Emily: [00:00:00] Wonder how much growth is possible in your business in four, five, six years, what moves you need to make? What mindsets you need to shift, what connections you need to make. Welcome to being boss a podcast for creatives, business owners, and entrepreneurs who want to take control of their work and live life on their own terms.
I'm your host, Emily Thompson. And today I'm talking with a boss who has grown up. With us here at being boss and the past six years, she has launched and grown her law firm for online business owners, into a very boss business. She's grown her team, her revenue, her revenue streams, and her impact. And because this growth has happened alongside us here at being boss.
And I've gotten to witness this growth as her friend. I'm so pleased to share more of her journey with you so that you can see what steps can be made and what growth is possible when you show up and do the work as a value driven, hardworking, and authentic boss. Today, autumn Witt Boyd is joining me to talk about her business journey and to share more about the explosive growth she's experienced in the past few years.
She's an experienced lawyer who provides sophisticated legal strategy for online businesses. The AWB firm is the go-to for businesses selling online courses, digital downloads and coaching services. Autumn is my lawyer here at being boss and works with the likes of Amy Porterfield, Melissa Griffin, and many more.
To grow and protect their online empires for side hustlers and solo preneurs Autumn's firm offers a variety of customizable affordable contract templates. Autumn also hosts the legal roadmap podcast, which teaches business owners, how to protect their rights and stay out of legal, hot water. She lives in Chattanooga, Tennessee with her husband, twin boys and daughter.
Autumn. Welcome back to being boss. I am. So glad to see your face.
Autumn: [00:02:00] I know. Thank you, Emily. And in my dreams were sitting on your front porch with a cocktail, but this is a good second place, I guess,
Emily: [00:02:10] shitty second place, but I'll take it. No, I completely agree. I would much rather be sitting on my porch with you at literally any day.
I was telling someone, um, someone recently actually. Uh, I'll tell everyone usually autumn and I have sort of end of, I guess, beginning of holiday break drinks. That's like been our little tradition over the past couple of years. And so always on our last day of work, um, before we take off for the holidays we get together, we've done brunch, we've done lunch, we've done dinner, we've done drinks.
Like we just, we get together and like have a last hurrah or our last like business lunch or whatever before the holiday break. It's my favorite thing. We didn't get to do it this year. And I feel like that was like of all the things in my life. Autumn. That's the thing that really hurt the most.
I miss not having that with you but soon. And we're going to have so much lost time to make
Autumn: [00:03:08] up for, I know I'm outside, hopefully. Oh, yes, for
Emily: [00:03:12] sure. Poolside with all the cocktails and totally breathing each other's air. That's that's what I desire most. Um, I'm so excited to have you back today in this capacity.
It has been so long since we have had you on the podcast. I cannot
Autumn: [00:03:28] even, are you ready? I was pregnant the last time we recorded. So it was almost five years. Yeah, it was a long time ago. If anyone goes back and listens to that interview, I was so pregnant. I could not breathe. And so it sounds like I'm huffing and puffing
Emily: [00:03:47] in her view.
Oh, my goodness. I did not even recall that. So that really was mortified perspective. Yeah. Well then it's long overdue, long overdue, and I also think that glad to be back right. Bringing you back now, I think is a really great opportunity. Because you have done so much in five years, so much has happened in your business that I really want to talk a little bit today because you, I guess you found us when you were beginning your business, sort of give me that little background of what was happening way back then.
Um, Sort of how your trajectory, how that five or what was happening five years ago, I guess.
Autumn: [00:04:34] Yeah, so it was really six years ago. I had just started my own law firm. This is early 2015 and a mutual, a mutual friend of ours, Meg Keene. I read her newsletter, um, from a practical wedding. And she mentioned your pod cast in her newsletter.
And I was not in the creative entrepreneur field at all. Uh, but I just liked her blog. And so. She said it was about business and marketing. And I thought I'm starting a business. I don't know anything about marketing. I should probably listen to this podcast. And so I started listening to it and I just immediately fell in love with you and Kathleen and all of the boss' wisdom you were sharing.
Um, and I kind of became a groupie immediately. And I remember in the beginning I enjoyed it so much. I would only let myself listen to it. And when I went to the gym and it was like an incentive to go to the gym, but I got to listen to what Greg was saying. I know it was like tuning in and hearing, you know, just like it was two business besties, just kind of talking.
Um, so I loved it. And then, I don't know, at some point maybe six or nine months later, you were going to move to Chattanooga where I live and you mentioned it on the podcast and I was a total creeper and emailed you and said, Hey, I'm in Chattanooga, I'm a listener. You know, just let me know if I can be helpful.
I'm happy to be another friendly face. Um, and so we got together for coffee. We got to know each other. Um, And by that time, by the time you moved here, I had more moved into the creative space of the kinds of clients that we work with here at my law firm. It was not a law firm at the time. It was just me.
Um, but I had, I love podcasts. I love listening to podcasts. So I had fallen into a couple of communities. I was in the being boss, Facebook group and a couple others. And, um, Just was meeting lots of bosses and there were really no other lawyers in that space. I mean, there was maybe one or two. I remember Rachel Rogers who now has blown up and is in a totally different business, but she was like my eye icon, my idol, um, cause she was doing the kind of law that I wanted to do.
I was an IP and contract lawyer. Um, so yeah, it was just very much like working, one-on-one writing contracts for graphic designers and that kind of thing. Back in that day, um, I came to the being boss conference in new Orleans. The first one would be the, what did you call it? Not a conference vacation being boss vacation, also pregnant then.
Um, yeah. So had a baby. Um, I made my first hire when I had Vivian, because I knew I didn't want to be checking email on my maternity leave. Um, and we've just kind of grown bit by bit over the last five years. We're now three attorneys. I have a full-time marketing person, a part-time paralegal, part-time business manager, and then we're hiring an executive assistant, hopefully by the time this airs maybe we'll have found the person.
