Today I'm joined by Mike Perez. What's up, Mike? Hey, Corey, how you doing? Good, buddy. Thanks so much for coming on the show. I'm super excited for our conversation. you and I used to, kind of compete against each other a little bit when I was at Scorpion. you're at a competing, a very, you know, very high level, you know, digital marketing agency targeting attorneys called iLawyerMarketing.
So I'm, I've been just looking forward to this conversation. I'm looking forward to hearing your journey and all the lessons you learned along the way. but for the listening audience, would you mind just introducing yourself and the work you do?
[00:00:31] mike: Sure. Yeah. So, my name is Mike Perez. I've started this company in 2005.
So it's been a very long time. the vertical that we specialize in is in legal. And so originally when I started my company, I always knew I wanted to verticalize just because that's the best way to, to grow a business in my, in my opinion. So originally the plan. Was to do legal, to do health and cosmetic industry, plastic surgeons, that kind of a thing.
We've always been so busy on the legal side that I never got to the other, those other parts. and so we've been incredibly busy, so I've kind of stayed focused on legal the whole time. Although we may expand into, health this coming year. We've started to build the, the blocks for, for that.
[00:01:13] corey: Ooh, that's exciting.
I want to dig into that. what could you share about the, the sort of the size of iLawyerMarketing just for context, like number of employees, number of clients, revenue, whatever you're comfortable sharing.
[00:01:24] mike: we're in the 60s in terms of employee size.
You know, in terms of W2 employees, we probably have another 3540, that are 1099s, you know, whether that is other legal consultants in the industry that just refer business our way, or content writers and different kinds of things like that. Few, few overflow for, for dev development, but almost everything we do, we try to keep in house just to maintain quality of the, of the work that we do.
in terms of revenue last year, we did about 16. 7 million in revenue. This year we should finish around 18 and a half in revenue. So
[00:02:01] corey: yeah, that's fantastic. Tell me about your role there as president.
[00:02:05] mike: Yep, so my role has been, ever since day one, I was the president, CEO, whatever it is, with, with the company.
I've always had a very active role. for me, I started out as a, as an SEO person and I was, when I started the company, it was me by myself, just doing SEO on, The client sites, and then as, as we grew, as I got too busy, couldn't handle it all myself, I started to hire other people, but, I've always been, because of that, those roots in SEO, I've always been very, very active in the SEO department here and the strategies that we use, and as well as building software that we are, you know, proprietary SEO software that we use here, at the, at the agency.
[00:02:45] corey: And you guys, your firm, iLawyerMarketing, was recently acquired by Everservice. Is that correct?
[00:02:52] mike: That's correct. it was probably about a little bit over a year in terms of when we, when I first signed a letter of intent to when, when I actually sold, I wanted to make sure that everything was, a fit in terms of their company and our company.
they were a great fit just because they weren't coming in trying to change a lot about what we were doing. They liked what we were doing. They liked that we're recognized as, the strongest SEO company in the legal industry. And so they wanted to maintain that. and they're not trying to come in and change our...
Company culture is huge for us here. It's what helps us keep our employees, for some of them that are multiple that have been here for, you know, 10, some of them 15 years. for me, that was a big, important part of the process. And then do diligence as well is, is a beast. So when you have, you know, any kind of acquisition where you have, you know, an eight figure, price on that acquisition, there's going to be some serious due diligence along the way.
So, yeah, there was quite a bit over that, over that process. It took a long time, but You know, on both sides, it's good for you as well as if you're an agency looking to sell, that you do your own due diligence on those people that are trying to acquire you. I mean, I did a lot of that on Everservice, talked to other companies they had acquired.
I talked to Ben, who I think you had on your show before. and he told me the experience was great from the very beginning that Eversurface, I'd always kind of, kept their promises of what they were going to do, right? They have a mentality of, Let's not do any harm, For everything that's working, let's keep that running as is.
And then if we can improve certain processes along the way, then we'll do that. that's
[00:04:29] corey: great. Well, I do want to circle back to that. There's a lot there, I think, for our listeners, especially those aspiring to be bought one day to kind of unpack.
