Authentic Marketing with Valerie Fenchel

In this episode of Lawyer Business Advantage, we have a conversation with Valerie Fenchel, owner of Fenchel Family Law. Valerie shares how her authentic approach to business development and to running her firm drive the success of her marketing, including community service, networking, email newsletters and online marketing. Valerie’s approach is authentic. It’s sincere and genuine and vulnerable, and it’s incredibly effective.

Alay Yajnik: [00:00:43] Welcome to Lawyer Business Advantage, your source for biz dev tips, wisdom and inspiration. I’m your host, Alay Yajnik. We’re unleashing your inner rainmaker in 3…2…1….

[00:00:58] It’s my pleasure today to have Valerie Fenchel, the founder of Fenchel Family Law with us on Lawyer Business Advantage today. Valerie, thank you so much for joining us.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:01:07] Oh, thanks for having me. I’m really looking forward to this conversation.

Alay Yajnik: [00:01:10] Well, likewise, I’m super excited to have you on the podcast today. I remember the first time we actually work together on an event. It was on a speaking event for a fierce female founders in San Francisco, and it was great hearing how dynamic of a speaker you are. And also some of the great things you’re doing to build your own practice. So congratulations on all your success and moving forward checking today.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:01:35] Thanks, me too. That was a great event. And I look forward to hopefully having it next year with you as well.

Alay Yajnik: [00:01:40] Something I hear about a lot from potential clients. I was hoping you could shed some light on it. It’s around this idea of community service, of using community service for business development. And the thing that I always stress with my clients is that, you know, if you’re going to do that, you should really be looking to serve first and the business development opportunities, if any, that come out of that are just gravy. But you’re in a community service organization to serve. That’s just my perspective. But I know you’re really active in the Jewish community as the lead attorney for Shalom Byit’s pro-bono legal panel. The secretary of the Jewish Bar Association of San Francisco.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:02:21] I think all of the activities that I’ve been a part of, I do because I enjoy them. And I’ve kind of learned to experience the difference between doing activities solely for the purpose of hoping that they bring in business versus doing activities because I genuinely enjoy the people. I’m doing them with any passion about the cause. And when I’m passionate about a cause, I, you know, I’m much more excitedto do those activities. And I think it’s apparent to everyone I’m doing those activities with. So while I might not be doing the activity for the purpose of bringing in business, that seems to be the end result.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:03:03] I called off my wedding a couple years ago. When I did, I was really excited about the idea of helping other women, you know, be able to get divorced for free because I felt really privileged to be able to call off my wedding because I had, you know, a firm that was very successful financially where I didn’t feel tied to anyone in particular in order to have financial stability in my life. And it made me realize about, you know, there’s a lot of women. I see my practice and in general that don’t feel that same freedom, to get out of relationships. So I planned a fundraiser in order to raise money for this cause. Since I had a wedding that was already paid for to use as a venue and I didn’t think about it at the time. But by putting on this fundraiser where we luckily had 100 people attend and we were able to raise a bunch of money, and the end result was also kind of getting my name out there and having people recognize that I am somebody that deeply cares about helping others get out of unhappy relationships. And it was cool to have those kind of people that recognized that in me want me to help them get divorced or file restraining orders.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:04:17] As far as the Jewish community, involvement is kind of the same thing. I’ve always been passionate about helping women obtain restraining orders even if they can’t afford it. And Shalom Bayit is a non-profit through the Jewish Federation that helps support women in this situation. I think they provide free counseling, they provide housing and they asked me for advice on how they could provide free legal services. So I helped them create a pro-bono legal panel and got together a bunch of family law attorneys that were interested in providing pro bono work, even if it’s just like a free consult or something like that.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:04:55] And with the Jewish Bar Association, they got on board with putting on events. I think they got two so far in order to kind of spread awareness about this cause and get other attorneys involved. So, you know, my passion is to help this cause. I really love Naomi Tucker, the Executive Director of Shalom Bayit. I just think everything she does is absolutely fabulous. She does this program for teenagers to teach them about how to have healthy relationships. I just think everything she does is so cool and I really value it. So to be able to put all these events for her and get attorneys to provide pro-bono help for her feels great for me. But that as far as business development, you know, it’s it’s cool to be known as a community leader in this regard. And the result is, you know, it likely spread the name around in my firm and helps bring in business. So I think getting connected to any kind of cause that you feel passionate about, whether it’s, you know, supporting a certain organization or whether it’s something you’re affiliated with, because if you’re Jewish or whatever your religion or ethnicity might be, I think it will only go to help your business as a result, even if that’s not necessarily why you know what your intention is. And being involved with it.