Right. But yeah, we've really, we've really grown. So I'm happy to talk about it
Emily: [00:07:19] watching you do all of this has been. Amazing to watch. And I also have to say, I use you as the example of how and why cold emailing works all the time, literally all the time, because you're right. I remember I, Whoa, Whoa. I remember getting an email from you.
Uh, and just as you said, like I live in Chattanooga, I heard you're moving here. I'm a fan of the podcast. Let's have coffee. And I remember being like, Noted. And I will say too, I remember literally a week before you send that email, David and I had had a conversation about how, you know, we were moving to Chattanooga.
We needed to find a lawyer and just, there are, there are
Autumn: [00:08:05] place, right time. There are types of
Emily: [00:08:07] people that you just need to know. And a lawyer is one of those. And so you reached out at just the right time in just the right way. And we ended up meeting up, becoming friends. We now work together. You are my go-to for all things, contract and IEP and, and all the things.
And so, so you are, you are my example of why cold emailing when done correctly, when done genuinely, um, absolutely works and, and really plays into what can be very long-term and mutually beneficial relationships. So. I love it. That's how we started out for sure. And I didn't think it was creepy. I know everyone always does.
And like, there are creepy ones for sure, but it wasn't creepy to get that email, but watching you start from those very early phases of, um, of leaving your previous job and doing this thing, committing yourself to building your own law firm and watching you do it all along the way has been such a treat because I really feel like I've seen this like.
I would say like this condensed boss' journey, but it's not condensed. Like we've just really known each other that long, like five, six years, years is a good amount of time for you to have to have made the strides that you've made in your business. And that's really, what I want to talk about today is, is.
How it is that you have, um, sort of executed that growth, how it is that you have sort of readied yourself, like sort of personally, like a mentally, emotionally, but also financially for that kind of growth. Um, what that has really looked like for you. And so I'm wondering, maybe we'll start with like, Can you identify any sort of milestones along the way where you felt like those were decisions that you made or opportunities that present themselves to you where you feel like these were the moments where things shifted in my business.
Autumn: [00:10:05] Yeah, absolutely. Um, so I will say, I mean, I, you know, me, I'm kind of an open book. Um, the ability to leave my last job, which was like a high paying lawyer job, um, was pretty scary, but also my husband is also an entrepreneur. I also have a husband named David. Let's make it a little confusing. Right. There's my
Emily: [00:10:22] David and her daughter
Autumn: [00:10:25] have, are David's.
Um, He had been doing his own thing for long enough and had been through some rollercoaster up ups and downs. And he very much said to me, you know, I think you can do this. I think you can be, you know, be your own boss. Um, and so he encouraged me and also his income had eclipsed mine. Um, and so that gave us some flexibility and we had some savings.
And so we felt like, yes, it was a leap. But also it was kind of calculated. Um, but I didn't take any clients with me for my last job. So it really was like, I am starting from zero. Um, but I am also a go getter and I love meeting with people and I had done no sales in any of my former jobs, but once I figured out that sales was just like going to coffee with Emily or, um, meeting up with a friend who might refer me business, Um, you know, or reaching out to somebody who maybe has like, what, we'll talk about how my firm has really grown in the last year or two complimentary business services, like CPAs and CFOs.
Um, People who are working with the same kinds of people that I want to work with. It's really just sitting down and chatting with them and like telling them what you do and asking for them to send people to you. It's not that hard. And so once I figured that out, I mean, I literally, I had a goal of my first couple of months of opening the firm, um, of having coffee or lunch.
Every single day with someone. Um, so I really just started with my existing network. Um, and I sent out mailers. I, you know, said lots and lots of emails to people just, Hey, let's catch up. I'd love to let you know what I'm doing and see if I could be helpful to you. Um, so that was, that was the big way. And then, um, Finding these online communities and then figuring out, cause I, I, when I started my law firm, I thought that I would be a startup lawyer because here in Chattanooga we have a big startup scene.
I was an IP lawyer and I thought, Oh, I can be so valuable and really helpful to all these startups. Well, it turns out they don't have any money. They are not really looking for lawyers in the beginning. And there's all these law firms in town who basically do free legal work for start-ups because they know one out of 10 or one out of 50 is going to hit and then they'll get a good client out of it.
Um, so that didn't work, but finding the online communities, finding it really was a blue ocean. It still is very much a blue ocean, um, kind of finding that niche. And then it becomes, you know, you do a good job for one person and they tell their friend, uh, it was very organic that way. Um, and then there were some times when I figured out, like my pricing was wrong, we had to kind of fix some things and some upleveling and.
There, there were not, it was not all sunshine and roses for sure.
Emily: [00:12:54] Right? No, it never is. Everyone know that right now, occasionally it will be sunshine and roses were for the most part. It definitely is not. Um, I do want to say just a couple of notes here. One is that you do have the most fantastically, full social calendar of anyone I've ever known.
I'm always. So people impressing a little jealous by it. I'm like, well, I want to have one Geoffrey day too. Like, it's just it's I love that you put this sort of effort and intention into connecting yourselves with people in a way that feels so good and aligned for you, but that also gives you the results that you're looking for.
And I will say too, again, like. I literally never see our like calls or chats or like any of those things like that. Like, there is a real relationship that you are building with these people and. That is that's the secret sauce there. Right. And so it does feel genuine. I know you feel genuine about it, but also from this side, it is as well.
And it's funny, you were saying something like, you know, you're just showing up and, you know, asking for referrals and all those things, but you're missing a really huge part of this. And that is that you're also really. Effing great at what you do
Autumn: [00:14:11] that helps, right? Like there is, thank you for saying
Emily: [00:14:13] that big missing part of what you offer is so valuable and you do it in, in such a way that brings so much.
So much value and assistance to your people and your people being creative business owners. Like you just have this like groundedness that we need as creatives and you were really great at it. And so you sort of bundle all of those things up into who you are as an entrepreneur. And, um, watching that work for you in all of the ways is just.
You're sort of like a poster child.