[00:04:38] mike: but let's start at the beginning.
[00:04:39] corey: Let's, you know, what's the, what's the origin? Where were you doing prior to launching iLawyerMarketing? What led you to? You know, casting out in this venture.
[00:04:48] mike: Sure. Yeah. So I started out before I started this company, I was working for Finelaw, which is, you know, another big player in the space, right? Is there's, there's Finelaw and there's Scorpion that are the two behemoths in the space and before.
Corpian became the behemoth with your help, right, as leading them to, to grow like they did. there was Finelon, that was the big player. And so that's where I was at for about a year and a half. I, I did very well, ended up being the number two rep in the nation in my, in my first full year there. but I decided to leave.
The reason was I had sold a lot, but Finelaw was not doing a very good job on the SEO side of things. So I had a lot of unhappy clients. So my day was filled with doing my job at Finelaw. And eventually I started doing my own SEO on all my clients websites. And even before then, I had... You know, started to get into SEO even before I started the company.
kind of before SEO was even a thing, really. This was, you know, in the late, in the late nineties, when I first kind of dipped my toes with, internet marketing. but at FineLaw, that's kind of where I cut my teeth. I started doing that and started optimizing my client sites, getting them up there in the search engines, and then after a while.
I said, I do this better than the company I'm working for. Why am I working for them? And I ended up starting. So, so let me
[00:06:01] corey: just ask clarifying questions. So you, you were helping to bring on new clients into fine law and part of the package of the product they were buying was an SEO service for their website, I'm assuming, but they weren't working well.
So you, what you, you took it upon yourself to kind of. Just go in and help them out directly in addition to what the work that Finelaw was doing. Yeah,
[00:06:20] mike: I mean I actually felt really guilty about selling these things to my clients and then so many of them were upset,
But that didn't sit well with me, so I started, you know, working these very long days, you know, they were 12 to 14 hour days, but, but I enjoyed what I was doing because I was learning, you know, how to optimize these, law firm websites and at the end of the day, that made me feel really good that I was able to get them moved up the rankings and for them helping them to get new leads and sign cases.
[00:06:44] corey: What caused you to realize that, hey, I could just do this for myself independent of, you know, working for someone else?
[00:06:51] mike: Well, when I... When a lot of the sales reps at Finelaw and even their SEO team started calling me with questions, I'm like, okay, well, this is kind of crazy that I'm answering SEO questions for the SEO team here and other sales reps in the, you know, around the country would, would call me.
And so at that point I said, all right, it's time, it's time to leave. And I was making, you know, really good money at that time. and a lot of people say, Hey, you're crazy. Why are you doing this? You're, you're making great money. Just stay here. And I said, no, I don't, I just don't feel right about it. I'm making great money, but.
It was a lot of unhappy people. And so in the end I left and it took a while to replace that income, but, but obviously it was the right decision. How did you
[00:07:29] corey: get started? Like, what were the first things you would, you did to kind of get, get the revenue going, get the business off the ground?
[00:07:36] mike: I just started calling on other, other, legal.
Legal or law firms here in the San Diego area. This is where I'm based on. you know, I didn't want to deal with non compete issues in fine law, so I wasn't trying to take my clients or anything like that. I just started calling on brand new, brand new firms that I had never dealt with because I was in a territory and obviously When I, was, went out on my own, there is no territory I can call on any, any firm in the country.
[00:08:03] corey: you mentioned a couple minutes ago that the best way to grow an agency or something to the effect of that is by taking a vertical approach. why was that clear to you at that time?
[00:08:13] mike: I mean, if you want great Italian food, you're not going to go to Hometown Buffet or anything like that, right?
You're not going to go to a buffet. I mean, if you don't want food poisoning, you probably don't go to Hometown Buffet. But, but if you want really good Italian food, you're going to go to a place that specializes in Italian food, right? That's making, you know, handmade pasta. You're going to have the best experience there.
