The Undeniable Tour – The Recap

I asked all the social media movers and shakers that I met during The Undeniable Tour to sign the arrow

I asked all the social media movers and shakers that I met during The Undeniable Tour to sign the arrow

I’ve been home for a few days and I’ve had a little bit of time to reflect on the whirlwind trip that was The Undeniable Tour: 15 days, 2 airplane rides, 1932 miles of driving in the rental car (courtesy of my concierge sponsor Web3Mavens), 6 hostels, 5 speaking engagements, 4 official sponsors, a handful of other freebies, and a whole lot of awesome! Thank you to everyone who supported this crazy adventure, especially the schools and organizations who invited me to speak, the people who attended my talks, and of course my sponsors without who this tour couldn’t have happened: Web3Mavens, Enchanting LawyerTotal Networks, and Attorney at Work.

I have gotten a handful of questions about The Undeniable Tour which I’m happy to answer.

Why did I create The Undeniable Tour?
I noticed there is a gap in education for lawyers when it comes to social media marketing. I get most of my information about the logging and proper ways to use social media from mainstream sources. A lot of people ask me how I’ve been able to leverage these tools to get clients and make a name for myself and I wanted to bring the lessons I have learned to broader audience.

Last year I read the book Creativity for Sale by Jason Surfrapp (now Jason Zook). By the time I finished it, my head was buzzing with ideas for future professional ventures, including The Undeniable Tour, so I ran with it.

Why did I choose to stay in hostels?
The Undeniable Tour was a shoestring operation made possible by getting sponsors and small speaking fees. Staying in hostels is much more economical than staying in hotels, and I discovered that I liked staying in hostels a lot better than budget-friendly hotels. I don’t mind sharing a room with7-23 other people or using communal bathrooms and I love being more connected with the adventurous traveler community. Plus Wi-Fi and breakfast are often included in the price.

Have I noticed an uptrend in non-traditional lawyers?
I won’t say there’s an uptrend in the number of nontraditional lawyers; however, I think more lawyers are interested in the hearing about how others are practicing law differently. I suspect more people are dissatisfied with billable hours and working 90 hours/week and they see that others are doing something different and are happy or as a result, and they want to know more.

Are law students driven to go solo?
That’s depends on who you ask. At one school I went to over half the audience was interested in going solo and at another school, almost no one was. I suspect many law students are interested yet frightened by the prospect of going solo right out of the gate. (I certainly was.) I hope hearing my story showed them that it’s possible to go solo early in your career and be successful – and that there are lots of resources available for a lawyer who opens their own firm so they never have to feel like they are going it alone.

What will I do differently next time?
Oh geez. Probably everything.

If I do another tour, I will probably try to make it shorter in terms of time, do more engagement with the local media in advance (print, blogs, vlogs, and podcasts), and try to schedule more speaking engagements (and maybe some CLEs for law firms) and a smaller area.

Planning this tour could have been a full-time job in and of itself. There is so much to do and coordinate. Hopefully having this tour be such a success will make it easier to plan similar activities in the future.

What advice do I have to anyone who thinking about organizing a similar event?
If you want to plan a speaking tour or get sponsors for your event, you have to be super organized and diligent about follow-up. A lot of my success from planning The Undeniable Tour came from follow up emails and phone calls. Additionally, you don’t have to necessarily re-invent the wheel – look to your network of contacts for suggestions and potential leads in terms of locations and sponsors.

If there is anything else that you want to know about The Undeniable Tour, feel free to leave it as a comment or shoot me an email.

Thank you to everyone who supported me during this crazy adventure. It took about 8 months to organize and execute this. A tremendous thank you to my sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting LawyerTotal Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 14 – Keep Moving Forward

Open Road to the Horizon 2014-01-01 by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Open Road to the Horizon 2014-01-01 by Kristina D.C. Hoeppner from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I couldn’t have asked for a better last day of The Undeniable Tour. It started with a walk by the water with Jay Thompson and then I saw some Seattle sites before hopping in the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my sponsor Web3Mavens) and drove south to speak at the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association. They were an incredibly engaged audience that wanted to know more about social media marketing options for lawyers. My day ended with dinner with one of my best friends from undergrad.

