On today’s episode I am excited to talk to Davina Frederick. After years of working in marketing Davina decided to become a lawyer which led her to a path of coaching and helping women lawyers scale their business and build their wealth.
In this episode we will cover:
- Choosing your career moves
- The path to entrepreneurship
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Episode 252: Wealthy Woman Lawyer with Davina Frederick Transcript
Andrea: [00:00:03] Welcome to the Legalpreneur podcast. I’m your host, Andrea Sager, founder and CEO of Legalpreneur Inc. As a serial entrepreneur and someone that works exclusively with small business owners legally protecting their business, I’m dedicated to covering common legal issues faced by business owners, providing you with the business knowledge you need to catapult your business’s growth and showing you just how some of the world’s most elite entrepreneurs have handled these legal and business issues themselves. In true attorney fashion, the information in this episode is not legal advice. This is for informational purposes only, and you should always consult with your attorney before implementing any of the information in the show.
Andrea: [00:00:46] Hey there. Welcome back. I am so excited for today’s guest because she is actually an attorney, Davina Frederick of the Wealthy Woman lawyers. She helps women attorneys grow and scale their law firms. And I am so excited for you guys to hear from her today because she has actually had an extensive career in marketing. So I know everybody has a thing or two to learn from her. So, Davina, thank you so much for joining us today.
Davina: [00:01:11] Thanks, Andrea. I appreciate you having me here. I’m excited to be here.
Andrea: [00:01:15] Yeah. So let’s get into it. Give this give us the rundown. Give us your background and how you got to where you are today.
Davina: [00:01:23] Okay. So it’s a long story, but I’m going to try to make it short because I’ve got a 30 year career and and I’ve had multiple careers in that amount of time. That’s the length of my professional career. I to tell you what age I was when I started working, but I was in marketing. My degree is in my undergrad degrees in journalism, and I thought I would be this foreign correspondent sort of traveling the world and reporting from exotic locations and which is really kind of humorous because I get motion sick if I walk too fast. But this was the dream. And then I wound up getting married to my first husband and we were in Orlando and there’s only one game in town. There was one newspaper and I was like, okay, I don’t think I can get a job there fresh out of school. So I wound up in marketing, and by happenstance I found a job as a technical writer for an engineering firm. And then that grew. It was really a marketing position and that from there I work for the largest law firm in Central Florida. I worked for an agency. We had several clients all over the world, and so I really was a copywriter and a professional services marketer. And along about the early 2000s, I had an opportunity.
Davina: [00:02:39] I had long been divorced, I had remarried, I had an opportunity to go to law school. I had an opportunity to do anything I wanted and I chose law school. And now I look back at that and I go, What were you thinking? But that’s what I chose at the time. And I went to law school and graduated. It started my own firm about about the age 40 years old. So it was a second career for me. I started my own firm right out of law school, which was my plan. I didn’t plan on going and getting a job working for anybody else. I wanted my own business. My husband was an entrepreneur and really inspired me to an entrepreneurial journey, and we’ve been on that for almost 20 years now. So I had my own law firm and grew it successfully. I brought in a partner, we hired people, set up systems, the whole thing. And then there came a point where I just had some things going on in my personal life, and I wasn’t really thrilled with the type of practice that I had and where it was headed. And even though we were making a lot of money, we were doing well. I wasn’t happy. I was gaining a lot of weight. I was drinking a lot of wine and all of those things.
Davina: [00:03:51] So I wound up selling out to my partner and walking away from it. And I took a little time, little introspective time and therapeutic time and all of those things. And then I restarted a firm in 2011 and it was virtual. This was before virtual was a thing, and I had a lot of pushback from other attorneys. I bet your clients will like that. And what are you doing? But I did it anyway because I needed something that worked for me and my family. So that’s where I started and I grew that. But I knew that I needed some tools to do it better than I had done it the first time. I did well the first time, but I wasn’t happy in all of that mess, you know? And so I. I had a friend who invited me to another attorney mentor who invited me to a coaching event. And it was one of these large group, these large coaching events they have at the convention center with all the loud music and the flashing lights and all the speakers. And it was a woman coach who was very aggressive kind of person, and she had a lot of speakers on there. She did not specialize in law firms, but I, I went for it.