And I think the same holds true for anybody that's looking for a marketing company. They want somebody. that specializes in one specific area. It's a lot easier to sell yourself to get new clients if you're verticalized and specialize in that one specific area. So, that made a lot of sense to me and that's why I did that early on.
[00:08:47] corey: So,
you know, it's obvious that one of the reasons why you chose legal is because you were already building direct relationships with law firms and attorneys in the legal space. You had already kind of got your feet wet with regard to SEO on law firm websites. So, that was kind of the natural progression, it sounds like.
[00:09:02] mike: right. And even, even before then, before I, before I started working for FineLaw, I was working in the litigation support industry. So, I had experience with working with law firms already. Originally, I thought I wanted to graduate college and then go and be a lawyer. I went into the litigation support industry where, All the, the friends and clients that I made out of that said, don't do it.
The amount of debt that I have is not worth it. Right. These guys are working 60, 70, some of them 80 hour weeks to try to work their way up to partner. And so they kind of scared me out of that plan to go to law school. Me too, by
[00:09:35] corey: the way. took LSAT, I was on the road and then I heard that story enough times to realize this was not what I wanted to do.
[00:09:41] mike: Yeah. So thankfully we had people that talked us out of, you know, making
[00:09:44] corey: a decision like that. It's so funny. And then as you were getting going, you were calling these, these attorneys. were you only accepting business from attorneys or as word got out that, you know, Hey, Mike is hanging a shingle and he's an amazing SEO guy.
did you end up taking a lot of business that was outside of the attorneys or was it, were you pretty, did you hand your, if you have your hands full with just attorneys?
[00:10:05] mike: You know, I did originally, I did start to take some other, areas, or some other business. It's just harder when you're not verticalized or specialized in one area.
It's harder. There's more things to learn, right? As, from a business perspective, you can specialize in that one area. It's also easier to recreate replicatable processes. The directories you need to be in, you know the websites you need to be in, you know a lot of things about that business and if you're doing a little bit of everything, you know, that buffet approach, it's harder to really specialize and to get good, I think, at one area, so eventually I stopped taking on.
Stuff outside of,
[00:10:41] corey: of legal. Sure. And so as you were getting going, how did you attract new law firms or attorneys to, to come over to? And by the time, by that time, was it iLawyerMarketing? Was that the name from the start or did
[00:10:52] mike: that evolve? It was. So I, I originally, the company was called High Rank Websites Incorporated.
And then the next year DBA of iLawyerMarketing. So, it wasn't, iLawyer wasn't the very first company, but then. I wanted to, again, specialize in vertical, have that appearance of specializing, so I created iLawyerMarketing.
[00:11:11] corey: And so as you were getting going, how did you, beyond, it sounds like you were reaching out directly, were there anything else that you were doing to, that contributed to your client growth?
[00:11:20] mike: I specifically asked for, from my clients that, if they could give me referrals, right? And so I did great work for them. So there was actually a lot of referrals that, that came my way. And then over the course of time, You know, the more and more clients we had, I always put my logo at the bottom of the, of that website.
just so people could see, okay, this site is ranking. Clearly they've been able to get this site ranking. Let's call these guys. So that's kind of worked over the course of time. And then outside of that, you know, once. You get to a point where you get too busy and you can't do it all yourself. So at some point I had to hire a sales rep to, to handle all that kind of, you know, sales generation activities.
[00:11:59] corey: curious about that. So, a lot of agency founders find themselves in a situation where they are like this, this concept of founder led sales, where they're responsible for finding and closing all the deals at a certain point. If they want to grow bigger, there's, there's, they have to do something else.
And so what was happening at the agency when you realized that you needed to bring in, a salesperson? And then what'd you do to like, how did you bring them in and what happened?
[00:12:25] mike: so this, the first rep that I had as a friend of mine, I worked with him at FineLaw, he ended up leaving FineLaw and then I eventually convinced him to come and work for me.
He left for a lot of the reasons. That's why I started my own company, which is that he had a lot of clients that were unhappy, right? A lot of people complaining. And so eventually he, he saw the work we were doing here at, high rank websites. And, well, that was before Islayer and marketing, and then, he, he came on board and, and we just started doing, doing great.
