In the AMC TV Series, “Better Call Saul“, the lead character Jimmy McGill, starts out working in a law firm in the mail room. He goes to law school at night and on his third attempt he passes the New Mexico State Bar Exam and gets his license to practice law.
The law firm he was working for, Hamlin, Hamlin, and McGill or HHM (the third name on the firm was for his older brother – Chuck McGill), acknowledges the success of Jimmy; one of the main partners (Howard Hamlin) even nicknames him “Charlie Hustle”.
However, the firm refuses to hire him. His brother Chuck is actually behind this – claiming he doesn’t want to appear as if the firm practices nepotism (although, ironically the two “Hamlins” in the firm are father and son).
The truth is, the large law firm doesn’t like Jimmy’s style or lack thereof. So, Jimmy goes out and starts his own law firm — James M. McGill, attorney at law, or JMM.
As you can see in the commercial below, he copies the logo and font type of his former company in his billboard. He even wears the same suit and dies his hair to match his former boss, Howard Hamlin.
He conspicuously places the billboard at the freeway off-ramp, where Howard gets off to go to work. Howard’s not too happy about Jimmy’s advertising. He takes Jimmy to court and wins and Jimmy is forced to take down his billboard, but not after Jimmy captures some free staged advertising in the local newspaper and local TV news as seen in this clip below:
Jimmy also finds a niche in his law firm representing elderly people when they start calling him in response to the commercial above. He leverages this into a thriving elder law practice. Check out this TV commercial which he strategically places at 3:15pm in the afternoon during an elderly favorite TV Show called “Murder She Wrote”:
After helping so many elderly people write their wills, he discovers some over-billing at a local retirement home. He then finds out that it is a pattern of over-billing across all of the retirement homes in several states that a large corporation owns.
Jimmy has uncovered a class action lawsuit and since it exceeds his capabilities as a single man law firm, he has to team up with a larger law firm to pursue the litigation. Who does he work with? You guessed it – HHM. Jimmy’s percentage of the suit is 20% or over $1.5 Million dollars when it settles.
If HHM had hired Jimmy when he passed the bar, they wouldn’t have found out about this class action lawsuit because he wouldn’t have pursued elder law.
The moral to the story is that obstacles are often opportunities. If Jimmy had just given up or not been creative in building his business through “creative” advertising, he never would have discovered this lawsuit. He never would have made as much money working at his former law firm.
The key to Jimmy’s success is that he used the rejection of his firm (and of his brother), to drive him to succeed against all odds.
By the way, the phone number (505) 842-5662 actually connects you to a voice message from the fictional law practice of Jimmy McGill (aka “Saul Goodman”). Try it from your phone or use Google Voice to dial it from your computer.
Do you have Grit?
In the audiobook, “Grit” by Angela Duckworth, she shares her research for the main characteristics contributing to people’s success. The number one characteristic of successful people? GRIT.
What is Grit? Determination. Persistence. Commitment.
“Many of us, it seems, quit what we start far too early and far too often. Even more than the effort a gritty person puts in on a single day, what matters is that they wake up the next day, and the next, ready to get on that treadmill and keep going.” (Grit by Angela Duckworth – scroll down the table to find the book for FREE)
Is there a way to accelerate the benefits of Grit in our lives?
Perhaps you’ve heard the business proposition: “Would you rather have $3 million dollars today, or 1 Penny doubled every day for 31 days?”
On the surface, $3 million seems like the better deal and if the world were to end tomorrow, you’d be happy at least you’d get to spend some portion of that money today. But at the end of 31 days, 1 Penny doubled every day would be worth over $10 million.
In the book, “The Compound Effect“, the author talks about his upbringing and how his dad trained him to make daily small commitments to improving his life for the long term.
“It’s not the big things that add up in the end; it’s the hundreds, thousands, or millions of little things that separate the ordinary from the extraordinary.” (Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect)
One of the traits of Badge Earners that I absolutely love, is that we are gritty. We are all “Charlie Hustle”. We know that if we educate ourselves, if we put in the time to learn more, it will pay off in the end. Maybe not today. Maybe not a month from now. But, it will pay off.
With all of these FREE Resources, what’s stopping you? If you have GRIT you will learn what you need to learn — both hard skills and soft skills and become “Charlie Hustle” and be a success.
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I hope you will join me,