May 7, 2020 10:00:17 AM

The Small Business Guru: A Conversation with Ben Glass

Brian Beckcom

Brian Beckcom

May 7, 2020 10:00:17 AM

In this episode, Brian Beckcom speaks to nationally renowned lawyer and small business coach Ben Glass about the COVID-19 pandemic and its future implications on small businesses around the country.

They discuss: 

  • How to have a positive mindset during challenging times
  • Ben's latest book "Play Left Fullback" 
  • How small business owners and entrepreneurs can survive the pandemic and also thrive through the lockdown and make their personal lives and businesses better
  • Culture & core values to consider when talking to your employees 
  • Wealth v. Money
  • Cal Newport's Deep Work & mindset challenges
  • The leadership vacuum in our country  
  • And other topics  

Ben Glass is one of the most dynamic small business owners and leaders in the country. Ben runs two successful businesses. He runs one of the most respected small law firms in Virginia, and he also runs a national coaching and marketing business focusing on the needs of small business owners. Ben is a parent to 9 kids along with his wife of 25+ years. Ben is also an in demand soccer referee and the author of countless books and articles, including his latest, Play Left Fullback. 

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Read the show notes!

[00:00:00] Brian Beckcom: [00:00:00] Hey everybody, Brian Beckcom in here.  I've got my good friend and mentor, Ben glass. And so, Ben, I've already kind of introduced you, but, tell the listeners a little bit about who you are, what you do,  how you got to where you are now. 

[00:00:21] Ben Glass: [00:00:21] Oh, cool. Well, thanks Brian, and thanks for having me on.

[00:00:22] This is a, these are important calls in, in,  important times. I think so. First of all,  you know, as you mentioned on the intro, dad's benign.  so that's a big deal for us. Our youngest just turned 18. And the funny thing is you probably have met Sandy. It's like a couple of months ago I was like, it's getting quiet around the house and now we've got five of them back in the house.

[00:00:43] Cause we've got three college kids who are working very hard at actually what they're tele learning.  and so that's the most important thing for,  for almost 40 years I've been a personal injury,  disability attorney here in the Fairfax, Virginia. So we're right outside of Washington DC.  [00:01:00] small practice, but we're a good, strong regional presence here.

[00:01:04]  and about 15 years ago, I started a second business really coaching, coaching lawyers, mom paw, who were running,   you know, law offices or serving consumers.  typically the folks that we serve are not typically the ones you see a lot on TV and billboards and stuff. They're running, they're running businesses.

[00:01:23] And so I do that nationally. I do a lot of coaching and mentoring of small biz here in Northern Virginia, so we do a bunch of things that are all sort of win, win relationships. It's where we're just trying to always learn from each other things. Yeah, it's just always being a forever learner. It's actually one of our core values too.

[00:01:44] Brian Beckcom: [00:01:44] So nine kids, that's a lot of kids and I definitely want to talk about how you, how you manage that, but just to be clear up front.  you have,  you have a law firm, but then you also have another business called great legal marketing, which is, which I think I [00:02:00] was one of the charter members. Yeah.

[00:02:03] And, but, but great legal marketing is not just about running a law business. It's not just about running a legal business. You actually coach a lot of small business owners. And one of the reasons I want to get you on a. My podcast today was, there's a lot of small business owners out there, I think right now that are struggling and that are worried about the future.

[00:02:27] And there's a lot of uncertainty and, and so you, you actually had spent the better part of a decade coaching small business owners through all sorts of issues. So I guess one of the things that I think the listeners, particularly as small business owners will be very interested in, is how do you, as a.

[00:02:46] Kind of an expert in coaching small businesses. How do you look at situations like this?  how do you adjust to the new normal? Like what, what are you doing right now with your 

[00:02:57] Ben Glass: [00:02:57] businesses? Yeah, so it's [00:03:00] definitely a new normal, I think, as you know, from us being good friends for many years. Ben always starts at the mindset side of things, and the very first place we go is, okay, well, what's in my control and what's not in my control?

[00:03:17] So if you're in a business where the government has completely shut you down, that's, that's really, really hard. Okay. We get it.  and lots of people unfortunately are in, are in that circumstance, but even there. You have choices, you have a choice to be optimistic and to try, or you have a choice to, to stop.

[00:03:45] And, and we're not here to judge what ever choice one makes. And there are, you know, perhaps reasons for going either way.  but I tend to play with and hang out with people who choose [00:04:00] to figure out what I do have control over. And figure out what can I do today,  to maximize my opportunities and my chances.

[00:04:11]  again, you know, what happened yesterday is nothing but a neuron and running around in our head right now. What may happen tomorrow and six and 12 months down the line are really just neurons. I mean, this all changes every day. So I think it starts. I think it starts to stay. So what I hear a lot on calls and podcasts that I've been on either presenting or being an attendee with small business owners, is that the good news is, is that there's a lot of positivity and optimism in that world.

[00:04:42] So I do believe that it will be the entrepreneurs in the small businesses who, who kind of lead America back out of this for sure. And so, and so. That's good news.  a lot of folks are also hear this, and it may sound weird or [00:05:00] funny or strange for these times, but people, many people are saying, I am thankful or at least acknowledge.

[00:05:10]  with gratitude this break, there have been many things about my business that I have been wanting to change, wanting to get right, wanting to think more about, and now it's been forced upon me. Again, you don't control your idleness in your actual doing of the business may have been forced upon you.

[00:05:30] But I hear a lot of people, lawyers and other small business owners say, wow. We are working on our marketing. We are refining our systems. We are cementing the relationships we have with patients, clients, customers, whatever it is. We are,  spending the time to be better organized as a leadership team.

[00:05:56] Again, these are all things that you have control over and [00:06:00] the very least, Brian, can give you some sense of accomplishment.  on the day,  you know, in my two businesses, so, so first in a law practice, you know, like yours,  the, the fortunate reality is we have a lot of work.  we're good at what we do.

[00:06:19] Like you, we see a lot of interesting cases and people and, and things. So, so we're not selling. You know, we're not spelling a salad at lunchtime, which you may or may not be able to do. We're doing legal services and so, and so we're, we're well positioned. In fact, in our firm, we are looking at the opportunity that,  you know,  three months ago it's really hard to hire people, but I was employed now there's gonna be a lot of really good people for whom we could develop a win, win relationship.