And then eventually we ended up hiring another rep a few years later. Because at the end of the day, you cannot be a founder and do everything at the end. You do have to find other people that can take those, you know, those, activities off your, off your hands. You can only do so much. For me, I was heavily focused on the ss e o side, the strategy.
and so I needed somebody else to handle other aspects of growing the business. So that's why I, I hired and, and did that.
[00:13:24] corey: It seems like it was pretty seamless, I think. well, I'll ask the question, was it due to the fact in bringing on this new sales person, the fact that, he had a direct experience in selling to this, the same audience, right?
He'd been selling a similar product to the same audience. And so he had maybe, he didn't have a big learning curve coming over, right?
[00:13:44] mike: Yeah, that, that makes a big difference because it, there is a, certainly a learning curve when you are selling. Number one, to the legal industry as a whole, and then number two, when you're selling an intangible product like SEO, right?
You're not giving something that you're going to put in somebody's hands. You're saying, hey, invest in SEO. I know you're not getting anything. You don't know everything that we're doing every month, but, but trust us, right? So that's, that's a hard thing to sell. and it's a hard thing to learn how to sell.
So it takes time. So that definitely made the, the process easier that he was familiar with the industry and, and the specific product that we were selling just for reference
[00:14:21] corey: today. You're this year, you're hopefully going to bring in 18. 5 million. What is the sales team? What's the structure of the sales team today?
What does it look like
[00:14:29] mike: right now? There is only two sales reps. So we've, we've built it over the, all these years with, with just two direct sales reps, but, we've also created relationships in the industry, right? Even. You know, you guys were our competitors, Scorpion, but we kind of had this friendly competition going.
Reps from Scorpion would refer business our way at times, right? And there were times where we couldn't take a client, we'd say, Hey, you want, if you want this and this, you should call Scorpion. So I think that was, an important thing is that we built those good relationships to the point where, you know, we could, if we couldn't handle something, we'd send it out to somebody else.
And then we'd have other. Even competitors sending things our way. In addition to that, we built relationships with other legal marketing consultants in the industry, you know, people that have worked at fine laws and other companies and left and gone on their own and just wanted somewhere to be able to refer.
But, you know, you don't want to just refer just to make commission, right? You want to at least refer and your reputation's on the line when you're making a referral. So, I think people feel, much more comfortable when they refer something our way because they're confident that we're going to do a good job for that firm.
[00:15:39] corey: me, think about, this concept of non competes and saturating markets and certainly attorneys, not all of them, but some of them are concerned about this. how did you approach that as an agency owner, this concept of non compete?
[00:15:52] mike: Yeah. So, and by non compete, do you mean like for working with multiple firms in the same market?
[00:15:57] corey: if you're only focusing on attorneys, you know, then you're potentially limiting your mark, your, your ability to sell into a specific city.
[00:16:04] mike: Yeah, so we have a, you know, what we look at is a limited exclusive, we're not exclusive to one firm, you know, but we will work depending on the size of the market, you know, between three firms and potentially up to five firms in a, in a certain market, but at the end of the day, we can only do so much for that firm, we'll get you ranking, we'll get you that visibility, but it's that firm's job to be able to convert those visitors when they come to the site, because the average consumer, and we've done a lot of studies on this that I've Conducted myself where I, I do consumer research studies every single year and one of those studies is looking at consumers when they're looking for an attorney, how many websites are you gonna visit?
How many law firms are you gonna consider before you actually pick up the phone and make that call? And for most people it's right around five, right? Five's that number where they're gonna look at multiple sites and then eventually decide on which one So, just because we have one client or multiple clients in an area, that doesn't mean that we're playing any kind of favoritism.
In fact, the way that we deal with it internally, is we have different SEO people on those different clients. And here, we, you know, we pay them bonuses for getting their clients to the top, right? So they all want to earn that additional bonus money. So, you know, our team here is highly incentivized and making sure that they do everything they can to get our clients ranking, you know, in the market that we're working in.
