Seth Price is the Founder and CEO of BluShark Digital, a digital marketing agency that provides results-oriented online marketing solutions to law firms struggling to stand out online. He is an accomplished attorney and transformational thought leader who scaled a two-person law firm to 38 lawyers in less than a decade.
Seth is also the founding partner and the business backbone of Price Benowitz Accident Injury Lawyers. In addition, he is a frequent lecturer and moderator at some of the largest and most influential law conferences in the United States, where he speaks about the tools and strategies law firms can use to align their business development with changing consumer habits.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- [02:38] Seth Price talks about his journey as a lawyer to starting BluShark Digital
- [06:04] The value of having good partners and Seth’s experience with his partners
- [09:28] The BluShark’s hiring process
- [12:42] The key pointers that allowed Seth to grow his law firm
- [16:49] How BluShark Digital differentiates itself in the market
- [21:04] BluShark’s ideal customer profile
In this episode…
Are you a law firm struggling to stand out online? Do you know what you need to do to grow and succeed online?
Seth Price recommends partnering with digital marketing agencies that provide law firms with high-quality online marketing solutions to law firms. He also shares his journey of successfully scaling a law firm business. He explains how he started, ran, and grew a best-in-class digital agency focused on the legal sector to help law firms make a strong impression online.
In this episode of the Inspired Insider Podcast, Dr. Jeremy Weisz sits down with Seth Price, Founder and CEO of BluShark Digital, to discuss how law firms can thrive through digital marketing. Seth shares his journey as a lawyer, the key things that allowed him to grow his law firm, the genesis of BluShark Digital, its ideal clients, and how it helps them.
Resources mentioned in this episode:
- Rocket Fuel: The One Essential Combination That Will Get You More of What You Want from Your Business by Gino Wickman and Mark Winters
- “The Pixar Story: The Letter of a lifetime That Started Everything With Alvy Ray Smith, Co-Founder of Pixar” on Inspired Insider
- “[Top Agency Series] Navigating a Merger and Becoming an End-to-End Digital Partner With Kevin Hourigan of Spinutech” on Inspired Insider
- “[One Question] Closing A Promising Startup with Mark C. Winters of RocketFuelNow.com” on Inspired Insider
Sponsor for this episode
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Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
You are listening to Inspired Insider with your host, Dr. Jeremy Weisz.
Jeremy Weisz 0:22
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder inspiredinsider.com where I talk with inspirational entrepreneurs and leaders today is no different. I’ve Seth Price of BluShark Digital. And Seth, before I formally introduce you, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast and let’s see some of the fan favorites. The co-founder of Pixar on he actually talked about how they started. He talked about some Steve Jobs stories from George Lucas stories, really amazing interview. Since this is part of the top agency series. I had Kevin Hourigan, who has had an agency’s in 1995 If you can imagine what the landscape look like back then. So check out that and many many more on inspiredinsider.com. This episode’s brought to you by Rise25. At Rise25 we help businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. And how do we do that we actually help you run your podcasts. We’re an easy button for a company to launch and run a podcast we do strategy, the accountability and full execution of a podcast. And you know, for me, Seth, the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I’ve found no better way over the past decade to profile the people and companies I most admire and profile what they’re working on. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, Seth has multiple podcasts, you should and you can check out more at rise25.com. And Seth Price is founding partner of Price Benowitz accident injury lawyers, as well as if he wasn’t busy enough, the founder and CEO of BluShark Digital, Seth actually took a two-person law firm skill to over 36 lawyers in less than a decade. Now Seth has taken the same digital power they built the firm with to create an amazing, best in class digital agency focused on the legal space. And he’s a frequent lecturer moderator at some of the largest most influential law conferences in the United States, and speaks all over. And you can check them out at blusharkdigital.com without the E BluShark digital. Seth, thanks for joining me.
Seth Price 2:28
Thanks for having me, Jeremy.
Jeremy Weisz 2:29
So I want to go back to your college this, you’re a pen. Did you always know you want to be a lawyer? What did you want to be when you grew up?
