How does someone with two advanced piano degrees and zero law degrees build a 7-figure trial consulting business?
In today’s episode of the FHTH podcast, I’m sharing seven secrets to my success so that you can apply them to your own business.
This is the kind of advice you won’t get anywhere else. I swear.
EPISODE 200 TRANSCRIPTION
It's our 200th episode. I can't believe it, and I would be remiss if I did not start this podcast with a huge thank you to all of my listeners. But for you, we would not be here. I started with no audience, but here we are with a huge audience and I hear from many of you nearly every week telling me about how much the podcast means to you, how much it's helped you, and I just cherish those emails. I thank you so much for listening. I hope that you always listen. I hope that I'm always here, talking in your ear, yelling at you. You guys feel like family. I hope that you feel like I'm your family. You're definitely my family. I'm hopefully your adopted Finnish mother who always is telling you like it is with love. But thank you, thank you, thank you for being here all the way through 200. If you just joined us and you haven't been here all the way, we welcome you too. I'm so glad you're here.
Well, I thought a good start or a good episode for this 200th episode is to talk about the 7 ways that I built a seven-figure business. So often people will ask me, well, more like they'll tell me, they'll be like, "It's amazing that someone who doesn't have a degree in law or a degree in communication," I have training in both. "could have done what you've done, build this thriving business." Now 7 figure business with three coaches that work for me and employees and all of the things. Oftentimes I get the question, "How did you do it?" Today I'm going to tell you how I did it. But if you're here for businessy stuff, like how to do your books and what accountant things you should do and what marketing techniques you should use, that's not what I'm going to talk about.
You can find that stuff pretty much anywhere. The things that I'm going to share with you today don't really follow that, but these 7 things I think are so, so important that I wanted to tell you about them in case you were looking to grow your business and take it to the next level.
The number one thing, number one that helped me build this business is I have always believed in myself.
I, when I started this podcast, was like, "I don't know who's listening to this. Nobody's listening to it." My mother wasn't even listening to it, right? Okay. My husband was listening to it. I'll give him that. But I knew that I had something to say and that there were people out there that needed to hear it. There were times I wanted to quit. Oh, there were times I wanted to quit, but I always knew that if I kept going that I would eventually get where I wanted to go.
Now, early on, I didn't even know where that was. If you would've asked me when I started my business over 20 years ago, where do you think you'll be? Do you think you'll be working with trial lawyers all around the United States? I would've been like, "Are you fucking crazy? What do I know about law?" That is not where I thought I was going. I was trained in non-verbal communication and body language. I knew I didn't want to do all the body language stuff and reading other people's body language because that's just a bunch of bullshit. You can't do it. But I knew I loved communication. I knew I loved helping people communicate, and I knew I loved helping people communicate in high-risk situations. Hello, this is a great fit. But I didn't know that back then. I just knew that I would find it when I found it and that I had something to say.
So that, I think, is so huge believing in yourself when there's tons of evidence, tons to the contrary, everybody and everything is telling you that this will never work. Look at my story. I have two advanced degrees in piano. The hell am I doing here? But now I have a thriving 7 figure business because I believed in myself. Don't let anybody or anyone tell you otherwise you have what it takes. How do I know that? Because if you believe it, then you do. The end. That's it. You just need to believe in yourself.
Number two, which is really, really important too, which is I took risks.
You cannot be a business owner without taking risks. Here's what I mean by that. Number one, you got to be willing to make mistakes, right? I've made so many mistakes. I've wasted so much money. I have made bad hires. All of the things. You have to be willing to go through that to find what actually works. There were times when probably my whole business career where I did things, I would say this is actually true most of the time to this day, that I would do things before I could afford them. I hired my first assistant before I could afford her. I got my first office before I could afford it. I hired this marketing team before I knew I could afford them and they're spendy. They're amazing, but they're spendy.
Why? Go back to number one. Because I believed in myself. So many business owners are waiting. They're waiting until they have enough money in the bank. They're waiting until someone comes and tells them that they have permission to do whatever big thing they want to do. They're waiting until they have the support of the people that love them and y'all, you don't need to wait. In fact, sometimes, most of the time, buying something I couldn't afford is what lit the fire into my ass to figure out how to afford it.
