Chrissie Lightfoot‘s BIO
EntrepreneurLawyer Limited is a UK based company specializing in helping lawyers with marketing, personal branding, sales, social media, social networking, business development, and innovation.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT INTERVIEW
1. Please share with us what prompted you to start your business?
Chrissie: I spotted an opportunity, a niche, a sweet-spot, which was the result of certain drivers and trends causing a major transformation in the UK (and global) legal market.
The timing was right to write The Naked Lawyer: RIP to XXX – How to Market, Brand and Sell YOU! and to launch my unique service proposition off the back of the publication. My proposition was helping lawyers and entrepreneurs market, brand and sell themselves by producing a book in which they could teach themselves. This was supported through my speaking at (international) events and consulting, whether 1-to-1 or to many.
I’d reached a stage in my life where all of my previous experiences, knowledge, talents and skills could be honed into EntrepreneurLawyer Limited, the company I founded at the height of the recession in 2009.
Starting my own business was also a lifestyle choice. I wanted to create a business whereby I could travel, live and work, anywhere in the world. I was master of my own mutiny. I didn’t want to be a corporate slave chained to the conventional Monday to Friday 9 to 5 career lifecycle. I wanted to have control over where, when, why, how and with whom I worked.
I knew that I’d also come to a cross roads in my life where I had the opportunity to share and give something which could help many. I just knew it was time… again.
2. As we all know, there is no typical day in the life of an entrepreneur. Please share with us a sample of your day start to finish.
Chrissie: I usually wake up early and get up at 04:30AM.
- 4:30AM – 07:00AM I work, generally on the following tasks: social media, social networking, emails, marketing, client work/ meetings prep.
- 07:00AM – 08:00AM I go for a run, followed by shower & coffee / breakfast.
- 09:00AM – 09:00PM, or until whenever necessary because I work across international time zones (clients, business and prospects stretching from New Zealand to USA) I work – meetings, clients, marketing, networking.
- 11:00PM/12:00PM Bedtime.
Weekends differ a wee bit. Generally I make a later start to the day. 04:30 on a weekend by anyone’s standards is rather nuts.
I go biking (cycling) as a leisure pursuit most Saturdays and Sundays. I also work weekends when required (often). The balancing act is when the weather is good I arrange my weekly diary so that I can get out cycling any time of the day or eve (any day Monday to Sunday) as long as I don’t have any client meetings. Naturally, client work takes priority but I try to flex my diary to achieve balance in my work and leisure life.
I kind of work and play 7 days a week. There is no work leisure divide.
3. What are your ‘can’t live without’ apps?
Chrissie: Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Hootsuite and Property Place. I love social media and social networks for both business and leisure. Property Place is a really new cool website (www.property-place.net ) and app. It helps me identify ad-hoc living / accommodation arrangements when I’m on the move in the UK and Internationally.
4. What are your tricks for time management?
Chrissie: Schedule, schedule, schedule. I’m a ‘let’s get organised’ boffin. I use Microsoft office Outlook calendar daily for scheduling daily activities, tasks, meetings etc. I get organised the night before for the following day. I’m rather disciplined re. ‘must do no matter what’ every day activities, for example, the first task I do when I power up the lap-top is to check and reply to emails and then fire off social media stuff. I also build in ‘interference’ time as inevitably the day does not always go as planned and in order to not feel stressed these ‘stress buster time-outs’ give me breathing space to capture new opportunities as well as deal with ‘run over’.
5. What was the best advice you received when you started your career?
Chrissie: Do what you love. Enough said.
6. Given the current economic climate, what has been your strategy for building awareness of your business for short term & long term growth?
Chrissie: In the book [amazon_link id=”0983961107″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Breakthrough Entrepreneurship[/amazon_link] (which I highly recommend) by entrepreneur and teacher Jon Burgstone and writer Bill Murphy, Jr. I came across Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson’s definition of entrepreneurship:
“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
I believe that whether one is in a challenging or buoyant economic climate, the strategy for building awareness of the business for short, medium and long term should not alter or falter. It comes down to devising a personal brand and capitalising on and exploiting a mixture of conventional and unconventional marketing, branding and sales techniques , processes and methods. For example, I created my personal brand and then used social media and social networking to create “Brand,Me” awareness. No financial resources were required or employed in this activity as use of social media and social networking on the likes of LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are free.