Davina: [00:05:09] I signed up for the program. It turned out not to be. What I thought it would be, what my expectation was. But I am forever grateful for the experience because it really opened up a whole new world for me, a possibility, and something that’s a really good fit for me. So I started in 2013. My my company that I have, I eventually changed the name of it from where I started. I started coaching professional service business owners because that was my background and helping them. I started out actually doing marketing kinds of things for them. But then I realized that nobody understood what the strategy was behind anything they were doing. So I very quickly, within the first year, got into creating strategic plans for people and then. Most of my clients were women law firm owners because that’s they saw me. I had done this and they said, I want to hire you because you’ve done this. And so over time I just rebranded and niche down, and I only work with women law firm owners. I’ve worked with men in the past. I have worked with other business owners, but really law firm owner, women law firm owners helping them. Become wealthy is my passion and powerful step into their power. So that’s what I do.
Andrea: [00:06:31] I love that. Oh, my God. I love how you just gradually, like everything you’ve done, has led to the next thing. That’s definitely what where I am. I haven’t had any, like, huge major pivots. It’s just, Hey, this is leading me to this. This is leading me to this. And I love how you just eventually really niche down in your coaching and found what really works for you. So what did you just shut down your law firm or do you still have your law firm practicing?
Davina: [00:06:55] No, I stopped practicing. I was scaling back. I was kind of only doing it part time, but I stopped practicing. I am still a licensed lawyer and I still, you know, we’ve got all got the family members and friends, right? We still do. But yeah, I, I still am a licensed family lawyer, a lawyer in Florida. And I, but I stopped I kind of wrapped up my practice because I felt like and this is advice that I give my clients if you really want to be successful. I think one of the mistakes that a lot of entrepreneurs make. There’s always an idea for a business and we want to chase them all down. But really, to be successful, we need to laser focus on one good idea and really put the work in to bring it to fruition. And I felt like I couldn’t do a great job as a lawyer and do a great job as a coach at that time because I was still small, it was still me and a little bit of help. And so I didn’t. I decided that I was afraid something was going to fall through the cracks and I would do a disservice. And also. What I enjoy doing is I really enjoy coaching and developing this coaching business. It’s probably a little bit, to my detriment, how much I enjoy coaching because I know I should be getting a lot of other people doing the coaching and me not, I mean just running the business, but I really enjoy being a part of the journey and helping women scale their businesses. So.
Andrea: [00:08:28] Oh, I love that. I mean, not only is it great to be an entrepreneur and have a good business, but it’s a wonderful thing to actually really, truly enjoy what you’re doing. So that’s that’s great. I love that. So take me back to when you decided to go to law school, because funny enough, I actually have a lot of people that come to me. I don’t know if any of them actually listen to the podcast, but a lot of people come to me and a lot of times ask like, Hey, I’m thinking about going to law school, what do you think? And I have an answer that I give people, but I’m very curious. What made you decide to go to law school? Like what was there? Was there any big deciding factor? Because I know some people, they’re like, Oh, I just don’t know what else to do. I’ll just go to law school.
Davina: [00:09:16] Well, interesting, because I, I felt like my first career had sort of happened to me that it wasn’t intentional because, as I said, I was I wanted to be a journalist. And because of my personal situation at the time, I made a choice to get a high paying job, working for, you know, professional service businesses. And because, like, you know, I was a stringer for newspapers and you make $15 an article, right? And I was like, okay, I can’t make a living this way. So that I felt like the first career happened to me. And so when I had an opportunity, my my husband. When we before we got married, we were serious, getting serious. And he said, well, what do you want to do? He was a very successful entrepreneur, had a multi million dollar business. And he said, What do you want to do? You can do anything you want to do. Well, I have always had I’ve worked since I was 16, so I’ve always had to make my own way. And I never had anybody say, you could do whatever you want to do. And so I sat and made a matrix, like I made a chart. I picked all the things that were things I careers that I might be interested in. And I made a chart and I said, okay, pros and cons, what are these? And one of the reasons I’d always been interested in law is I have a cousin who is like a brother to me who late in life went to law school and became a lawyer and absolutely love it.
