Before launching as a business strategist to help other entrepreneurs grow and protect their businesses, Genavieve Shingle Jaffe was a corporate lawyer in Manhattan practicing commercial litigation. Inspired by her realization that many small business owners don’t know what they need to do to legally protect themselves, she left the corporate legal world behind and rebranded herself as the “lawyer for entrepreneurs”. She currently runs her own law practice, as well as the Damsel in Defense online legal course for entrepreneurs and a blog called My Journey Through the Dark. In a classic NYC meet-cute, she met her wife on the F train and together they are also the co-founders of Magical Business Academy, where they coach female entrepreneurs as they work through the obstacles in business and life that are holding them back.
When did you know you wanted to pursue your business or venture? I never wanted to have my own business! When I met my now-wife Jordana, she was a business coach and had only ever been an entrepreneur. She asked me if I wanted to have my own business and I said nope – and that was that. But after a few months of seeing Jordana make a difference in people’s lives (plus being able to sleep in and go to yoga in the middle of the day), I felt pulled to do the same. I met a bunch of Jordana’s friends who were young, female entrepreneurs and they desperately wanted to work with an affordable lawyer, so I just made the leap!
Did your original business plan change along the way or are you doing exactly what you set out to do? If it changed, how so? My business has changed so much and it’s only been 13 months! When I first started, I was only doing 1:1 legal work. I did really well but I was working all the time. I knew there had to be a better way, so I created an online legal program that is quite passive as the content is already there on the membership site and I hop in and do Q&A calls. I also joined forces with my wife and we have a joint coaching business.
What makes you different from your competition? I am just really down to earth. I tell it like it is and I never overcharge my clients. I offer many different types of legal services from payment plans to flat rates to courses.
“Nothing in life is a one-size fits all, so I don’t run my business that way.”
Tell us about a time when you thought you should throw in the towel. What kept you going? I’m very honest in my journey. I earned six figures in the first nine months of my business, however – and this is the part that no one ever talks about – I spent six figures to get there. So I accumulated a bunch of debt, plus I had my law school loans. So many times I thought that I should just give up and go back to working in a law firm. But I remembered why I left to start my business in the first place and I know that I have helped a lot of people. I have never been one to quit, and I don’t plan on starting now.
What three factors have most contributed to your success in business and in life? There are actually four factors: 1. I married a business coach! 2. I am a total extrovert and really put myself out there and will talk to anyone. 3. I invested in amazing coaches who really helped me find my voice and my message. 4. I did a TON of internal work.
If you could have a one-on-one meeting with any woman, who would it be and why? What’s the first thing you would you ask her? Marie Forleo and I would ask her who does her hair! Marie is my hero, as she is for so many young entrepreneurs. She has created an incredible business model and she never quit even when people told her that her idea for B-School was stupid. She worked multiple jobs to get her to where she wanted to be. She is not an overnight success and is proof that perseverance and authenticity really wins the race. That and the fabulous hair, of course.
I wish someone had told me… You don’t need to invest in everything at once. You really need implementation time.
I gave up ________ to pursue my dream: A secure and stable corporate law job and a six-figure paycheck.
My biggest challenge is… I am extremely hard on myself. I am a type-A perfectionist (and a formerly nationally competitive gymnast) and can get really down on myself if I make a mistake or if something doesn’t work right away.
My proudest professional moment to date is… Making the same amount of money in my first year of business as I did in my corporate law firm.
LET’S GET PERSONAL:
The three words that best describe me are… Ambitious, outgoing, playful.
While on vacation I always… Pack the wrong clothes.
My beauty routine consists of… If I shower everyday, it’s a plus. I work from home – I wear sweats and throw my hair up.
My tips for eating healthy during the workday are… I eat a lot of small meals throughout the day and then a big dinner. Coffee is my best friend.
My favorite type of workout is… Horizontal running (Pitch Perfect, anyone?), stretching and yoga.
A teacher or boss who influenced me is… My former life coach Lisa Fabrega has had a deep impact on my life. I went on a spiritual retreat with her and a few other women in Panama and I worked through issues in my life that I had been trying to deal with in therapy for 20 years. She sees right through you and, to put it bluntly, cuts through the crap to really get to your core. She provided me with the tools and techniques to love all of me – even the parts of myself that I did not like or understand. She runs her business honestly and authentically. She is one of the good ones who truly wants to make a difference in people’s lives.
I rejuvenate by… Taking a bath with lavender sea salts and then cuddling up by the fire.
Lately I’m inspired by… Marie Forleo’s videos on MarieTV.
Tell us what LIVING THE DREAM means to you: Living the Dream means that I have the freedom to do what I want when I want it. It means that I am helping countless other women with their businesses while being able to work from wherever I may be at that moment. It means being able to support my family and my parents with no financial worries in the world. It means speaking on large stages at conferences and small stages in high schools educating and empowering other women. And all the while, being me, unapologetically.
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