Autumn: [00:14:54] I can say that. I'll talk about all my mistakes here in a minute. We'll
Emily: [00:14:58] get to those in a second. First, first, let's paint a great picture. Um, but really like you show up so authentically you are consistently giving, you're always open for advice, and then whenever you do work with people, it is full of value.
Um, and all of those things I think has added up to. Being really your secret sauce for success. And anyone's, I think anyone can apply these things for themselves, um, in one way or another. So thank you for sharing all of that little peek behind the scenes of how autumn, what Boyd has is ruling the online, um, online business lawyering world.
And I also love that you called it your like lawyer. You're your first law job, right? Whenever we had you come. Do the being boss conference this past spring, I think your session was just called lawyer stuff, automate fully
Autumn: [00:15:53] what it was on that, just a nice
Emily: [00:15:55] and nice general term. Okay. Then let's talk about then the past 12 to 24 months, because I do feel like the past 12 to 24 months has been when there has been a lot of explosion in your business.
So I would love to hear, just catch us up on that little window of time. What has been happening?
Autumn: [00:16:15] Yeah, it's funny. I was in my closet this morning and I chose my vision
Emily: [00:16:21] just hanging out in your closet,
Autumn: [00:16:23] getting dressed. Okay. Finding out the pink sweater I'm wearing. Perfect. But that's where I have my vision board hung.
And so for the past couple of years, every year I've made a vision board. I did not make one for 2021 because I got to tell you the 20, 20 vision is still it's still going there. So I take a look at it and. One of the things that I had, like cut out from a magazine and put on, there was, it took off like a rocket ship.
And I was like, wow, that is how 2020 really felt. Um, you know, I went into the year and we've been building slowly, but surely I've been talking about for years, we have had numerous conversations where I was like, I'm just, I really want to work with larger businesses. I'm not sure how to connect with them.
Like it's, it has felt like a puzzle I couldn't crack. Um, and I feel like last year was the year I finally cracked it, honestly. And some of that was pieces that I had put in place in 2018 and 2019 that finally, you know, seeds that I planted that finally bloomed. Um, but we, we have finally gotten in those circles and it is it's like any other, I hate to say it's like a click, but it kind of is, um, you know, If you do a good job for people, you treat them well, which we try to, um, they will send you their friends.
Um, and so it took a little bit, but. You know, we did some things. Um, I hosted a big dinner in San Diego where I invited some of my clients and then ask them to invite friends that I thought would a, just enjoy the dinner and getting to be around people, but be, you know, who I would love to work with. Uh, one of those people was Amy Porterfield.
And so I sat myself across from her, at the table for dinner and she is so kind and warm. And, you know, it was asking me all these questions about myself. And she said, you know, autumn, who do you want to work with? Like, who's your ideal client? And I looked at her in the eye and I said, Amy Porterfield just
Emily: [00:18:04] subtle
Autumn: [00:18:04] like that.
It's yeah, I mean, I was like, why not? Like when else am I going to be sitting at dinner with Amy Porterfield? So she looked back at me and she was like, Oh, and then it just kind of shifted the whole conversation and she did end up hiring us to do something small and then kind of bit by bit, um, we're now basically her outside general counsel for her company.
Um, and that kind of cracked open the doors a little bit. Um, the other big thing that I think was seeds that we planted that have really paid off is a very intentional referral strategy, um, which is not as complicated as it sounds. But I mentioned earlier that. People who provide complimentary services to us are a great referral source.
So it's even other lawyers who maybe don't want to do some of the things that we'll do cause we're pretty full service. Um, but financial people like CPAs and CFOs. Have become our best referral sources. And so I started noticing that a couple of years ago. And so then I went into, um, I'm in, um, Tara McMullen's community, the, um, what works network.
Um, so I went in there and just searched, like who are all the financial people? And I sent them emails just saying like, Hey, I often need financial referrals for my clients. I would love to get to know you. And so did a bunch of just zoom calls, you know, 15, 20 minutes. I will tell you CPAs, not chatty
short. They are just pretty dry. Uh, but you know, just, I got to know them and it wasn't pretend like I do have clients who asked me about that. And I asked them like, who, who are the other professionals you're working with? Like, how can I make sure that you're being well taken care of? Cause. Uh, a lot of times, even our seven and eight figure annual revenue clients will come to us.
And they've never worked with a lawyer before. They're kind of they've, they have taken off like a rocket, but maybe they don't have some of those finance foundational things in place. So I noticed that that was a great referral source for us. And then I. Just try to find more of them. Um, and so I did a lot of those calls.
Um, and then I started asking my good clients, like, who are you working with? And then saying like, do you mind if I email them? Do you mind if I connect with them? Like, if you're happy with them, maybe I could send them more good clients. Um, and that has been. I mean, it just, it's kind of as like the, the Boulder rolling down the Hill, like it has, um, kept us very, very busy despite a pandemic.
I mean, we had, uh, we almost doubled our revenue last year, despite the pandemic. And despite having like kids at home and everything falling from the sky around
Emily: [00:20:35] it, that is amazing. And from her, well, how much of that would you, would you say is from referrals?
Autumn: [00:20:43] Like we ran a report. So we have a, uh, customer or client management system, a CRM, um, that we track, like if someone contacts us, we always ask, how did you hear about us?
So we were able to run a report and I was sure it was going to be, I have a podcast which we'll talk about in a minute. I do all this social media. I do Facebook lives, this, that, and the other. And I was like, Oh, it's going to be from all those things. And it was like 95% referrals. Wow. Like it blew my mind when I saw that report.
And that is really what started. That was like two years ago that we did that. Um, yeah, it's almost all referrals that is
Emily: [00:21:16] amazing and referrals are free.
Autumn: [00:21:21] And they are so easy to close. Like if I feel like if Emily has sent me some amazing referrals who like talked to one of them this week, I'm like, you think you tell them I'm great.