[00:06:52] So that, that's one of the things that we're doing.  so cementing, cementing your relationships with whoever it is that pays [00:07:00] you to, you know, for your product or your service. The thing I think is really important right now is, is demanding that relationship and being brutally honest with your employees.

[00:07:09] Now, if you've, if you've got a good business and you have, you know, built up culture,  core values and systems, and you've hired and fired the right people over time, I think you're in a far better place. Then if this was chaotic for you before, because everybody, the stress level is now up in, in many businesses.

[00:07:30] And so it's hard. And so our reinforcing message to our employees is, you're here because you're good at what you do. Right.  and we're good and we're in a good shape. You know, we, we've got, as I say, sort of a long runway in terms of.  our financial,  ability to sustain,  to sustain this coronavirus  but if, but if you're not, if you're not what employees want, is your authenticity.

[00:08:00] [00:08:00] They w they don't want you to be, yes. They want your best information. And so one of the businesses I coach here in Northern Virginia is a, I won't name the brand, but they do a quick change oil, right? So it's that it's not a John rhe business. And, the, the man and his wife who, who owned the place, they have about six or seven units.

[00:08:25] And so a lot of their employees are younger. Blue collar, hardworking guys and gals, and they have built their whole business on. This is so interesting, Brian, on educating their people just to make them better, to understand finances, understand the value of education, the value of forever learning, the value of a skill acquisition.

[00:08:46] That's really what their business is about. They happen to sell oil, changes their businesses about their people. They have been very proactive in terms of. Getting the information about the different [00:09:00] relief programs that are available to to employees, to workers, getting accurate information to them because.

[00:09:07] You know, you and I, we're smart. We know where to click, we know where to go find stuff. We know how to pretty much, how to differentiate between what's truthful and what's not.  and we know a lot about a lot of stuff and a lot of business owners in that position. And so they're, they're looking after their employees, but mostly what your employees and want, I think is your authenticity, your honesty.

[00:09:32] Um. Yeah. Because it's really hard for all the places. 

[00:09:38] Brian Beckcom: [00:09:38] Yeah. So, so I think this is, this, this, this point about mindset is, is really, really important. So I want to spend a little bit more time on it, but I will say this,  when I started, when, when you started great legal marketing and I started reading all your materials, you know, I could come up with five or six different things where you really 

[00:09:58] Ben Glass: [00:09:58] shifted.

[00:09:59] Brian Beckcom: [00:09:59] My [00:10:00] mindset, and one of the things I'm thinking about right now is you, you've always preached that the most important people in your business, in a small business are your employees, not your clients, not, not other people. You know, some people it's their bankers or whoever. You've always really focused on the wellbeing of the employees.

[00:10:21] And I think your idea there is without good employees, you can't get any of the work in the first place. Plus it's the right thing to do. So,  you know, when we first, when his pandemic first came down and we knew how significant it was going to be, and I got together and w w we decided immediately that our number one priority in our business would be to make sure our employees were taken care of to the extent we could.

[00:10:46] We were going to put our employees above everybody else. And I attribute to the thinking there in large part to your teaching and what you've done. So let's talk a little bit more about, [00:11:00]  what people can do. So, so like you said earlier, there's probably a lot of people that are anxious. There's people that are nervous.

[00:11:07] there are people that don't know what, none of us really knows what the future is going gonna hold, but some people are more nervous about that than others. So. Can you give our listeners, whether they be business owners or employees or small businesses, some some concrete ideas from a mindset perspective about, you know, maybe some of the things that you preach about, some of the things that you do.

[00:11:32] Some of the principles.  the, you run your business in your life by, can you talk just a little bit more about that? 

[00:11:39] Ben Glass: [00:11:39] Yeah, sure. So I think as a, as from the business owner's perspective, as Ben, the owner of two businesses, my number one job is to hire the right people, put them in the right seats, and then wherever they are when they join us is to grow them.

[00:11:59] I mean, that's [00:12:00] our real competitive advantage. Yes, we're good lawyers. Yes, you invoke a great lawyers know we've got great lawyers who will work for you. The public has a hard time, like differentiating between a good lawyer and a bad board, but the public, whoever's interacting with you will, will remember that experience.

[00:12:18] And so. The more that you and I and other business owners can raise up our people to do all of the running of the business, it frees up the owner to do the very high level thinking, the strategic planning, either about a particular case or just about the business as a whole. So I think that's, that's the most important thing now, great to, I started that five or 10 years ago.

[00:12:42] Right.  but if, if, if, if you never given deep thought. To that, to the asset you have and the equity you have in your folks. I think that's, I think that that's of you. You've got time and space to do now. We've become a great fan of the entrepreneurial [00:13:00] operating system system and a really good book, Brian, is a book called how to be a great boss.

[00:13:06]  and so it talks about this now from the employer out from the owners level down. I think from the employee's standpoint, you are going to see. The value. So this is now me talking to high schoolers and college kids and young folks in the professional world, in the working world, trying to get out is that, you know, your job is not just to come in and to deliver, you know what you're paid to do, right?

[00:13:32] In exchange for an hourly rate or an annual salary or anything like that, your job is always to try to make your stealth. In invaluable to the employer.  Seth Godin talks a lot about this.   I think,  Michael Gerber to some extent talks about this, but being curious, being proactive. Learning new skills being [00:14:00] the linchpin.

[00:14:00] So except goat and calling, that actually is a book called linchpin. I think that's actually the name of the book, but it's all about how to make it so that if the business has to lay off or five people because of the, you know, in, in our case, this pandemic that you're not first and go and you want to be first to go if you're coming, if you're just there to work.

[00:14:26] For the hourly wage,  or the, the annual, you're not in Benson, you're re, you're replying. You're absolutely replaceable on that. So,  so, you know, we often talk about thinking outside the box and going above and beyond. But it's really true that the, the folks here, I've got a woman here in the law practice who came to me and she started working as a $20 an hour.

[00:14:52]  researcher for background articles that I was writing. And now she runs a, you know, a million dollar a year department [00:15:00] and she makes, you know, a lot of really good money. She's not a lawyer, but she was worried about and curious and she said to ourselves, herself, here's what I see in this vertical, in the business.

[00:15:13] How could I grow it and then she would sell those programs to me. Really, 

[00:15:19] Brian Beckcom: [00:15:19] you know, we've got, we've got the, we've got a similar situation. Our office, we hired somebody to work basically as a receptionist couple years ago, and before I knew it, this person, Carlos, was a reality. I had had taken on so many additional responsibilities and was good at them.

