I grew up in Philadelphia, the youngest of 5, and first noticed at age 10, that my parents couldn’t buy me things I wanted, so I got my first job, in the summer, making $1 an hour. I saved up all summer to buy a camera and remember being so happy and proud of myself. As a child living in an insular orthodox Jewish community, there were no aspirations for girls beyond marriage and raising a family. We sat in the back of the synagogue, behind a screen, had no part in the service, and it never felt quite right to me. This experience combined with watching the financial struggles, the worry and the sacrifices, of my parents and older siblings, I knew I wanted more and a different path for myself.
At 14, I got working papers, and through my hard work, put myself through college. After graduating, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, had a few low paying jobs, and decided to go to law school. I believed being a lawyer was the path to more – more status, more recognition, more respectability, more credibility and, of course, more money.
I became a litigator, was good at it, and created great results for clients. I thought I had it all figured out. But then my boss decided to close the firm and go of counsel at another firm. He was looking for a place to take his cases, where he would not have to handle them, and I ended up looking for a new job.
Although he was planning to do no work and I was planning to work hard, he got more offers than I, because he had the one thing I didn’t – a book of business. On the open market, the caseload was more important than the work and being a good attorney. It was eye opening and, because I never thought about marketing or selling, I knew had to change.
I decided to take marketing way more seriously if I got the chance. They say when the student is ready, the teacher will appear and that is exactly what happened. I got a job at a great firm that offered access to a marketing coach and I began to focus on business development and to bring in business.
Once I saw the connection between personal autonomy and rainmaking, I had motivation to sell, started to love it and got really good at it. Before long, I was mentoring other lawyers on how to market and sell, decided make this a career focus, and a passion was born. Working, I now knew, was something I did for employers and selling was something I could do for myself.
When I decided to become a coach, I went from one entrepreneurial profession to another and knowing how to network, market and sell is just as key to a successful coaching practice as to any other provider of professional services.
My word is still more but it’s about my clients now – helping attorneys learn how to market themselves, grow their practices, and have more career satisfaction, more success and autonomy.