Kimberlee Gee is the founder of Kimberlee Gee Legal, a legal outsourcing and consulting firm based in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. She has been working in the field of labor and employment law for fourteen years. Kimberlee Gee Legal provides legal research and drafting services to small firms and busy solo practitioners in the field of labor and employment law.
She also provides employment counseling on a variety of emerging labor and employment law and human resource matters, risk management and compliance services to budget-conscious small business owners looking to manage their workforce and avoid costly litigation.
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
It was a convergence of many different things (a perfect storm I suppose) that motivated me to start my own practice. But if I had to sum it up shortly: my late father was the impetus.
My dad was a small business owner, and had been for almost 20 years, until his death in late 2014. Although I had always thought of working for myself too, I thought of being an entrepreneur as some unattainable goal in the distant future. Perhaps, I thought it was too risky. But his passing changed all of that – truly the springboard that kicked my entrepreneurial spirit into overdrive.
The second motivator was professional complacency. I felt it creeping into my spirit more and more every day, and I was uncomfortable with it. I had to do something. When my dad passed I’d been working in litigation managing employment discrimination complaints.
As a litigator, you’re not supposed to enjoy drafting motions, researching obscure legal issues and doing the work that most other attorneys avoided. You were supposed to love going to trial.
I thought that there had to be a way for me to do more of what I loved. I decided to create a legal outsourcing business aimed at providing services and products about which I was most passionate.
Tell us about your business.
Although some attorneys strive to be a “jack of all trades,” I always refer to the services I provide as “micro-niche,” because I serve a very specific group of people and perform very specific tasks.
I am an attorney that works with small business owners that are overwhelmed with labor and employment legal issues that affect their business. I offer legal strategies and resources at reasonable rates to give these business owners peace of mind knowing that they are compliant with all labor and employment laws without breaking the bank.
I am also an attorney who works with other solo attorneys and small firms who need assistance managing their workload. I assist with legal research and writing projects so that they can re-focus on growing their profits, growing their practice, and attaining professional fulfillment and work-life balance.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
For new clients, I am offering 15% off of my hourly rate until the end of May.
I contribute to various online media publications giving legal information and tips about the latest labor and employment law issues. My most recent contribution was to Fit Small Business discussing “At Will Employment Doctrine: How It Works & 4 Big Exceptions.”
I also worked as an editor for a very well-known and well-respected national media company and published articles in the Daily Labor Report and Construction Labor Report regarding labor and employment law issues.
Where is your business based?
Washington, DC Metro Area. I am licensed to practice in Washington, D.C. and Maryland.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
I worked with a marketing and brand strategist to get clear about what I wanted my mission and my vision to be and how I wanted to convey that to my audience. I also developed a website to help expand my reach.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
I use a myriad of methods to raise awareness and gain new clients. In this digital age everyone stresses the importance of having a digital footprint, because that is the space from which business referrals and lead development most flow.
I agree that having an online presence is important, and so I make an effort to traffic in online spaces where my potential clients may be. But word-of-mouth recommendations and tapping into my soft market (friends and colleagues I already know) for business leads has been helpful as well.
I honestly find I am able to make the biggest connection with people one-on-one and face-to-face. Because I run a niche practice, people don’t always understand what I do or how I can add value just by reading either a paragraph on a website or a click-bait on social media.
But when I’m able to converse with them about what their goals are and what challenges they are facing, it gives me the opportunity to really explain how the services I provide can help them achieve those goals and overcome those challenges.
For instance, many new startup companies aren’t aware that having the appropriate contracts in place and the appropriate employment policies in place are imperative to avoiding legal liability and improving workplace productivity.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Lead generation can be challenging at times. Attracting and then converting strangers and prospects into an actual client or a legitimate business lead is not at all a cake-walk for me.
How did you overcome these challenges?
I’ve realized it is not my job to oversell my products and services. Of course, it is necessary that I create value; no one wants to buy a product or service that has no utility. But no one, including myself, likes an oversell.
People that need what you have to offer, and feel connected to your mission and your vision, will want to become clients without a bunch of arm-twisting. My job is to make sure those prospects actually know who I am and what I have to offer. My job is to create visibility for myself and my company. That’s what I’ve been doing.
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I am a spiritual person. When I get too overwhelmed by this world or am not feeling motivated, I turn inward and upward. I’m a big believer that “what you think about, you bring about.”
I try to stay in a positive mental space, and it is really hard to do that sometimes. I visualize myself meeting every goal that I’ve set for myself. I remember why I started on this journey in the first place, and then I tune back in to the work I’m doing.
Most importantly, I try to be grateful for what I’ve already accomplished and not beat myself up for what I’ve yet to accomplish. I try to celebrate the journey for every lesson its teaching me, rather than focusing only on the “wins.”
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
I think my business speaks for itself. I do have a particular niche. I will not say its one-of-a kind (that would be naïve and untrue), but it’s certainly not run-of-the mill either. Also, the fact that I am a virtual law practice is a unique selling point for me. Because I do not have a monstrosity of overhead expenses like many law firms do, I can offer competitive rates to my clients.
As far as distinguishing myself personally, I really try not to focus on “competition” or “competitors.” The legal profession is a competitive profession – more competitive than most I believe.
There are a million lawyers, some of whom are trying to tap into the same client pool as I am, but there is only one Kimberlee Gee. There is no one else that can replicate me or how I run my business.
I may have an unpopular answer here. But, it’s very simple: I distinguish myself from my competitors by simply being myself. Authenticity matters.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
Believe in yourself. That advice did not come from some well-seasoned, veteran attorney. Rather, it came from my mama! She always encourages me and supports me and makes me feel like I am a Mensa-genius, supermodel, and triathlete all rolled into one!
Although she can be a little effusive with her praise (because she’s biased obviously), it’s good advice. If you don’t have confidence in who you are and believe in what you have to offer, how can you expect anyone else to do so?
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Don’t play the short game. I speak from experience when I say all of your business goals will not be realized or come to fruition all at once. It will take time. Continue to plant those seeds. You’ll see your business start to blossom if you stay consistent and stay the course.
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
I read legal cases and publications every day. I also write blog posts focusing on the most recent emerging law issues. For the small business owners, you can read one of my more recent blog posts about the Top 5 Labor and Employment Law Trends to look out for in 2018.
In my own personal time I like to read other genres to keep me mentally and emotionally nourished. So I love reading books about self-growth and books that personally motivate me to be my best self.
I just finished a book called “Surpassing Certainty” by Janet Mock (which discusses the author’s personal journey toward self-acceptance) and just before the New Year I read “The Secret” by Rhonda Byrne (which focuses on the law of attraction and using your own power within to bring the things you want into your life.)
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I’ll be candid, I struggle with self-promotion. It’s necessary to my professional growth, but at times it feels narcissistic and slimy. I’m currently learning how to engage in legal marketing and positioning myself as an influencer, both online and in-person, in a way that feels organic to me.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
Business development and client retention are at the top of my list right now. I am putting myself out there more and more every day. By “putting myself out there” I simply mean I am challenging myself to connect with as many people as possible, other attorneys and small business owners, so I can inform them how I can be a resource to helping them grow their business and their practice.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
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