[00:15:39] And then I found out that he had a marketing degree. Yeah. But now he, now, he basically runs a lot of our marketing and so, you know, Voke and I've always been, when it comes to employees, give me a smart, motivated person, I don't really care about their experience that much because a smart, motivated person will, we'll figure it out.

[00:15:59] They'll [00:16:00] figure out a way to do things. Ben, one of the other, uh. One of the other mindset,  ideas that you gave me long ago that I really would,  that, that, that I think about a lot, I'd like you to talk about a little bit is, and I think it's particularly important in situations like this where, you know, we don't know what the new rules are going to be.

[00:16:21] We don't know what the new normal is going to be, but you've always had this,  saying that you, you've written a lot about who made that rule right. When I think about that, I think about, you know,  it's basically saying conventional, conventional wisdom can lead you astray if you're on a small business in an industry where there, there's kind of a certain way of doing things and accepted way of doing things.

[00:16:48] If you're doing the same thing everybody else is doing, you're not going to stand out at all. 

[00:16:52] Ben Glass: [00:16:52] Whereas if. Right? If 

[00:16:54] Brian Beckcom: [00:16:54] you're constantly asking, who made that rule? Why, why are we doing it this way? Both inside your business and [00:17:00] in your industry,  you, you can,  you really tend to stand out a little bit more.

[00:17:05] So can you talk a little bit more about. You're a famous saying, who made that rule, whom, and, and, and apply it to this situation 

[00:17:13] Ben Glass: [00:17:13] that we're in right now. Yeah. I mean, so, so many people think that there's kind of this box that if you're in this business, everything is played within this box and you've got nothing great was ever invented or discovered by looking repeatedly, looking inside.

[00:17:32] The box recoveries have been by people who wondered what if, what if I ventured across this line? And the important thing is to do so with the, with the growth attitude of. Wow. What if this idea over here, I, I start really takes off rather than the fear attitude of, gee, I might invest time, energy, and money over here and it might not work.

[00:17:54] So great inventions. Great.  advancements in, in any profession or any [00:18:00] type of business come from going outside, outside of the box. And. And so, you know, the thing that I keep two lawyers, because lawyers will say to me, well, we can't do that in our state because we have a rule. And the first, my response always is, well, show me the rule.

[00:18:16] And I swear, Brian, like 70% of the time they come back and they'd go, Oh, it doesn't really say what I thought it said. Right. And then the other 30% there's ways to accomplish what you want to accomplish without breaking the rules. Because I'm not, I'm not in favor of doing things that. Like lose my license.

[00:18:34] Right. All right, so, so now, current situation, current situation is, many of the rules are God. Yeah. We talk about what happens when the country gets restarted and we use the phrase of the new normal. But now it's for real. So I just, I finished up a book that,  zero available at Amazon just a couple of weeks ago called platelet [00:19:00] fallback.

[00:19:00] I think you've got one in there. 

[00:19:01] Brian Beckcom: [00:19:01] Yeah, I got a copy right here and I definitely want to talk about this a little bit, 

[00:19:04] Ben Glass: [00:19:04] but what I would make here is the subtitle is, is about, you know, breaking the status quo. Well. While we were watching the status quo got broken, right? It got changed. And so as a business owner now, there's so many, if you think about it, so many potential opportunities.

[00:19:28] So example, the restaurants that we frequent here, we get along the servers, know our names, we know their names and did, Oh. Virtually like take out business before. Well, right now they're forced to do only take out. So if they're smart, they're going to figure out how when the place opens back up and people can come back and eat, how do they keep the rhythm of this new area, this new revenue stream that they're doing?

[00:19:53] How do they keep that going? So they were forced to discover a really great way to, to do, [00:20:00] take out in an area that they thought they probably never thought before that they even wanted to go there.  and so there's going to be a lot of thought of adventure moving forward, and the winners are going to be those who think I'm going to make this work.

[00:20:18] I know I'm probably going to have an idea of fail, have an idea, and fail, have an idea to fail. Let's talk to people. Let's, Oh, here's something that works a little bit. Oh, great. Oh, one of the other big things I've always talked about is going outside of your industry. If you see, if you're running a bakery and see somebody running an auto detailing who's crushing it coming out of this, like that'd be a good person to hang out with and be at least be curious.

[00:20:44] Like who do you use for your marketing? How do you, how do you up sell people G. Can take some of those ideas back into the bakery. So I'm always been,   an advocate of cross-fertilization across, across [00:21:00] industries. 

[00:21:01] Brian Beckcom: [00:21:01]  there's a bunch of things and since you've had a 

[00:21:04] Ben Glass: [00:21:04] bunch of 

[00:21:05] Brian Beckcom: [00:21:05] philosophy on all this stuff that stuck in my head, and w one is, and I, I hear this all the time, I can't do that in my business.

[00:21:13] My business is different than other businesses. And you and I both know because we've been thinking about this for so long, when you really boil it down, all small businesses are kind of about the same thing, 

[00:21:25] Ben Glass: [00:21:25] right? They really are. 

[00:21:27] Brian Beckcom: [00:21:27] And there's people, there's small businesses that are in industries other than ours that are, that are knocking it out of the park every day.

[00:21:33] And you know, you're, you're, you've always preached that. It would, it would be silly. It would be ridiculous not to look at what these other small businesses are doing. So, so one of the things that we're doing here in Houston is we're, we're not only focused on the future of VB attorneys and how we can help people, and there's going to be a lot of different kinds of legal clients, business interruption claims, maybe big deal, and navigating people through [00:22:00] a w one of the things that we've done over the last couple of weeks that I think is we can provide a good service for us.

[00:22:06] We're trying to navigate small businesses and individuals. They're all these government programs, evictions.  you know, there's going to be all these new rules and consumers and small businesses are going to need some help navigating this stuff. So, so we're kind of positioned, you know, perfectly for this.

[00:22:24] So let, let, let's talk about, I'm glad you brought this up cause I do have a copy of your book play level, but for some reason there we go. And I think this is actually, this came out,  about a month ago. 

[00:22:36] Ben Glass: [00:22:36] March 24 Accumatica 

[00:22:38] Brian Beckcom: [00:22:38] art. March 24. Okay. So a little less than a month ago. This is platelet fullback by Ben glass, and I think right now it's the, is it the number one.