Davina: [00:10:45] It has a huge passion for it. He has a very successful criminal defense practice. He talked his wife into going to law school and becoming a lawyer so they could do this together. And so he he pulled me aside and he’s like, this is what you need to do. And so that influenced me. The. And then going through my chart, kind of eliminating other things. And that’s what that’s why I wound up choosing law school. And I, I also was looking for something that, you know, I thought the investment would pay off, right, if I had gone and gotten an English master’s in English or something, you know, financially it wouldn’t pay off. And so that was that figured into it as well. I think a lot of people, you know, implied that they get embarrassed by saying, I did it because I thought I could have made good money out of it and have a career. That definitely. So I thought my skills would fit. And also I thought it would be a good career option for me going forward. So that’s why that’s what figured into it for me for sure.
Andrea: [00:11:52] I like that. And what I tell people is, look, if you are just going to law school to figure out what you want to do know, and I tell people if, you know, like, hey, I want to be a lawyer, I want to be this type of lawyer. And even I tell them, I’m like, even if you change about what type of lawyer you want to be, that is perfectly fine. But law school is not something you want to do to go through, to put yourself through, to figure out.
Davina: [00:12:20] Because it’s hard. It’s really hard. Yes, it’s stressful and it’s also costly. Most I mean, I’m very fortunate in that I didn’t have any undergrad loans or anything. I did take out some in law school I had scholarships to. But, you know, I’ve seen people with six figure debt as a result of going multiple six figure debt or going to law school and not really understanding what it takes to pay that back, thinking I’m going to get out and I’m going to make this huge amount of money, and then they get out and they’re like, But the thing I want to do is go work for the prosecutor’s office and be in court all the time. We don’t make that money or or I’m going to go on my own. And not really understand how to grow a business. And so I’ll be lucky to make $50,000 a year, and they don’t really realize it until they’re in it. And so a lot of my clients start out in that place. If I have this huge debt, I thought I would make all this money, but I want to be on my own because I can’t work those crazy hours at a law firm. And so here I am. But somehow it’s not working and I’m not making enough money, and it’s because they don’t know how to run a business.
Andrea: [00:13:30] Right now, one thing I want to touch on. But I did not intend on going here. But your second husband. Yes, I love that you said. He basically told you, Look, go do whatever you want. I love that. And I’m very curious because I have seen what has happened to me and my first marriage and. I basically told my ex husband, Look, you can go do whatever you want, like I’m making enough money. Like, go do whatever you want. He just would never I mean, he there are many issues and I don’t want to get into that, but I’m curious about your experience. With your second husband, do you? Because I feel like you are a very. Well, you’re definitely a very successful woman. But I know a successful woman. We tend to very much be in our masculine energy and try to be in the driver’s seat and take control. And I’m very curious if that if you were in your masculine in your first marriage, because it seems like you’ve been able to soften up and really just be and allow yourself to just be with your second.
Davina: [00:14:45] Interestingly. No. I grew up in a very. Your traditional household. My parents have three children, and I think the expectation is we would all get married and find somebody to take care of us. Although that was never spoken. And we also all because there were no sons, we all my dad kind of like taught us all the lessons. So we tend to be pretty assertive women and independent women. We’re very independent, which all three of us, my sisters and I. And so I’ve always sort of had that streak in me. My my first husband was a salesman, really funny salesman. He’s passed away since then. He got divorced, but he’s passed away since then. And but it was not we only lasted about five years because we really weren’t meant to be together. But when I married my second husband, who my current and hopefully final only husband is the plan for both of us. Like I said, we’re we’re trying to make it to 20 years, which is in April. I. He really inspired me. I really I loved he was an entrepreneur and was always on the road during the day and on the phone and large and in charge. And I was very drawn to that.
