Genavieve is a sparkly lawyer who can help you cover your beautiful business booty with legit legal protection. She runs a law practice, Genavieve Shingle Law, and an online legal course, Damsel in Defense, where she educates and empowers female entrepreneurs with the legal side of their business.
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Worst Entrepreneur Moment
- Genavieve was THIS close to filing for bankruptcy, became super depressed, and almost took a $20/hr job as a legal temp. FORTUNATELY Law was suffering at the time… and with her back against the wall, Genavieve borrowed money, hired a mentor, and had a $170k launch!
Entrepreneur AH-HA Moment
- Leverage YOUR time and scale YOUR knowledge, Fire Nation. It’s the way to go BIG!
What has you FIRED up?
- Damsel Goes Bare: Specifically designed to help YOU legally set-up and protect your business, branding, and website, so you can thrive, for life.
Small Business Resource
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Best Business Book
- Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yes.
John: Yes. Genavieve is a sparkly lawyer who can help you cover your beautiful business booty with legit legal protection. She runs a law practice Genavieve Shingle Law and an online course Damsel in Defense, where she educates and empowers female entrepreneurs with the legal side of their business. Genavieve, take a minute. Fill in some gaps from that intro, and give us just a little glimpse of your personal life.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yeah, so hi.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Thank you for having me. So, I was working as a corporate lawyer in Manhattan, and I was miserable, as you can probably imagine, and I didn't know what else there really was in life to do besides work until you're able to retire and then live off your 401(k), right? My parents are working-class people.
And so I met my, now, wife, who is an entrepreneur and has been her whole career, and when we met, she was like, "Gee, have you ever thought of having your own business?" And I was like, "Nope." Like, not at all. It would just never cross my mind, but I was introduced to a lot of her friends and clients and just this incredible community of women who were so supportive of one another and running their businesses in such various fields.
And when they found out I was a lawyer, they said, "Oh, my goodness, do you do contracts?" And I said, "That's really all I do." So I saw this amazing market opportunity, and very quickly, within a few weeks of meeting all of her friends, I quit my job and started my own practice – about two years ago almost, yeah.
John: Wow. I mean I just kinda look back at my law school days and just kinda there's this pervading feeling and vibe of I just kinda wanna say like quiet desperation. I mean everybody was just like, "Man, I am just getting crushed with – forget about my undergrad debt. Now, we're adding on law school debt, and now I'm gonna be looking to spend the next 30, 40, 50 years of my life paying that off, and I'm having a hard time finding any lawyers that are happy.
So it's pretty interesting that we continue to put ourselves through that, and every year, there's just that next round of law students that are going in with really the same misplaced notions. But the reality is is there are people who go into it for great reasons and have very happy and long and lucrative and successful and beneficial careers for a lot of people. So I definitely know people from law class that are actually happy right now and are doing their thing, and it's really just kinda the overall perception, right now. And how old are you now, Genavieve?
G. Shingle Jaffe: I just turned 30.
John: So the big 3-0. You know, I'm 35. It seems like kind of our generation of kind of like the older millennials, you know, I really feel like we're kind of a dying breed of people that were really brought up thinking our whole entire lives that we had to go the traditional routes.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yes. Absolutely.
John: I really think that the 18- to 20- to 24-year-olds, they're just like, "Hey, I can go the traditional route if I have a passion for it, but there's options out there," and that's just cool to see. And again, there's no right or wrong way. It's your way, Fire Nation, so just make sure that you have just an open mind and know that your way is out there. Just get out there and start cracking.
And, Genavieve, what we love doing with EO Fire interviews and what guests like yourself is, listen, you are an entrepreneur. Like, you broke out. You've done some really cool things, and we're gonna be talking about those for sure, today. But before we get into your journey and your past, I wanna talk about right now, the present, and just specifically within this present, how you generate revenue because we're looking to build viable businesses as entrepreneurs. So what do you, Genavieve, do to bring in the dollars?
G. Shingle Jaffe: So I'm a big fan of passive income, as I'm sure many people are, so I actually sell legal templates on my website. So people just come and kind of buy that, and they come with instructions but no access to me, so that's one way.
The other is that I had my legal course Damsel in Defense, and I had a passive version, as well as an active version. But I've recently partnered with another lawyer. Her name is Lisa Fraley, and we created a legal course together, where we combined the best of both of our worlds. So we have a joint legal course now called Damsel Goes Bare, and through these courses is how I generate probably 90 percent of my revenue.
And it's basically kind of you do one big launch and get a bulk of people that come in and then do kind of the eight weeks that we do with them and then take a little bit of a break before the next launch and, yeah, kinda go that way. So my last launch I generated multiple six figures, so then I just kinda took a break for a little while, which was really nice.
John: I love what you have done, Genavieve, is that you have created, No. 1, a passive income stream and even multiple of those. But then, you've also said, you know what, if people do want more access, I'm gonna allow that, but it's gonna be premium. My time is money. My bandwidth is money. My energy is money, so if you want actual just one-on-one or maybe even one to a small group, it's gonna be that premium cost.
