Online networking helped Amanda break out of her shell and find a community of like-minded attorneys.
In-person networking can be quite daunting but trying to establish yourself within an online community can be just as nerve-racking, the key is stepping out of your comfort zone.
If you want your firm to grow and obtain referrals from your peers, you have to network. Even if gaining referrals isn’t your goal, having an outlet of like-minded peers to glean off of will catapult your firm to another level of success.
In this week’s #FollowAttorneyAmanda, Amanda talks about how she struggles in the past with networking but really came into her own during the pandemic.
Follow this video and see how branching out into the online networking scene can truly be beneficial to your firm.
Amanda Shaffer: Hi, I am Attorney Amanda Shaffer today. I want to talk a little bit about the community that I was able to find thanks to social media and social media networking. Back in April of 2020 when things really shut down in New York because of the pandemic, I was feeling a little anxious, like everyone else was. I had work to do still, but the calls were coming in and I knew that this work was going to slow up soon, so I was kind of taking my time. Before the pandemic, I never really networked. I went to some networking events and despite the fact that I might not seem very shy, like on my videos, I’m pretty awkward. I’m not a great networker. I’m not great at small talk. So I hated, just hated. It would make me cringe when I’d have to go to the networking events. I know that other attorneys can be a huge source of referrals, but I just was never consistent about it. I had talked to people who told me it takes a minimum of seven face-to-face with a person in order to start getting business from them. And that’s a lot. I get anxious, like who is it worth continuing to meet with, like really more excuses.
So when the pandemic hit and we were forced online, I got invited to a Facebook group with other immigration attorneys that were focused on marketing. And I was why not? Maybe these people have some good ideas and it can help me because I was already trying to expand my reach on social media and that group kind of ballooned to 30 people. Eventually, someone started a WhatsApp side group and there were 10 female immigration attorneys in that WhatsApp side group and I’ve been in it ever since. I’ve also turned more to Facebook groups -professional Facebook groups and staff to ask questions and answer questions for colleagues. What I realized was that there is this huge community out there that now I have this easy access to. Obviously, when you’re talking online, it’s easier than talking in person and I ended up becoming really close with the other ladies in my group and we’re still in the WhatsApp group, we still talk, we still help each other. And in fact, so much so that yesterday I had an issue come up where all of us attorneys have dealt with this at one point or another, but I got an email from another attorney saying that she was asked to sign a change of consent to change the attorney for one of my clients. And fortunately for us, it doesn’t happen too often, but this client was not a client you would expect to switch attorneys. That is because we were doing an uncontested divorce for her and I knew she was anxious about everything and it was taking longer than planned because we couldn’t – the defendant wasn’t home. He was traveling for work, I had been trying to track him down, we got a process server, we did our due diligence with serving him at his home, but we couldn’t with the interrupted service and then we did a motion for alternate service that was granted immediately. And then I served him through the alternate service.
So at this point, in that case, all we were waiting was for the 40 days to pass for the default, so we could file the RGI and the rest of the divorce paperwork. So really nothing else too hard. The hard part was serving him and getting that motion granted. Then, this was a client who when she found that I got married, sent me flowers. She was also a client for who we were going to be her lawyers for immigration because there was an immigration case related to the divorce. And she wanted an attorney who did immigration and family. So when she – when I got that email, I was – I try not to take it personally, but I said, “I don’t get it.” And I was a little bummed out. I had a trial at three, like a couple of hours later, so I needed to kind of break out of it and get in fighting mode. Aaron’s great but when I tell Aaron I’m bummed out about it, he tells you not to take it personally well, great. But sometimes you need a little bit more. So I turned to my group of female immigration attorneys. I told them exactly what happened. And I asked them if they had any advice and they did. And they made me feel a lot better because I knew I wasn’t alone in this. I knew I needed some words of encouragement and they were there with me.
And if it wasn’t for the fact that I had this group, I would have kind of followed it up and maybe wouldn’t have gotten over it so quickly. But that’s one of the nice things that it about going online and networking really online was that it opened me up to a new community I didn’t know about and were really supportive of one another. And I know I’ll talk more about this WhatsApp group and the things that we help each other within a future episode, but yesterday was really – it really did a lot for me. And it was really helpful to be able to know that I have these 10 people, that if I say something in a matter of minutes, hours, I’m going to get a response that’s going to be helpful and it’s going to be understanding because we go through all the same things. So having that community, I never had it in person It’s just me and Aaron, my law partner. So, I’ve never really had much of a community, and to be able to find one, even though it was online and I’ve only met one of them in person if feels like I’ve known them forever. So I think that’s really cool. And again, I’ll talk in another episode more about the types of things we’ve shared and the types of support they’ve given me, which has enabled me to really, really help me to get to the level that I’m at.
But that’s all for today. I am just really grateful that I’m able to turn to other people in a professional manner to support me and understand what I’m going through because we only need it once in a while. So that is all for today for #FollowAttorneyAmanda. We’ll see you next time.