Alay Yajnik: [00:06:06] You know, those are some awesome points, and one one thing that really resonated with me is clearly you’re passionate about all of the causes that you’re involved in. And one thing that you mentioned was that it’s important to be passionate about the cause. This may sound like a kind of a silly question, but why do you think it’s important that you’re passionate about a cause that you’re involved in?

Valerie Fenchel: [00:06:29] You know, I think a lot of us as lawyers, at least I was like this when I first started being a lawyer, I felt like I this was just what I was supposed to do. And it wasn’t because I was necessarily passionate about it. And once I started my firm… Well before that, to be honest, family law is something that’s easy to get under and be passionate about. But especially after starting my firm, when I really had the freedom to make all the decisions as to how I was going to spend my time, what I was going to focus on. Over the past few years, I really realized how crucial it is that the things I spend my time on are things I’m passionate about since, you know, we have complete choice over this. So I think, you know, it’s it’s crucial that that passion is there. I’ve met a lot of attorneys that, you know, choose to get involved in activities that they’re not passionate about because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do in order to grow their firm and bring in business. And I’ve noticed that, you know, those attorneys aren’t as successful at it because you can tell when you look in someone’s eyes. You know, whether whether it’s something that really drives them or not. So it’s kind of a detriment to you and it’s just a detriment to whatever cause you’re a part of. If you’re just doing it for a transactional purpose and not really because your heart’s in it.

Alay Yajnik: [00:07:44] Yeah. So like if someone signs up and goes to Rotary, but their heart is not in it. People can tell. Right. It’s obvious.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:07:51] 100 percent.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:07:53] And I also think that when, you know, as my firm’s kind of flourished financially, I’ve realized that, you know, the responsibility I have too, in using, you know, whatever power I can have in an organization or with a group of people to really help others. Not all kinds of law perhaps give you the kind of joy you feel as a family law attorney, really helping someone move their life forward and set them up for, you know, having really their happily ever after that they deserve. But, you know, even outside of the law, having a law firm and promoting it through marketing or business development and also just growing a team of passionate people, all of these things puts you in a seat where you can really do a lot of good in your community. And I think if you really relish that opportunity and do that, you’ll see it pay out in full. It’s not just for your personal happiness, but also for, you know, just seeing the impacts you can have on other people’s lives.

Alay Yajnik: [00:08:51] It’s pretty cool. It’s one of the things that I really like about the field of law. A lot of what you do can help other people. So simply by being visible and by giving of yourself and by getting involved, people will find you for their legal needs, especially in something like family law, right? Where, you know, everyone knows somebody that’s going through that.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:09:12] A hundred percent.

Alay Yajnik: [00:09:13] Clearly, Valerie, you’re a very authentic person and that really comes through to pretty much everyone that meets you. I know it certainly came through when I met you. How do you feel when you come across someone who is authentic versus maybe someone who hasn’t yet found their voice or potentially even more concerning is is simply just not authentic and is there for, you know, other reasons, whether it’s business development or something else.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:09:41] I guess to be honest with you, I tried really hard not to judge other people. And I guess it’s just for my own benefit. Maybe I. I have colleagues that, you know, maybe are more transactional in the way they network. But I also know it’s because, you know, they have three kids at home and they are freaking out and they really need the money. And I think that when you’re in that that place where you feel kind of desperate and there’s scarcity, you start to make decisions that aren’t based on doing the things you love. But more on just kind of making sure you’re not in that place that you’re fearful of getting to. So I don’t you know, I don’t really think anyone is just not an authentic person or anyone’s fully authentic. I think it’s all about just getting in that mindset and that space in your life where you can operate at your highest level. And I think everyone has the capacity to get there. I think I’ve certainly, you know, been at lower, lower places in my life while running a business. It’s you know, there’s ups and downs. And you try not to go with the ups and downs. You try to be that stable force and just observe it from your place where you are. But yeah, I guess I try I try to just network in a manner where when I meet people that I absolutely adore and I want to help and I want to learn from that, I’m more oriented towards seeing and communicating and building relationships with those people. And when somebody maybe doesn’t really I don’t feel connected with them. You know, that’s okay, too. And I you know, I’ll help them if I can, but maybe I’m less motivated to really develop that deep relationship with them.