It created what I needed, which is this urgency to pay for the thing I knew I needed but couldn't afford right then in that moment. I've always done that because I knew the business needed it and I knew that I could make it work. One and two, work really closely together.
Number three is I niched down.
For me, and I think this can be true for you as well, stopping working with just any communicator, any speaker, politician, people on stage, trial lawyers and just saying, I work with trial lawyers and not just trial lawyers. I work with plaintiff trial lawyers and not just plaintiff trial lawyers, but plaintiff trial lawyers who want to go to trial. That's a tiny niche. Niche, niche, niche. I don't know. Sounds like a salad. Niche. I'm not sure. Anyway, that was the best decision I have ever made.
Not just because I love all y'all because I love all, I love my job, I love the law, I love trial, I love all the things, but it really made me a specialized individual. I remember speaking to a former client who said to me, kind of embarrassed, "I really like wrongful death." I was like, "Okay." And she's like, "I actually really wrongful death children cases, which nobody wants to take because they're so sad, but does that make me a horrible person or does that mean there's something wrong with me?" I'm like, "Hell no. That's awesome." Can you imagine if you niche down, niche down to that? Think about it. Do you want to call just whatever trial attorney in the Yellow Page? There's no Yellow Pages. What am I saying? On the internet? Or when you have a birth injury case or a wrongful death case for a child, are you going to go to the person that only does those cases?
Now, I'm not saying that all of you need to do this, but what I am saying that in my business at least, really focusing down and only working with plaintiff trial attorneys that go to trial and want to be the best, was the best decision I ever made for my business. It allowed me to focus. It allowed me to become specialized. It allowed me to learn and not have to learn all the things. Just learn what's really important to you all. Everything I read, everything I do, I bring to you. It allowed me to create community. It was the best thing.
So many business owners tried to do everything and everything well. It's not possible. It's literally not possible. We think if we say we do all the kinds of law, if we work with all kinds of people, that we'll get more business. We'll get less. The more specialized you are. I've spoken to more and more business owners about this. The more specialized you are, the more work you will get. Was it scary at first? Oh, hell yeah. Because I was giving up money that was easy to get and easy to do. I had to say no. Again, believe in myself, number one, in order to say yes to the stuff that I wanted to build and build it, I did. That was the thing that made my business take off. Number three was.
All right, number four is hiring.
I know that a lot of you have too many people on staff, so I don't want you to listen to this and go, "Oh, we need to hire more." I think you need to hire really judiciously. You need to hire so that you can operate in your zone of genius. If you are hiring just to hire because you think that's what plaintiff firms should look like. It should have two partners and three associates and that's what everybody else is doing. That's a reason for hiring. For me, I only hired what I needed and a little less and built that up in time. Now, when I have these coaches working for me, it's allowed me to scale because I can't be everywhere at once, and so training them to do the things that I used to do has been the best thing ever. And then all my H2H crew members in the playground get this added benefit of these other coaches as well.
For some of you who don't hire, part of it is because you're afraid of letting go. You want to control everything. You want to do it yourself. I had to let go when I sent these coaches and consultants out in the world because they're doing my work without me and I had to vet them and they're amazing and wonderful and I'm just every day so grateful for them. But hiring has been huge. It's been huge in hiring in my personal life. You heard me talk about this in the 10 Top Things That Make My Life Work podcast. I don't know if that was the name of it, but that was the gist. I hire. I hire housekeepers, I hire a personal assistant. The more that I don't have to do of that kind of stuff, the more I can specialized down and spend less time at work.
Why? When I'm super specialized, then it takes me less time to do all the things because I know what the hell I'm doing. But when I'm trying to do 100 different things, then I'm spending way too much time at work. Is this starting to sound familiar? Y'all are trying to do too much and spread out too wide. For me, hiring and niching down is really, really huge.
Number five, you heard me say it before. You've heard me say it again. I'm going to say it yet again. Coaching, coaching, and more coaching.
I've hired mindset coaches. I've hired business coaches. I've hired health coaches. I believe in coaching. I tripled my income in one year working with not my business coach, my mindset coach, because she helped me get the fuck out of my way. It was huge working with a coach. Then I tripled that within the next three years.
