Today we’d like to introduce you to Jennifer P. Amos.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
To tell you how I got started would mean that I’d have to go back to my childhood. I was born as a military child to immigrant parents and moved every 2 to 3 years at a moment’s notice. Then at ten years old, I lost my father.
Losing my father was really the start of a challenging childhood. I faced bullying, emotional abuse and neglect, financial abuse, and child molestation. Very often, I was ignored, ridiculed or condemned for seeking help or sharing my feelings. The common message I received growing up was to be quiet, follow the norm, and do what everyone tells you to do.
Looking back, I realize that I had a high tolerance for many unpleasant situations because I had assumed that it was the normal thing to do.
Yet, keeping my feelings and problems to myself felt wrong. Since I didn’t feel as though I had a safe place amongst loved ones to express myself, I found my outlet in journaling. It was one place I can express whatever I wanted and as often I wanted while not disturbing anyone.
School gave me a place to find my voice and exercise my curiosity. I was heavily involved in student organizations and extracurricular activities. I wrote for school newspapers, and I took on numerous internships.
I generally felt like I was in a safer place to express myself. However, I would never put myself in a position where my curiosity meant confronting anyone. Sometimes I was afraid to ask my classmates and professors questions because I didn’t want to come off as stupid or interrupt their day. I was more concerned about respecting everyone’s space than asking for help. That is, until a classmate of mine became the catalyst for change in the way I had tolerated many things.
My classmate was a sales rep in the legal industry. At the time, I was studying for my Bachelor’s degree in Journalism Media Studies with an emphasis in Public Relations at San Diego State University. Being the budding journalist I was, and having no experience in sales or anything legal, I was naturally curious to learn more about his work.
My curiosity led me to become a sales rep for two reasons. One, there was something alluring and familiar about sales that made me want to learn more about it. Two, I was very curious about the legal industry and – later I come to find – what it represented for me: a means to handle unpleasant situations.
Being in sales and having access to the legal industry was quite the educational experience for me – personally and professionally. I started to understand that I have always had legal rights, which might sound odd, but it was so unfamiliar to me given my upbringing. I started to harness the power of seeking professional advice when I felt like I was in an uncomfortable situation or when I was simply curious about the law.
I also started to realize that I had tolerated a lot of things that were not good for me. Thanks to sales, I started to understand that I was allowed to articulate my feelings, set boundaries, and stand up for myself. Most of all, I started to understand that I had space in this world to be unapologetically me. Rather than assuming that I am disrupting people’s lives, I’ve learned to believe that I am adding to people’s lives whenever I have something to say.
About two years after I graduated college, I became a business owner for the first time. I discovered very quickly how detrimental it was to apply the same coping and response mechanisms I used to tolerate tough situations growing up into my business. Fortunately, by then, I had the sales experience and legal resources to confidently define and enforce my business standards.
I’ve met and befriended many businesswomen in the last decade. To my surprise, I found that many of us shared similar struggles.
From my experience, I have found that many businesswomen have a high tolerance for situations that cost them more time and money than it did benefit them. Whether it’s providing too much free advice, bartering, verbal agreements, lowering their prices, or letting an unpaid invoice slide, it seemed like it was easier to be overly generous than to confront unpleasant matters. Even if they knew that a vendor, partner or client overstepped their boundaries or took advantage of them, they chose to absorb the consequences rather than fight for their rights.
But what if they wanted to fight for their rights? How can they? According to the 2017 State of Women-Owned Businesses Report by American Express, “Higher unemployment rates, long-term unemployment, and a much greater pay gap led women of color to start businesses at a greater rate out of necessity and the need to survive, rather than a desire to seize a market opportunity.” When businesswomen are focused on surviving, that doesn’t always account legal services into the budget. I have noticed that many of us prefer to Google legal advice, copy each other’s contracts or get advice from people with no legal background.
It pains me to see my fellow boss babes price themselves out of the legal system or think that it’s only for emergency situations. This is why I have recently decided to create Ladypreneur Law to address these common issues and advocate for modern legal resources for the modern businesswoman.
Having first-hand experience as a business owner, I want to normalize having legal services as part of a businesswoman’s day-to-day operations and show her that she can, in fact, save a lot in money, time and stress. Yes, you can have access to big business resources on a small business budget, and you deserve it.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Most of my challenges were internal, relational and personal.
Before I could maneuver my way through uncomfortable situations, I had to first believe that I mattered. This meant overcoming many insecurities such as feeling too inexperienced or too young. Overlooking the times when I’d feel like the only female and minority person in business settings. Proudly calling myself a business owner even when I wasn’t making money. Building a business completely from scratch, self-educating on sales, and overall professional development. Then over pleasing clients and learning not to tie my self worth with losing them.
Once I learned not to tolerate everything that happened to me in my personal life, I was then able to apply those same lessons to my professional life. I learned how to articulate my boundaries and have the courage to enforce them. I had to overcome many mental blocks around asking for help. I had to overcome my childhood insecurities and believe that all of my questions and concerns were valid. Lastly, I had to overcome my intimidation of speaking to attorneys. I know that I’ve come a long way and may still have a long way to go. But overall, I’m glad I have the tools to unapologetically express my wants and needs in any given situation.
Meanwhile, I had to balance my personal and professional relationships, many of which I had to move on from. Take it from an introvert, I wouldn’t have had to make tough choices in my relationships if I didn’t have to. A really good book that helped me choose my associations wisely is Necessary Endings: The Employees, Businesses, and Relationships That All of Us Have to Give Up in Order to Move Forward by Dr. Henry Cloud.
Lastly, making this all work while having moved six times in the last handful of years.
Let’s talk about business. Tell us about Ladypreneur Law – what should we know?
At Ladypreneur Law, I focus on educating women in business what modern legal resources are available to them today. As more women are turning toward entrepreneurship as a primary (and secondary) way to make a living, more must be done to equip them with the best resources possible to succeed.
It’s not uncommon for most business owners to look at cost before the value of hiring an attorney, which is why I’m proud to represent credible, trustworthy providers of legal services in all 50 states and four provinces in Canada that have existed as far back as the 1970s. I am confident in helping my fellow women in business find the right services for the right budget.
Lastly, I provide complimentary business coaching to our clients. I’m not just here to empower you, I’m here to grow with you. I mainly focus on coaching through similar mental blocks that I had to face as a minority business woman, establishing healthy business standards, and being your cheerleader!
Any shoutouts? Who else deserves credit in this story – who has played a meaningful role?
Special thanks to all of the people that helped me be where I am today:
– Our Heavenly Father: thank you for constantly reminding me that everything, no matter how big or small, plays a significant role in whatever greater purpose you have for me.
– My immediate family, husband and friends that are like family to me: thank you for your continuous support.
– My classmate that introduced me to sales and the legal industry: thank you for being the catalyst to pursue sales and entrepreneurship. Thanks to you, I have yet to work a traditional, full-time job.
– To all of my past/current/future clients: thank you for trusting me and teaching me so much about being a business owner.
– Fellow boss babes: thank you for your daily inspiration and for being in community with me. It’s true when they say that empowered women empower women.
- Website: http://ladypreneurlaw.com
- Phone: 619-621-8766
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ladypreneurlaw/
- LinkedIn: http://linkedin.com/company/ladypreneurlaw
- Podcast: The Modern Businesswoman Podcast (sponsored by Ladypreneur Law): https://anchor.fm/themodernbusinesswoman
- Other: Schedule a Virtual Coffee Date: https://calendly.com/ladypreneurlaw/
My image holding my phone on the selfie stick is by John McCutchen / The San Diego Union-Tribune