Last Day in Seattle - Visiting the Troll

Last Day in Seattle – Visiting the Troll

Now I’m sitting in my hostel reflecting on the last 14 days, everything I’ve learned, and all the wonderful people I’ve seen. My talk for The Undeniable Tour started with a quote from Yogi Berra: “When you come to the fork in the road, take it.” I encouraged them to challenge themselves to keep moving forward with their professional development, but that it wasn’t my job to tell them what to do. They had to figure that out for themselves. My job was to share my story about my journey and share tips based on what’s working for me.

When it comes to being involved on social media, there are many options to choose from and you can select platforms that play to your communication strengths and puts you in contact with your audience. (Remember that the purpose of social media is to interact with people. Don’t treat it like a digital billboard.) In addition to blogging, I’m active on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn. I’m active on some platforms more than others. My favorite platform by far is Twitter; it’s the easiest way I know to start a meaningful conversation with someone I want to meet.

If you’re thinking about getting involved on a new social media platform, here’s the process I recommend that you use.

  1. Create an account.
  2. Take 1-2 weeks to watch how others are using the platform. Learn about the lingo and observe what’s working for others.
  3. Start using the platform yourself.

It’s ok to start slow and it’s ok to make the occasional mistake. Like all new skills, you won’t do it perfectly the first time, or every time. The point is you’re there and you’re trying. Stay open and teachable. And remember that using social media is like becoming part of a community. Relationships and connections will be built over weeks and months, not minutes. Keep the long game in mind.

My challenge to myself is to reflect on the lessons I’ve learned from planning and doing The Undeniable Tour and applying them to my professional and personal life. (There is no distinction between by professional and personal lives. It’s all me.)

If you want to talk with me about The Undeniable Tour please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting LawyerTotal Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 13 – Using Non-Traditional Tactics to Pay for Law School

Cool Wall Art at Lewis and Clark Law School

Cool Wall Art at Lewis and Clark Law School

I had the pleasure of speaking at Lewis and Clark Law School today before jumping in the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my sponsor Web3Mavens) to Seattle to speak at the Tacoma-Pierce County Bar Association tomorrow. It’s hard to believe that Day 14 is the last full day of The Undeniable Tour.

Lewis and Clark Law SchoolAfter my talk, I was approached by a student who wanted to start a nonprofit that would raise money to pay for her tuition and give scholarships to other minorities who want to go to college. She had an interesting story – she went through several application cycles when applying to law school, not because she wasn’t good enough to get in somewhere, but it was a challenge to find adequate funding.

I thought her idea was intriguing, but it reminded me of some of the pitfalls I encountered when I launched Sponsor A Law Kid during my 3L year where people paid me to blog about the topic of their choosing. I had to deal with my fair share of critics who attacked me as a person and not just my idea for raising money for school.

If you want to launch a venture or campaign to pay for law school, you need to be clear about what you’re doing before you announce it. If you want donations, that’s fine, but be ready to be accused of asking for a handout. If you are doing or giving something in exchange for money, like writing blog posts, selling t-shirts or a book, make sure you’re over-delivering for the price you’re charging. People have the right to decide how they spend their money, but you don’t want to get a reputation of ripping people off.

If you want to do something like this young lady and start a program that will fund her education first and then continue to help fund others’ education, you need to follow through on your long-term plans. My concern as an outsider looking in is some people may be skeptical and wonder if she’s doing this to pay for her education and then shut down the program without helping anyone else.

Regardless of what you do to pay for law school, be sure to act with integrity and transparency so you can respond to any questions with class and grace. When it comes to paying for law school, I encourage you to be creative and thoughtful with whatever you do.

If you are interested in connecting with me please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour or Sponsor A Law Kid, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens,Enchanting LawyerTotal Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 12 – Rock On!

Yes! Keep Portland Weird!

Yes! Keep Portland Weird!

I often say, “Let your freak flag fly,” but spending the weekend in Portland during The Undeniable Tour made me think that being different doesn’t necessarily mean you’re a freak. Maybe it only means that you’re brave enough to deviate from the norm. Hopefully it’s a sign that you’re brave enough to be yourself.

Portland, OR - Where no two houses are the same.

Portland, OR – Where no two houses are the same.

