Daniel Hernandez: Growing Profits, Clients & Team in a Crisis

byRachel Steininger

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Daniel Hernandez, NextLevel Law

A CEO Freedom Case Study



Daniel Hernandez


I've been really able to take the firm to that next level. But specifically, she has made me more confident as a business owner.  We just saw our best month ever in client acquisitions last month. So it's just, it's so amazing to have a partner like Rachel.


I'm Daniel Hernandez, and I own a law firm called NextLevel Law by Daniel Hernandez.  My law firm is a social justice focused law firm, what we do is that we charge flat rate pricing on a monthly basis to all of our clients and allows a ton of access to individuals who wouldn't never be able to seek a private attorney, right.


So in the beginning of the year, I started this new firm, after breaking away from a partnership.  I really needed help to make sure that I could continue to work in my business and run the business. Because of the flat rate pricing that I'm charging, it's important to be efficient, it's important to use technology. And it's truly important to have a coach that understands my business and how to help me grow that business and ensure that I'm still profitable, so that I can continue to help more people and so that I continue to grow and help more people.


It's really crazy, because I think in the last roughly six months, it has taken off, I had started the firm with about 40 clients, I now have double that we're at about 80 clients, mostly running the business from the top.  I'm not helping clients day in and day out, but I have the staff there to assist that we've been able to grow our staff, we've been able to grow our profits, it's been absolutely amazing.


You know, COVID started beginning of March, right. Governor starts telling us we all need to go home and stay at home, everyone starts freaking out. And you know, I still had a coaching session on on Friday. And I remember thinking Rachel is going to help me. Rachel didn't want me to take part in this recession, she wanted me to say no, I'm going to act like the economy's doing just fine. And I'm going to mind my own business. And I'm going to go out and I'm still going to network. And I'm still going to look for those clients that are still needing the services.


And it's really, really crazy, because most of the growth has happened from March today. And today is September 3, and we just saw our best month ever in client acquisitions last month. So it is absolutely amazing that the growth just continues to happen.


That when it comes to business coaching and thinking of Rachel as a holistic coach for everyone on the team, that's one of the best qualities that Rachel has, the big thing that I really wanted your help with was to bring the staff together was to make sure that we were all trained on ways to help grow the business, but not to make them all salespeople or little minions. When I had spoke to other coaches, they were all about just coaching me, how this is your business, this is what you're going to go out and do. And that's where it stopped... at me. What's so important is when you bring the team on board, it makes your leadership so much better, allows your team to give input and it allows you to really analyze your business decisions.


So my employees were not so motivated to go out and make asks and do business and get business. My associates made it very clear to me that they found that uncomfortable. With Rachel's help, when we presented what the mission of the firm was, and we presented them with how they were going to help clients... It's so crazy how even just the idea of telling them this is a simple ask, we're not asking you to go out and go to networking events, we're not asking you to find that client and bring them in and make sure that they sign up because we need the revenue dollars. We were literally telling them, we help clients here. We help them at a nominal price. And they will leave here satisfied. And there are other people out there that can use our help. So just by making small asks, we can grow the business. The staff was really receptive to  that idea.


While my staff does have an incentive plan in place that goes along with their salary, they were never motivated before by that incentive. But they were motivated by the mission of helping all of the training that you've been able to provide this has been really impactful. Because the staff has stayed engaged. They've been able to let out their worries during one session and then immediately turn around and say, you know, Thanks, Rachel for letting me get all this anxiety out and now I'm ready to do my simple asks from clients. Hey, do you know someone that I can help to?


We've gotten tons of leads just from our own clients from doing something as simple as asking questions.


And my office manager does not have a huge background on business and on management. And I see her growth go through the roof from simple things as empowering her to when she is collecting from clients to just actually empowering her to know that even though that I'm her boss, sometimes she has to sit me down. And I think that all of those things are attributed to the coach.


And one of my employees was a little taken aback that he needed a coach or my coaching sessions were being provided. So interesting, because I asked him after the first meeting, how did it go? And he was like, great, I love her. We talked about all of these ways that I could be more efficient and talked about how I could talk to clients differently, and how I can manage my calendar differently. And I think that even though he was hesitant to having a conversation with Rachel, you know, she was able to bring him right on board and say, Hey, this is just an hour to see you. And let's talk things out, let's make sure that you're being the most efficient, effective and productive employee. And he absolutely loves meeting with her to on a regular basis. So it's worked out great.


It's taken stress off of me. Certainly, right. I think now, it's so interesting, because I would say that back in January, I was stressed out because I have just the fear of being the business owner. And now I'm stressed out because I am just busy. And I think that that is a complete change in the way that I handle my stress, right, and the way that I can run my business. 


I have my staff that's been empowered from the office manager that's empowered to take on phone calls about collections, understand how to collect properly and not have to stop and talk to me every time.


The opposite, which is that I now have my calendar just being scheduled. If I'm available between nine and five, it'sa go. Taking those two pieces, it just has allowed me to be able to have those consultations, bring in more clients and really allowed for, not just to grow, but I want to use the word like prosper.  Not so much that it's growing in size but for it to just flourish.


You know, one of the business decisions that I have been contemplating was to get rid of the office space, because we're all doing just so well from home. And it's a cost saving... utilities and your lease and everything. It's so crazy to me, because just two weeks ago, I had a team training session, and we were talking about growth. And I said, I gave like a very broad overview of what I wanted to see the firm look like, in five years. And the same question was asked of the staff, like, what would you like to see within this growth, this broad example that Daniel just gave.


And then I realized in that meeting, that my staff wants to come back to the office, they're like talking about how they want a conference room that looks different, and they want the walls to be painted. And they want the feeling in the office to be different. And I was like, Oh, my God, I can not possibly make this decision. Because I will upset everyone comes to the firm who wants to come back to the office to this space. By bringing them on board, I was able to see that aspect. And I was able to see it in a safe space, right where it was okay for them to explain what they wanted to see without them feeling like they just had to yes. And I think that it creates for much better workplace.


It's so important to have someone hold you accountable. I write a to do list all the time. And the list just gets longer and longer and longer. And you scratch a couple things out that you write five other things. What's so special about my relationship with Rachel is that she really takes the time to tell me what is important from your to do list. What do we need to get done by Wednesday? And then on a weekly basis, she's telling me you put a self imposed deadline of tomorrow. So where's that? Cuz if not, you have a lot to do tonight. And that is so important. Someone you know    I can always find a different excuse... But when you have someone who's expecting you to have it done, it's just a different way of thinking about the task.


I think the best takeaway too, when it comes to Rachel and all the help she's provided is that I've been really able to take the firm to that next level. But specifically, she has made me more confident as a business owner.  I have other ideas that I feel more empowered today to accomplish because of Rachel. It's so amazing to have a partner like Rachel.
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