[00:22:46] Book in its category on 

[00:22:47] Ben Glass: [00:22:47] Amazon. It goes up and down. It depends on what day you look at it. 

[00:22:51] Brian Beckcom: [00:22:51] Well, after this podcast, it's going to be number one for a while. One 

[00:22:56] Ben Glass: [00:22:56] quick point I would make about that, although it is written for the legal [00:23:00] industry, you probably 

[00:23:01] Brian Beckcom: [00:23:01] tell us not to interrupt you, Ben, but tell us, tell us what, what's the meaning of the title.

[00:23:07] Tell us the story behind the title 

[00:23:09] Ben Glass: [00:23:09] or the meaning of the title is yes. So when I was 12 years old and I was a, so this is the seventies, right? And I was a halfway decent soccer player and we're going to, my first,  people are all familiar with travel, baseball, travel, basketball, whether this is like the very beginning of any of that stuff in sports in Northern Virginia.

[00:23:29] We're going to my first trout and my dad says, when you get there,  tell the coach when he's going to ask. And tell me, play left folk back, and I sent that out. I said, well, I'll do that, but let me ask you a couple of questions. First you said, you know, I'm right footed. He goes, yeah, I know, because you know I've never played defense.

[00:23:45] He goes, yeah. I said, you know, I like to score goals. He says, yeah, I know it's all right. So why are we going to tell them to play the full? I play left fullback, he says, because no one else is going to want to play that position and you'll at least get on the team, right principle being to show up differently [00:24:00] and they should.

[00:24:00] And then we will figure it out afterwards. And so. It was great. And as a story, I can tell him the book is, you know, we were 12 years old at that point, and the team morphed over the years. When we were 18, we were national champions and I was fortunate to play with a lot of really good players. All, everyone on our national championship team went to play D one soccer except one guy, Pele and prose in New York.

[00:24:23]  so yeah, but the principle is, okay, engineer dad. Telling me who's good, I'd probably would've made a team anyway, but here less show up differently.  which is a great business principle. I mean, none of us are, none of us want to be viewed as commodities. And even the guy who is selling like branded tee shirts or something, there's ways to stand out in the marketplace different from all the other guys and gals selling.

[00:24:51] You know, novelty t-shirts. Yeah. And you have to give our argument is you give deep thought to this. 

[00:24:58] Brian Beckcom: [00:24:58] Yeah. So what, [00:25:00] what, tell us, and I encourage people to go buy this book. I've read it. It's a great book.  and it's got a lot of wisdom in it. So,  but, but tell us in kind of in summary fashion, like what, what drove you to write this book and what, what's, what are the message messages or message that you're trying.

[00:25:20] Ben Glass: [00:25:20] Yeah. 

[00:25:21] Brian Beckcom: [00:25:21] That to, to get through with this book. 

[00:25:23] Ben Glass: [00:25:23] So again, I think this translates to all businesses, but in legal. In 2016 a big national report came out that said, Oh my gosh, there's too many lawyers that are unhappy with where they are. They're, they're not satisfied. They're in. As a result, they're stressed out and they do drugs and alcohol too much and they're depressed, and the national folks that sitting up in their high towers were shocked by this.

[00:25:49] I said, well, how could you be shocked unless you more hung out with lawyers. And so they answered that, what they call the wellness issue,  [00:26:00] by,  some good ideas. The value of eating well, exercise is meditation, all those things that you and I do, but they completely ignore. In my view, the most powerful path to wellness, which is build a good business, build a good business to profitable.

[00:26:17] That is where has worked that you're interested in doing and doing it with people that you rarely like. Because if you're, if you have that, and again, it doesn't matter if you're a lawyer or you're, you know, you're running the dry cleaning store. If you have a business that's profitable, interesting work for you with people that you like, great customers, clients, patients.

[00:26:34] You're going to lessen the chance that you are going to be unhappy with your life. And so the legal profession, at least. W wants to not just ignore, but to oftentimes, I think, advocate against the whole concept that we should be involved in profit making businesses. I believe that when I'm profitable and happy, I better serve their client.

[00:26:58] When you have a great [00:27:00] team, Brian. Of, of lawyers and non lawyers who like showing up on Monday to work at your law firm, your clients and those in the city of Houston. And you guys do some national work. They're all better served than if you were miserable. And I know that you're miserable. 

[00:27:19] Brian Beckcom: [00:27:19] You've always, and I really, among a lot of the things I really love about some of the things you talk about you, you've.

[00:27:27] You don't pretend why cause a small business owner that it's not important to make money. Of course, it's important to make money. It's important to have a profitable business. That's kind of the entire point. That's not the only point. We all, you know, like what you're talking about is if your only goal is to make money and you forget about working with good people on things that you're interested in, then you're probably not going to be very 

[00:27:52] Ben Glass: [00:27:52] happy.

[00:27:53] Yeah. 

[00:27:53] Brian Beckcom: [00:27:53] You have to make money in order to run the business. So, so it's important to focus.  you've always talked [00:28:00] about how it's important to generate income in a business. And then after that you can set up all the systems and the culture and make sure you hire the right people and go from there.

[00:28:11] Ben Glass: [00:28:11] Not only that, but when, when you and I are making money, then we can take on and they can afford to take on those cases. That might have a cause with not a lot of money. And you and I both help a lot with people who could not otherwise afford a lawyer because again, they're bringing something that's interesting to us.

[00:28:31] We've got the time and space and capital to, to pursue it. And so you, we both do cases that were. That we find interesting and worthy that we wouldn't be able to do if we were worried about where the lights could be turned on next Monday. I absolutely, 

[00:28:48] Brian Beckcom: [00:28:48] I, you know, I, I've always thought that if I as a lawyer couldn't, you obviously can't help it everybody, but if you have a good business, you can get involved in some cases that [00:29:00] on maybe a pro bono basis or maybe cases where you just, you just know up front.

[00:29:05] There. You're not going to get a lot of money. But the cause is important. Like, like the issue is important and 

[00:29:11] Ben Glass: [00:29:11] if nothing important in the log was ever like created by people just, just staying with well within their comfort zone. Right now, all of the great inroads have been by people taking on cause cases.

[00:29:25] If you've got gotta be good at business, you're able to afford the energy. To go do that. 

