hasn't been hard.

Melissa: Very cool. Very cool. Well, we decided to have you on today… Thank you for agreeing to do it. You are a Mastery Group member, and every quarter we set Rocks. This gives us a chance, you and I, to touch base on your Rocks a bit for the upcoming quarter. And then also, start to break down a Rock, deconstruct a Rock is what we call it.

The reason I wanted to do an episode like this with someone, and so thank you for volunteering for this, was that I think it's hard for people to break down their Rocks. It sounds like it should be pretty straightforward and easy, but when it's your own stuff, it's a little bit harder. So, I thought it'd be a good example of me getting to walk someone through it, or just help them think through it, might help other people too.

Alright, so the Rocks you want to focus on… I know you're still determining them. When we we’re recording this, we're almost to the end of Q1 but we're not there yet. So, you have some more things you want to think through with planning. But there are a couple of Rocks that you're fairly certain that you want to make headway on over the next quarter.

Jim: I would say so yes.

Melissa: Why don't you share with everyone what those are. It sounds like the second one's fuzzier than the first, so we can talk through that and get it really specific.

Jim: Yeah, so I probably have three Rocks in particular that I'm interested in. But the two primary Rocks, for right now, are number one, I want to finish my book. I've got a first draft of a trademark book and I really want to finish that. And then number two, is I really want to start developing some referral relationships with people, and build kind of what you would call a “Top 20 List”. I used to be in Atticus and that's what they called them, a “Top 20 List”. So, I really want to nail down that “Top 20 List”.

And then, the third Rock, if we have time, but we probably won't, is really to start developing and building out my podcast for the law firm. I track where everybody comes. Recently I had somebody hire me, and I asked them where they found me, and they said from my podcast. I was like okay, so I need to start doing more with the podcast. Because with most people it's YouTube, YouTube, YouTube. I've got a big YouTube channel. But that was nice. So, that will be the next one.

Melissa: That's so good. Okay, the first is one finish the book. Second one, if we were going to get that really specific… For everyone listening, when members or private clients, when they select their Rock, it needs to be very specifically stated so that it's clear what they're on the hook for essentially, to finish. So, what would you say are some ideas, or talk around a little bit, what would it look like to be finished with the project around developing the referral list?

Jim: I think I would have a list of 20; I already have a list of 20 names. But I would have a list of 20 names of people… This is so broad. I'm fairly confident that they will be good referral sources for me, or at least have the potential to be good referral sources to me. Because you never really know, until you get to know somebody and start meeting with them if they're going to be a referral source, until they've actually referred your business.

So, I would say, number one, really get very specific with the names that are on that list. And look through each of those people intentionally and say, “Is this somebody who is going to help refer me business or not?” Because if it's not, someone's going to refer me business, it's okay to leave them on the list but I don't think it's going to be helpful, in terms of building a referral relationship.

Melissa: So, is the objective to weed out that 20 list, so that it may be less than 20 but it's a high-quality list? Or is it to get 20 high-quality people on a list for yourself?

Jim: I'd say it's to get 20 high-quality referral sources on a list. If we have a full quarter, I would say, schedule an initial virtual coffee meeting or lunch meeting with all of them; I can't control that. So, I would say, contact every single one of them to schedule coffees or lunches.

Melissa: I mean, are these 20 that you do have, are they vetted? Like, you know that they already are high quality?

Jim: No, I think that's part of the process, is to build that list and start pruning it. I might start with a list of 20, but as I go through that list, I might say, “Okay, well, this person is really never going to… I mean, they might refer me business, but it's only going to be dumb luck.” Right? That they have somebody call them about a trademark that they can't handle.

Melissa: Let's just say hypothetically, you start vetting this list of 20, you get it down to 12 that's actually high quality, and then you need to fill eight spots.

Jim: I need to fill eight spots. Yeah.

Melissa: Okay, so the thing that you're on the hook for is to have a list of 20 high-quality referral sources by the end of the quarter.

Jim: Yes.

Melissa: Okay. So, it's good you have a starting place with the list, currently. You'll weed them out. Perfect. Okay, so that's Rock number two. The first Rock is “finish book”. Which, that does sound really specific, and it is, but how do you know when you're done?

Jim: Done is, it is published on Amazon as a Kindle book. Take that back. It's published on Amazon as a physical book. I'm also going to have a Kindle book. But maybe we don't have the Kindle book as part of this Rock. But I'd say the physical book. And the reason why it's important that it be a physical book is because I want to be able to send a copy, or copies, of that book to every single person on my “Top 20 List”. But they kind of go hand-in-hand.