So, Fire Nation, as you're building up your ideas, your businesses, definitely look to have both streams in place. I look back for me, and I relied way too heavily when I started on just the one-on-one, and it didn't allow me to implement the passive income streams as quickly as I should have, so I wish I had gone with that 2-pronged approach from Day 1. And I'm glad to hear, Genavieve, that you have.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yeah, it wasn't Day 1, but it was pretty early on I was doing that too, working one-on-one, just exhausting, and I was like, "This isn't why I started my business."
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yeah, so –
John: Love that. Well, Genavieve, I wanna talk about your journey now, and a lot of people can understand what it means to go through undergrad and then some form of graduate school. I mean a lot of people within Fire Nation have done that. Some people have even gotten their Ph.D.'s and done some crazy things, and some people haven't.
But at the same time, we realize the journey of entrepreneurs and just in life, in general. So take us back to one moment within your journey that you would say, "Man, this was actually my worst entrepreneurial moment," the lowest of the low, like what you would actually consider maybe a time that you were just like, "Am I even doing the right thing?" And, Genavieve, we thrive on stories. So again, take us right to that moment, and tell us that story.
G. Shingle Jaffe: All right. It's a good one and one that only just recently started sharing.
John: Oh, wow.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yeah, so in my first nine months of business, I generated six figures in revenue, and in my first year of business, I spent six figures on my business. And I was living in Manhattan at the time, and so I was paying a ridiculous amount of money in rent and everything, and I was traveling to every business conference and event you could think of.
And it got to the point where my bank account was negative $600.00, and I had about $100,000.00 in credit card debt and met with a few lawyers, and I almost filed bankruptcy. And so this was about a year ago.
John: And quick side note. Do you have any college and law school debt, as well? Or is that all taken care of?
G. Shingle Jaffe: I do. So I had a full ride to undergrad because I was an athlete, and then I got a half scholarship to law school. So I have about $60,000.00 in law school loans, and so my credit card debt was not included in my law school loans.
John: Right. But then, if you had filed bankruptcy, that would not have wiped out the law school debt.
G. Shingle Jaffe: It would not.
G. Shingle Jaffe: It would not, no.
G. Shingle Jaffe: No. So the government doesn't let you get away that easy.
John: You can wipe away those Prada purchases, but not your law school.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Exactly. Exactly. I know. So I almost filed bankruptcy and was in a major depression, and a good – I mean I wanna say a good three months where I was barely getting out of bed or leaving the house and not doing anything to help myself. I mean like now I can admit this, looking back. I thought, "This was the biggest mistake. I should've stayed at my law firm, where I was making a lot of money, and I had a steady paycheck, a steady career."
They were paying for my cell phone. They were paying for everything and anything you could think of, and so I was having just like severe anxiety and panic attacks. And I mean I was ashamed and embarrassed at the fact that I was making multiple six figures, and now I'm potentially having to file bankruptcy. And it was like the most [inaudible] [00:08:32].
John: We're major dog lovers here, by the way.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Sorry. I'm so sorry.
John: Almost all of Fire Nation is, so just let that little critter just keep on yapping away.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Oh, my gosh. Ruby, come here. I'm so sorry. I'm throwing treats at her.
John: I can hear you picking up treats and like a little like kind of like –
G. Shingle Jaffe: I am.
John: – a little water bowl just kinda like jiggling it, like, "Come over here."
G. Shingle Jaffe: I truly, literally just threw a handful of treats, and she is going to town right now. I am so sorry. That's Ruby, everyone. She's a –
G. Shingle Jaffe: She's in like all of my branding photo shoots and stuff like that, so she's a big part of my business, and she does this all the time, and I try so hard. I gave her bone with peanut butter before we started.
John: She's like, "Hey, I'm in your branding photos. I'm now gonna be in your EO Fire interview, obviously."
G. Shingle Jaffe: I know. I know. I know. She's like, "Hey, John." So huge apologies. Thank you for being so nice. Okay. Back to bankruptcy.
G. Shingle Jaffe: So I almost filed for bankruptcy, and when I started my business, my parents were very concerned because I was making more money at my law firm than they had ever made combined in their lives. And so to now kind of have to say, "Oh, my gosh, maybe you were right. I made a mistake," was really hard on the ego. And it was just a terrifying experience.
And I don't know what the catalyst was, but, one day, I said to myself, "You know what, I'm gonna make this work, and I'm gonna give it one more go." And throughout this period of time, I had been applying for jobs. I was applying at law firms. I was applying for temp positions, making like $20.00 an hour doing legal work, which was not sounding great with what I was making before.
And fortunately, the market is still not great for lawyers, so I didn't get anything, and I said, "You know what, I'm gonna launch my program one more time," and I put my heart and soul into this. I had borrowed a little bit of money and hired a launch strategist and just went at it. I branched my course out to different countries, and I brought in $170,000.00 in revenue during that launch, and it completely saved me from having to file.