The city of Portland is filled with quirk. This is a city that is filled with unique people, charming places, and independently owned businesses. I loved that I could walk for blocks without seeing a chain store or restaurant. I’m pretty sure no two houses are the same. I loved seeing the bright colors and architectural touches. My friend who lives here says some people have little free libraries in their front yards (bookshelves where you can take any book you want) and one guy hangs dog treats on the tree in front of his house for anyone to take.

I loved walking around this city snapping pictures of the odd, delightful, and beautiful things I saw. It’s so much fun to see all the people in Oregon. I feel like I saw every shape, size, style of dress, hair color, and body piercing imaginable. I saw all types of plain and fancy people, including plenty who were gleefully clashing with themselves.

It seems like people are more free to be themselves here. I listened to people singing because they felt like it (and not always on key but you could tell they were happy). I saw a woman dancing to the live music at the outdoor market because the spirit moved her (she may have had some mind-altering chemicals in her system too).

I felt a sense of joy as I wandered through the city. People appeared to be doing their own thing – not to boost their ego or to get attention, but simply because it was what made them comfortable and happy. And if that makes them freaks, then rock on!

I’m excited to speak at Lewis and Clark Law School tomorrow before heading north to Seattle for the last stop and appearance of The Undeniable Tour. This has been a whirlwind trip and I’m grateful I’ve been able to share part of it with you.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 10 – Life is about Experiences

The Redwood Forest at the Trees of Mystery

The Redwood Forest at the Trees of Mystery

I recently saw an article pass through my Facebook feed that says people who focus on experiences rather than possessions are happier. I couldn’t agree more.

Dylan and Me at the Trees of Mystery - look at giant Paul Bunyan in the background!

Dylan and Me at the Trees of Mystery – look at giant Paul Bunyan in the background!

This morning I woke up at the hostel at Point Reyes after sleeping like a rock, had breakfast with my fellow travelers, and headed north in the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my sponsor Web3Mavens). I drove through the gorgeous Redwood Forest to Crescent City. (I’ll be speaking at Lewis and Clark in Portland on Monday.) Photographs do not do justice to how beautiful this area is.

Just south of Crescent City is the Trees of Mystery in Klamath, CA. I don’t know what the mystery was but the view was amazing – huge trees as far as the eye could see. I met a fellow traveler named Dylan in the parking lot and we trooped through the trees and rode the Sky Train to the observation deck. We discovered that we both have discarded many physical possessions in favor of freedom and adventure. I definitely get more joy from what I do than from what I own.

Sometimes I have to step a back and remember that I’m on a business trip. I’ve always known that I didn’t want a traditional legal career, but I had no idea that my professional life could be this good. I have seen the most beautiful things and met the most amazing people in the last five years. I am grateful for all that I have, all that I get to do, and that I get to share part of it with others during The Undeniable Tour.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 9 – Blogging About Clients

Awesome 3D Art in San Francisco

Awesome 3D Art in San Francisco

I had a wonderful time speaking at the Bar Association of San Francisco as part of The Undeniable Tour. They always have an engaged audience. They were particularly interested in learning how to select which social media platform to use and how blogging can attract potential clients.

One person asked me a particularly interesting question. He wanted to know when his firm has a successful outcome for a client how can they blog about it – if the client approves. This isn’t a question I get very often so it caused me to pause and think for a moment. I had three thoughts for this fellow legal eagle.

So great to see my friend and fellow legal eagle Eric Toscano at my talk. Photo by Bar Association of San Francisco

So great to see my friend and fellow legal eagle Eric Toscano at my talk. Photo by Bar Association of San Francisco

#1 – Check with you state bar’s ethical rules about writing about your cases.

#2 – Be careful about sounding like you’re advertising your firm via you blog. Even though the purpose of having a website and a blog it to ultimately get clients and grow your business, the focus of your blog should be about providing useful information to your clients. Don’t treat it like an online billboard.

#3 – Ask yourself why you want to write about a client’s case. Is it simply to give yourself a gold star? Or is there a way to use the case to help others? Use common client issues as a way to explain how the law works to resolve a specific type of problem or as a way to explain the legal process. There may be a new precedent that was created in your client’s case that was worth sharing with others. There may be several blog posts that you could write about a particular situation so don’t feel like you have to limit yourself to one.

