Episode 35

Published on:

21st Dec 2023

Turning Adversity into Achievement: Jan Roos' Road from Car Crash to Law Firm Success

After a chance car collision gave him a pivotal business idea, Jan Roos leveraged the experience to build a powerhouse legal marketing agency. He joins hosts Richard James and MPS on the Your Practice Mastered podcast to discuss his unique entrepreneurial journey and share key insights today's law firms need to drive growth. 

Learn how an unwavering commitment enabled Jan to turn adversity into achievement as he reveals his strategies to help firms capture untapped business. Tune in now to discover what setbacks taught this innovative founder and how he bounced back smarter to ultimately find success.

MPS: [:

Jan Roos: Oh, man, okay. You're opening up a can of worms here because I've been like a huge, kind of personal productivity guy for like a long time. So, to narrow it down to one . I'll say that the, I'm like a huge devotee of David Allen getting things done if you guys are familiar with it, but I think this is a philosophy I take personally, but I also, it's one that I take with the business as well, so.

And it's basically just to make sure that I'm not keeping anything in my head. So whenever I have something come down, I literally have a note on my iPhone. I'm constantly transferring out of it. So, I just make sure that anything that pops up in my head, I get it on a to do list. And like, you know, my to do list at this point is a little bit more, you know, I've iterated on this over the years.

you guys were listening, how [:

But at the same time, when the next thing comes in, I'm usually clearing the slate in my mind. So, that allows me to not be stressed on a day to day by keeping like those mental, browser tabs open, while at the same time, making sure that those good ideas that come in again is far from every idea that ends up being good, but being able to execute on that stuff.

So, from a day to day perspective, I think making sure that it doesn't have to be GTD, but having some sort of an external system to capture your thoughts and organize things. So you're not keeping keeps you in the zone and make sure that you're able to focus 100 percent of the task at hand.

MPS: Hey Law Firm Owners, welcome to the Your Practice Mastered podcast. We're your hosts, I'm MPS.


e with somebody who actually [:

Am I right about that?

Jan Roos: Yes sir.

MPS: You sure are. And so Jan, super excited to have you on today. Welcome onto the pod.

Jan Roos: Thank you so much for having us guys.

MPS: Absolutely. Looking forward to it. Well, for the people that don't know you, we like to do a little icebreaker around here. So, what is maybe one thing that not everyone knows about you?

Jan Roos: Oh man. Okay. I have talked about this on LinkedIn for a bit, if you really, really look close to this ear is super, super messed up. I'm like an avid grappler. I've been doing jujitsu since I was like 20, really, really love that. And that's something that people don't know if they're just listening to my voice for sure.

u both look not very far off [:

Jan Roos: I'm actually 33, I spend lot of my times indoors as most good digital marketers do. So the sun damage has been, and, you know, I lived up north for quite some time. So been able to stay out of the sun for a long time.

Richard James: I see that explains, I'm a golfer and lived Phoenix for 15 years. That's why I look like a catcher's I get So, so, so Hey, tell me, are you married with kids? What does that look like for you in the personal life?

Jan Roos: Oh, uh, engaged. but yeah, try to get that figured out as soon as possible.

Richard James: Yeah, understood. Yep. We, we just went through the engage to marriage process with MPS here.

So, it's a fun journey. Enjoy it the whole way through. Michael, where do you want to go from here?

MPS: Yeah. No, I mean, so, obviously we got a little initial sneak peek about what we're going to discuss today. But, why don't you take us through your entrepreneurial journey a little bit? If you want to focus in on the field of law. Great. But why don't you just share your journey a little bit with us?

Where'd you start and how are you here?

try to kind of skip the most [:

I actually ended up starting a business directly out of college. So I went to school in Canada, a place called McGill University, and I got really involved with the entrepreneurship department down there. And they had actually had this fantastic business plan competition. I ended up winning a grant when I was in school.

