Renee Bauer is an award-winning divorce attorney, published author, and founder of the family law firm, Bauer Law Group, located in Connecticut. With almost two decades of experience representing countless high net-worth clients, she’s committed to empowering all women to redefine their sense of peace and purpose in their new life. She’s certified as a Guardian Ad Litem, Attorney for the Minor Child, and Collaborative Attorney. She’s also a certified Mediator receiving her training from mediation pioneer, Forrest “Woody” Mosten, of Beverly Hills.
Her insights are sought after by local and regional media outlets, podcasts, and conferences where she speaks on co-parenting, blended family dynamics, relationships, and the art of reinvention. Having walked this path herself, she knows what it feels like to face uncertainty, shame, and the fear of losing life as she knew it. She’s an accomplished litigator, and she boldly educates and inspires women to reclaim their right to happiness through her online course, the d∙course and podcast, Happy Even After™.
StarCentral Magazine recently caught up with Renee Bauer to discuss her journey as an entrepreneur and here’s what went down:
What are you currently doing to maintain/grow your business?
At the height of the quarantine, I created a video course, the d•course for anyone contemplating or going through a divorce. I wanted to provide a resource that people could turn to for accurate and reliable information about divorce. There is too much bad information out there and when someone sets up an unreasonable expectation of what they think they should get out of a divorce, they get stuck.
I also launched my podcast in June which is an unfiltered exploration of all things divorce, including interviews with experts and those who have made it out the other side thriving, not just surviving. Something amazing happened when I started the podcast. It was an unintended effect but I started networking with people from all over the world. Each conversation led to more introductions. It has been so satisfying and unexpectedly, my favorite project. I’m also working on a book proposal for a non-fiction book.
What social media platforms do you usually use to increase your brand’s awareness?
Instagram has been a really important platform for my brand. I also use Facebook. I have a YouTube channel. I spend some time on LinkedIn, Twitter, and even Pinterest. Pinterest directly targets my ideal demographic and its under-utilized as a platform for entrepreneurs.
What is your experience with paid advertising, like PPC or sponsored content campaigns? Does it work?
I’ve used paid ads to run giveaways and to grow my Facebook and Instagram following. Sometimes, you have to put some money behind your brand so people can find you. I’m about to kick off a paid ad campaign for my video course, too.
What is your main tactic when it comes to making more people aware of your brand and engaging your customers? How did your business stand out?
Engagement and Consistency are crucial.
I follow the rule to give more than I receive. I proactively engage on social media rather than wait for someone to engage with me. That’s how you create not just followers, but fans. You have to be authentic with your posts, who you are, and what your message is. This was hard at first because I was worried that I would annoy people. Once I realized that my message was more important than my ego, then it came easy.
Also, consistency is everything. You can’t post every day for one week and then disappear for 2 weeks. I’m on there every single day. I have a schedule. For example, a new podcast will drop on Thursday and I post an audiogram with something memorable the guest said that day. Then two days later, I post a snippet from the video of the interview. They go on my IG stories. It gets shared on LinkedIn, etc. Each post gets released to a different platform each day. Youtube videos get dropped every Tuesday and Friday.
My business stands out because I’m authentic. I show up as I would anywhere else. I want someone reading a post to feel like they know me. I think a lot of business owners forget this because they are focused on the business as an entity, but behind that business is a passionate owner with a story to tell. Often our passion comes from our own pain. It’s ok to share this.
What form of marketing has worked well for your business throughout the years?
I’m a writer so writing has been something that’s been enjoyable and has been a huge marketing avenue for my business. I’ve written a book called, Divorce in Connecticut. When it was published, I donated a copy to every library in the state. I still get clients who come in because they borrowed the book from the library. I also wrote a children’s book about divorce called, Percy’s Imperfectly Perfect Family. I also write articles for local papers and magazines and contribute as a guest blogger on other sites. I think marketing can be done in so many different ways. Find the way that feels natural to you and run with it.
Right now, I’m in the middle of a podcast tour, that is I’m interviewed as a guest on someone else’s podcast. It’s free marketing and puts you in front of that podcast’s listeners. Podcast hosts are always looking for new content so getting booked isn’t difficult. For most, I simply send a cold email out. When the podcast gets dropped, you can then use that on your own platform. You are making yourself stand out as an expert in your field.
What is the toughest decision you had to make in the last few months?
During a pandemic, a business owner has impossible decisions to make. Every step of the way, I’ve had to evaluate our bottom line on a weekly basis and it was excruciating not knowing whether I could keep everyone on my staff. My employees are important to me. There were a couple of times I had to take a long and hard look to see if I was going to be able to keep everyone on.
What money mistakes have you made along the way that others can learn from (or something you’d do differently)?
At one point, I ran a billboard campaign and that was all wrong for me and my business. I hated seeing my face up there. It wasn’t me and it wasn’t the image I wanted for my business. Even though we had people coming in that way, it wasn’t the right method for me. It was also really expensive and impossible to track. You have to track your marketing methods to know what is working and what isn’t. You can do that with paid ads. You can’t do that with a billboard.
What new business would you love to start?
I’m always looking at the next thing. I would love to develop an online course to teach other lawyers how to build a platform. Lawyers aren’t great marketers, but it’s so important. A website is not enough anymore. You need to be out there so people can find you and know who you are. Consumers are savvy and they want to know who they are hiring. You would be surprised at how many clients we get just from our social media presence. When I first started my business, most lawyers didn’t even have websites and those that did were criticized. The legal world is like any other industry. People are on social media. They are engaged. They are always scrolling. You have to show up in their feed. You don’t need to sell anything though. You just have to provide good content.
If you could go back in a time machine to the time when you were just getting started, what would you do differently?
This is an unsexy answer, but put systems in place early on, even if there is only one of you. Systems are what make businesses run and scale-up. When you hire someone, you can easily teach a system. When everyone is following the same system, nothing gets missed and customers will feel confident in your competence or product. You never want to be so dependent on one employee that if they unexpectedly quit, you would be lost because you didn’t know how to do their job or teach it to someone else. Having systems in place allows you to run your business smoothly and efficiently.
What is the best advice you have ever been given?
Rejection is redirection. I don’t know an entrepreneur who doesn’t have a story of rejection. …and the ones who don’t probably gave up too soon.
What advice would you give to a newbie Entrepreneur setting up their first business?
Owning a business is not linear. Be prepared to go along for the ride. The highs are high, and the lows can take you out at your knees. The key to success is just to keep showing up. Dust yourself off and take the next step forward.