As always, when you have a legal blog put a disclaimer on your website that informs readers that your blog provides legal information but it is not a substitute for legal advice. Your state bar may also require all law firms to have an advertising disclaimer on their sites.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 8 – Sharing Your Personality Online

Santa Clara University

Santa Clara University

I had a blast driving the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my Concierge Sponsor, Web3Mavens) to the South Bay and speaking with the students at Santa Clara University School of Law yesterday as part of The Undeniable Tour. I often talk with lawyers and law students about the importance of putting yourself out there on social media to facilitate connections and building relationships with people.

Speaking at Santa Clara University School of Law

Speaking at Santa Clara University School of Law

One student said he was concerned about posting things that are controversial which could be a turn off to potential employers or clients. He brought up a good question – how do you know how much you should put online?

That’s a question that each person needs to answer for themselves. You have to decide what topics you’ll discuss and what topics are off limits. Some people have a firm personal policy about not talking about their kids online. Others avoid discussions about religion or politics. Some people choose not to use profanity.

My general rule is as long as you’re not saying something that is hellaciously offensive or promoting the kicking of puppies, you’re probably ok. If an employer or client doesn’t want to hire you because of your feelings about baseball or your political affiliation, the sooner you weed those people out the better. I fully embrace the fact that I’m not the lawyer for everyone. If you want a lawyer who is stiff, wears a suit, and only speaks in legalese, I know people to refer you to. If you want a down-to-earth approachable lawyer who explains things in English, wears t-shirts, and brings her basset hound to work, let me give you my card.

One thing I’ve learned as an entrepreneur is that people hire people. Your clients want to like you as a person, not just as a lawyer. It’s good to let people know who you are. I applied for an interview with a semiconductor company for my 2L summer. Initially I was #9 on their list and got an interview as an alternate. My interviewer and I connected over a blog post I wrote about childhood obesity. It had nothing to do with the law, but that conversation helped me move from #9 to #3 on their list. Unfortunately they were only taking two interns that year.

Be thoughtful about what you post, but don’t be afraid to share your personality online. That’s what leads to real connections and relationships.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my awesome sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 7 – Hustling Pays Off

Gorgeous View of the Bay Bridge

Gorgeous View of the Bay Bridge

The slogan for The Undeniable Tour is “Hustle Your Face Off.” This is a quote from Gary Vaynerchuk and it’s both a message I want my audience to hear and it’s my mantra for this trip. I’m trying to reach and meet as many people as I can. Although I only have 5 speaking engagements during this 14-day road trip, my days are filled with meetings and activities.

I want to give a hat tip to Brand X Custom T-shirts in Tempe, AZ who made my “Hustle Your Face Off” t-shirts for me. I’m wearing one of these at each of my tour stops. I’ve had several people tell me they love them, ask to take photos of me when I’m wear one,  and Jacob Sapochnick of Enchanting Lawyer (one my sponsors) asked if I brought a shirt for him.

To me, hustling your face off is about making things happen. You don’t wait for opportunities to come to you; you go after what you want. As long as you are appropriate and mostly professional, I encourage you to push the limits and take strategic risks to get what you want.

I want to give a shout out to Scott Goering. He’s a lawyer/mediator who specializes in juvenile dependency cases. He saw me when I first spoke at the Bar Association in San Francisco in 2012 and has been keeping tabs on me since then because he was impressed by how I use social media in my professional life.

My Hustle Your Face Off Shirts, made by Brand X

My Hustle Your Face Off Shirts, made by Brand X

Footnote: When I say “keeping tabs” I don’t mean he’s been stalking me. He’s simply paid attention to what I publicly post online. It’s part of networking and it’s not creepy.

Scott is based in San Francisco and he’d reached out to me to say that he was looking forward to my presentation at the Bar Association of San Francisco during The Undeniable Tour and the he hoped we could get together while I was in town. I filed that away with all my other tour emails and didn’t give it much thought.