[00:29:30] Brian Beckcom: [00:29:30] You know, I just, I just released yesterday my latest blog blog article, which was, if you want to be happy, do hard things, which the basic point of that is get out of your comfort zone. If you, if you stay in your comfort zone too long, you'll get lazy and I'm sad, depressed.

[00:29:45] If you push yourself out of your comfort zone a little bit, you will be happy with whether you succeed or not. Now, so there's probably a lot of people that are listening to this, that have heard of you. That I've heard of Ben glass law or great legal marketing or both. [00:30:00] But there's, there's probably a lot of people that haven't, so there's people I'm sure that are asking, how does a guy run a law firm?

[00:30:10]  another basically full time marketing and consulting business raise nine kids. I think you also work as a soccer referee. Okay. 

[00:30:22] Ben Glass: [00:30:22] Books outright this month, but, 

[00:30:26] Brian Beckcom: [00:30:26] but, but you're a pretty well known,  soccer referee in the Virginia area. How, how do you, how do you possibly manage all that stuff? And you've been doing this for 15.

[00:30:39] How do you manage all that stuff? 

[00:30:41] Ben Glass: [00:30:41] Well, 

[00:30:41] Brian Beckcom: [00:30:41] look, secrets, 

[00:30:43] Ben Glass: [00:30:43] it's a great question. And so for those who don't know me, five kids, um. Statewide for all of them have five children, a biological to us. And then we entered the world of international adoption. So we have four children from China.  and so that, that,  you know, almost [00:31:00] doubled the size,  of the family.

[00:31:02] But the secret is I'm comfortable in my own skins saying, no to stop. That's not interesting to me. All right. And so. As you know, Brian, when people who do things and become successful get asked to do a lot of stuff. Yeah. I'm in. The philosophy that I have learned to live by is that I have a certain set of God given talents, interests, experience, and I'm happy playing in that pool and not going too far outside of things that I'm not.

[00:31:37] I'm not good bat. So that's, that's number one. And I think. You know, the easiest way to, I think, to be unhappy as it is, to never know how to say no.  to people who ask for your time. So I'm, I've been big as, you know, militant time management. I will do well for you, but you don't have 24, seven access to me.

[00:32:00] [00:31:59]  and I think so. I think that that's important in, in, in, in that kind of gets back to another overall philosophy, which is living by. Living by my principles and not by whim, not being buffeted about by everything that I could probably be interested in and want to go and write on Twitter about, and all these things.

[00:32:17] I'm being really focused on, on what I want to achieve for my family. And I've always said I wanna achieve the financial and emotional security of my family. So that's, that's central. So everything I do and try to do is geared somehow to that. Yeah. CrossFit athlete. I want to live for a long time, and I felt the way I ride books.

[00:32:42] I want to get some of this information out so that others who maybe don't hear it in the schools anymore, who maybe doesn't hear it at the dinner table and the breakfast room on their own. Families can know that they're special. They're, they're born, and then develop [00:33:00] a set unique to them. Talents desires, and it's okay.

[00:33:06] I believe that what you're born to do is to take that set and explode it, share it with the world in your way. I'm the guy. I often joke, you know, I'm not a tool guy. I would get hurt in the aisles of home Depot, but I'm okay with that. Okay? I'm okay with not trying to build something, but with a song hammer, but I can create a lot of.

[00:33:28] Cool stuff and I can,  influence,  you know, a lot of people starting with, with, with my family. And I think that they've, I mean, just real shortcut. I've sent,  seven kids off to the six different Virginia universities. They've all been in the right school for the right kid. We don't see any, I did not stress a lot of belts.

[00:33:48]  you know, what school you go to or even what you're going to go study.  our job was to launch kids who were curious, who knew how to form relationships and who [00:34:00] knew how to pursue knowledge. Not just education per se, but real knowledge. I think we did a decent, we've done a decent job. 

[00:34:07] Brian Beckcom: [00:34:07] So, so you, you said a number of really insightful things there.

[00:34:11] You talk about the value of being able to say now. And there's a great saying by a guy named Derek Sivers. If it's not hell yes, it's no. And so the point he's trying to make there is, if this is not something that I'm really excited about, that I'm going to say no to just about everything, but, but then you made another good point in order to say no to things.

[00:34:34] You have to have a philosophy or you have to have a set of governing principles.  so, so when you, those.  decisions come up or those things you might want to get involved in come up. You, you basically have a, a compass already in place that tells you what you want to do. So for instance, my compass is, is like yours.

[00:34:56] My compass is, my family comes first period. [00:35:00] That's it. And I've got three teenage kids right now, all who are playing sports are not playing sports right now, obviously. But I think this basketball season, I can get up and I think my wife and I went to 82 basketball games over a three month stretch. And you know, for me.

[00:35:21]  before I, before I met you, before I started getting into some of this,  philosophy and some of these principles for me sometimes, you know, 10 plus years ago, it was a hard decision. Do I go to this basketball game or do I go to this work related to that? Now it's really easy for me. I mean, I block off my kid's basketball games and that nobody can calendar period.

[00:35:44] That that's just that, that's just the end of it. And it's because thanks to you. And some other readings I've done. I've got some basic fundamental principles that help me make decisions. And the other thing is that I think having these principles, man, I think you'll agree with [00:36:00] this. It's easy to make decisions when things are going great, but it's a lot harder when there's a lot of stress or anxiety or it's a tough decision.

[00:36:12] And if you don't have real strong principals, sometimes. You know that when the decision is most important, when things are going in the wrong direction, and you've got a really important decision to make, it's harder to make that decision correctly in the heat of the moment. 

[00:36:28] Ben Glass: [00:36:28] It is. I can't tell you how many times though, that even in our leadership meetings here at the law firm, when we're like, for example, you know, making tough decisions about, you know, hiring a fire or really about firing, like someone who's not lived up to your expectations.

[00:36:44]  those are hard, especially in small firms. Everybody's friends, you know, you know, you know, people's families. And yet having a set of core values for the company, having metrics, things like this, make that decision make [00:37:00] itself. I think you're exactly right.  so easier to do in good times, right? But really important to have.

[00:37:10] Ingrained principal decision-making when, as they say, the going gets the going gets,  gets tough.  I would say this, anybody can change too. Like I, I was not born with all of these philosophies and, and I didn't. Sort of thinking on them until like, you know, I'd probably a decade into my legal career.