And then they come and they're just basically like, how can I hire you? Like, it's so easy. Right. And they're wonderful. They're nice. Like if a nice person send you someone, they're probably going to be nice. They're not going to be a jerk. Yeah. It's just all the good things. Referrals are the best. For
Emily: [00:21:43] sure.
Okay, good. I need everyone to go back. There's an episode somewhere in the early two hundreds, I think called word of mouth marketing, where Kathleen and I star laying down the groundwork basically for this exact conversation. And I think about that time was when we were doing, when we did the being boss conference, the ended up being online, where you were in on a session where I called it, you know, creative marketing strategies or something like that.
But it was a little tongue in cheek because they weren't creative. They were old school right now. We think of them as creative because it's not Facebook ads. Exactly. So, um, in referrals was something that we talked about a lot in that session. And so I love that you were here now almost. A year later with an even broader picture of what referrals, what that word of mouth marketing has done for your business in that it has helped you double your revenue and literally costs nothing other than, you know, 20 minute phone calls with CPAs.
Autumn: [00:22:44] Which are fun. I mean, it's yeah. It's not painful.
Emily: [00:22:46] No. And so, so anyone who is thinking about, you know, how is it that I grow my business, but you don't have any money to put into ads or to hire a marketing director or to do any of those things. Do great work. And encouraged people to tell others about
Autumn: [00:23:05] it's not, I mean, we ask for it.
We like it. When Emily has been on the receiving end of this email, when we close out a project, we say a referral is the best compliment you can give us. And we let people know like that we have availability. I mean, I think everyone presumes, everyone else is so busy. Like, Oh, I can't, I couldn't possibly add more to your plate.
It's like, no, no, no. We're here. We would love more clients. Yeah, for sure. So just getting used to asking for it and telling people yes,
Emily: [00:23:31] as easy as possible. And sometimes that just means a prompt reminding them, reminding them that, that it's something that you want. Um, I love this for you, autumn. I'm so impressed.
So impressed that so much of it is referral. It's considerably more than I was expecting as well.
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Perfect. Then let's talk about the support that you've needed to put in place to, um, to, I guess, capitalize on this growth, right? Because doubling your revenue in one year is no small
Autumn: [00:24:43] feat, um, as a one-on-one service provider, right.
Emily: [00:24:46] As a one-on-one service provider, that that's not something that you really can or should scale.
I don't think so. Tell me a bit about what your team growth journey has. It's been like along the way, um, especially things like how have you figured out what roles you need to fill and then actually finding the talent to fill them.
Autumn: [00:25:07] It has been an evolution. Um, so I mentioned my first hire was, is still with me.
Um, her name is Brooke. She's our business manager. Uh, she started out as like a three to five hour week VA because I was terrified to hire someone and, um, You know, I had pretty consistent revenues at that point, but I was still using most of it to pay myself. Um, you know, it's scary that first hire can be scary, but like I said, I knew I didn't want to have to be the only one looking at my email while I was on maternity leave.
So I brought her on. And we kind of eased her into a couple of just really basic tasks and it became very clear that she was so capable of doing more. And so, uh, she actually had, I think, three or four jobs when I first brought her on with other people. Um, she had a couple of different part-time things.
And then one by one, I would kind of ask her if she had a little more capacity, if we could add things to her plate. Um, so she started taking over invoicing and she started managing my calendar. And, uh, I mean, now she basically runs the place. So she let the other jobs go and kind of built up, um, with us.
So that has been amazing. So that was the first hire. It was just administrative support. Like I did not need to be spending my, my lawyer time. That's what we sell and it's expensive. So the more that I can kind of get off my plate and free myself up to do sales and legal work. Really was, um, that helped a lot.
Um, and then the second hire, I think, was, um, attorney help. So I hit the ceiling of my own capacity, where I had more work than I could do. And I was staying up till midnight every night. And, um, that gets old real quick. That was like my old lawyer job, which is why I left it. Um, so I just hired contract lawyers at first, you know, I asked friends who do you know, who might have a little capacity who can do these types of things?
And it took some trial and error. Um, You know, anytime you're working with someone like that, who's juggling several different things. Sometimes you get the short end of the stick. And so I had some of that where I would get things back that just weren't great or they'd be late. Um, and they, you know, would apologize.
I'm sorry. My other job was really demanding this week. Um, and so that gets frustrating after awhile. So I had just kind of ended working with one contract lawyer, and I was having lunch with a friend, like just local, just having lunch with a friend. And I mentioned, you know, yeah, I think I really need some more, I need to hire another attorney and I wasn't even ready to do it.
And she was like, Oh, you know, I have a friend who just moved here and is a stay at home mom, but she's a lawyer and might be interested like I'll connect you. And so we went and had coffee and it was, this is Michelle who works with our team. It was very like, it was just a personality fit very early on.
Um, so I brought her on it's still, his contract still is just hourly as we needed her. Um, so it didn't feel like a big, scary commitment. Um, And then as we've gotten busier, she's a pretty steady, like 15 to 20 hours a week now. Um, so she's been with us about three years. Um, the next person I brought on was marketing help.
So I was like, I had launched a podcast. I was doing the show notes and the emails and all the things that come with doing a podcast, um, and really feeling like I could use some help there. So that was the next hire again, just, I was like, will you just write the weekly emails or will you just like help with the show notes and kind of.
Just little bite-sized pieces. That is Sarah Kate, who is now our full-time marketing director. Um, so I I've kind of hired people on a trial basis. Um, and I will say our next hire, our last hire was a full-time attorney and our next hire is going to be a full-time executive assistant. So you can like now our business can very much support that and needs that more.
And it's not as scary. Like we have 16 members now, so it's not as scary, you know, I've got a big payroll, um, but we have the revenue to support it. So it, it becomes less scary as you do it more, I would say. Right.
Emily: [00:28:42] And you're definitely illustrating something that I've always said too. A lot of times people think that whenever they make that first hire, you have to jump right into full time.