So I was able to take that and parlay that into my first businesses, the now defunct, uh, Company called Vitality Sciences, but anyway, super, super fun experience. And I just kind of dove both feet into just getting a lot of the direct response education that I got really, really attracted to. I know we were talking a little bit on the pre call about Dan Kennedy, but I just got headlong into this stuff.

partner. I was marketing and [:

Like we're doing a bunch of like, you know, Facebook to long form, like, you know, copy automation, email sequences. And then, eventually kind of got to the point where we had some differences in the partnership. So I ended up transitioning out of there. But I'm kind of along the ways too. So we ended up launching that in South mode.

I worked for a big fortune 500 called insight, actually funny enough, located out of Arizona, if you guys are familiar with the name. so I got some awesome sales training through that. And then I ended up working for, In between the sense on that, I was working for first aid at doing door to door sales, which was quite fun.

As you guys know. Anyway, so I was kind of getting into this and I ended up in between these situations and I was like, I got this marketing skills that I feel like this is something I want to lean into. So my first idea about this was, well, look, you know, the most valuable stuff is the stuff that the fewest people can do.


you know, we're talking like:

be working with these, like,:

my shoulder. I'm of course, [:

So I didn't get away with anything worse than kind of a bruised shinbone. But I was like, you know, they're talking about personal injury attorney. So I'm like, there we go. That's my ticket. So I ended up, one of the things that we'd done at the first startup to get a lot of, and this is one of my like, you know, favorite things for getting into direct response, doing a lot of cold email outreach.

So I decided to cold email outreach every single personal injury attorney that was advertising in Manhattan and Google at the time. And, I said something to the effect of, Hey, you know, I got hit on a car across the Essex, by the way, I work with this stuff and I kind of noticed you're directing your ad traffic to a homepage and I'm not sure if you know, you're aware of this, but you could probably increase your conversion rates a little bit by doing this.

, it was this guy, Yeah, the [:

And then that was kind of where the portfolio started to develop from there. So, we kind of, I always do a lot of stuff like behind the scenes too. So basically, you know, trying to go to the philosophy, I've always tried to kind of sell against the current. So SEO was kind of dominant at the time. So AdWords was really, really attractive.

And, but the thing is that the way that a lot of people were doing AdWords where they were selling traffic and the issue was, you know, there's a huge conversation about conversion that's not happening with it. So, you know, while some people were fighting to shave an extra 2 cents off of their Pay Per Click, we were trying to get the conversion rate from 10 percent on the website up to 25%.

my first book on that back in:

And also, it got to the point where we could not get on the phone with somebody who hadn't already been convinced that AdWords, like, didn't work or had someone that they loved that was doing it for them. And, we just started trying to solve some other problems, so it got to the point where the one thing and, you know, we can kind of get into this and like a broader, like marketing conversation, but the one thing that didn't work for us, we were able to work with basically every practice area within legal, but the state plan, we always had trouble with.

And it wasn't that we weren't able to generate leads. We just weren't able to generate the kind of leads that most of the clients were looking for, wanted to work with. So it was fantastic at generating probate stuff, but it was like, I want to do this high ticket pre planning. You know, I know people charge 4, 000, 5, 000 for this, but I just can't get anyone who's not price shopping me on the phone.

back to this direct response [:

So we had a couple of clients, we found that there was some really good success. And just as far as modeling what was working on, like a lot of the stuff that the, seven figure plus estate planning firms that we'd seen were like, you know, for the most part, all of them had some page on their website that said workshops or, seminars or events or something like that.

So we're looking at March of:

, [:

So to make a super long story short, uh, we basically ended up focusing on taking the seminar model at the time online. So replacing direct mail with Facebook ads. Eventually we ended up working into YouTube ads as well and taking the seminar into an online webinar. But between those two things, we were able to, you know, in the short term get the firms that we were working with to keep the lights on and get to really discuss and then we basically took stuff on the road and that's kind of what we've been working on ever since.

So, that was back in May of:

Because, you know, you start off with people who have the presentation. You got to learn how to write the presentation with people who don't, There's people who have awesome intake departments. There's people who don't, there's people who don't have their clothes. There's people who don't. So there's a lot of different things that we've ended up having to kind of get as accessory.

ot of it is just kind of the [:

And like, what can we recommend to get people done? But, um, just kind of a result of that.

