TCLA Year In Review 2019

Discussion in 'Welcome to The Corporate Law Academy' started by Jaysen, Dec 24, 2019.

  1. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    TCLA Year In Review 2019
    It’s hard to put into words how incredible this year has been.

    I plan to start writing these reviews at the end of each year to take stock of what we’ve achieved so far and map out where we’re hoping to go in the future. Hopefully, it'll also give you guys an insight into TCLA on a more personal level.

    Before I get to what I’ve learned this year, I want to touch on the first year of starting TCLA because I’ve never really talked about that in much detail.

    I started TCLA in February 2018. Prior to that, you guys probably know by now that I was a trainee - for a few months - at the US-based law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges.

    Sometimes when people see where we’re at right now, it can seem like starting a company is easy. I can tell that you that it isn't. Leaving Weil and starting TCLA was a rollercoaster of emotions, and that first year, in particular, was very tough. At the time, I had no idea if it was going to work, how I was going to turn my ideas into a viable business, and how I'd differentiate TCLA from the well-established legal careers platforms in this space.

    To put things into perspective, by August 2018, I was regularly working 80 hours a week on TCLA and had invested the vast majority of my savings into the company. That was definitely on the extreme end: looking back on it, I'm sure I was compensating for having left behind a career at a law firm, wanting to make something of myself, and having convinced myself that I didn't want to work for someone else.

    2019 Highlights

    There was no set date when I woke up one day and things were suddenly working out. It was more a case of putting in a lot of blind effort, day after day, and slowly realising that I didn’t have to worry about whether TCLA was going to make enough money to continue.

    Things have changed a lot this year. In November 2019, we reached our biggest revenue milestone: when monthly revenue from our premium subscription surpassed five figures for the first time. Our recent month on month growth has been incredible, but I’d also note that that’s likely to be substantially influenced by the application season (e.g. monthly subscription revenue rose by 60% in September 2019 compared to August 2019). I'm eager to see the extent to which we can keep this going after January.

    In terms of overall website traffic, we reached a record 19,000 unique visitors in November 2019. Within the forum, we have just surpassed 4,000 forum registrations (compared to 1,000 in November 2018) and over 16,300 posts.

    Beyond the stats, looking back on the year, here’s a selection of things I am most proud of:
    • The strength of our community (it's incredible seeing the motivation and support you guys give each other in the forums)
    • The launch of TCLA Premium 2.0 and over 10 courses
    • Reaching episode 25 in our podcast Trainee Talk
    • Running our first event, TCLA’s Crash Course, and meeting many of you in person during our university presentations
    • Seeing many of our longstanding members secure training contracts
    • Hiring brand ambassadors for the first time this year
    Personal takeaways from 2019:
    • Circle of competence: I saw a huge difference when I started focusing on activities that I was best suited for/where I could add the most value, and hiring people to do the rest. Warren Buffet calls this the circle of competence. I’ve realised that I can’t micromanage everything, and this year, I’ve become better at stepping back from most areas. Eventually, I’d love to hire people for all aspects of the business and just focus on working on launching new ideas, securing sponsorship or marketing.
    • Ending projects and people management: In the past, I used to allow projects to drag on because I didn’t want to disappoint people, or because of the amount of time I’d invested in them (see sunk cost fallacy). I became better at closing projects and making U-turns this year. I still feel guilty when it happens, but I’ve realised, sometimes you have to do these things for the sake of the business. On a similar level, I’ve learned a lot about hiring people and bringing people onto our team. This year, we’ve had 5-10 people working for TCLA on either a freelance or part time basis at any one time. I’ve still got a lot to learn in this area, but one thing that has stood out is to value enthusiasm and genuine interest over how impressive a CV is. Likewise, I’ve learned that whenever I’ve had doubts about working with someone from the beginning, I’ve usually turned out to be right later on.
    • The effectiveness of marketing: Until this year, I never really realised how much of a difference marketing could make. In particular, I've learned about the power of social media marketing - provided platforms are treated separately - and how LinkedIn is an incredible (and massively underutilised) platform for marketing. I now spend a substantial proportion of my time on marketing. Ironically, while I love the creativity aspect, I actually find public marketing to be quite uncomfortable (probably because I’m actually a huge introvert, believe it or not), but I’ve become better at quietening that voice because it’s so great for the business.
    • So much of TCLA’s success is down to luck: As much as I’d like to tell people that hard work will lead to a successful business, I don’t think that’s true. I was lucky in so many ways, from the time in which I entered the market, to the relationships that were developed from pure coincidence. That said, I would say there are a few things that can increase the amount of luck you have: being persistent, delivering exceptional value and constantly experimenting with ideas (in particular, throwing things at a wall, and then doubling down on the things that stick).
    Plans for 2020

    This year I’ve realised that it’s very hard to predict the future, so rather than setting fixed targets, here’s a broad outline of the direction I’d like to take TCLA and a few areas I hope to work on.

    The long term goal – which some of you may have seen me mention before – is to turn TCLA into an online law school. That means having qualified teachers to provide online training that’ll better prepare aspiring lawyers (from students to trainee solicitors) for a career in commercial law.

    With that in mind, next year I hope to:
    • Continue to raise awareness of TCLA across more UK and international universities
    • Hire teachers (ideally, lawyers and other experts) to teach a broader range of subjects
    • Tidy up the existing content we have both within the forum and via our premium subscription
    • Invest more time in our newsletter and making our emails more personalised
    On a personal level, I also hope to:
    • Get better at tracking my monthly progress by writing a personal blog
    • Get better at taking breaks (I need to remind myself this is a marathon, not a sprint)
    • Get better at managing email/messaging flow (I'm constantly feeling guilty about this, but I just can't keep up the volume at the moment)
    Thank You

    Finally, before I close this Year in Review, it’s important to note that TCLA wouldn’t have reached the stage it has today without some of the amazing people behind it.

    Particular shout outs go to @Jessica Booker for her continued efforts within our forums; @Alice G and @Daniel Boden for their roles within the community; and @Yee Rou Quah for helping to launch our podcast Trainee Talk.

    Likewise, thank you to all of YOU for your continued engagement and support. I feel very lucky to have such an amazing community of members and readers, and it makes waking up and doing this each day a pleasure. I really hope each of you secure what you want to in 2020.

    Feel free to comment below. It would be amazing to hear some of your own goals for the new year :).

    PS: Unhelpfully, my phone has decided to die today. My phone is also the TCLA phone, so if anyone needs to contact us urgently, please email admin@thecorporatelawacademy.com for the time being.

    Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

    Jaysen
     
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  2. Alice G

    Alice G Legendary Member
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    I would also like to say that TCLA could not be the amazing platform it is without you being the driving force; I feel very lucky to be able to work with you. You’re a great inspiration and this post could not make me anymore happy or more proud of everything that has been achieved!

    Thank you Jaysen and bring on 2020!
     
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  3. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    That's lovely of you to say, thanks Alice!
     
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  4. Raam

    Raam Distinguished Member

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    TCLA has been such an incredible resource for myself, and I'm sure for countless others too. The quality of multiple offerings, whether that be the 'Trainee Talk' Podcast or premium membership classes, is outstanding; TCLA really is the best place to learn all about commercial law as an applicant. Thank you for all your hard work Jaysen, and it's fantastic to see the platform grow so rapidly in the past year. All the best for 2020!
     
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  5. Jaysen

    Jaysen Legendary Member
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    That's very kind of you Raam, thank you. Happy New Year!
     
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