Davina: [00:16:07] I thought that was very I love the ambition because my first husband was not that way and he was a lot more chill. And and I and I just love John’s energy driven energy and his entrepreneurial sort of lifestyle. Right. This coming and going and not being stuck at an office all day. And so that really inspired me. And I don’t but I really struggled. I really struggle when he said, You can go do anything you want, because I was at an age where I could have we could have had kids. And it was probably getting to the point where I have kids or that ship has sailed and he didn’t really want kids and he certainly wasn’t ready at that moment. And so I said, Well, I need to go do something else that’s meaningful, right? So I couldn’t just go get another job. I wanted to do something meaningful and really changed my life. And law school certainly did that. So but I before that opportunity to go to law school, I was I had left my job and I was working. We had moved and I was working part time as a freelance writer. And I remember feeling very he would come home after working his butt off all day and I would get up and start like being busy doing things because I felt so bad about not contributing to that.
Davina: [00:17:35] I was like, I can’t. This is not me. I’ve always worked. I’ve always, you know, And so it really bothered me. And so that was part of what led me, I think, to pursue a career in the law because it was it was big and it was meaningful and it matched what he was doing in terms of, you know, the potential income and all those things. Right? So that did figure into it. And it’s kind of it’s interesting that you ask that question because nobody ever does ever ask that. But it has not been smooth sailing our entire relationship. We’ve definitely had a lot of bumps in the road and fortunately, we’ve grown into a lot more mature people. We’re each other’s best friend. And so he he works with me now in this business and I couldn’t do it without him. He’s my business manager. So. So we have had a little bit of a shift because I used to work for him for a while in his business. So we’ve had a shift in that regard.
Andrea: [00:18:36] That’s awesome. That’s beautiful. I love seeing spouses work together. I, I, I don’t want to get married again, but I am open to it if I have a partner that does want to get married. But I 100% desire to have an entrepreneur because I need the flexibility. Just like you were talking like he, you know, his energy. He just gets up and goes and does it. And I’m like, yes, that is. So where did you. Well, they.
Davina: [00:19:01] Understand. Yeah, they they understand. Like, we understand each other because we’ve owned other businesses together to and fortunately, our skills are complementary, like the things I’m the reader in the family. He’s like, if it’s a contract, go read it. If there’s anything because I’m the writer or the reader and all of that. But when it comes to tech stuff, I wouldn’t be able to do I wouldn’t be able to turn my phone on if it weren’t for him. Right? So we have a lot of complementary skills and that works out well. It does add an extra challenge, you know, in a marriage, because you can only put energy toward so many businesses unless you have a lot of help. And the two of us tend to be the kind of people who just like we just do it ourselves, we’ll just do it like we know we have such capability between the two of us. And I think that is that hinders us a lot because we just can do it. So we just do do it. So we work a lot, but we also really enjoy working and we get that about each other. And so when you’re married to an entrepreneur, there’s no that. There’s no if you’re doing something on a Saturday where you’re working, they’re not looking at you going, You should be off and you should be home with me sitting on a beach someplace because they get it, because they’re there with you in the trenches. And so that to me has been the real advantage of us being so compatible in that way.
Andrea: [00:20:25] Yeah, I love that. That’s beautiful. So I have to know, where did you find him? Where do I find one?