Right. You definitely do not. You do not. You can start someone three to five hours a week just to do those couple of little things that you need to do. And I love that you've also. Illustrated here, how or what it looks like to really prioritize your core genius. Like you even said that, you know, you need someone to take care of emails and these just sort of light works that you could focus on the lawyering and the cells, those pieces, that, those pieces where you are most valuable in your business.
Um, and that has helped you to just continue to scale time after time after time. How did it feel for you to, um, To hire out your core genius though. So you are that you hired more lawyers, so what, yeah. How did you, how'd you do that?
Autumn: [00:29:40] Well, the, the standard, like, Oh, I'm a special butterfly. Like no one can possibly do it, like I can.
And, um, that is not true. Um, But it, you know, it took some training of me to let go of things. And then it also took some training of the clients. They're not going to get me every time. Um, and it, I had to change the way I sell so that now I'm selling the team and not just selling myself to set it up, like you are going to get really well taken care of no matter who on our team, you touch.
And that probably will not be me all the time. Um, and so, you know, just being really open and honest about that, so people know what they're getting. Um, And then, you know, once they, once you start getting some time back, it gets a lot easier. Um, and with our, with our most recent hire, so Michelle was a big law firm partner.
She had a real lawyer job too, but before she came to work for me, um, she was a law firm partner. Like she was ready to hit the ground running. Like she didn't need any training. She needed to kind of learn. Um, I've kind of been training her in some intellectual property stuff and she didn't know anything about online business.
Um, so I joke, I made her listen to a bunch of podcast episodes about like online marketing, just so she could kind of learn how it works nice, but she was pretty much ready to hit the ground running. Um, our, our latest hire was more of a junior attorney. Um, and so I've been spending more time really training her in how I want things done, how I write a contract, how I conduct a client call, like.
All of that. Uh, but it's been really fun. I've really enjoyed it. And she's now kind of like my, her name Shawntay she's in New York. Um, but she's kind of my right-hand person. Like she's on all the calls with me. Um, I think she was on a call with us not long ago. Yeah. Yeah. Um, yeah. And so she's still, I'm still reviewing all of her work.
Um, but she is like whip smart and learning and picking everything up really quickly. So I know that's kind of a short term investment that will pay off when I can, when I kind of let her. Fly free. Well, she's probably ready to fly for you. And I'm just kind of a little nervous still, but I'm still not. I write in my journal every morning I am becoming a leader.
I still feel like I'm kind of growing into it. You are
Emily: [00:31:43] a leader already, autumn and a binging thing. The way you're, what you're talking about here is something that I've experienced as well that I really enjoy. And that is sort of imparting your knowledge. Into someone who can like take your work even further.
Like I find, I find a lot of joy in that and, and sort of creating this broader sort of this broader opportunity for impact with the work that you do by teaching others, to do your work with you and for you and all of those things. It's something you're able to make more impact than you can ever make on your own.
Autumn: [00:32:19] Yeah. And I didn't realize how much I would enjoy. Like we just had a team retreat last week and every single person. And I mean, I know it's the team retreat, so they could be just blowing smoke. But, um, you know, everybody said they really are working their dream job and I didn't realize how amazing that would feel and what like pleasure and like how.
How fulfilling that would be that not only are we affecting our client's lives and hopefully doing good work and getting everybody's legal house in order, but you know, I'm also, I'm a job creator. Like that's amazing I'm giving and, and we joke that we're in an all girl band. Not that we would never hire a dude, we just haven't yet.
Uh, but we, we really enjoy each other's company. We have a great time together. Like everybody's really supportive, no jerks allowed. Um, I, that has been a really pleasant surprise. Right. That's that next
Emily: [00:33:07] level of impact too, right? Where, you know, we all do these things to create our dream jobs. Right. But to be able to create someone else's dream job too.
That's that's next level.
Autumn: [00:33:21] It's pretty awesome.
Emily: [00:33:23] Oh, I love this. Okay, perfect. I want to talk about this marketing hire because this like a full-time marketing person, that's like that's legit.
Um, and in one of those where I could see you, you know, You hiring a lawyer, you can see really an immediate return on investment, right higher.
Autumn: [00:33:44] I'm paying them X I'm charging them out at Y like there's a profit margin there for
Emily: [00:33:48] sure. Marketing. It's a little less black and white. So I would love to hear from you about that decision, how it is that.
Or why it is you made that initial move into, well in, you mentioned a little bit, having someone do the emails, all those things, but what did it look like for that decision making? Like moving, moving her into a full time marketing position.
Autumn: [00:34:11] Yeah, well, we have a second inside of our business that I have not mentioned, which is we sell contract templates.
So it's a digital product. Um, and it really is almost like having two separate businesses, the law firm and the digital product X there's a lot of overlap with customers, um, less so as we've started working with larger businesses on the law firm side, but still a fair amount of overlap. Um, and they are.
Customizable. They are very affordable. They are a really good fit. If your is like zero to even really like half a million dollars annual revenue, I think the contract templates are your first stop for legal. Um, and so I've sold them for five years and they've never really taken off because I've never really been able to give them.
Not much attention because running a one-on-one service business and having really high standards, which we do. I mean, that's where my attention goes. That's where I spend my time. So in the past we've had a summer slowdown and I've like tried to do some marketing things. Um, I'm also, I realized about a year and a half ago.
I'm not a natural marketer. Like I'm pretty good at sales, not that great at copy. Um, just it's. Like it's a skillset. It's not one that I've developed and it's not, it doesn't come naturally to me. And I really like to capitalize on my strengths. Um, and Sarah, Kate has really grown in the couple years.
She's worked for me. So she had, was kind of like broke. She had a bunch of different clients that she worked with, um, that she was kind of juggling. And so some months I would have more of her time. Some months I'd have less of her time, depending on what else, what we had going on and what she had going on.
Um, So I had actually brought in someone else from outside, um, to be, uh, like a, um, an integrator, I guess, like a marketing. I wanted like a marketing manager. I wanted someone who could do strategy and implement implementation. Um, Sarah Cade had not really been doing the strategy. She was just doing kind of the day-to-day.