[00:17:24] corey: Is your sales team, either prior to now or now, are they, are they doing much outreach or is it mostly you guys are, are fielding inbounds or how
[00:17:34] mike: does that look? It is the majority of inbound, but one thing that I do know for us to, to grow, which we need to do, we need to start doing outbound, so literally, and I don't count him just yet because he literally was just hired this last week, but we have a new, you know, hunter, that's going to be just doing primarily all outbound, right?
You got to have that outbound activity if you want to move the needle when it comes to revenue. so, That is kind of the number one thing that I'm doing is I'm looking to hire other sales reps so that we can, grow our sales and then look for reps that are not just dealing with inbound, but actually are doing outbound.
[00:18:10] corey: Great. I love that.
how have you been able to drive the volume of inbounds that you are doing today? Like what, what led to this?
[00:18:18] mike: It's a combination of things. One is SEO. you know, just optimizing for certain search terms that law firms are when they're looking for a marketing company out there, but I think the number one way is by getting our clients ranking.
And so if you look in any market, a lot of the bigger markets, you'll see, you know, I, I lawyer marketing on, you know, on, on those sites that are ranking in some of those big markets. So that's how we get a lot of. The, you know, inbound leads by people seeing the work that we've done on other law firms. Hey, you got this site number, number one in Los Angeles for personal injury, so I know you guys are capable of this.
Can you guys give me a quote, right? So I think that's the, the number one way that we've, that we've done it. We've also started to, you know, get, Step up on paid and I continue that's my plan is to be a little bit more aggressive on paid and then other outbound activities You know one of our reps right now will send Edible arrangements to firms right some kind of obligator something that's gonna help you stand out in the crowd But that's going to help set appointments in terms of that, you know, that outbound activity.
So those are our plans and our, you know, the way that we're going to grow the business, because we're not going to do it just by keeping, you know, keeping, keeping static. We'll continue growing. We grow every single year. In fact, our revenues have grown every single year since I started the company, even in 2008, you know, in recession, which is the beauty of this industry.
It's virtually recession proof. Even in a bad time, you can still grow the business. So, you know, that's a streak that I'm very proud of and I am not going to let that, let that fall anytime soon.
[00:19:52] corey: That's beautiful. That's awesome. That's really remarkable, actually. when it comes to, The vertical of attorneys and law firms.
Do you attend, legal conferences? Is that part of your marketing plan?
[00:20:05] mike: It's not something that's ever been very big for us. We will go to MTMP usually once or twice a year. I think occasionally we've done the occasional trial lawyers association, but That's probably something else that we're going to look at.
All right. What other, conferences can we go that can potentially be good for, for driving, an additional inbounds and referrals. So that's, that is a strategy that we're probably going to continue stepping up
[00:20:30] corey: on. What about associations like, different, different vertical or practice area associations?
Have you gotten directly involved, indirectly involved?
[00:20:39] mike: I have not, but probably something that we need to do. Okay.
[00:20:42] corey: great. I'm always curious about that. Some agencies love the conferences and like, are gung ho and other ones are like, yeah, you know, they're there, but I don't go.
[00:20:52] mike: Yeah. I just find that, you know, they're good, but I find that there's different ways to spend money that I think are going to get a better return than this.
And, you know, when we go there, cause we're going to spend usually 30 or 40K, you know, when we go to an MTNP or something like that. It's easy to drop that kind of money at those conferences. Very easy, yeah. Especially in Vegas, right? You know, where things can get very, very pricey, but yeah, that's probably the one that we'll continue at least for the time being doing.
How important is
[00:21:17] corey: word of mouth to the work that you do within that, within the vertical that you
[00:21:21] mike: target? I mean, I think it's very important. Number one, that is a great potential way for you to get referrals from existing clients, right? That word of mouth, hey, you know, we worked with iLawyerMarketing.
They've done a phenomenal job. We worked with other agents before and they were not able to do what these guys have been able to do. You should call iLawyer. That's, that's huge, right? There's no better, quality lead than getting a referral from an attorney that had a great experience with one of our clients.