[00:37:36] So that's a long time. So you're talking maybe early thirties, mid thirties.  and I lived a life that was, you know, it was soccer focused, a lot of success there.  but I didn't, when I was in the profession, starting in the regression, I just sort of buffeted about a lot. Like, I didn't. There wasn't anyone out there telling me that I couldn't live like outside the rules that we talked [00:38:00] about or could push up against the barriers.

[00:38:03] So you can change, you can change. I think you can change by eating, by hanging out with people, getting in mastermind groups as we've done over the years.   you know, listening to people who do things bigger, better, faster than you do. It's important. 

[00:38:18] Brian Beckcom: [00:38:18] Yeah. You know, I, I remember when I first started practicing law, I was a big law firm.

[00:38:22] You know, I went to,  university of Texas law school, which is a phenomenal law school. But I would say the vast majority of the people that go there and end up at these big corporate defense firms, and. I have no lawyers in my family on either side, as far back as I can trace, like I was the first lawyer, and so I went to UT law school and everybody is interviewing for these 300 400 person law firms.

[00:38:46] I thought that's what you were 

[00:38:47] Ben Glass: [00:38:47] supposed to do. 

[00:38:49] Brian Beckcom: [00:38:49] So that's what I did. 

[00:38:50] Ben Glass: [00:38:50] And then, 

[00:38:51] Brian Beckcom: [00:38:51] yeah. And then I, you know, within, gosh, within a year probably I realized that this was not the place for [00:39:00] me. And the thing that really probably brought them home to me the most was. I was getting paid the exact same amount of money as every single lawyer that came in at the same time as I came in, regardless of whether I was any better or any worse.

[00:39:16] And that was going to continue for eight or nine years. And you know, I was like, if, if I do a good job, I feel, I feel like I should get paid a little bit more. And if I don't do as good a job, I shouldn't get paid as much. And then I went and worked at it. Finest farm for a couple of years. That's where I'm at.

[00:39:31] Luke and the one of the owners of the mine is farms. Very, very successful, very good lawyer, very, very wealthy, but not very happy. And, and I remember thinking, ah, I, I left that firm, Vic and I started BB attorneys and I was walking around Colorado one summer after I'd been there for three weeks with my family.

[00:39:50] And I was thinking, you know, wealth is not about money. Wealth has absolutely nothing to do with money. Wealth is [00:40:00] about independence and freedom and being able to do what you want to do when you want to do it, with who you want to do it. And that, that mindset was not the mindset I had.  you know, when I, when I first started out, but Ben, let me ask you this question because I know a lot of this, especially in small business owners.

[00:40:19] Brian Beckcom: [00:40:19] going to want to know your thoughts on this, what, and I know there's a lot of uncertainty and nobody can predict the future, but what do you see,  in the next three, six, eight, 12 months in terms of the small business and, and how, how do you think that's going to shape, shape out or shape up. 

[00:40:41] Ben Glass: [00:40:41] Yes. So I think,  Andrew Cuomo, who I've, I've liked his press conferences because he says things like, it's really hard.

[00:40:50] We don't have all the answers. We're working. If you have a good idea, send it in and we're going to get you up to it. Cause we're new Yorkers and we're America. That's right. And so I think he's, I think he's getting [00:41:00] this right, which is this two things are gonna happen. Number one.  because there's some vaccine or something, but that's a year and a half away.

[00:41:07]  but as people develop antibodies and, and are themselves safe to go back into the workforce, they're going to be entering. And then you're going to look at different types of businesses. And say, gee, the law firm, for example, and they have the ability to, to social distance to be safe. Why are we keeping everybody still at home if that firm, if that business can be safe?

[00:41:36] And so I think that's what you're going to see. You're going to see this rollout. And, and it'll require like a restaurant, you know, 200 seat restaurant might have to go to 80 seats. Yeah. I don't know much about the economics. That might be hard, but, but if I'm, if I'm the owner of that 200 seat restaurant, I'm figuring out today, what are the economics look like if I'm open 80 seats, right?

[00:41:58] How do I best [00:42:00] position again for my security, myself and my family, but also from, as most of my appointments, I possibly can. 

[00:42:08] Brian Beckcom: [00:42:08] Have you seen, have you seen in the restaurant industry ban the, even before the pandemic, there were restaurants that were,  coming online that had no physical location. I think they were called pop-up restaurants or something like that.

[00:42:21] Basically the, all they did was deliver. But here's the cool thing about that. Some of these restaurants had developed a culture and like a personality that they had developed a following. Even though. There was no physical location for people to get into. So, so they had kind of art. Some of these restaurants had kind of already figured out,  how to do that.

[00:42:44] So my view, so one of my views is, and I think you said it perfectly, and I think governor Cuomo has done a great job because he's been very honest, so, so nobody can really predict the future. But if we, if we're [00:43:00] mentally flexible, if we're resilient, and if we're patient. I think the opportunities will eventually become obvious to all small, small business owners.

[00:43:13] But you've got to know, I think right now you gotta be mentally flexible. You gotta be able to S to switch your mind into a little bit different direction, particularly if you're in a small business. It's really hit hard. 

[00:43:27] Ben Glass: [00:43:27] Yes. And so I think that. So a thing that everyone has control of her is sort of their own personal outrage factor.

[00:43:35] And we, and of course all of the mass media is designed to outrage you, whether it's a headline on a print newspaper or you know, the guy gal is talking at night and stuff. And so yeah, that's a choice you can make to turn that off. Like, I'm interested in this stuff, like how do I keep myself healthy? How do I keep my family healthy?

[00:43:55] Yeah. There's outrage about, you know, this organization or that organization or [00:44:00] this policy. I really can't affect that. But if I burn a lot of energy getting upset about it, that's, that's energy that I could be using in quiet time. Figuring out how do I make money with an 80 seats instead of a 200 seat restaurant.

[00:44:14] Right. And so,  and I think you'll see more of that. I think people are, you know, growing, just growing tired of turning on the TV and watching people scream at each other. 

[00:44:25] Brian Beckcom: [00:44:25] Yeah, it's you know, my wife and I switched back and forth between CNN and Fox news, and it's, yeah, it's like you don't either.

[00:44:33] People are different realities. Well, listen, Ben, I'm, I'm cognizant of your time. We're bumping up against your deadline, so I have a few kind of quick questions for you. 