Richard James: So yeah, let me zoom you out. So here we go. So, you dropped a whole bunch of names that probably a lot of the law firm owners that are listening to this. Don't know like Dan Kennedy, Perry Marshall, right? And, these are names that are direct response one on one that you come from the same world that we came from.

And you've had a great, an interesting journey. I think the headline writes itself. The idea literally hit me, right? with the car that hit you in the PI concept. So, you've got a great headline that launched you into this niche, which is wonderful. And then, you know, as you learn that they, most of the pay per click scenarios were being driven to homepages, not landing pages.

enix is we took all, when we [:

And he goes, oh, that'll never work. And I'm like, well, okay, let's see. And you know, one of the reasons we were able to jump ahead of everybody else is we were converting it somewhere around 32 percent from our unique traffic to our landing page, over to, unique leads and, and whereas normal, you know, homepage traffic converts somewhere between four and seven.

If you're lucky, depending on how you do it. And so that was an early conversion tactic that we use that you said that you identified as a hole in the market. And then from there, you were able to leverage that into, okay, you know, how do we find additional firms that may want to have, do marketing a different way?

law. And we agree with that [:

And so, when I heard that you guys were doing this, I was thrilled to find out. Finally, there's an agency that's willing to do it for them because I used to like, I used to show them how to go hire a personal assistant or a marketing assistant or whatever, and try to paste it together themselves.

And it was so complicated and very few of them actually got it done that I was thrilled to hear that a company like yours was actually just going to do it for them. And then from there, you've taken all the knowledge you learned about conversion. You took all the knowledge you've now learned about working with lawyers combined it with the webinar, you know, the seminar online COVID hit became, you know, you had to turn it into the, necessity is the mother of invention.

ll the time, but most of the [:

And then they'll say things like these leads are lousy. No, these leads aren't lousy. It has nothing to do with these leads are lousy. These leads are awesome, you just have to know how to convert them. And so, you know, I love that journey because it paints the picture so readily for the truths you discovered along the way that the attorneys that are watching this need to know, right?

Don't drive your traffic to your home page. Make sure you pay attention to using long form content and online seminars to convert traffic or to generate traffic. When the traffic comes in, if you don't have your lead conversion machine in place, you're going to spend a whole bunch of money on marketing and you're not going to convert a lot of leads because you don't have your lead conversion machine in place.

And so I love that you just summarize this lesson in your journey. So, I mean, anything you want to add to that, that I said that you want to plus one on?

ervice. Like I think when it [:

And it's kind of interesting, like, there's a lot of like very, very classically AdWords like, we're working on a project right now, I'm super keen to see how it ends up launching because the early test has gone fantastic. But, you know, even divorce law, for example, right? You have situation where there's the day.

And, you know, if you're on the receiving end of the divorce, you're going to get the papers. You got a certain amount of time to respond. You type in family law attorney, Minneapolis, and that's a solution based problem. But on the flip side. The other party didn't come to that conclusion over one day. Most likely, you've probably been picking up strikes for months or even years at this point.

you know, Wrapped into this. [:

But I'm always at the end of the day, like a right tool, right job kind of guy from marketing perspective.

Richard James: Yeah, Michael, we just recorded an updated module on this. Remember? On the scale from 1 to 10 concept, right? So, identifying readiness in the consult, Michael is vital because in those practice areas you mentioned, not everybody is ready. Is that right? Michael, you want to address that?

MPS: Yeah. I mean, the marketing kind of plays right into the sales process, right? Is this exploration phase. Not every person is coming into a consult ready to necessarily take the next step, especially in the practice areas you mentioned, there's this exploration that has to happen. And so we've got to have the right sales system in place to also address that.

like failure point or a down [:

Jan Roos: Oh, man. So many. I mean, the thing is, honestly, I think the closest I really got to hanging things up was probably right before we ended up making the switch to stay planning. And, um, you know, if I can get super vulnerable in this show, I'll say something that you don't really hear a lot with people talking about entrepreneurship.