Of course, I could have opted to engage in paid for online advertising but I haven’t found this necessary due to the positioning of the “Chrissie Lightfoot – The Entrepreneur Lawyer” personal brand using traffic rich keywords for search engine optimisation and social search optimisation. An investment in time and sweat equity in building a network of key relationships has been my strategy rather than throwing money at the business!
I also wrote The Naked Lawyer eBook at the very start of my new venture in order to establish credibility in the market place, have a “Brand, Product” for PR and residual income purposes and have a point of reference for events managers, customers, clients and collaborators to look to as a lead in for additional services which I could offer spinning from the content within the book itself. For example, keynote speaking engagements and consultancy / advisory work at the high end in both corporate and small, medium enterprises.
7. What is your proudest achievement as an accomplished entrepreneur?
Chrissie: There’s something really special when you witness your clients success as a result of your “Brand, Product” and service. For example, one of my (lawyer) clients in Australia (a reader of The Naked Lawyer eBook) achieved $1,000,000 in new client sales during 2011. I’m so chuffed for him and others who are achieving cracking results using the ROAR model documented within The Naked Lawyer. I must confess, I pinched myself when I first saw the book in print. I’d always wanted to write a book, to fulfil a dream even. My proudest moment was actually realizing that the dream had become reality.
8. How do you achieve balance in your life?
Chrissie: I love to run, swim and cycle; kind of triathlon without stringing them all together in one session! I’m blessed to be part of a ‘cycling club’ in the neighbourhood where I live in Leeds city centre. I have a great bunch of cycling buddies whom I ride with every week. We blog on our cycling blog to post rides daily and hook-up ad-hoc. There’s always someone mad enough to ride with me. It’s social as well as healthy and invigorating. There’s not a feeling in the world better than riding the hills – up and down – whether in the UK or abroad. It’s rich for the soul, fuel for creative thinking and exhilarating for the body. Wonderful!
9. Your 3 book recommendations?
1) [amazon_link id=”0143037889″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Singularity Is Near: When Humans Transcend Biology[/amazon_link] by Ray Kurzweil
2) [amazon_link id=”0684865165″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Rebel Rules: Daring to be Yourself in Business[/amazon_link] by Chip Conley
3) [amazon_link id=”1591843081″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Go Givers Sell More[/amazon_link] by Burg & Mann
10. What are your most rewarding charitable involvements?
Chrissie: I am honoured and blessed to be a mentor on behalf of The Prince’s Trust. It’s an extraordinary charity which focuses on helping young entrepreneurs across the UK with funding and advisors to help kick-start their dream ventures.
11. Who has influenced your career the most?
Chrissie: There’s a statement by Giorgos Seferis, a Greek poet, which captures my answer:
“Don’t ask who’s influenced me. A lion is made up of the lamb’s he’s digested, and I’ve been reading all my life.”
It’s hard to pin-point one person or thing. Albeit, I admire and adore my mother for giving me the courage to follow my dreams. I also read a book entitled [amazon_link id=”B002J3AD8A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Empty Raincoat: Making Sense Of The Future [/amazon_link]in my early twenties by Charles Handy. This text affected me greatly as the idea of building a handbag full of skills and portfolio working touched me; the idea of being resourceful and independent due to acquiring many skill sets throughout my lifetime (and as early as possible) was highly appealing. Bottom line, I have my own inner lion compass where my career journey experiences new lambs every Spring
12. What is your advice to someone interested in entrepreneurship?
Chrissie: Entrepreneurship is very much about results primarily derived from your own behaviour and actions. It’s about spotting opportunities and going for it, no matter what. It’s about having the heart and drive to pursue your beliefs and dreams and seeing it through to the very end. Invariably, it’s about taking risks, sometimes in (and on) unproven stuff whilst being comfortable with change, uncertainty, ambiguity and chaos. You have to accept that you will fail and will make stacks and stacks of mistakes. If you can’t deal with failure, take knockbacks, criticism, or handle any of the above, then don’t do it. Stick with a conventional day job.