Seth Price 2:38
No, I grew up in New York, my dad’s a lawyer, I came out of undergrad 91 the economy wasn’t great to go-go 80s it had died down. And so law school seemed like a safe place to sort of spend a couple of years I went in not wanting to practice law long term. I love the business side. And that was reinforced. When I basically took a job out of law school at a big firm. But when doing transactional work, I always wanted to be the client. They were doing these cool things they were doing, like roll ups of Microsoft reseller agreements, and these guys were spreading all over the country and doing stock option plans like that’s for me. And I don’t want to do this boring paperwork. So I jumped the moment that the economy started to blow up in the .com bubble started to build the end of the latter half of the 90s I went to New York to make my fortune consulted with a ton of clients there on digital dove and really early and was a founding employee at something called uslaw.com which was a precursor to find Law Legal Zoom, and had an amazing ride there. This was essentially Legal Zoom or fine law but before its time, similar to what might have been, if you remember that the idea that like if you had the technology, another friend of mine had the square these were people that had Facebook before Facebook, but whether the broadband wasn’t there yet, lawyers had to be convinced to advertise on there. They’re like, why would I want to be on the website? Why would I want to be a directory it was literally pulling teeth to get a would spend more in acquire the customer and the lifetime value of the customer. And it was the bubble burst in April 2000. By January 2001. Much was gone. Amazon was down to like, I forget what it is 456 dollars a share from a tie. Google remained but like all these different search engines disappeared, the 17 different pet food delivery services disappeared, and we were left with more fundamentals. And that the ones that did survive for example, fine law had been bought by Thomson Reuters. They had the money to survive those ups and downs. I licked my wounds. And a few years later, ended up my buddy Dave Bennewitz wanted to start a law firm. He’s a lawyer’s lawyer, he loves the courtroom, he wants to be there every day, I want to be outside the courtroom. So we do chocolate peanut butter. We start with the two of us in his basement, I building a website optimizing that website, piece by piece we ended up with dozens of lawyers, dozens of websites, and about seven, eight years ago, on the way from infancy to a 43 44 lawyer law firm, I pulled our digital team out of Price Benowitz and into BluShark Digital, which now represents more than 200 law firms nationwide for their digital marketing, everything from building websites to their paid strategy. Both PPC, and LSA is a very, very big thing in the legal space where you can get calls from Google instead of just clicks, as well as the burgeoning paid social world, which works much better on national plays such as mass towards less well, protocol single event, people who are trying to get people within a local market.
Jeremy Weisz 6:08
Did you recognize Seth at that time, I had Mark Winters on who co-authored Rocket Fuel with Gino Wickman? And they talked about the visionary and the integrator? I don’t know if you recognize at that time with you and your partner, you seem like you are the business side. And he loves the craft of it. What did you recognize that that point? Or was it more like an opportunity that just you happened into? Or did you recognize, hey, we actually have this perfect combination.
Seth Price 6:40
There was nothing recognized. In my time, I took some of my modest winnings from the.com bubble, and invested in real estate, which was hitting a pretty hard place. 06, 07, 08, 09. And we were just looking for a way to make a buck. He really wanted to practice that was his passion. And I’m like I really did, we actually walked the franchise floor of one of these huge trade shows there. And it was like the year of all the marble slab and different ice creams. And like, none of this makes any sense to me. And it was turned out to be prophetic, because all that stuff blew up. But there wasn’t, Rocket Fuel wasn’t written yet. At this point, it was, basically, how do we start a business, we have two sets of two skill sets. And you hear about this now, where people are developing things during the downturn, we may have downturn coming, let’s hope we don’t. But if we do, you know, we were able to hire like crazy when nobody else is hiring. There were huge opportunities. Every job we posted about hundreds of applicants, and we got some amazing talent that gave us some great running start that allowed us to get there. So, I see in our mutual friends, people like Michael Gerber, and as an early EO member, what it was actually, YEO, back in the day, I heard a really inspirational talk. And while I don’t think his stuff works as well, with law firms, per se, the business acumen is frickin genius. And the idea was, can I get myself out of day-to-day, which was how we designed it. I think one of the things that our clients struggle with, is that it’s hard to get yourself out of day to day, and anything that you’ve delegated is not going to be done as well, as you do it yourself with every podcast by an owner, we dealt with you, you’d be great. But if you want to have scores of clients, you’re going to end up having people that you have to trust and as that happens, it is tougher and tougher. So I feel blessed that we were able to divide and conquer because if you’re sitting there with a full caseload, it’s very hard to actually get out of the trenches and into that, now we have terms for it, but visionary. This idea, nobody had scaled a b2c firm in our market, there’d been some TV, advertisers and PI. But really, nobody outside of PI had done anything at scale. And so I just feel very blessed that I was given that opportunity to not have a caseload and actually build out the firm.
Jeremy Weisz 9:11
I love the evolution of the growth and one thing that helps with growth, you mentioned is finding talent, right? You have amazing people that work for you so that you can do what you do and being your zone of genius. Talk about the hiring process a little bit.