I'm not going to get too crazy. Don't worry. But it was at that point where, you know, you have the situation where it comes down to making payroll or paying off your personal credit card. And I decided to make payroll a bunch of that too. So I got to the situation where I'd racked up like $20, 30,000 of like, of credit card debt, which sucked.

and I got to the point where I was like, you know, we're doing okay at the level that we were at. And again, like before all this stuff happened, this is just, you know, kind of like a sidebar to this timeline. Like, you know, we got 18 people on the team right now. I was, one and a couple of part time people for a time to, and, you know, we were netting what we were netting.

, I'm extrapolating this out [:

It was pretty hefty. It was like, you know, it was, you know, we had to put a down payment that would have gotten erased all the progress that I'd made on the personal stuff too. And I was like, you know what, honestly. I can either go big or go home with this. And the truth is I can't have the benefit of working bankruptcy attorneys.

So I was like, I know it's not the end of the world if I have to file for bankruptcy. So, you know, let's just give it a hundred percent. And that was super instrumental in what we were able to parlay into the success that we found in the estate planning stuff, not three months after the fact. So it's kind of one of those things where I think.

There's, you know, commitment's obviously a thing. I don't think this is the decision I'd recommend for every single person I've worked with this decision I made for myself. But, you know, things can get hard sometimes, but the worst thing to do is to be in a situation when you're facing pain and not doing anything about it.

tle bit of a cowboy move, in [:

Richard James: Well, it comes down to, you know, it's relative to like, what's going on in your life. Like, if you're in your late thirties, early forties, and you've got two young kids and you're trying to save for college and your spouse is at home raising the kids and they're not working.

And, you know, the risk factor is a lot greater, right? If you've got a lot more to lose, whereas if you're younger and single and don't have a kids and aren't married or whatever, and you know, you don't have any real responsibilities, you can take a lot more risks and you were in that position where you were able to take a lot more risks and be able to say yes.

oing through this. You know, [:

I mean, would you agree that having that debt holding of your head with the credit card debt created a bunch of stress for you?

Jan Roos: Yeah, it's kind of interesting. So it's I'll say yes, but like after the fact too, it just sort of became something I got used to, which was not good. But the other thing too, is that like, I ended up seeing some health people after the fact and I was just like, Oh geez, like, I don't know why I'm waking up in the middle of the night.

They're like, yeah, dude, your cortisol levels are insane. It's like you were in the trenches in world war one. So like, even if you don't feel it, you know, it's showing up somewhere physically more than likely. So yeah, I totally agree.

so I mean Michael, you know, [:

You're pretty debt adverse but so I don't know that you have that stress too much. I mean you own a home and You got that there and you just bought a business. You have some debt there. So certainly have some debt, but you have to have it be manageable to you. Correct? Michael?

MPS: I consider it calculated debt, right? So I'm very strategic about what debt I'm willing to take on. And I've got to know that I can absolutely cover that for me to be willing to and okay with taking it on. But I think calculated debt could be good debt in some cases because that's leverage as a tool.

You don't want to over leverage yourself. But leverage is a tool to continue to grow whatever it is that you want to grow, income, assets, whatever it may be. So yes, debt free in a sense that I don't have credit card debt hanging over me. I have debt from assets that I would consider. So calculated debt.

it. And we've got attorneys [:

Is it fair to say that now that we know what we know, when a law firm can start to generate leads, if they just learn how to convert those leads into paying clients, and assuming they know how to serve them in the legal practice that they're serving them in, There should be no reason why they should go negative cashflow at all.

Do you generally agree with that Jan or do you see it differently?

Jan Roos: Not for long, at least. So, I mean, that's kind of the situation and another huge reason that I've been like a big fan of paid traffic and it does kind of come from what we were selling against SEO. But like, you know, there's, I generally recommend if people are making the leap, you know, I think you can kind of everyone starts with the same table stakes.

think like probably the most [:

This should take care of itself. and there's process that goes into it, but there's also mindset because if you want to commit to this being something that's not your responsibility, you'll be able to find the kinks and whatever it is that you're working with.

Richard James: Yeah, that's a great point. Michael, do you want to add to that?

MPS: No, I think it's very well said, just that whole mindset of like, let me write the check and it all goes away, right? I'm just going to say it to the law firm owners that think that if that's truly what you think, you shouldn't own a law firm.