Um, so I brought in this other person and it did not work out. Um, it was just kind of a mess. And around that same time, I think, and I haven't asked him or Kate this, but I think she kind of saw that and this other person was expensive. Um, not full-time employee expensive, but like expensive. And I think Sarah Kate kind of realized that she had some skills and could demand a higher rate.
So she actually came to me and said, I think I want to start a marketing agency. And I was like, Okay. Interesting. Um, so she kind of had some ideas and she gave me some pricing and she was gonna hire some people to work under her. And I just honestly, wasn't that thrilled with the idea of like having more layers of people, um, and still like, just wasn't sure I hadn't seen the strategy from her.
Um, and so. I basically said, like, I don't think this is a great fit for us right now. Um, you know, if, if you need to go do it on your own, that's fine. No hard feelings. Um, but then as we kind of kept talking and, you know, she was still working with us, I kind of looked at her and I was like, what if you've just worked for us?
Like, if you want to make more money and you want to have like more control, like I think I could use you. Full-time I think if you were. Focused here full-time we could really take the contract templates. I mean, I think it could be a million dollar business, um, if we had the time and energy to put into it.
Um, and so I offered that to her and she said, yes. So she started full-time in December and man, it has been. She's incredible. She has really, really showed up and put together a brilliant marketing plan. We did a, you can't see this if you're listening, but we did a challenge. She made this like beautiful workbook.
We're doing all the internet marketing things that just take a lot of time and energy. And she's doing Facebook ads for us. Um, we've we like tripled our contract template sales this year and we're poised to do a lot more next year. Um, yeah, so, uh, and she was, she was like, pitching me for podcasts. She said just, we've tried all kinds of different things, but, um, having her, like having a full-time person, just looking at that, and she really owns that part of the business now.
Like I come in and I'm like, just tell me what to do. Like, do I need to do a Facebook live? Do you need, are we missing this contract? And you need me to write it, like, just tell me. Um, but it's been really fun to watch her grow into that and really like, kind of own it. Um, and she's doing way better than I ever did.
So. Um, again, another kind of scary, like this is a full-time person, uh, but she's killing it. And like the ROI has become, um, like she is proving her. She's earning her money very much.
Emily: [00:38:26] Nice. Ooh, this is so good. And it's something that, something that I'm seeing a lot, these, these days too, you know, I, you see these interesting sort of ebbs and flows of sort of, I don't really want to call them trends in business, but sure.
I'll call them that. Especially like in the, in the realm that we play in where. I mean, I'm literally telling people all the time to like start a business. That's like sort of what this podcast is about more or less, but I completely recognize what you're saying, where, you know, sometimes the best benefit is not from hiring another agency.
To do the job of having these layer more layers of systems and people and permissions and all of these things. But it's finding that someone who can just be your person and that PR for that person, you are their person, right? Like they, you get their total focus. Um, and they're, you know, complete, uh, all the implementation is yours.
I think there's something very amazing that comes from those sorts of. Those sorts of relationships too, and really just plays into this like broadening spectrum. I think of like how it is that you can work with people. And I love that for this one for you, you have no sort of taken all the little steps along the way to find a place that really works for both of you and that you're seeing the ROI.
Autumn: [00:39:42] Yes. And I will say, like, I don't think most service businesses need a full-time marketing person. Like honestly, I did not have a full-time job for her. Well, if, if it were just the law for, and she's really doing very little marketing for the law firm, you've heard, it's mostly me having coffee chats these days.
Emily: [00:39:56] Right. Um, but the digital products like that, other stuff
Autumn: [00:40:02] I get, and that is scalable in a way, like without more people and, you know, in a different way than a one-on-one service is for sure.
Emily: [00:40:12] This is good stuff. Autumn, you have been doing so much fun stuff. Okay. Now I do want to talk about the podcast and I'll tell everyone, you know, this, this is why I emailed you.
This is why I was like, okay, I have to hear this story, autumn, but will you tell me the story on the podcast? So you've been doing your legal roadmap podcasts for how long.
Autumn: [00:40:34] Uh, four years, four and a half, four, four and a half years. And I started it right after I had Vivian. This is all like Vivian's life story and a podcast.
Emily: [00:40:44] Well, Vivian is still alive, but the podcast is dead.
Autumn: [00:40:49] It's on hiatus. Call it totally dead.
Emily: [00:40:52] Perfect. You shouldn't, you never know. Um, you never know, but tell me about this. Um, you decided to stop doing the podcast. I know for you that it has been somewhat fruitful. Um, so just tell me a bit about, I guess, your time doing the podcast and what sort of brought it to its this moment of hiatus.
Autumn: [00:41:09] Yes. Um, well, so early in my business, I was on lots of podcasts and that was a big marketing Avenue for me. And I would say if you had done that same report that I ran, you know, year or two ago, five years ago, a lot of people were finding me from me being on other people's podcasts. And I loved it. I thought it was fun.
I love to chit chat. It's like the best of all worlds. You don't have to be beautiful, but you can, if you want to. Indeed. But I just, I enjoyed it. It was easy. It was fun. And I was trying to blog and I was trying to fill it. I was like, Oh, everybody tells me I need content to market. Um, and as a lawyer, like we want to get things exactly.
Right. And so anytime I would write a blog post, it was hitting me like all day. It was just this huge gargantuan undertaking. Cause I would have to do research and like make sure it was exactly right. Um, But going on a podcast was just fun and very easy. And, uh, I had started doing a little bit of video also, and I enjoyed that.
And so I was like, huh, I think rather than blogging, I could just have a podcast. Um, so that's what really led me to start the podcast in 2016. And I did just a season at first I did 12 episodes and I kind of batched it and I made it, it was almost like they're still there. The first 12 episodes are really good.