Alay Yajnik: [00:11:13] Yeah. Yeah, it makes sense. It’s a really nice inflection point. At least it was in my career and I suspect it probably was in yours. When you get to the point where you realize that the end goal really isn’t business development. I mean, you know, when we’re getting started, perhaps that’s the goal. But at some point it switches to being an outcome. If you do the right things, you do the right activities, you build the right relationships and you do the right things for the right reasons, you have that abundance mindset and you appreciate what’s the people you interact with and what you’re doing with your time. The business development just flows.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:11:47] I think for me that’s been like the coolest part of business development is, you know, having the opportunity to meet these men and women that I probably wouldn’t meet otherwise, that that we can really we like to bounce business ideas off each other and just have that sense of community.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:12:03] I think being a business owner, especially a law firm owner, can be kind of isolating when you have to be the leader of a team of people that are all looking up to you and all of your clients are looking up to you. And I think building that community of people that are also law firm owners can give you this inner strength. I had started doing boss ladies nights at my firm for other women law firm owners to come and just kind of connect and bounce ideas off of each other. And well, certainly that helps with business development. I think to be honest, my main goal was connecting with other women that also run businesses to have that, you know, support from each other and also to have that creativity that comes with, you know, bouncing ideas off of other people rather than coming up with everything yourself.

Alay Yajnik: [00:12:50] Yeah, it is, it is nice to have a group of people that’s a trusted sounding board, isn’t it?

Valerie Fenchel: [00:12:55] Totally. And you’ve been that for me also. So, you know, it’s not. Obviously, it’s also coaching and non-lawyers and, you know, all different kinds of people that will have great ideas and feedback because running a business, you know, sometimes has absolutely nothing to do with being a lawyer. Right? It has to do with how to run a business and marketing and what we’re talking about right now, business development. So it’s all helpful and very powerful.

Alay Yajnik: [00:13:24] Awesome. Well, speaking of that, you are one of the things that people kick around a lot is marketing tactics. And there’s marketing tactics that work for some people that they don’t work for other law firms. And it seems like there is this endless circle of marketing tactics that work well and the same marketing tactic will not work well. And if it gets really confusing, especially around social media and Internet-type marketing and given that you’re a family law, of course, there’s some uniqueness is about about that field. But what marketing tactics do you like the best, you know, right now?