About 6 weeks ago, I was in San Francisco for the Dad 2.0 Summit. The conference and my participation in it was public information – so Scott came by to say hello and to say that he was looking forward to The Undeniable Tour. I was impressed by his tenacity and that sealed the deal for him that I would make room in my schedule when I came back to town to have lunch with him to talk about his ideas for using social media in his career. I don’t consider myself an expert in personal branding or using social media but I was happy to share my thoughts and give him some recommendations of people I follow when it comes to entrepreneurship and marketing including Gary Vaynerchuk, Peter Shankman, Katy Goshtasbi, and Ari Kaplan.

One thing I’ve learned about being successful professionally is you have to go after what you want – whether that’s a job, awards, connections, or opportunities. They won’t come to you through hoping for them, you have to work for it. I encourage you to take strategic risks and be bold about what you want.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my amazing sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 6 – Know Your Limits

Beach along Highway 1

Beach along Highway 1

While the rest of the world got up and went to work today, I hit the road in the Maven Mobile (courtesy of my sponsor Web3Mavens) and drove from San Luis Obispo to San Francisco. I treated myself to the gorgeous drive up Highway 1. I loved seeing the ocean and periodically pulling off to stare at the waves and seals.

I probably spent six hours behind the wheel today. Originally I intended to take Highway 1 all the way to San Francisco, but around 2pm I found myself getting really agitated and decided it was in everyone’s best interest to jump over to the freeway for the remainder of the drive. I didn’t want to get to San Francisco and be super pissed off in that traffic. When I was a kid, my mentor Rocky taught me “Anger robs thought.” I knew I needed to be clear headed until I got to my hostel.

Picture from my Walk in San Fransicso

Picture from my Walk in San Fransicso

After I settled in to my room (I’m in a room with 24 beds for the next 3 nights), I still had excessive energy coursing through my veins so I grabbed my jacket and headed out for a walk. I figured I was probably getting hangry (hungry + angry) so I stopped for a slice of pizza. I tried to walk around Fisherman’s Wharf but the crowd of tourists and the noisy street performers made me feel bat-shit crazy. I abandoned my plans and started wandering the streets of San Francisco, burning off my feelings by climbing the hills. That helped take the edge off.

It’s so important to know where your breaking points are and to cut yourself so slack when you’re feeling excessively angry, tired, anxious, sad, or in physical pain. You can’t produce your best work in that state so don’t even try. Do the best you can, take a deep breath, take it easy, and if you can, take a break to relax and regroup.

I’m hoping for a somewhat quiet night in my hostel tonight. There’s a youth group staying in the hostel tonight and I’m praying to the travel gods that they are staying on the other side of the building.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my amazing sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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The Undeniable Tour Day 5 – Stay Open

From the Farm in Avila

From the Farm in Avila

The fifth day of The Undeniable Tour was an adventure. It started with a jog in Santa Monica followed by a drive to San Luis Obispo via Solvang. Solvang is city in central California that is trapped in a Danish time warp. It’s a delightful place to visit to see windmills and eat ebelskivers. Ebelskivers are round friend Danish pancakes that are served with powdered sugar and jam. They weren’t as good as I expected but I’m glad I got to try them.

After Solvang, I headed north in the Maven Mobile towards San Luis Obispo for my first couchsurfing experience. Yes, I voluntarily stayed with strangers. I did some searching on couchsurfing.com and found Erik. From reading his profile, I realized I already knew of him – he’s the guy from the Reverse Homeless Experiment.

Erik invited me to stay with him, his roommates, and a massive great dane named Hayley. As I was driving towards San Luis Obispo, he started sending me suggestions for beaches to visit and farm that had animals and produce. It was a great way to fill the afternoon. Being a desert-dweller, it was so wonderful to see the ocean and smell the salt-filled air.

Erik kept giving me suggestions of things to see in San Luis Obispo and on my drive up Highway 1. I saw a lot of things that I wouldn’t otherwise have known was there. Hanging out with Erik reminded how important it is to stay open to new possibilities and adventures. You never know what you’re going to see and who you’re going to meet.

I’m so glad I got to couchsurf with Erik. (Note – I did not die, nor was I killed.) Connecting with a local, particularly an awesome one made my experience.

If you are interested in connecting with me while I am traveling please follow me on Twitter. If you have any questions or comments about The Undeniable Tour, please shoot me an email.

The Undeniable Tour would not be possible without my amazing sponsors: Web3Mavens, Enchanting Lawyer, Total Networks, and Attorney at Work.

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