So, yeah, I'd say it's pretty big.
[00:21:50] corey: And does a certain percentage of your, business come directly through word of mouth? Is that a significant amount of business or is it kind of a small rounding error?
[00:21:58] mike: you know, maybe it's. 15, 20 percent maximum. I think, you know, most of it, I'd say the predominant way that people are finding us is on other websites that we've, we've optimized.
So that's awesome. And then, and then other consultants in the industry that know about iLawyerMarketing and, and we'll, you know, send business our way. And we, and we pay them a commission on, on that for the business that they send us as a thank you. but that's, that I think is another important way, to, for us to, to grow.
[00:22:25] corey: From where you sit in the agency and as you've grown it over these years, how important is it for you to hire folks with a legal background and, you know, by the different types of roles?
[00:22:37] mike: For us, the only time where that has been important, in my opinion, is for the content writers. The fact that they've been doing legal content writing is, is a pretty big thing, because...
If you get people that don't have that experience, there's sometimes a long learning curve in the knowing how to write for, for these websites. In terms of SEO people, that's not really important. I don't think, I think at least with paid it's important that they have experience doing paid search for, for legal.
But certainly our biggest department is SEO and a lot of them don't have any of that experience. But I actually don't mind that because a lot of SEOs have Bad habits, right? Things that they've learned from other agencies that I know are not going to be something that we will do here So I don't mind not having people with that with that background and doing Legal SEO, for example, because they're going to learn the right way to do it from, from our team and from our, our training process.
[00:23:38] corey: You want them still a little green, not set in their ways. Have you, have you experimented or do you currently, productize your service? Do you have like fixed set services that are kind of fixed in stone or are you more of a, kind of a customized your services?
[00:23:57] mike: We try to customize everything that we do. every law firm is different, right? Some law firms, they want serious injury cases only. Other ones want, you know, small soft tissue injuries, minor car accidents, just to help the revenue stream of, of the firm. So, we try to customize everything we can to fit our client's needs.
Now, there are some products that we have for clients that don't have a big budget and they're not able to compete in the bigger markets. We do have some, you know, preset solutions that are a great. a great choice for them if they don't have the money to spend to, to do SEO, because SEO is not one of those things where you can say, okay, I'm going to use, you know, 20 percent of what the budget should be and just, you know, here's a thousand or 2, 000 go do SEO.
You're not going to have anything that works with, with that kind of strategy. So I think you have to be smarter about it with firms that don't have. A big enough budget, you can make solutions that work, but for the most part, you're going to get the best result if you're customizing a solution that meets whatever that your client is needing.
[00:25:04] corey: So in other words, for maybe the folks who are still growing their law firm, they can't yet afford the fully bespoke solution, you, you'll have a sort of a product I call productized approach for them that's going to really help them at where they're at.
[00:25:18] mike: That's right. Yeah. So for those we have something called our SEO foundation package.
That's kind of the minimum level of SEO for the people don't don't have big budgets. We try to push them into this because that foundation package is going to be better than what 95 percent of other SEO companies or so called SEO companies are offering. A lot of times those cheap solutions are just gonna get that law firm website In trouble, right?
They're going to be producing just content that's just complete chat GPT, copy and paste, or they're going to be doing these, you know, these pre bought link packages. Like it's not real SEO, it's the kind of SEO that is going to get a law firm website in trouble and it's not worth it. If you can't afford to do it the right way, then you shouldn't be, you shouldn't be doing it at all.
Otherwise you're just going to do damage.
[00:26:05] corey: So, stepping back now a little bit, looking at this vertical approach, what would you say overall, and you mentioned this a little bit already, so if this is, forgive me if this is a little bit redundant, but, what are the positive aspects to verticalizing your agency?
[00:26:17] mike: I mean, number one is that you have that appearance of being a specialist in that one area. And I think that is, hands down, it's going to be the easiest way to convince somebody to choose. Right. You still need to have that proof of concept. You still need to have these case results that show that you've been able to do this successfully for other firms.