Valerie Fenchel: [00:13:58] Yeah. I mean, I send a monthly newsletter and I like that because it just it makes me feel connected to my network and my community and helps me kind of spread the word of what’s going on with my firm if I’m having an event, if I if I having, you know, a position that I’m hiring for. It, you know, it kind of not only helps your business development, but also helps me sell my other needs as well.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:14:24] I you know, I use social media. I have a lot of friends and colleagues that I’m close. You know, I’m connected with on Facebook. I still haven’t figured out Instagram despite being a millennial, sadly. But on Facebook, I think that’s helped me kind of remind everyone what I do. I think a lot of marketing is top of mind awareness. You know, I personally have I’m kind of a nerd about inspiring quotes. I really like them. I have an inspiring quote in my conference room that my clients are forced to look at when they meet with me that’s kind of helped me make tough decisions in my life. So I really enjoy posting inspiring quotes on my Facebook. And if it annoys people, they can certainly unsubscribe or whatever it is you do on Facebook. But otherwise, you know, it’s social media is kind of your opportunity to try to inspire other people. And, you know, it’s cool for your branding and marketing as well.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:15:18] Some little things I’ve done that I enjoy doing. Ah, you know, sending people gifts when something cool happens in their lives to know that, you know, you’re thinking of them and you care about them. I just kind of think what what do people do for me that really makes me feel loved and appreciated and how can I make other people feel that exact same way? You know, I think that’s that’s really what matters. If I meet with someone and they’re really interested in a certain thing about growing their business, and I think of a book that they have to read, you know, I’ll mail them the book, you know.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:15:50] Same thing with my clients. If I meet with them, I have this personal growth book I really like to send them to help them kind of have a better mindset making relationship decisions. I think when it when your marketing comes from a place of genuinely caring and wanting that person to feel loved and feel supported, I think it’s always going to be a better decision. I know, you know, at the beginning when I started my firm, I was really focused on what other family law attorneys were doing that had successful law firms. And I think I kind of had analysis paralysis on what what persona I wanted to have in my newsletters, what personality would be most appropriate or most successful, you know, putting out there in the world. And as much as I wanted to be like other people with successful law firms. I think the real key to marketing is being your authentic self. And I think that’s when you’re really going to get people to buy in to who you are and what you’re about, if you can and you’re comfortable being vulnerable. And it’s really tough and it’s scary and it’s not easy. But I do think once you decide that you’re just going to be your authentic self and you’re going to shut out any negative things that the people you care about are spewing at you, which can be tricky. You know, I think that’s when you’re really gonna start to flourish as a marketer.

Alay Yajnik: [00:17:09] I love that. And I love the idea of being your authentic self. That point should hit home with a lot of people that are listening to this, because so often attorneys feel, especially when they’re just getting started in business development, that they have to be the smartest person in the room and they have to put up this sort of facade. And all the attorneys that I know that do a great job of business development are their authentic selves and they are vulnerable. And, you know, they’re confident in themselves enough to be able to do that. And Valerie, your newsletters are terrific. You know, I get a lot of newsletters. I probably consistently read about three of them. And yours is one of the three.

Alay Yajnik: [00:17:47] And, you know, if you were to ask me why I read it, it’s because it’s one of those newsletters that doesn’t seem sterile to me, right? It doesn’t seem cold. It seems like almost like I’m having a chat with you. It’s definitely coming from you. I can tell that. And and so it’s it it merits my attention. Most of the other newsletters are just really sterile and flat and aren’t interesting or engaging. And I wonder if if a part of the reason for that is because they’re not necessarily as authentic as yours. So that’s a really great insight.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:18:21] You know, my clients, we write really great legal briefs that I think are best. I’m always really happy with the work we put out in court. And, you know, it makes me feel good when judges say good things to us about our legal writing and all that stuff. But is that what I really want to share with my network about what you know, what case law I think is the most riveting? Honestly, no. You know, I’m I’m more excited about, you know, stuff I read on Jon Gotman’s website on how to make a marriage work and schools that my friends and colleagues could be using, because that’s kind of what lights me up and makes me excited. Or if you know my employee gets some award or, you know, our firm gets some award, like those are the things that I’m excited to share that, you know, I would think others would be more interested in hearing.

Alay Yajnik: [00:19:07] Well, you’re definitely on the right track with that. So please, please continue it. And speaking of marketing, one of the questions I get a lot is about online marketing. What are your thoughts on online marketing tactics?

