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I arrived at LabCon 2018 with nothing but an open mind and an idea for subscription legal services at my firm. By the end of the conference, I left with an entire business model framed out, branded, named, designed, reviewed – all that was left was to build it.

People pay upwards of $40,000 for a consultant to transform an idea into a fully formed program. Alternatively, they spend months and months trying to put it together by themselves between client meetings and everything else that fills our days as lawyers.

I went from an idea to a real product I could explain to a client within three days. That’s 72 hours! I did it by being in the room with the most talented, creative, and innovative lawyers and professionals in the country. And I took full advantage of their support and willingness to help.

It’s super easy to go to something like LabCon with the mentality that you’re just going to soak up any creative and innovative ideas you can find. And you will. You’ll get inspired and get some ideas. But, they will also help you form a plan to execute your new projects when you get home.

Going to a conference costs money, family time, and billable time. Make the most of that time. If you’re not going back to your practice without something tangible, the like the investment isn’t being maximized.

Have an intention and a goal to work towards

What do you want to accomplish for your practice? How can you use this time and this environment to get you moving toward your goal? Go in with the willingness to push yourself and dig in and do the work.

It’s great to participate and come away with a thousand ideas (and don’t get me wrong – I did that too).

But I went in with a specific goal: to build a subscription model. I had a direction for every small group discussion and every one-on-one conversation throughout the conference. That way, the conference wasn’t just hypothetical – I could use the brilliant minds in the room to help me develop this model.

Use the event as a built-in deadline

It’s easy to push off deadlines, especially if it’s for something totally new in your practice. Billable work has to take priority a lot of the time. It’s common and easy to say, “I want ‘x’ done by the end of the month.” But how are you going to be able to hold yourself to it? It makes more sense to hold yourself accountable, especially if you share your goals with the people around you.

Keep your goals realistic (you’re not going to overhaul everything about your practice in 3 days!) but pushing yourself with a tight deadline can really accelerate your progress.

Check for real change

When I left the conference, I had a complete, detailed program mapped out. I did it in a compressed timeline and with the input of a ton of other amazing lawyers. Mad props to Marshall Lichty, Kelly Street, Sam Glover, Aaron Street, Sarah Smerage, Vanessa Davis, Chad Burton, Billie Tarascio and everybody else that lent their insight and ideas and served as a focusing agent for me. I didn’t leave LabCon with a half baked idea or a bunch of to-dos I could never get accomplished – I left with version 2.0 of the subscription model I had envisioned and a serious plan to get there.

Within two months I was showing my LabCon colleagues my client-ready product in the hallways of another annual conference. Two months later, I started selling new clients on it and in April 2019, I’ve got clients already in their 5th month of subscription services. Almost every new client chooses subscription over hourly service – and the model keeps growing. The plan is working.

With the right mindset and the right community, you can do amazing things. AMAZING THINGS. This is how you can really leverage an experience like LabCon if you go in with an intention, a goal, and a commitment.

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