I'm telling you, coaching helps you recognize where your blind spots are. If you get a good coach, one that holds your agenda, one that makes you fix your own shit by them asking powerful questions instead of going to them and having them answer your questions because then that doesn't teach you shit. That's a huge difference. I will never not have a coach, if not several coaches. Coaching changed my life. It changed my business. It changed how I interact with all of you. It changed everything. I firmly believe that's why I have a thriving business because of my mindset coach. Also, the business coach and the health coach, but my mindset coach was the biggest thing that I did to turn everything around and get really clear about who I liked working with and what I like doing, and that's what coaching is going to do for you. It's going to help you find your zone of genius and show you where your blind spots are.
Number six, over 20 years nearly. Well, I think we're heading into 25 years now. One of the big things that I've done since the beginning is I took time off.
I see so many entrepreneurs who work themselves to death thinking that's what it takes to run a business. If you have a business that requires that you work in it 80 hours a week, then you do not have a healthy business. You just don't. You have too much overhead. You are trying too many new things at once. That was a big thing for me. We kept trying to sell so many. We sell like three things now, maybe. I think three things. We really also reduced the things that we sell. Taking that time off was so huge.
For me, for many years before I had my coaches at work with me now, I was the product. I was the service. I was the one that got on the plane and went and got on stage and got back on the plane, went to another stage. I was the one that flew to the law offices and did the trainings. I was the one that went and picked the juries. I was the service, the product. What sense does it make for the product not to be taking care of itself? I'm not an Energizer bunny. I cannot just hop to. I needed the time off so that I could be the best consultant speaker that I am and so do you. You guys work so hard and yet, once you get into trial, it's all you. You're the one giving the opening statement. You're the one conducting the voir dire. You're the one doing the direct on the cross.
You've got to take time off and restore. You cannot go against this law of nature. No one can go 100 percent of the time. You've got to step back, and so I'm putting this in as one of my top seven. I could have said a lot of things. This is in here for a reason. Taking regular time off. Kevin and I have always gone to Finland every other year for a month. In the 20 years we've been together. When he was working in kitchens, we took his job, he's like, "I'm gone every July for a month." They wanted him so bad because he's amazing that they're like, "Okay." And that's unheard of. But that was something we just deemed necessary for both of us from the beginning, and we do it now too. We're now up to like 12 weeks off a year. It's crazy. Crazy good.
Number seven, the last one and a good one is that I kept going.
Whatever your goal is, whatever it might be, the biggest mistake you can make is stopping and giving up. This is true for business. This is true for weight loss. This is true for a lot of things. My health coach, speaking of coaches, says that's the only way you can do this wrong, when she's talking about weight loss. The only thing you can do wrong in this program is to quit. When I went and overate a few weeks into my program this year, I came home and the old Sari would've been like, "Well, fuck it. I wasn't perfect, so I guess I'll just go back to my old ways." Instead, I said, "Okay, that was three days out of my life. So what? I've got the whole year to figure this out."
I got right back on the treadmill the next morning and right back on my food plan and I'm totally where I need to be now. Don't quit. You got to go back to number one. Believe in yourself. It may change, right? I didn't know that I would end up here. It wasn't the business that I believed in. It was me that I believed in, and when you believe in you, what that looks like down the road made change, what the context and what you're working in. But I know that when you believe in you and that you've got what it takes, the business will snap too. The opportunities will come because you're telling the universe that you're serious, that you're not going to quit until you create the life that you love, and that's exactly what I was able to do.
Believe in yourself, take risks, niche down, hire, get coaching, take time off, and keep going, is my advice to you.
Those of you who own your own businesses or want to start your own business, start your own law firm, whatever it may be. Again, I'm going to end this 200th episode with thanking all of my clients, all of my listeners. If you've never even given me a cent of your money, I still love you. That's not why I'm in this. If you're getting great benefit from the free content, you're so welcome to be here. I hope we can work together someday. Hope to see you in H2H Playground™, for example. But if that's not in the cards, I love you and I thank all of you for your support through the cancer journey, through all of it, because you are a huge part of my success. I look forward to the next 200 episodes. Thanks everybody.
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