Valerie Fenchel: [00:19:20] Yeah, I had a brief stint where I told myself I was going to learn how to do Facebook ads and I think I spent two weeks messing around with it. And I don’t think I spent that much money. But eventually I had this post I made that went viral and I was so excited, not not real viral, but I think I got like two hundred likes or something from random people. And I thought I had figured this out and it turned out it was in, you know, all the people that like this, for some reason, were not people that would be able to afford my firm. They weren’t able to afford an attorney. And so after this two weeks of wasting my time or, you know, I guess I found it entertaining, I decided for myself that I am one hundred percent not tech savvy. I am not you know, there’s I’m not a marketer. I’m not a digital marketer. So there’s no reason why I need to, like, educate myself on this. I use a marketing company called Spotlight Branding and they do the templates for my newsletters where then I fill in what I want newsletters to say. And they also do social media posts. I send them kind of what I want them to post and they know they follow up and they do. They do a draft and I approve it and they go for it. And that’s kind of helped me always move that kind of stuff forward where otherwise I would be the bottleneck because, you know, I make all these plans what I’m to do, and then, you know, you get bogged down with an emergency hearing or whatever else as an attorney.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:20:45] As far as Google, I pay a company that does my Web site to do my Google ads. I remain skeptical as their very expensive. But to be honest, it has brought in a fair amount of business the past couple of months. So, again, I have no idea what they do. I hear that it’s very simple and I should not be paying all this money for it. But for me, I would rather not have to worry about it and have someone else doing it, knowing that it’s bringing in enough money where it’s worthwhile for me to pay for it. So those are kind of the online marketing things that I’ve done. I can’t really tell you at a granular level what it looks like since I’m not one doing the things either, but I do think it works. And you know, if you can afford Google ads, if you’re at you know, if your firm’s making enough money where that makes sense financially, I’d say do it. If you can’t, then please don’t do it, because that’s a huge waste of money. I think the best way of starting to bring in business is just simply, you know, not not worrying about online marketing stuff and really focusing on your personal network and just cultivating that first. I think the online stuff for me at the beginning just really felt like a lot of noise. It wasn’t till I had the money to really put into it that it started to make a little bit more sense.

Alay Yajnik: [00:21:58] You know, that’s an excellent point. And I can’t tell you how many attorneys I’ve talked to who are just getting started and their business plan is essentially to blog like, “I want to write, you know, three blogs a week,” type-thing. And there are a very, very few number of attorneys who can have success with that tactic. Most of them don’t have the time and get it right in a way that a lot of people can connect with. And so I love that you’re approaching it from a business owner perspective and you’re saying, you know what, I’m going to, when I have money, I’m going to invest in that marketing tactic. And if it has a positive return on my investment, I’m going to continue to do it. And if it doesn’t have a positive return on my investment, I’m going to stop.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:22:41] I mean, at the beginning, I would try to blog. And you know what? I think for me at least, I’m an attorney. So I would treat my blog like a legal brief and I would spend hours agonizing over every word. And then to be honest, the final the final product wasn’t that stellar. I don’t or I didn’t so. Maybe it was. But was it worth spending six hours? I don’t think so. No. There’s a lot of people that are actually. This is what they do for a living. And they’re really good at it. And they charge way less an hour than we can bill an hour as attorneys. So I think it’s just about time management and realizing, you know, we can’t be the best and we are not the best at most things that you have to do to run a successful business. So it’s usually better to delegate to somebody that’s actually more talented than you and whose time is probably less expensive than yours.

Alay Yajnik: [00:23:30] Bingo. And because you know, because you’re an attorney, you have a pretty good hourly rate. And so you can afford these other services and afford to use them. The irony is that they’ll probably get better results with less time than you possibly could. And it’s no knock on on the attorneys. It’s just that like you said, that’s what these people do for a living.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:23:52] Right. And to be honest, when when I started having someone blog for me, I couldn’t read the blogs because they really embarrassed me because they were so simple and it was just dumbed down the law. And it made me feel like, you know, like I I would think it would be you know, you’d want to be a little bit more complex, a little bit more intellectual. But I mean, all of the data I see shows that no, like as an attorney, your gut reaction of what it should be is probably the exact opposite of what anybody actually wants to read. So you know, now I just I read it and I kill that part of me where it’s painful and I let it go and I tell them to post it as long as the law is correct. And I have clients tell me, you know, “I read your blogs. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to make the appointment is, you know, this article really spoke to me.” And I say, “That’s that’s great.” You know, so I just die. I just think we have to get out of our lawyer head in order to think about what clients actually what will be meaningful to our clients rather than what’s meaningful to us or other attorneys.