Melissa: I have never published a book on Amazon before, so I have no idea what this entails. Do you feel like this is doable in a quarter?

Jim: I have done it before. Yes, I think it's doable because I've already written the book. So, now we just have to edit the book. And once we edit the book, I need to have a designer design a cover. And then, we basically upload it to Amazon, and it's live. So, that's basically it. And then, create the listing. You have to draft the description, all that stuff.

There's a number of things that go into it. I'd say that what's going to take more time than anything is going to be the editing. Because I'll probably do a lot of the initial editing, but then I'll probably send it to an editor, or at least a line editor, to go through and make sure I've got the grammar right and things like that. There's a lot of moving parts there, yes.

Melissa: Well, okay, so this is good. So, the first Rock is “published the physical book on Amazon”. That's Rock #1. And all these, for everyone listening, there's an implied deadline of the end of the quarter. Sometimes people will self-impose a sooner deadline, because it's just not going to take all quarter, and they're not going to just allow it to run through. But there is a deadline here of the quarter. So, publish a physical book on Amazon.

Jim: Which is a perfect deadline for me, because we're coming back to the States, for a month, at the end of June. So, it's like, okay, we need to get this done before I come back to the United States.

Melissa: Okay, that's great. And then, have a list of 20 high-quality referral sources. That's the second Rock.

Jim: That's the second Rock.

Melissa: Okay, let's go back to the first step. Normally, what I would have you do, which you already kind of did, which is great, is give me the rough outline of the steps that need to be accomplished. One, you already said, is editing the book. The second, is hiring a designer to design the cover of the book, or get the cover of the book design. The third, I missed, can you say the third again? And then, create a listing is the fourth.

Jim: I probably need to hire an editor to do line editing.

Melissa: Well wait, that goes with editing, right?

Jim: Oh, well, I said I need to do the initial edits. I'm going to go through and reread it to make sure that I've got everything where I want it to be, like the sections mapped out the way I want them to be mapped out. And just do initial run through them to make sure that all the editing is… The structure of the book is where I want it to be.

Melissa: Stay with me, because I may have missed something. When you were telling me sort of the bullets, there's ‘edit’ is one step. It's probably going to take the longest, you said.

Jim: Initial edit.

Melissa: And then, design the cover.

Jim: Yes. And those are not necessarily in order. I can do those in parallel.

Melissa: Okay, initial edit, design cover. The third one is?

Jim: I would say hire a line editor, or at least have my wife; my wife's much better at grammar than I am. At least have my wife go through it and do an edit.

Melissa: And then, I have “create listing”.

Jim: And then, create the listing. And I'd say also, along with that, is I purchased, a while back, a self-publishing course on how to market and create the book and stuff. And so, I want to go through that also, because that might give me some tips and things that I need to be thinking about.

Melissa: Okay. Now, essentially, we have five chunks of this project, of getting the book published on Amazon. Chunk #1 is the initial edits. Chunk #2, and these may not, like you said, they might not have to go in this order, but these are the things that need to get done; design the cover, or get the cover designed. Hire a line editor. So, have the book edited by the editor. Create the listing. And then, also go through the self-publishing course.

Jim: Yeah, to make sure I’m not missing anything. Yeah, I would say so.

Melissa: Okay, so when you think about where you're going to start, where are you going to start? Are you going to start with the designer or the initial edit?

Jim: I'm probably going to start with the initial edit, and see how far away we are from getting to actual publication.

Melissa: Okay. And so, this is what I do when I'm helping people, is break down chunk one, like, what are the things you're going to need to think about or get done in order for initial edits to be complete?

Jim: So, I'd say I probably am going to need to cut the book down from where it's at right now, to about 80% of where it's at right now. Because I'm thinking the other 20% is just fluff. I mean, when I first wrote the draft, I just wanted to get out 50,000 words, and that was the goal. So, I did that in the first quarter. Now, it's just a matter of going through that and editing.

What I put on my calendar is the recurring task to spend an hour a day editing the book. So, just sit down, put a timer on, edit for an hour, see how long it takes me, and then do that for a week. And then, once I'm done, kind of figure out, okay, how much longer is this going to take me to get done?

Melissa: Okay, that's good. All right. So, cut down the book by 80%...

Jim: No, by 20%.

Melissa: Or by 20%. And then what else, in your initial edit part of this project? Is there anything else that you're going to do?