You should probably I'm just being honest, you should probably go work for somebody because that's just not what business ownership is. You're not just going to write a check and have it all go away, right? You've got to put work into it. Now you can put people in front of you to do that work, but you shouldn't have that mindset. And so Jan, I definitely agree with that.

an important point. What I'm [:

Jan Roos: Oh, man, okay. You're opening up a can of worms here because I've been like a huge, kind of personal productivity guy for like a long time. So, to narrow it down to one . I'll say that the, I'm like a huge devotee of David Allen getting things done if you guys are familiar with it, but I think this is a philosophy I take personally, but I also, it's one that I take with the business as well, so.

ore, you know, I've iterated [:

I use different buckets according to the GTD system. But, it's super valuable because it's like, especially, you know, I consider myself like. Fairly, I mean, if you guys were listening, how fast I was talking in the beginning, you know, I'm a fairly classic high energy entrepreneur thing, which is good.

But at the same time, when the next thing comes in, I'm usually clearing the slate in my mind. So, that allows me to not be stressed on a day to day by keeping like those mental, browser tabs open, while at the same time, making sure that those good ideas that come in again is far from every idea that ends up being good, but being able to execute on that stuff.

So, from a day to day perspective, I think making sure that it doesn't have to be GTD, but having some sort of an external system to capture your thoughts and organize things. So you're not keeping keeps you in the zone and make sure that you're able to focus 100 percent of the task at hand.

ng I will use my phone but I [:

But I got to get out of my head onto a format that I can manage and measure on a regular basis and every day I have to take, you know, there's a few minutes every day that I have to unpack all those things I wrote down and put them in the proper orders and just make sure that I'm psychologically crossing things off of a list.

And so otherwise, if it stays in my head, it's a bad place. Michael, how do you manage it?

MPS: Yeah. I usually use my phone with notes. I create a lot of to do lists with notes in my phone, but not only does it help to be able to visualize it and get a to do list, but also just like the emptying of what's in your head is helpful. Just I think for your mental sake, otherwise you've got this stuff that's constantly sitting there and you're trying to remember, you're trying to think about it.

nd just from an organization [:

And, Jan what's got you fired up today? What are you excited about? It could be personal, it could be business. What's got you excited?

ou know, we're going to have,:

This is I recorded a podcast on it So like, you know not being fully black as in, you know The MVA case that needs to be taken care of not right not being fully white in the sense of the state planning thing that you have between the day you turn 18 and dying to figure out, but the stuff that's in the gray zone, because I think it's super, super exciting.

If you look at the cost per [:

And I think there's also been some, you know, I could probably go on a rant about how Google's been profiting massively off of getting everyone to do automated bidding and essentially setting the price for these things. But, even if you have a situation where you're able to do this stuff properly, and it's going to be more difficult as time goes on, there is a cap to the amount of people that are going to be searching for a given practice area at a given time, with the exception of those extremely.

f it's within the statute of [:

That's money. That's what's walking around that you don't have to pick up. Right. But, I go back to, and I've been dropping way too many names in this podcast, but, Chet Holmes sales pyramid, right. And he talks about at any given market, there's 3 percent of people who are actively searching for something.

And you know, there's people that are open to it. There's people that are considering it, and there's people that would be open to it if they're presented with the information, but that's really where this stuff lives. And to kind of break things down into brass tacks for anyone who's familiar with advertising on Google.

If we're talking about stuff like personal injury, we've got what, two, three, 400 a click, sometimes, these costs per calls are getting up to seven, 800 bucks. That was 125, 200 when we got started. And still it's like, you know, it's tough to make business on that kind of stuff too.

get attention as opposed to [:

But to kind of give some examples that I think are cool, like, this is going to boy, I'm trying to think if I share this, uh, I share this with a private mastermind. This is the first time I'm going live with this on a podcast, but I'm going to the absolute extremes. We have a mesothelioma client.

d I know there's people that [:

And I just think there's so much to be taken advantage of and being able to learn this, but it requires a fundamentally different approach than put your stand up in front of the Google traffic and, you know, just make sure to talk about your free consultation, your biggest case values. Right? so I think it's a huge opportunity.