Alay Yajnik: [00:24:55] Yeah, that’s that’s so that’s so right. Because the at the end of day, good marketing is about connecting with other people. It’s not about communicating expertise.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:25:06] Right. I think it’s like we have these lawyer egos and we just have to kinda like pop them. You know, it’s not about how we feel as an attorney, whether it makes us look important or smart or, you know, on top of our or legal fields. You know, it’s nothing to do with any of that. It’s literally like how it’s going to connect with our clients.

Alay Yajnik: [00:25:25] Yeah. Yeah. Love it. And so given that, you know, if if you have an attorney that’s that’s just getting into business development, maybe in your firm or someone that you that you meet, what advice would you give them about business development?

Valerie Fenchel: [00:25:40] Well, right now, my associate Lucy is really, really, you know, getting more into business development. So that’s a really good question. I bought a sales book for us to read together and kind of touch base on because I think being a sales, you know, like selling your family law services or selling your firm is way different than being a lawyer. I think it’s a complete different skill set. So I kind of wanted to change her mindset a little bit. And when she’s going to these professional networking events as to how, you know, she should be presenting our firm or even presenting herself. But really, you know, I really told Lucy it’s most important for her to really connect with other attorneys, with other attorneys that really we can help the most by referring them business. And also they can help us by referring business to us. And, you know, so I think that’s something I’ve told her to really focus on. And also just really developing relationships.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:26:33] And I’ve a friend from law school that started his firm a couple of years ago and we kind of connected. And I was trying to help him do that, too. And I think what I told him, I told him, “Shamelessly promote yourself.” You know, I think that all of us are so humble and we think it’s really messed up to like apply for an award or, you know, to share on Facebook that you got some award because it makes you feel like a shameless self-promoter. And that’s like you’re supposed to be humble, you know. But I think running a business, you just have to put on this different hat where you have to just laugh at yourself and be like, this is so absurd that I’m doing this. But you have to do it anyways. And I think, you know, the more you post like I convinced him to post pictures of his office, of how excited he was that he had this office. He thought that it was so silly. But, you know, the more you do stuff like that, the more natural it starts to feel. And then you see the response. You know, you might not think about it this way, but a lot of people that love and care about you really want to know what you’re up to. They want to know that you got this award. They want to see what your office looks like. They want to know that you’re bringing your kid to work. And that’s so cute. And it really shows that you’re such a caring, loving dad. And but you’re also such a you know, you’re a powerful attorney. You know, they want to see everything that’s going on in your life. Even people that you’re maybe disconnected with. And the more that you kind of are sharing with the world and people that care about you what you’re up to, and the more they’re gonna remember you and think of you when you know they need an attorney in that field of work to really help them.

Alay Yajnik: [00:28:01] Exactly. Exactly. “Shameless self-promotion.” If we don’t do it, right, for ourselves, no one else is going to do it for us. And when and when our businesses depend on being remembered, yeah, getting the word out there any way you can about what you’re doing and staying top of mind makes a ton of sense. It’s got to be done.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:28:18] Right. I think it’s also kind of like what kind of firm do you want to have? I know when I started my firm, I decided I wanted to generate a million dollars for the year. And that’s I wanted to run a million dollar firm. And I think by telling myself that I made decisions that were what someone that owned a million dollar firm would make. And it might I don’t know. I think to be honest with you, having that mindset and growing my business so quickly kind of showed my network and the people that I care about what was going on with my firm or they it is really exciting. You know, it’s some exciting adventure that everybody kind of wants to pay attention to and support. So, you know, I think being vulnerable, but also being kind of empowered and confident and sharing what you’re doing, I think can really help with business development. Treating your firm like a firm rather than just the law offices of your name. You know, like it’s it’s not treating your firm, not like, you know, it’s not like you’re meeting clients at a coffee house, you know, renting an office and really treating it like a business. I think the more your business will grow and flourish because other people will see you as a business rather than, you know, an attorney that is trying to put up her shingle who may or may not know what she’s doing. Right? There’s all different kinds of stories we tell ourselves. And you know, that other people are saying about us or that other people might be saying, based on that image we put out, the social media image we have when we’re meeting other business professionals. And I think it’s really worthwhile to spend time doing personal development and spend time really having a vision as to what the firm is that you want to create, so that when you do know, start to connect with people and you start really developing your business development, it is in a manner that will be the most successful and powerful for your business.