Seth Price 9:28
It is one that is a love-hate relationship. It’s a must. And you got to be great at it. And I see so many of our mutual friends who have written great things on camera, Harold and Derek Colburn. And all these guys that have their own methodologies. It started out for me as okay, we’re getting through the day. We were in growth mode during these early, early, late aughts. Early, I don’t know what you’d call it, as we went after 2010 and 211 1213. We’re Hyper growth mode, I would essentially be the first I did it myself, I place ads based on Craig’s bid on Craigslist, which work back in the day. Now we’ve moved on to LinkedIn. Indeed, I wish there was waiting, see what’s next. But those were great days, because they were free. And then maybe 25 $30 an ad, but it was nothing. And I would place ads, and then call people back between eight and 10 o’clock, maybe 9:30 9:45, being the latest. And finding out if somebody was bothered with me, calling at nine o’clock probably wasn’t the right, cultural fit for what we were doing at that time. Ironically, in today’s digital world, if I did that as my screening mechanism for BluShark, my current staff that really is a nine to six world, they’ll be like, What are you doing, but lawyers that was fine, and even support staff. And it wasn’t like I was saying, I’m not interfering with your day, I want your kids to be asleep. But I need to be able to talk to you, if you want to potentially work with us, then move to a woman who would do the screening for me at that a part-time person on Craigslist, she would do the screening. And back in the day when we were all still in the office full time, she would have people come to one Starbucks and interview with her if she liked them, she’d send them down the street to the Starbucks closer to our office where I would meet them. And if I liked them, I’d bring them up to the office that was sort of the 123. Today, and I’m a big believer in this, we have a robust recruiting mechanism at both Price Benowitz and at BluShark with a senior recruiter because even though we use outside recruiters, every dollar that I spend internally cuts down on the external piece. And then secondarily, putting a team primarily international under that person who can help both with international recruitment and screening of domestic people, and basically allowing that. So to me, just like intake for a law firm, every dollar you spend, you make more money, I genuinely believe that the more effort you put into creating the biggest possible funnel for your talent acquisition, the better off you’ll be. Because whether it’s expansion or replacing attrition, you really need to make sure that you’re in a place where you can get that talent in, because that’s the fuel that helps build your clients and build your business.
Jeremy Weisz 12:20
But most people, firms or any companies really don’t grow beyond a certain point. Right. And he’s mentioned, I’ve heard you start with two people. And you grew to over 36 lawyers and support staff and everyone else. What were some of the key things that allowed you to grow. And then obviously, you brought those on the digital side to your clients too?
Seth Price 12:42
I think it was, if you’re starting off with a law firm, I still remember. And this is something we talk about. I’ve mentioned two podcasts, one on law firm growth, The Law Firm Blueprint chamber away. And there’s also scaled a criminal firm. We do everything from PI to criminal to trust the states and family DC, Maryland, Virginia. Now South Carolina, what I have done is looked at each place, can I make money if I expand here, and then hire somebody? And the question always is, when do you hire? No different than what you have within your business, right? You have x amount of revenue, X amount of clients. And I think that thinking about what comes next and what you would need. Because if you don’t hire that next person, there’s going to be a moment where your clients don’t get what they need. And I’ve had that once or twice where we didn’t staff up enough for what we needed. And that’s really a tough place to be because then you’re sort of frustrated. And then God forbid, you have any sort of attrition. So you’re in growth mode, you know you’re in need somebody. And ironically, I find solace from the mantra of my law partner, Dave, who’s not a business guy first, he’s really a lawyer first. But he is somebody who is very good at saying, hey, if you look at a salary for the year, I remember early on, it might be a 60 or $70,000 salary today, it would be the equivalent 100 120 Just to keep it as real as possible. If you look at that number with benefits and everything else, it’s pretty scary. But if you say, hey, that’s gonna be 15 or 20, or $25,000, or a quarter, and even six months is 40 to $60,000. That is a lot easier to internalize and be like, hey, I got enough runway for that, God forbid we don’t make any money with that will still be fine. And the truth is, and this is what we’re talking about The Law Firm Blueprint so much, but it’s applicable to all the areas. If you have that person in place with a running start, because it’s rare assume you’re in growth mode, that you’re not going to be able to find the work for them. It has been rare and again, it is easy to bring overhead up and that’s the next piece. So if you’re looking at stuff as a business owner, let’s take the agency side and you start looking at things like EBITA it’s easy to see that contract slightly, but I feel like it’s the end and you have to like say, okay, I better see growth or I’m in trouble. But I think that we see the same thing. In all these areas with lawyers determining how much money you put into advertising. If you advertise for where you wish to be, that’s an argument risk, and you want to do it smartly. But let’s say God forbid, it doesn’t work as well as you want, it’s not like you’re gonna make no money, you’ll just make slightly less and so the idea is, and there are people who go all in much more aggressive than I am, but I see this with clients around the country where and I’ve seen the mentality change in digital marketing from let me spend three or $4,000 per month and hope that something happens to okay, a case in the personal injury space now the over-under in some markets forte, if you’re spending 16,000 a month, you’ve got to get for more cases, that’s not crazy talk. Whereas if you do paid search, you might not even get that now, you may not get an organic but the idea is once you build out an organic presence, then you have the stepping stones to go to so I think a lot of it has to do is if you know where you want to be and whether it’s employees, whether it’s marketing, whatever it is making sure you have that fuel for the fire so that you can get to that because if you don’t no matter what marketing you do, you’re not going to be able to squeeze that much more out if you don’t have the labor to produce it.