[00:44:43] Ben Glass: [00:44:43]  good. My, my other thing got, got canceled. We do, you know, if we're going to watch any TV at night, we deliberately rotate. Yeah. And then we discussed, cause I usually have like college kids in high school, kids are like, we can discuss them.

[00:44:59] That's fine. That's how [00:45:00] you can proactively watch,  something like the evening talk ships. There's no news, June's evening talk shows. 

[00:45:07] Brian Beckcom: [00:45:07] So my 16 year old boy, he likes to mess with me. Sometimes. He knows that I'm not the biggest fan of the current president. And so I'm so come in and say, well my friends love Donald Trump.

[00:45:17] And I live in a neighborhood where 95% of the people vote Republican. And. He likes to mess with me sometime, and, Oh dad, I 

[00:45:25] Ben Glass: [00:45:25] think I'm gonna 

[00:45:26] Brian Beckcom: [00:45:26] vote for the Republicans when I become 18 and he's, he's trying to mess with me. But I said, you know what? That's fine. I'm totally fine with that. As long as you have reasons for doing that, and you're not just doing that because that's what the crowds don't, or that's what all all your friends are doing.

[00:45:42] But anyway. Well, we'll, that's, that's a, that's really cool. So let me ask you, I've got some. Kind of quick yet, or kind of real practical questions for you. So 

[00:45:53] Ben Glass: [00:45:53] who, 

[00:45:54] Brian Beckcom: [00:45:54] who has been, who have been the biggest influences in your life, [00:46:00] whether personally or professionally or both? 

[00:46:02] Ben Glass: [00:46:02] Yes. So I write about, about showing me in the books.

[00:46:05] So certainly the first guy who hired me out of street dull arts is a now very famous medical malpractice attorney here.  and just let me hang out and, and attend everything and, and absorbed that way.  certainly my, my mum and my dad, particularly my mom who taught us about value of kindness. So she passed away about a year ago.

[00:46:28] And she was just so kind to everybody. I think that that rubbed off. I mean, you can, you know, you control how you respond to anything that anybody does to you, and especially when it's unexpected, when someone's trying to get your goat, like, I can respond to your son and it's great, like awesome.  just certainly Dan Kennedy, who I discovered probably 2025 years ago.

[00:46:50] Taught me a lot about,  you know,  giving me permission to, even though I was a lawyer and you're supposed to think in a certain way, I think,  as a [00:47:00] lawyer,   giving me permission to, to think more like a business person.  you know, our, our, our joint friend, Sammy Chong, who I've worked with for the last three, three and a half years, 

[00:47:12] Brian Beckcom: [00:47:12] had a phone call with him yesterday, 

[00:47:14] Ben Glass: [00:47:14] my, my psychologist, right?

[00:47:15] But he is executive coach.  is really in the last few years as we grow and moved into a new space.  which you gotta come see it at some point. It's really helped navigate that. But more importantly, you know, help me navigate all of the various relationships and personal relationships I have in my life.

[00:47:38] So I think those, and of course, my wife Sandy, even though you asked me, you asked me like, how do, how do you raise nine kids and do all this stuff? Well, the short answer would have been. She's awesome. Right on the books with the law firm, she spends a lot of her time managing doctors appointments and studies and all that sort of stuff.

[00:47:59] Brian Beckcom: [00:47:59] Oh yeah, yeah, yeah. [00:48:00] That's the same in our house. Well, we only have, we have a third of the number of children you have, but it's still really busy and we're both very fortunate that we married women who were good at that kind of thing. So let me ask you, man, what. And you, you, you and I both share a love of reading.

[00:48:19]  so, you know, you've read so many books that it may be hard to pick, but give us a few of your, you know, two or three of your favorite books you've read. 

[00:48:30] Ben Glass: [00:48:30] Yeah. So I think, so the number one book that I recommend,  particularly business owners is,  Kellogg Newton's book. Deep work is all about. Turning really turning the electronic devices off, getting rid of the interrupts and realizing that this is really important if you're a leader, right.

[00:48:51] To be able to quiet your mind.  so that's, that's a big one. I'll tell you a book that I'm currently reading through for the second time is Bernay Brown's, [00:49:00]  I think it's called daring leadership or leading,  I think it's called daring leadership. It's a really, really.  good book about having the courage to take on tough issues, lay them on the table again, whether you're leading a company, a team, a family, whatever.

[00:49:19] Country, pandemic. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Open and honest. Yeah. Having open and honest discussion about that. Of course, I'm a big iron man fan and,  Atlas drug really cha certainly months for you to, the first time that really changed. A lot of my thinking sort of reinforced this whole for me thinking, Brian, we don't compete where, you know, how, how could we do something together that's a win win for both of us.

[00:49:48] You know what, I'm a volunteer basis.  but deep work is, is really that, I mean, I recommend that book to everybody because you read it, you go, right. No, I spend so many hours on my [00:50:00] devices and I, and I have all these, I mean, the thing I do is like, kids joke. This is really only a phone and a calendar and a GPS browser.

[00:50:09] No email. If you text me and it doesn't ring vibrate or anything 

[00:50:16] Brian Beckcom: [00:50:16] for our do not disturb. 

[00:50:18] Ben Glass: [00:50:18] Yeah. And, and you know what? Nobody's died. Right? You get home and I don't have the milk, but I'll just go back out and get the milk. Right.  and so being deliberate about. Freeing up some space to just think. And for me, I'm early, pretty much an early riser.

[00:50:38] So I do that. They joke, they laugh at me, they take pictures of me and my house at nine 15 when I'm asleep on the couch, but I'm up at five o'clock doing stuff. So I think those are some of the big,  important books that have been really influential for me. But I do, I read about 40 or 50 a year. Not every book deserves to be read to the end, but.

[00:51:00] [00:51:00]  and reading deliberately too. Like, why is this, if I read it only three pages, why is this in front of me today? Like, one, there are no coincidences, I don't think, you know, in the universe. Like, why is this here? Yeah. How could I use it? Well, let 

[00:51:18] Brian Beckcom: [00:51:18] let, I could be misremembering this, but I, I remember reading deep work by Cal Newport and I think I recommended it to some people.

[00:51:26] I may have recommended this to me. I remember exactly when I was, I was like everybody in 2016 on the internet, social media constantly about this,  the election that we had. And it was just crazy. It was like our first election where social media was that big a deal. And I, and I got to the point, Ben, where I felt like I couldn't focus for more than a minute or two.