Jim: Yeah, like I said, just organize the book into sections, and try and make sure there's a good flow. It's meant to be more of a resource, as opposed to like a novel that you'd read straight through. I want it to be helpful to potential clients and referral sources.

Melissa: Okay. So, cut the book down by 20%. Organize the book into sections, and make sure it has a good flow. If those three things are accomplished, are your initial edits done?

Jim: I would say so, yes.

Melissa: Okay. When you think about cutting the book, you said one hour a day, so at least five hours. And you can decide at that point if you need more, but at least five hours of time on cutting the book down, right?

Jim: Yeah.

Melissa: Do you also think that organizing the book into sections and making sure it has a good flow, there's a chance that it fits in those five hours or no, that's not what you're planning?

Jim: Yeah, no, no, I think that all goes together. And my hope, is that I can get all the edits done within six weeks. So, what's that? Thirty hours? I'm hoping that I can do that. Because the rest of the stuff, I think is going to be easier, I’ll put it that way. Because there’s a lot of outsourcing.

Melissa: Okay. Good. So, 30 hours or six weeks, about an hour a day. All right. Yeah. That's great. Okay, now we're going to go to the second chunk, which was designing the book cover. So, tell me what that would entail for that to be complete? What are the steps there?

Jim: I would say for this initial book cover, ‘I'm good’ is better than perfect. So, it might be as easy as me going on Canva and finding a template design and just getting something out. Or potentially, Fiverr, I think. With the last book I did, I used Fiverr. And that actually worked out, okay. So, it's either going to be going on Canva, looking to see if there's any designs that I could use. And/or, and I'm probably going to go with the second option, now that I'm thinking about it, is hire somebody from Fiverr.

Because the reason I say that, is because there's actually designers on Fiverr who specialize in doing covers for Amazon books, for self-published books, because they have to meet certain criteria, right? They have to have the spine, and the back has to have certain things on it. And so, it has to meet certain criteria. It's not just a matter of designing an image.

Melissa: So, basically, you go on Fiverr. Do you need to do some research to find the person that you want to hire or no, you just…?

Jim: Probably not that much. I’ll probably pick two or three, and maybe hire three, and then pick the one that I like the best, is probably what I'll end up doing. Because it's so inexpensive.

Melissa: And how much time do you think it'll take you to get the job posting together?

Jim: Oh, I mean, it's not even a posting. You're just going on and doing a search and saying, “Okay, I'm going to hire this person, this person, and this person.”

Melissa: You need to give them information, for them to do well, right?

Jim: Yes. I'm going to have to draft a bio for the back cover, probably.

Melissa: Okay, this is what I'm talking about.

Jim: I'll have to draft some stuff like that.

Melissa: Okay, let's talk through that. What are those steps? So, draft bio.

Jim: I have to draft a bio. I'll have to have a headshot for the back of the book. I'm probably not going to put an image of me on the front of the book. But I already know what the name is, so I've got the name. And then, I think that's pretty much it. I mean, I have to go back and look at most books, but I think that's about it.

Melissa: Well, in terms of the art, do you give them any direction? Not really?

Jim: I’ll probably look at the ones that people have already done and kind of get a sense of, ‘I like the style, I don't like that style’, type of thing.

Melissa: Do you care about colors and stuff?

Jim: I mean, yes, I do. But I also like to give whoever I'm hiring some artistic liberty. I mean, I'll tell them I like blues and greens, and they can kind of go with it.

Melissa: All right, so you got to draft the bio, make sure you have a good headshot, and then take a few minutes to just package this information up so that they can run, right?

Jim: Yeah. And typically, what they'll do, is they'll say things like, “Okay, give me your bio. It needs to be this number of words. Give me any other images that you want.” I think the only other thing I would need is, I need to make sure I get an ISBN number. So, I don't know how to do that.

Melissa: Ooh, okay, so research.

Jim: I need to get an ISBN number, that I would need to give them to put on the back cover.

Melissa: Okay, so research and get ISBN number.

Jim: Like an initial price that's going to be on the back. I guess those are things that need to happen.

Melissa: Okay, initial price. Talk to me about how long you want to give yourself to get the research and get the ISBN number? How long you want to give yourself for that?

Jim: A day, an afternoon, a couple hours. It shouldn't take that long.

Melissa: I'll put two hours for that.

Jim: I think the course that I purchased, I think it includes stuff like that. So, I'll just follow whatever it says in the course.

Melissa: Okay. Great. Initial pricing on back. That doesn't take a lot of time, it’s just something you have to include, right?

Jim: Yeah, I just have to decide what I'm going to price that. Probably like $19.99 or something.