Davina: [00:20:30] Where do you find? Interestingly, I worked with him in in one of the jobs that I had. I worked with him and we were friends for many, many years before we got involved. We both have been in other relationships and we we just stayed friends. And and then there came a time when that we were both free. And he actually surprised me one day because he he kissed me. And I was like, I wasn’t expecting that because we were friends. And I was like, Where did that come from? And it was a real movie sort of moment, you know, It was like one of these grabbing kissing movie kiss kind of things. And and I was like, Where did that come from? And to myself, I didn’t say that out loud, but I it was it was very shocking. And I think I went into panic mode. I was like, oh, my God, what just happened? But so it just took off from there. And we had a very intense relationship. And and but I think it was really based on that friendship and. That we just we could just hang. And you, if you ever had a girlfriend, that you could just hang out and talk to for hours. And no matter how much time you’re apart, you get back with them and you immediately. He and I have that kind of friendship. And and then, like I said, you know, and I said, it hasn’t been easy. I don’t want to say, oh, we got this great. Because we’ve definitely had some times where we’ve been like, okay, this is it. Are we done here? And we’ve had those bumps in the road. We’ve had a lot of things happen along the way that test a marriage and and had to make choices and all kinds of things. And we’ve just kept choosing to keep working on it. And fortunately, we’re in a really great place. You know, like I said now and and hopefully that will continue. You know, it’s it’s it’s us and the dogs.
Andrea: [00:22:23] Oh, I love that.
Davina: [00:22:24] That’s beautiful. We stay together for the dogs. Really?
Andrea: [00:22:28] No kids. We’re just together for the dogs. Exactly. I love it. Well, take me back to. Marketing and your business. Now, I’m just curious if you can touch briefly on how those early days in marketing. Transferred to you being a successful lawyer, because as we know, it’s one thing to be a great lawyer, but it’s another thing to be a great law firm owner. And I know that you’ve done both so and I know marketing played a role in that, because what I tell a lot of attorneys that come to me, I’m like, Look, you can be the greatest attorney in the world, but it doesn’t matter if you don’t have clients. So I would love to hear your perspective on that since you’ve kind of been on every side of the coin.
Davina: [00:23:13] Yeah, well, I’ll say it was really interesting because I thought because of my marketing background, I had been to like a gazillion rubber chicken dinners, like I understood, you know, all of the corporate tables and go in and network and all the different boards being on a board and all the things that lawyers do. Because I was the marketing manager for a large law firm, we had 50 partners and about 100 attorneys at the law firm when I was a marketing manager. So I actually have experience marketing a law firm and and a much larger law firm. So when I started my own practice, I thought because I knew how to market that I’ve got this thing on lock, I can run my own business. What I missed was kind of like all the operational stuff, right? And so I never had trouble getting clients and getting business, and I did that very successfully. I think the first mistake I made, though, was I joined every organization, got became got in leadership positions immediately because these kind of organizations are hungry for leaders. So if they tap you, I mean, I was on the end of court, I was in the end of court of earlier. Williams and of court. And my very first year there, like making me program chair of events I haven’t even been to like but I had some my my father in law who passed away before I married my husband was a well known lawyer in the county, so a lot of people knew the name Frederick.
Davina: [00:24:41] And so I and so they would ask me and so I got a lot of that connection. I’m in a small bedroom county of Orange County, Orlando. And so it has that small town feel, and I got made a lot of connections. And plus I had connections from Orlando. So that wasn’t the hard part. The hard part for me was figuring out sort of how to run like I didn’t I didn’t really know how to grow a business or how to run a business. I was doing it all organically, figuring out as I go. Fortunately, my husband had great advice for me, but and other other mentors, I’m somebody who’s always sought out mentors and had some really great ones and I’m not afraid to ask for advice. And eventually, in growing and growing this business, I hired multiple coaches. By the time I had my virtual law firm, I started hiring coaches and I’ve had multiple coaches. So from a marketing standpoint. I the number one piece of advice that I give people. So I have a book and in the book, in the book on marketing and the virtual age, I have two women, two books that are called The Wealthy Women Lawyers Guide, once for Marketing, Once for Systems.