[00:51:46] So I. I got like I read the book and I actually took my computer and put it in the closet downstairs. I work out in my home office a lot, so I didn't even have the computer in my home office for about four or five months, [00:52:00] and I'll tell you what the, it was almost like. It was almost like the muscle part of my, my brain's kind of just relaxed, you know?

[00:52:07]  

[00:52:08] Ben Glass: [00:52:08] so amazing. 

[00:52:10] Brian Beckcom: [00:52:10] Yeah. Great recommendation. So a couple more questions for you,  and then I'll, I'll let you go on about your day. What, can you think of an example where something happened to you that at the time you thought was really bad that turned out to be really good? 

[00:52:27] Ben Glass: [00:52:27] Yeah. So when I was leaving the law firm.

[00:52:31] That was, I'd been with for 12 years.  you know, there was a real,  that was a real decision, right? We had just bought a house, right. Six months before,  things I wasn't totally happy there. Right.  and you know, in every law firm there's kind of money issues, and usually it's not. When there's no money, it's when there's a lot of money, you get money issues.

[00:53:00] [00:53:00] And so. I didn't think it, I didn't think it was really bad for very law. Right.  but it really turned out, I mean, I went on this path to be able to grow a couple of businesses and of course, Brian, for you and I like just about every time, you know, when you sat in a courtroom knowing that you should win a case, and the jury comes in and says, no, that's really hard.

[00:53:29] Yeah. And it, but there's always been learning in that. But in that moment it's really, really hard. And then I write about it in the book, you know, driving home and some of those days in my new practice back then when we didn't have a lot of money, didn't have a lot of cases, and driving home and meeting your wife at the door and saying, we lost to get really hard time.

[00:54:00] [00:54:00] Shows you, I think the learning from all of these experiences. And so if you don't learn from tough times, then you're just not looking. Okay. You're not looking carefully at what it is the circumstance has taught you. 

[00:54:15] Brian Beckcom: [00:54:15] You know, I've been keeping a,  

[00:54:18] Ben Glass: [00:54:18] a journal 

[00:54:19] Brian Beckcom: [00:54:19] of notes or,  after every trial I've had my entire career.

[00:54:23] And I, and I, I tell people kind of jokingly, I say, when I win a case, the entry is normally like. Something to the effect of, you're awesome. You're great, you're a great trial over, keep doing what you're doing. And then when I lose a case, it's five pages of notes real quick. This is what you need to work on.

[00:54:39] Work on this, change this, work on this. I literally learned almost nothing from succeeding in trial. I learned way more,  when, when I when I lose at trial, which happens to all of us. By the way. 

[00:54:52] Ben Glass: [00:54:52] And what a great idea. I mean, how did you even, do you remember like how you even had the idea to start that?

[00:54:58] Cause 

[00:54:59] Brian Beckcom: [00:54:59] I, [00:55:00] you know, I, I've always been a journaler and a writer. I don't remember exactly,  where I got the idea, but, but it's,  you know, I've got 20, I'm 47. I've got about 22 years worth of personal journals and professional journals. And, you know, before every trial, about a month before I go to trial, I go and look through the notes.

[00:55:20] I'll be, yeah, 

[00:55:20] Ben Glass: [00:55:20] man. Five or six 

[00:55:22] Brian Beckcom: [00:55:22] years ago. I wrote that down and I need to remember it for this case. Yeah. 

[00:55:26] Ben Glass: [00:55:26] Well, 

[00:55:26] Brian Beckcom: [00:55:26] Ben, I really appreciate your time and like I said in the introduction, you, your, your time is extremely valuable. You're one of the foremost,  legal marketing and marketing in general for small businesses, consultant, coach, philosopher, 

[00:55:46] Ben Glass: [00:55:46] and 

[00:55:47] Brian Beckcom: [00:55:47] he gave me this much time.

[00:55:49] Ben Glass: [00:55:49] It is 

[00:55:49] Brian Beckcom: [00:55:49] a real. Treats. So I really, really appreciate it. Before I let you go though, tell people where they can find you on the internet or social [00:56:00] media,  if they're looking to find out more about you. 

[00:56:03] Ben Glass: [00:56:03] Yeah. So the law firm is Ben glass law, so you can go to Ben glass, law.com the consulting company is great legal market in.com if you just Google Ben glass attorney, you'll know we're, we're pretty well positioned and popular with mr Google and,  and yeah.

[00:56:20] You know,  go and buy the book. The book is a philosophy book. The book is a life book. It is positioned for lawyers. It's got. Tactics for lawyers.  but it really is about thinking about your life. Yeah. Figuring out what the difference is between where you are and where you'd like to be. Visioning that.

[00:56:40]  as concretely as you can, right. No matter if you think it came to Ford, it, you don't know who's going to help you get there. Visioning what perfect would look like for you. Giving yourself permission to think that way. And then I believe that, that, that your mind will just see the opportunities. Does your mind will see the [00:57:00] opportunities as we come out of this pandemic?

[00:57:02]  you grow 

[00:57:03] Brian Beckcom: [00:57:03] and, and that amazing how that if you get your, if you get your principles and your mindset. 

[00:57:09] Ben Glass: [00:57:09] Right. 

[00:57:09] Brian Beckcom: [00:57:09] Then opportunities just kind of, they just kind of appear out of nowhere. Right.  well, good. Any,  any final words of advice to,  any of the small business owners or individuals that are.  worried about what the future holds, worry about the pandemic, any last things?

[00:57:28] Ben Glass: [00:57:28] The last thing I would say is if you're not in some sort of a group, you should start a group. You should look around at your other small business owners in your community and say, Hey, how could we get together? Either you're, you're bringing your charities over to the col-de-sac and you're sitting six feet apart, right?

[00:57:41] When you're getting on some zoom call and saying, okay. What's working? What's not? What do you read? Being who you listening to. Okay. Cause that will strengthen you and when there's a leadership vacuum in the country. And so don't wait to be asked to lead. Just lead. People will love you [00:58:00] for it. That's great 

[00:58:01] Brian Beckcom: [00:58:01] man.

[00:58:01] Well thank you very much. Let's stay in 

[00:58:04] Ben Glass: [00:58:04] touch, okay? Yes sir. Thanks, man.