Melissa: So, draft your bio, how long do you need to do that?

Jim: Not that long. I've already got sample bios that I can use.

Melissa: What's “not that long” mean, like 15mins. or 30mins.?

Jim: An hour.

Melissa: Okay, one hour. Headshot, you've got somewhere, or do you?

Jim: Yeah, I've got headshots I can use. At least for this, I'm not going to go out and hire a photographer to do all that stuff. Not at this point.

Melissa: Good deal. Okay, so research and get the ISBN number, I have two hours down for that. Decide on the price, that probably won't take you too long, right?

Jim: Five minutes. I’ve already set it, probably $19.99 is what I’m going to do.

Melissa: So maybe, and this is just really giving cushion, like 3½ hours to get this person rolling with whatever they need. Okay, that's good. And then, let's say they do their work, and when they come back to you, is it pretty quick, like the turnaround time?

Jim: Usually, it's like a couple days. They might ask for some edits and I’ll decide on one.

Melissa: So, really thinking through the time it's going to take for you giving feedback on edits and things, how long do you think you should account for?

Jim: Less than a week, I'd say a week.

Melissa: But your time involved in providing edits back and offering feedback?

Jim: Oh, an hour, another hour.

Melissa: Okay, so 3½ hours up front, maybe one hour on the back end of the design? And then, we go to hire line editor.

Jim: Yep. Will also go to Fiverr for that, or Upwork, and just see if I can find somebody that's willing to do that.

Melissa: All right, how long do you want to give yourself to actually sit down and focus on that?

Jim: Two hours.

Melissa: Anything else up front that you really need to do for them?

Jim: No, I would say have the manuscript ready for them is going to be the biggest thing.

Melissa: Which that will already be done. Your initial edits will take care of that, right? And then, how much time after they do their work, how much time do you think you'll need?

Jim: So, that's the question. The question is, how long is it going to take them to do the work? And that's probably an unknown, I don't know. I'm going to look for somebody who can get it back in like a week or two; probably, two. I'm hoping that can happen. If they come back and they're like, “This is going to take me a month,” then that's going to throw a wrench in things. But maybe I'll find somebody else.

Melissa: Okay. So, after let’s say two weeks, if you can find someone to do it two weeks, if they could do that, then how much time do you need, do you think, for back and forth? If any?

Jim: I don't think there's going to be a lot of back and forth. Because at that point, they're doing their thing. I mean, they're just going through and editing for grammar and things like that, which I'm horrible at. And then I would say, probably another week after that, for me to just do the final formatting of the book. And maybe I can have the line editor to do that, too. I don't know if they can do that. Or maybe I can find somebody else, who is good with Scrivener, who can do the final formatting? That might be what I do.

Melissa: Okay. When you think about your time invested in finding the person, making sure they've got what they need, etc., for the final formatting, how long do you think you'll need to spend?

Jim: Again, like two or three hours? It's really just a matter of finding somebody who can do it. And I have to go to probably Upwork or Fiverr for that because it's a one-off project.

Melissa: And quick turnaround time, do you think?

Jim: I hope.

Melissa: Okay. And then, creating the listing, talk about that.

Jim: I could probably do that ahead of time. I can do that at any time. So that'll just take, let's say, an afternoon. So, probably four hours, just because I'm not sure what I'm doing and I need to make sure I'm doing it the right way. It’s been a while since I've done them.

Melissa: Let's talk about going through the self-publishing course. Do you have any idea how long that course is?

Jim: I don't think it's that long. I don't have it in front of me, I have it on my task list. I don't think it's terribly long. I think it's like two or three, one-hour long videos type of thing. It's like an intro class, it's not like a full-blown thing.

Melissa: Okay. Is your preference to watch that upfront, before you really dig into all of this, so that you know what’s in there and what's available to you?

Jim: I think I'll probably, maybe, edit for a week and then do the course. Only because I don't want to get burned out on the editing. So, I’ll probably try to break it up, just kind of throw it in there. Or maybe just do an hour, twice a week while I'm in the process of editing. Because I think a lot of what the course teaches, it also talks about the marketing and things. But also, I think it's intended more for people who are writing fiction; to try and make money off of it. And that's not my goal.

My goal is not to make money off this book. My goal is to have this as a resource that people can use, and then, hopefully, ideally, come back to me and say, “We want to hire you to be our attorney.” So, it's more like a glorified business card for my referral sources and prospective clients. I'm not looking to sell the book for money.