Davina: [00:25:53] And one of the things that I tell people is to pick three. So pick, pick your mix formula is what I call it. You pick three areas that you’re going to market platforms, and this is after you’ve done the work, you know who your ideal client is, you know what your strengths are and what your weaknesses are. And then you say, My ideal clients, it would it would make so much sense for me to speak do public speaking, because my ideal clients are business people and they’re out there. And so I’ll do that. I’ll do guest podcasting and I’ll send a weekly newsletter out to pass clients or whatever. So you pick three or I’m going to do Instagram reels and I’m going to start my own podcast, I’m going to whatever, right? So you have to figure out where your clients are. So if you need help with the ideal client, then you can go to my website, get my book. But. That is what I say. But the key to all of it is visibility. Visibility. You have got to start getting you or people on your team or whoever it is out there.
Davina: [00:26:49] You have to let people know. And and for so many people who are shy, they don’t want to be on camera. They don’t want they don’t like the sound of their voice on podcasts. I’m all of that. I don’t like seeing myself on camera. I don’t like the sound of my voice. Same thing, right? But I’m an introverted person. But I it is my job. It is my duty to if I sign up to have a business, it is my duty to make it a profitable, sustainable business. And I owe that to all the people who’ve hired me, who’ve made those contracts and commitments with me. I owe it to my employees and my vendors who count on the money I generate to support their families. I owe it to my family. And so I have to separate out me personally from my duty and responsibility to my business. So whatever Divina feels, if it were me and it was just me and I didn’t have this business, I would I just be a lurker on social media. I’d be scrolling and laughing at dog pictures and, you know, and just dog videos and just enjoying that, right? But because I’ve made a commitment to grow a profitable, sustainable business to honor those agreements I’ve made with all those people who’ve hired me and all the people who need my services that don’t know that I’m out here and I’m doing this, I make it a top priority to be visible.
Davina: [00:28:11] And so I get out and I have my own podcast and I get my guest on podcast. I do reels on Instagram, I do I go on LinkedIn, you know, and start conversations. So I have an email that goes out, you know, I do all the things and that requires a certain amount of vulnerability and putting yourself out there in today’s world, we’re looking for that personal connection. So people want to know about you, and that requires vulnerability. And I think you have to get over yourself a little bit and go, Nobody’s really paying that close attention. But, you know, and they’re only going to know how you make them feel. Right? Did you make them feel comfortable that they can. Work with you and they’re not going to remember the details of one day your hair. You went through a whole video with your hair sticking straight up like nobody’s paid attention to that. Right. It’s that is that kind of thing that I think visibility where people are not putting themselves out there or not, they’re too busy focusing on working in the business and not working on the business.
Andrea: [00:29:11] Yeah. Yeah. No, I agree with that 100% and I love that. So, Davina, this has been amazing, and I know that you really have nice down to women attorneys, but for those that can really get some help from your marketing stuff, where can they find you? Where can they get your books and give us all the stuff?
Davina: [00:29:31] So the best place is WWW.wealthywomanlawyer.com. You can get all the information about coaching. You can get information about all the resources I have. I have a resource vault that’s got books and little mini courses and things in it. You can sign up for my email list and get my emails because I do do a lot of sort of coaching, mini laser coaching kind of in my emails. So there’s a lot of resources for people and obviously the Wealthy Woman Lawyer podcast, which you’ve been a guest on, they need to check out the episode we did on the Wealth of Women podcast. You were a guest. It’s very recent, so you can find that on just about any podcast podcast app you go to because it’s out there everywhere. We were very fortunate. I’ve heard of Feed Spot, but on Feed Spot we were listed as the number one podcast for women in law in the US, so that was a reasonable celebration. Congrats. So we’ve been around for about three years and the podcast is a great place to go and listen to all the stories of the amazing women law firm owners I’ve interviewed. So that would be what I would I would recommend. And then you can follow me on Instagram. I’m playing around a lot over there right now at Wealthy Woman Lawyer.
Andrea: [00:30:40] I love it. I love it. Thank you so much, Davina. And everything will be in the show notes, so go check it out. Definitely go listen to our episode that we did together. It was a lot of fun. And Davina, thank you so much.
Davina: [00:30:51] Thank you, Andrea. I’ve really enjoyed it. I appreciate it.
Andrea: [00:30:54] I am so excited to.
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