And, you know, it's certainly something we've been focusing on and, you know, trying to leverage this kind of time goes on. So that's kind of the big thing that I'm excited about right now.

Richard James: yeah, it's great. And I love it. I mean, every, there's still going to be the, you're still going to have to be required to have the sign out there that positions why you that still has to be there. This isn't any of the war. It's a both. And you need to be developing this other marketing technique.

rankly, is spent with estate [:

Some P. I. Some workers comp, social security, employment law. Where it's consumer facing and it's usually a, most of the time fee based where they're figuring out how much they need to charge, how they get paid, how they actually get money during the initial consultation. And so, but what you just talked about works everywhere.

I mean, you know, it works everywhere and it's going to work better in some places, not the other. And as you said it, the listener of this podcast, who's sitting in their office right now, wondering where to start. They have to start by changing their mindset a little bit about the way they're going to acquire business in the future.

Because as you said. It's going to get cost prohibitive at some point to pay for a Google late, even if you're great at intake, even if you're great at sales, it's going to start getting to the point where it gets really, really cost prohibitive. And so I'm excited that you guys have this next level.

ght went through my head is. [:

Jan Roos: and it's interesting to just, I'll say one more thing on just what it kind of takes to get this up to because the gut reaction and we've had so many opportunities to kind of see this is that when, and it's the same thing, like when people go to referral to advertising for the first time, they're like, God, this is a little tougher to close.

Richard James: Right.

Jan Roos: I think this is a low quality lead. I kind of like kind of work on this lead quality and the same thing too. It's tough because when you're used to having stuff coming in from, you know, and just kind of going back to the customer journey stuff. If you're dealing with people who are on Google, they decide to hire an attorney before they type that in, before they click, before they wound up on your calendar.

n, replacing outbound calls, [:

But once you do, so again, you start with the table stakes that, we might have to be the one initiate the contact. We start with the table stakes that yes, they are curious at this point. But if you are committed to walking through the process with them, showing them, and then this is just, you know, basic.

Well, I guess basic for the broader sales world, but maybe probably for the advanced fraternities, you know, illustrating the challenges that they're going to face and what's going to happen if they don't move forward to it, you should be able to take curiosity and turn that into a solution, that they come to themselves.

been like to be on Google in:

ht. I think all these things [:

But well, again, whatever you get the idea. but again, that's what we have fun. And, you know, we'll, we'll try to have fun with this for as long as time as we can.

MPS: Yeah, I love it. where can people go to find out a little bit more about you if they want to?

Jan Roos: Okay. Awesome. So if you guys want to check out CaseFuel.Com, you'll obviously see some very heavily a safe planning focused content around that. But, you know, we've got an email list, if you guys also want to check out my podcast, it's a Law Firm Growth podcast. We talk about a lot of these topics, you know, it's been recommended not to listen to that one on double speed if that's what you do.

But, uh, anyways, that would be, it's at many, uh, CaseFuel. com. Check out the email list. That'd probably be my recommendation.

MPS: Awesome.

Richard James: You said you wrote a book, right?

ting if you search that. And [:

So a lot of this is just stuff that we've discovered in the process of doing this kind of, just, it's about adapting intake processes so that a lot of them are designed for inbound. But if you're again, willing to make some mindset shifts, willing to make a couple of process shifts, it's just about how that's set up.

And I really do think that that is the key to unlocking this whole other tranche of traffic that I think the industry is, waiting for the tidal wave to hit.

MPS: Awesome.

Love it. Well, Jan, we really appreciate you coming on today. And to the law firm owners listening, thank you for taking the time to listen. As you know, we have the gentleman's agreement around here. So we just ask that in exchange, if this isn't your first time for listening, if you got some value today, make sure to drop a like.

Hit that follow or subscribe button depending on where you're listening or watching and comment down below. Show Jan some love. Um, just really great episode here, but Jan, thank you again for taking the time to be on today.

Jan Roos: Thank you so much for having me guys.

MPS: Absolutely.

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