Melissa: Yep, that makes sense. Now that we've kind of been through these steps, we have one week of editing, your initial edits, then you're going to focus on the course for a bit, just to break some things up. Essentially, you would then have five weeks left of editing, if you were giving yourself the 30 hours. So, five weeks left of editing.

Now, all along there, is there anything that we've covered, that feels like it's important to do in that same window? So, creating the listing, maybe that can wait ‘till after editing is done. I mean, they can be designing the cover while you're doing that, right?

Jim: I could be doing the cover while people are doing the line editing and the formatting.

Melissa: Okay. So basically, after the five weeks, getting your initial edits done is the thing that's the biggest focus.

Jim: That’s the biggest the biggest focus, by far.

Melissa: So then, you will have that done in, technically, seven weeks? Because you're going to take a break in there to look at the course and get all that done.

Jim: Yeah, let’s call that. Which gives me five weeks left.

Melissa: So, seven weeks. Exactly, five weeks left. And then, there's like 3½ hours upfront, and that was being generous. 3½ hours up front to set up the designer. Choose the designer, set them up, because you need to get the ISBN number; there's things to do.

So, we map those things out. You're not looking at what I'm looking at, normally, I have this on a big whiteboard in front of us. But those things were, draft the bio, get your headshot, determined initial pricing, research and get ISBN number, package up that information, pass it along; 3½ hours, max.

And then, maybe an hour, post design, for some back and forth and wrapping things up. So, that designing stuff is about four and a half hours. However, that's fast turnaround. So, that can be done in a week. All right, now we're down to four, four weeks left in the quarter or weeks. Now, in that same week that you're going to do the designing, do you also want to find a line editor?

Jim: Probably. I feel like this is going to be one of those things where if I get those initial edits done, and then we're moving forward, we're going to be pushing a lot of stuff in on the back end. So, there's going to be a lot going on.

Melissa: Yeah, that's the reason, and this is for everybody listening too. The reason you want to think of it this way, it's not going to map out perfectly like this, but you do want to think of the stack. And you want to think about how much time is required for you to actually make that possible.

So, let's say you do want to cram everything in in a week. Are you going to stick to your hour-a-day in giving attention to this? Or are you going to ramp that up and decrease your work on, legal work for example, or marketing? Something's going to give. Maybe that means your family is going to give, I don't know, right? But this is the stuff that's important to think through so you know what to expect as you start to hit these phases.

Jim: Yeah, maybe I rent an Airbnb for a weekend and just go away and do it all.

Melissa: Cool! Do that. That sounds fun. Yeah.

Jim: My wife will love that. She’ll be like, “What did Melissa tell you to do?”

Melissa: Okay, and then, if you didn't go rent an Airbnb, this is kind of how it be spaced out. You could totally cram this in and do it any way you want. But it is important to see about how much time is going to be required of you in these processes. Because people always underestimate it. Sometimes they overestimate it, but they're never even close unless you think through it like this. This is really good.

Okay, so once you push design, push getting the line editor working, you're hoping that you can find someone who can get you back in two weeks the final product from editing. There's going to be final formatting, you're going to need to tee up somebody for that. So, as soon as you get back, I guess, what the line editor has worked on then you'll pass it to the guy or woman who's going to do final formatting. And while they're working, you can create the listing. You said that would take you about four hours.

Jim: Yeah, it's probably not even that long.

Melissa: And then, that's it. Anything else you can think of?

Jim: The only other thing I’ll have to do is file a copyright application; you usually do that for books. I don't do it for much, but I do do it for books. So again, that takes like an hour. And you can't do it until you have the final product anyways.

Melissa: So, this should be on your list. If you think about breaking this down, so it's all in front of you on a piece of paper, then that's just a step. It may be the final step, but that's how you know it's done, maybe. Anything else that you could think of that needs to be in talked about or done?

Jim: No, not that I can think of.

Melissa: Okay. This is great. I mean, essentially, your working time, and this doesn't include the windows that people are going to be working, this is just your attention, is we have 30 hours total for editing, is what your best prediction would be. So, about 30 hours for editing, 4½ hours with design, and then 5 hours with the line editor and file formatting. So, that's 39.5 hours.

Creating the listing is 4 hours; that’s 43.5 hours. One hour for filing copyright application. So, that’s 44.5 hours; 45 hours. And then, going through the course, maybe 3 hours. So, that's 40 hours. So, about 50 hours, that's what I’m thinking. And that's good to know, because then you can start to think, “Am I crazy that this is going to get done in a quarter, or is this totally possible?” It just helps you quantify better. Facts not feelings, basically.