Um, they're like the course that I did was too lazy to make. So it was like, here's all the things you need to know as a baby business owner. Like here's what you need to be taken care of, kind of helping just here's what you don't, you didn't go to law school. Here are all the things you don't know, you need to be worried about.
Um, so I did the first season, I got really positive feedback. I enjoyed it. Um, so I decided to keep going. I think I took, I dunno, a couple months in between. Um, so the first couple of years I did seasons where we could kind of batch it and it was like a lot of work, but in a short amount of time, um, then I did some interviews.
It kind of, it went in different directions. There was a time when I was trying to, um, use the podcast to Uplevel our clients. If you listen to like kind of some of the middle episodes, it's a lot about like selling and business. And like bringing in partners and some of the more like advanced legal topics.
Um, but what I found when we looked at stats was, um, you know, most of our listeners were very early in their business journey. And so that those kinds of episodes weren't that appealing to them. Um, so we did, we got more strategic after Sarah Kay and the other marketing person I worked with, you know, we, we did more of an intentional marketing content calendar, and we tried to tie it to promotions and this, that, and the other.
And then the pandemic hits and, um, I'm sure anyone who has a podcast or saw their stats just kind of go in the toilet. Like
Emily: [00:43:39] what swirling make,
Autumn: [00:43:43] maybe not, maybe not you, no idea.
Podcasts was always very, very niche. I mean, legal for online business owners is it was a pretty small following anyway. Um, but yeah, we just weren't seeing any growth or really much traction, um, Uh, so, and, and when I was looking at where people were coming from, um, it was not the podcast. It was still an amazing resource.
People loved it. Um, but towards the end of last year, I felt like I was repeating myself like, Oh, I've, I've kind of said all I have to say, um, So, especially for our audience, like it was an audience that was not necessarily growing with us. Um, we were getting new people who were still at that beginning business level, but I was like legal for a new business is not that complicated.
Like there's just not that much to say. Um, and it was taking a lot of my time and energy. Right. To plan out the episodes. Um, you know, sometimes we, like, we did some things about Facebook ads and FTC regulations, you know, some things that were a little meatier that I would spend a day again, a day researching to make sure I got it right.
So, um, it was a lot of the team's time. It was some expense cause we hired the editing out. Um, and when I sat down with Sarah, Kate, and I was kind of like, tell me what a 21, 2021 looks like for marketing. She was like, how do you feel about the podcast? Um, and I had been feeling a time crunch anyway, just pandemic, not as much as childcare trying to do, trying to serve the influx of clients we've had really well.
Um, The podcast was on my calendar. Like it had to go out, so I always prioritized it. Um, but I was kind of like, you know, if I stopped doing it, I think it would be okay. And so we, we like sat with that for a couple of months and like tried to, you know, we kept doing it, trying to see, and then yeah, we decided to close it out.
And so I recorded the last episode in December and I, like, I was sure I was going to cry and just be really emotional. And it really wasn't like, it felt like, okay, this is like, this is time. This is like the. The end of a chapter, not necessarily the end of the whole book, but, um, we, we have felt good about it.
So, and people are still finding it. Like people still won't message me like, Oh, your podcast in it. I'm like 170 episodes, like go to town. There's there's a lot of content there. Right. Right now I'm not making any more. No, no saying, yeah. It just felt like it was time. Well, and
Emily: [00:46:02] it doesn't sound like, it just felt like it, it sounds like the numbers.
We're showing you the data, right? That it was absolutely time for you to, um, that if you were feeling this, that there was sort of support there, real support there too. Um, I gave you permission to just sort of leave it behind. Is there a kin. Is there anything that was like the straw that broke the camel's back?
Like, was it, was it having Sarah Kate sort of confirm your suspicions or, you know, sort of seeing the data or was it that feeling that you had nothing left to say? Was it anything in particular that was sort of it, or was it just a culmination of all those things?
Autumn: [00:46:43] I think a big part of it was, um, I really, and I'll be open and honest about this.
I really struggled with some depression and anxiety over the summer, um, with COVID with no childcare, the kids at home, trying to run a law firm and we were booming busy. Um, and so I was working like a crazy person. Um, Not feeling great. And so I started seeing a counselor and then also hired some business coaches.
Cause I was like, I feel like I have a tiger by the tail. And this is like, we can't sustain this. I've got to. You know, put some things in place so that we have more sustainable growth. Um, cause we just kind of, we're saying yes to everything. Cause that's what you do when you're scared that there will never be another client.
Um, but so like all of that, I was hearing the same. And so I was talking to a counselor, um, about not feeling like I was present at home and working too much and, and. Uh, I was kind of saying the same things with the business coaches and like, how can we kind of even out our client flow. And so both of them were kind of saying like, let's look, get your calendar and where are you spending your time?
And yeah, you know, there was just this huge chunk, like almost all day on a lot of Wednesdays that I would have blocked out for the podcast. And they were like, okay, let's look at that. Like, what is the ROI on that? And what are you, you know? Yeah. And so it was kind of all of that together where it was just like, I was hearing from a lot of different sources that if my goal is to spend more time at home and be more present and.
Provide really amazing value to fewer clients, but at a higher level, like all of these things kind of converged in the same direction and they were all kind of like, you have a limited amount of time and this is a very time intensive thing. So. It just, yeah, that those were kind of the forces. And then again, looking at the numbers, it all just reinforced, like nothing was going in the opposite direction.
I wasn't like, Oh, but this is my favorite part of the week. Like I enjoyed it, but it wasn't something that I was devastated to lose either. So yeah. All of those things,
Emily: [00:48:37] what do you feel you have gained back since, since stopping the podcast
Autumn: [00:48:42] since then being the podcast? It does feel like a little bit of a relief, like not to have that whole day in the middle of the week, kind of.
Hemmed in, um, it's made scheduling easier for client calls. Um, I have a real goal this year to leave the office at five 30, um, most days, not every day, most days. Um, so yeah, I don't, I, I would often last year get to the end of the day and I would have like, you know, eight. Client calls and three team meeting calls and then throw the podcast in there too.