But when you specialize, people are going to choose a specialist over a generalist almost every single time. So that's kind of, I think the biggest, the biggest and most logical win to verticalizing. What are the negatives? Negatives is that you do limit the potential for business, right? There's, So much business that we've turned down over the years from, other areas.
Hey, like even from other firms that we work with saying, Hey, you know, I have my brother, he has this business. Can you do SEO for them? Or, or I have this. Restaurant that I, that I have, can you do SEO for this restaurant, right? So, you will lose out on potential sales, and, and revenue opportunities, but in the end, it's for the best.
[00:27:24] corey: during this process since 2005, was there ever a time in the lifespan of your business that you said to yourself, yeah, this verticalizing thing just isn't working?
[00:27:34] mike: No, never, never. I mean, if there is, you know, the, I think the one, people get a little apprehensive about verticalizing because they think about that.
Oh, I'm limited in the kind of business that I can get. Right. But, you know, but Look at what we've done, right? We've done it with two sales reps. We've never had a giant, giant sales force. and we've done some pretty great revenue numbers for our size. And that's all verticalizing. And again, I never even expanded to those other areas that I planned on doing.
This business, there's still plenty of opportunity in the legal vertical, you know, we'll do, like I said, 18. 5 this year, we'll do over 20 next year, so I think, that's, you know, the one thing that people get a little, little afraid of is, is that they're going to lose out on business, but at the same time, that has also worked in our favor, and that's why so many Private equity companies and other investors have approached us over the years is because we have that special specialization in legal.
[00:28:33] corey: could you share to maybe the agency owners who are thinking about, becoming acquired? That would be something that they would look forward to, when, when, thinking about that process. And Dwells, if you want to share anything about the process, so that, they can hear that, that would be super helpful, I think.
[00:28:50] mike: Yeah, I mean the number one tip I'm gonna say is get your books in order, right? Because you are, it is like, you know, proctology exam convinced, combined with the IRS, right? Like, they are gonna be looking at everything, you know, and there is... Probably hundreds of reports that I uploaded during the due diligence process.
It's just part of the process, but if your books are not in order, you're going to eventually, you know, end up getting less for your business because of that problem. So not only that, but that's another one of those areas where you don't want to be wasting any time. You want to make sure it's done right.
So hire the right people so that you are set up that way. So that when it comes time where you are going to sell your business, That your books are in complete order because again, they will be you know, analyzing those, you know to To the death. What
[00:29:37] corey: are the top three things are looking for?
[00:29:40] mike: I'd say Repeatable revenue, right?
Reoccurring revenue that they can, they, they can rely on. And so, you know, when they're going through this process, they want to know, okay, what is your revenue going to be this month? What is it going to be next month? What is it going to be for the year? They, they want that nailed down very specifically.
So, I think that's the number one thing is that they want to invest in something. Where they're not worried that they are going to, you know, invest in something that then just totally tanks. So, I think that's probably the number one thing is to, is to make sure you have a reliable revenue. It's hard, and that's why I like the reoccurring revenue that SEO provides.
If you're selling everything, you know, from the very beginning, where you're always having to sell a brand new product every month, that's, that's hard to have, to have that consistent revenue, so. I think that's number one. you know, number two, they're going to look at the, your team as a whole, right?
I didn't build this company by myself. I have a lot of great people that were part of this process. And so you have to have a great team behind you. If I died, would the business be able to continue operating? Like it is and the answer is yes, we are so organized. We have our processes in place. we, you know, and as you get bigger, that's one of the challenges of getting bigger is, is being able to scale, right?
When you, when you have 10 clients, no big deal, right? But if you go to 50 clients, 75 clients, a hundred clients, how do you repeat and keep and maintain that quality of what you do? And I think a lot of that is by creating those processes. And so that's going to be another thing that they're going to be looking at is the processes that you have in place.
[00:31:13] corey: AI. So AI, generative AI, this is, certainly, uh.