Jim: Yep. I think it's doable. I mean, I've done it before. So, I think I can do it. I found the editing is the hardest part, because you can edit forever. Like, you edit everything, and then you go back to do it again. And you can edit until you're blue in the face. So, you’ve got to say no, at some point. You can always update it; version 2.

Melissa: That's exactly right. Okay, this is good. I mean, we're at the top of the hour, I know we both need to run. But this is how you break down a project. It’s really thinking through it like this. Your other one's going to be easier, the list of high-quality 20 referrals. That'll be easier, and you'll just want to think through the steps.

Jim: It's also going to be harder, though, because I have to reach out to those people. And that's the hard part. Right? That's the part that people don't want to do, because they're nervous, and they're scared. And so, there's going to be some mental stuff with that. But especially if they're “cold” people, like people I've never talked to before.

Melissa: Yeah. Well, that's fair. You know, in Strategic Planning, we talk a lot about reminders. Like, what are you going to have to remember, keep top of mind, so that you stay on a good track. There's going to be something here.

You should think of something that you tell yourself every day, or you read every day, that's like, “Yep, this is what I'm doing. This is why I'm doing it. This is the vibe I'm going to have; I don't care what other people think.” There's going to have to be something there that will matter to you, or for you. That's for everybody.

Jim: I found it easier when I lived in the States, because I always did it first thing in the morning. And so, you couldn't really think about it. But here, I have to wait until the East Coast wakes up at least. And so, you find a reason to psych yourself out and say, “Oh I planned on making those calls today,” but I didn't.

Melissa: Oh, calls. Because you can schedule written communication, but calls; I see. Yeah.

Jim: When I'm initially reaching out to somebody, I like to call. I need just to just get over that, it's a mental thing. But I need to get over that because I know it's going to pay dividends, many times over, down the road.

Melissa: Do a video. They still get a taste of you, and if it's really specific to them... I don't know if you’ve used Dubb. I love Dubb. I use Dubb when I'm communicating one-on-one with clients.

Jim: Yeah, I have used it.

Melissa: I mean, just send a really warm message, and then you could follow up through written after that.

Jim: But see, I have to call them. I have to pick up the phone and dial the number and call them and talk to somebody.

Melissa: Why?

Jim: I just feel like it's easier to reach them the first time. It's so much easier for somebody to ignore an email than it is for them to… If you call and say, “Hey, this is Jim. I'm calling from The Hart Law Firm in Raleigh. I need to talk to such and such.” It gets the callback.

Melissa: I think you should test your assumptions. What if you sent a video first, gave a Calendly link, and said you're really looking forward to chatting with them about XYZ. And then, some people are going to schedule, because they're going to like the dancing GIF in the email; which is what Dubb does; I don't know if you remember that or not. It's not dancing, but it's a GIF in the email. And then, you could call people that didn't respond. What if you didn’t have to work that hard to get some of the initial stuff going?

Jim: Yeah, that's a good point. Well, I've got to get the list going first. I’ve got to get the list.

Melissa: Well, you have the list. You have a list.

Jim: I have a list, it's not targeted. It's a list of basically other people I know that I haven't talked to in a long time. But I really need to hone in and…

Melissa: Have them and then add to it.

Jim: And I need to make sure they're good potential referral sources, and that's the thing. Because I mean, ideally these people would refer me three, four, or five trademark clients a year. But if that's not something they're capable of doing, then they're not necessarily somebody I want to keep on the list.

Melissa: Right. And you're only really going to know once you do your best to vet them. Time will tell.

Jim: Yeah, that's right.

Melissa: So good. This is fun. Thanks for chatting. Thanks for sharing, just kind of walking into your Rock. And hopefully this is useful for you, thinking through the book writing.

Jim: Oh, absolutely. Eye opening.

Melissa: Yeah, yeah. Well, good. I'll see you on Mastery Group calls.

Jim: Yes. Thank you so much, Melissa. This is great.

Melissa: Thank you. Have a good day. Bye.

Jim: You too. Bye, bye.

Hey, you may not know this, but there's a free guide for a process I teach called Monday Map/ Friday Wrap. If you go to, it's all yours. It's about how to plan your time and honor your plans. So that, week over week, more work that moves the needle is getting done in less time. Go to to get your free copy.

Thank you for listening to The Law Firm Owner Podcast. If you're ready to get clearer on your vision, data, and mindset, then head over to, where you can plug into Quarterly Strategic Planning, with accountability and coaching in between. This is the work that creates Velocity.

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