And so at five o'clock, I would have been working all day, but not felt like I got anything accomplished. Um, and so then I have to like, look at my email and Oh, I need to review this contract and this, that, and the other. So that's when I was working until, you know, late into the evening. And so now I feel like I have better boundaries around my time where I can, I now have blocked off in the afternoon, like client work time.
Um, so yeah, I, I do feel like I have a better, I have my arms around my time, a little bit more. Nice. Well, congratulations. Not, I'm not saying anyone who wants to start a podcast. Don't do it. I have two good friends who were starting podcasts this year. I'm like, don't listen to me right now.
Emily: [00:49:47] Yes or not. I think this is a wonderful lesson of, you know, you start something because it has beneficial.
Like you see the benefits, it has real benefits. You, you know, you get clients from it. You, um, you grow your online presence. Like you do all these. There comes a time in your business where, I mean, actually consistently you need to look at what is happening because things shift and change as your business grows, the thing that's going to help a business that's just getting started are not the things that's going to help you whenever you're multiple six figures into it.
Like you're running a completely different business at that time. So I, this is a really important lesson of. Just checking everything consistently and making really smart, really smart decisions based on facts, you know, not just feelings or what you want to do or what people are expecting you to do. But my fans love it when I do this or whatever it may be.
It's about running a business and, and that's that's you made a business. Whoa, my mouth today though, you made a business decision and um, no one can fault you for that.
Autumn: [00:50:54] And a life decision. I mean, I think you mentioned earlier, like we all start businesses because we want a dream life for ourselves. Um, and so, you know, like your favorite ideal day exercise, like my ideal day was not working until midnight because I felt constantly behind.
Um, so like I'm the boss, no one is to blame, but me for that. And like that is fixable. So this was kind of one, one brick in that wall.
Emily: [00:51:19] Well, congratulations, autumn on that as well. I'm so excited to hear that that was the decision that you made and that's how you made it. And that would was so, uh, conglomerated.
That's not the word, like what is the, like everyone sort of cave in.
Autumn: [00:51:34] Man. It was like all signs point to
Emily: [00:51:36] yes, yes. That that happened. Right. And so it was an easy decision, even if it felt like sort of a heavy decision to have to make. Um, congratulations. I think that's, I think it's exciting. Um, so you've removed this really sort of big part of your week, um, which hopefully leaves you open to so many things or what are you most excited about doing in your business this year?
Autumn: [00:52:00] So we have really rejiggered the way we work with new clients. And so I don't even know if I've told you this, Emily. Um, but as part of trying to really provide amazing value at a higher level, um, we are limiting how many clients we take a month, which was so scary. And I told my, I told Brooke, I said, okay, It's fine if like we don't even sign a new client for three or four months because we've got existing clients who are still keeping us very busy.
We, we immediately filled up. It has not been a problem. Um, but so we have a new way of working with clients where we start with the legal planning session and we get our arms around their whole business. Um, and it just feels so good, um, to really be providing, you know, that's our favorite way to work with clients where we.
We see everything that they're doing. And oftentimes they, the thing they come to us wanting is not the thing they really need. And I don't say that like, Oh, they're so dumb. Like they just. Don't have like, we have a lot of experience in seeing how things go wrong. Um, so that has been really amazing. We've just gotten started with that in January.
Um, but I'm excited to see that kind of continue to grow. And I think we probably will be hiring another attorney later this year to kind of meet that demand. So we'll see. Um, yeah, and then Sarah Cade is just doing really cool digital marketing stuff on the contract side. So she's repurposing a lot of our old content, um, which is fun.
Like I'm not having to recreate new things, but we have, we just have so many worksheets and templates and tools and things. So she's making them pretty, cause I'm not a. A graphic designer. So she's kind of bundling them up in new ways and, um, coming up with really great ideas, um, to help newer business owners who, um, it doesn't make sense for their business to hire us one-on-one and I'm getting more comfortable saying that to people and not feeling badly about it, but saying we have tons of resources for you too.
Emily: [00:53:53] congrats on continuing to grow, actually congrats on all the growth that you've seen thus far. And then these plans for the new year sound super exciting. I look forward to seeing how it all ends up. Rolling out.
Autumn: [00:54:05] You'll be the first to step
Emily: [00:54:07] I'm excited. Perfect. Well, autumn, thank you so much for coming to hang out with me.
Why don't you tell everyone how it is that they can find you around the interwebs?
Autumn: [00:54:16] Yes. So our website is the hub AWB from.com. That's where you can find our contract templates and more about our team and what we do. And then on all the social media, I'm just autumn Witt Boyd. So you can find me Instagram and Facebook are where I hang out the most.
Emily: [00:54:30] Perfect and final question for you, autumn. What's making you feel most boss.
Autumn: [00:54:36] So right now, I have to say, every morning I'm getting up, I'm filling my Dolly Parton, mug of coffee. It says cup of ambition. And, um, I've been sitting down with my journal and setting an intention for the day and kind of grounding myself.
And that has been a game changer, even when things are chaotic around me, as they often are with three children, um, That has been making me feel pretty boss. Oh,
Emily: [00:55:01] I love this autumn. It's so fun to catch up with you. Thank you for coming to hang out with me.
Autumn: [00:55:06] Yes. Thank you for inviting me.
Emily: [00:55:09] What a treat to catch up with autumn.
And I love that our boss friendship goes alongside the launching and growing of both of our businesses and that we get to share this journey together and know that if you are on the hunt for a business bestie of your own, this is the stuff that the being boss community is made of theirs. Together.
There's a whole brood of business bosses gathering for Monday meetups to share wins and challenges, a book club for diving deep into business books and share experiences with each other and a whole community platform for you to connect with other creatives like yourself, ask questions and find just the tips you need to grow.
It's a place filled with folks that you can share your business journey with too. You can learn more and join in by going to being boss.club/community. And until next time, do the work be boss.