NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Jay S. Fleischman, owner of Shaev & Fleischman, has been a New York bankruptcy lawyer since 1995, helping thousands of New Yorkers file for bankruptcy under Chapter 7 and Chapter 13. He founded Legal Practice Pro to help solo lawyers like himself harness online marketing to connect with clients.Fleischman joins TheStreet's Gregg Greenberg and SCORE small business counselor David Sloan to share tips and insights for legal professionals looking to launch a solo career in part four of TheStreet's Small Business Success Webinar Series, today at 2 p.m. ET. ( Register here.) What are some of the misconceptions people have about online and content marketing, and common mistakes beginners make? Fleischman: The biggest misconception is that by providing real, actionable value in the form of online content you will cannibalize your business by the DIY crowd. Given your success with online marketing, do you still employ traditional marketing methods as well? Fleischman: I employ traditional methods of marketing my practice such as regular correspondence with existing and prior clients, networking and referral-based marketing. How much time per day or week do you devote to content marketing, blogging, social networking? Do you do most of it yourself? Fleischman: I do all of the content marketing myself because I think it's important to recognize the personal nature of marketing. Hiring out my marketing would be tantamount to having my assistant attend a cocktail party wearing a Jay Fleischman mask. Can you talk about how effective content marketing and the "tractor beam" concept helped your business? Fleischman: I owe my entire professional career to content marketing and the tractor beam concept. What are the first five steps a solo lawyer should take to begin growing his/her reach and reputation online? Fleischman: 1. Buy a domain name that reflects your name. 2. Begin blogging about your practice area as well as those topics that are going to be most useful for your prospective clients. I regularly contribute to a personal finance site as well as bankruptcy sites. 3. Use social media platforms to get the pulse of your market and to connect with others in your field. 4. Become active in forum sites and discussion groups that cater to the profession as well as to your prospective clients. 5. Create content to be shared on platforms other than your own. 6. Create and nurture an email list of interested prospective clients and colleagues using newsletters, tractors beams and content that is non-promotional but exists merely to showcase your base of knowledge. What made you decide to go into business for yourself? Did you work at a larger firm before you made the leap? Fleischman: I worked for a very short time with a law firm, though I began planning my transition to solo practice prior to sitting for the bar. I knew it was a short-term move from the get-go. Did you realize the sacrifices you'd have to make going solo? Were there any that you weren't expecting? Fleischman: I don't think that any entrepreneur can fully understand the sacrifices involved in owning one's own business regardless of the field. In many ways, being an entrepreneur is like being the parent to a newborn; it's all-encompassing, particularly in the beginning.
How did you know you had what it takes to start and run a successful practice on your own? What skills or qualities does it require to be an excellent lawyer? Fleischman: In order to be successful at running a law firm - indeed, any business - you've got to be willing to trust your instincts yet be willing to change course if your research indicates that it's wisest to do so. Myopic thinking is a killer; a willingness to change course is critical to success. How did you finance your start-up costs? Fleischman: I had no start-up costs. In the beginning of my practice I took on third-shift temporary jobs doing word processing. I'm lucky that I type fast and know my way around a computer. Did you make any big mistakes when you were first starting out? Or is there anything you would do differently? Fleischman: Wow. I could write a book.