Alay Yajnik: [00:30:12] Well said. Valerie, thank you so much for that. And I know a lot of our listeners are going to appreciate all of that advice. And so thinking about Fenchel Family Law, you mentioned vision and really being intentional about where you want to grow and how you want to grow. What’s exciting to you about Fenchel Family Law as you look over the next year or two?

Valerie Fenchel: [00:30:33] Yeah. I think, you know, when I when I started my firm, I was really hitting the ground running. And I. I just wanted this to be this this empire. I think after, you know, the last few years, I’ve realized that actually I love mentoring people. I love managing people. I love being able to provide this quality of life for my employees. And I realize I don’t necessarily want to be this huge empire. You know, I want to be the family and home for my employees and the safe space for my clients. So over this next year, hopefully we’ll be done in a year, but maybe it will take two. We’re really working on just improving all the content and our systems and everything we do on a day to day basis at our firm. So it’s more systematized and really at the highest level it can be for our clients. You know, it’s not really about the money to me as much it is as it is about doing something that’s really meaningful and impactful for other people.

Alay Yajnik: [00:31:37] You know what’s ironic about that? I love? I love the approach. What’s ironic about that is that’s when truly explosive growth happens, because at that point, you know, when it’s not about the growth, when you’re putting clients first, when you’re putting your employees first, when you’re trying to build something special and unique. People latch on to that. And that’s what makes a firm or a business, for that matter, great. No one’s gotten really, really popular by just chasing the dollar. We all work really hard for our businesses. Wouldn’t it be great if we had the perfect business for us. You know, one that was really happy, one that made us feel great? We loved the work that we were doing. We love the impact we were having. And you know, the income is good. And the quality of life is amazing.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:32:24] 100 percent.

Alay Yajnik: [00:32:24] Yeah.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:32:24] I guess the last thing…I don’t know, I love giving advice to other people that are running law firm. So I just I really am so lucky that you asked me to be on this podcast. And I think the last advice piece I would give is how powerful it can be to hire employees, hire people to help you. Because I didn’t really have time to do business development until I hired my first associate and she was able to help me do a lot of the legal work. And while I continued to do a lot of the face to face meetings of client and big case strategy type work, to have somebody doing the day to day legal work really freed me up and also just gave me that better mindset, you know, going into meetings because I wasn’t stressed and frazzled. You know, I could actually have calm before meeting other professionals. And I think that, you know, that can make you a lot more successful in business development and also just happier in general, right? Which I think should be everyone’s goal.

Alay Yajnik: [00:33:30] I love it. That’s a great comment and something I work my clients on to very regularly. So thank you for bringing that up. And yes, as soon as you can, folks, start to peel off those tasks and hire people, whether it’s Part-Time attorneys or contractors or associates or paralegals or legal assistance. Bring them on board, offload your tasks becauase as Valerie says you’ll have a lot more fun. You’ll be a lot more focused. You probably get much better results. Valerie with that, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It was a pleasure chatting with you. Thank you for all your insights and congratulations on all your success.

Valerie Fenchel: [00:34:06] Thank you. This was a lot of fun today and I look forward to talking to you more about this in the future. I know I always learn a lot from you and all of your advice. So I always really appreciate it.

Alay Yajnik: [00:34:18] Thank you. Valerie, you’re too kind. And everyone, that’s Valerie Fenchel, Fenchel Family Law, one of the top family law firms in San Francisco. Valerie, thank you again.

Alay Yajnik: [00:34:28] And that’s a wrap. To get more episodes, webinars and free stuff, visit My name is Alay Yajnik. Thank you for listening. And remember, there is a rainmaker inside everyone, including you.

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