Fast evolving innovation. How has it impacted your agency, if
[00:31:23] mike: at all? Well, a big part of my time is spent on software development. I'm not writing the code, but I'm thinking of all the things that, that build the software that we use. So I've had my eye on AI for, for quite a while now, and I started, maybe it was about three, three or four years ago that I started messing, first experimenting with GPT, right?
So I think it was GPT 2 that I first started. And the. The progress that, that it's made over the years, like GPT 4 right now compared to what GPT 1, it's like, it's light years. So, it's something that I think as any business owner should be keeping an eye on. How is AI going to impact my business? So we're using some of that in the software that we build, to try to increase efficiency.
But at the same time, I'm also keeping an eye on how it's impacting the landscape of search engine optimization as a whole. you know, is that a lot of people were talking about, you know, Bard and, you know, in different Google AI tools that are going to, how is that going to change, you know, search results?
How is that going to take, at least in my business, how is that going to impact? The law firms that are, that are advertising, and in my experience so far, I don't think it's going to have a, a big impact. You know, I did a, a study back in April and it was, I think it was about over 500 people in the study.
And I asked them, would you, you know, what are the difference? Technology that you would use to do research on lawyers. Obviously, Google was 90%. It always, you know, has maintained, you know, somewhere in that 90 percent neighborhood. But ChatGPT, I think only 10 percent of people said they would even consider using ChatGPT.
And then even since that, that was kind of when ChatGPT was hot. It's kind of cooled off since then. but it's something that we definitely have to pay attention to because it's going to change so many things about All areas of business.
[00:33:14] corey: Indeed. It's exciting, if nothing else. you mentioned now that you're growing rapidly, that you're looking for more folks.
Who, what, what roles are you hiring for right now?
[00:33:24] mike: Oh, geez, literally everything. So, we're looking for account managers, project managers, sales reps, you know, with, hopefully a specialty or a specialist experience with, the legal vertical. we're just growing as a company. And so we, we need to make sure that we keep up with our hiring practices.
I want to make sure that it never gets to a point where we have too many clients and we're not able to meet. I'd rather build it because we're, we're continuing to build it like we always do, but I want to have the bodies in place trained up so that when they are, when we do have, you know, those clients brought in that they're right from day one, they're working with somebody who is going to make a difference in their business.
[00:34:02] corey: Great. I love that. And just so, any listeners who may be, maybe sales reps or account folks. Who may be interested in this, definitely reach out to Mike. where would people reach out to you or your team with regard to potential openings?
[00:34:18] mike: they can go on iLawyerMarketing, and, and contact us there.
We also have... another company within the company called 1. 21 Interactive. that is our, I guess, original agency. So, you know, we, a little bit complex, but I started out with high rank websites that transitioned to 1. 21 Interactive. I've maintained that agency. Got it. That's.
That's where most of our people apply and is going 1. 21 interactive, and apply there. But I think we also have ads running on LinkedIn right now where they can also apply. Beautiful.
[00:34:49] corey: Last question, Mike. What's your motivation?
[00:34:53] mike: Oh, geez. That's a good question. As a company, my motivation is to make this the, you know, the best legal marketing agency in the industry.
That's part of the reason why I, you know, decided to, sell to Everservice is because they do have, you know, different things that are going to help us become better and it just made, made a lot of sense. So my motivation, at least from a business perspective, is to be as, as good as we possibly can be.
I'm incredibly competitive and That relates to everything that we do. I want to be the best at what we do and everything that we do. From outside of business, I mean, my, my friends, family, God, those are the things that are, that are my priorities and that, that I, that I focus on. And yeah, that's what motivates me.
[00:35:37] corey: Mike, where can people reach out to you if they have a follow up question about, that maybe some of the things we discussed today?
[00:35:44] mike: I am, am not very active on it, but I am on, on Twitter at HighRank and then they can always email me, [email protected].
[00:35:52] corey: Beautiful.
Thank you so much for joining, Mike. It's been a great conversation.
[00:35:56] mike: Thanks, Corey. Thanks for having me.