John: So there's a lot of things that I want to focus on here for you, Fire Nation. No. 1, I mean Genavieve almost filed bankruptcy. She was talking about how she was depressed for months on end, and what's tough about this – and Genavieve, I'm sure you can kind of put yourself back there – is unfortunately, it's like a self-fulfilling prophecy. I mean you become depressed. It gets hard to get out of bed. You don't have the energy or the motivation to actually start putting in any kind of positive work or any actual inspirational thoughts together, and you're not gonna get out of that funk.
So it's just kind of like you're in this cycle of despair, and you're not getting out of it because you're not doing anything that's going to get you out of it. You're just kind of keeping yourself anchored to the bottom of the ocean, so to speak.
And so, Fire Nation, that's why it's so critical – and we talk about this all the time – you have to have that mastermind. You have to have those peers, those friends that you respect, that you look up to, that are actually a great community of entrepreneurs – or whatever industry you're in – that are going to keep you going, that are going to say, "Okay, listen. You can be sad today. You can sit in and watch ten episodes of Blacklist, but guess what."
G. Shingle Jaffe: I love Blacklist.
John: And I love Blacklist, by the way. "But guess what. After you're done with that, your little pity party, now you're gonna get back to work, and we're gonna get together at a coffee shop. We're gonna come up with a strategy, with a plan." You have to have friends and mastermind partners like that, Fire Nation, that's keeping you out of that self-fulfilling prophecy.
And I also love that quote that you said, that, "Fortunately, law was still suffering," and that's so crazy. I was like, "Did she just misspeak?" But no, of course, you didn't.
G. Shingle Jaffe: No.
John: Because if you had had this opportunity for $20.00 an hour, you would've probably grabbed it and just been really miserable doing a $20.00-per-hour job, and you might still be doing it to this day. But no, you were just like got denied, did $170,000.00 launch because your back was against the wall, got out of debt, didn't have to file for bankruptcy, and boom, now we're talking a decent amount of time later when you're partnering with other lawyers and doing courses and stuff. So, Fire Nation, just realize that's the process. That's how you get out of these funks.
And, Genavieve, I wanna do a little bit of a shift. And you've talked about a tough time and how you got out of that, but now I wanna talk about an a-ha moment that you've had, a light bulb, an epiphany, and you've had a ton of these for different courses and ideas. But what's one that you think's gonna resonate with our listeners, Fire Nation? And just like you did with the worst moment, take us to that moment, and tell us that story.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yeah, I think this will be great for people because – so as a lawyer, I didn't think that there were many options for me in terms of offerings. I said, "Okay, I can work one-on-one with people. I can do contracts. But how do I work with a lot of people at once?"
So my wife, at the time, was a business coach, and she had private coaching and group programs, and I was like, "I want a group program."
G. Shingle Jaffe: But I was like; "I don't know how that would even work as a lawyer," right? So I had a coach at the time, and we were just kind of brainstorming and came up with this idea of an online legal course. There are many now, but at the time, there weren't any that I knew of, and so I said, "You know what, okay, so what it's gonna be is, 'What do people need? What do people want?'"
And so I picked the four major documents that I thought that most entrepreneurs would need, and I said, "Okay, I'm gonna do four weeks, one document a week, and I'm gonna teach them how to customize each of these documents and teach them what they really are."
And so this was my first ever "launch," besides I did, like, one-on-one work, and I priced it at $500.00, and I brought in over – and I think it was like $30,000.00 maybe and my first launch within only a few months of my business. I was like, "Oh, my gosh, this is it. This is something."
And going from thinking, "As a lawyer, I can't do that because that's not 'normal' or what people really do," to coming up with something that was so unique but something so familiar in the entrepreneurial world of a group program but using it for my specific industry for me. I was like, "Wow, I can blend my own skill set and mesh it into this online entrepreneurial world in a way that it is very receptive to them." And then, I built my course even more since then, but that's kind of what started this kind of course creation that I've now really built my business on.
John: Fire Nation, all we have is time, and when you can take your time and leverage it and scale your knowledge and what you have to a large audience, you're always going to see a better return on your personal time investment. So myself, Genavieve, so many others, we know what it's like to do that one-on-one, and it can be very fulfilling, and it can be very beneficial for both sides of the equation, but there's a ceiling to that. There's only so much you can do and so much that you can actually generate revenue-wise.
And when you are $100,000.00 in debt like Genavieve was, I mean that makes it tough. That's why you gotta sometimes roll that die, and I loved how you borrowed some money, hired a mentor, and did a launch and had that $170,000.00 launch. And, Fire Nation, sometimes, that is what it takes is to have that back against the wall and just make things happen.
So Genavieve, tell us what you consider your biggest takeaway from that a-ha moment, from that epiphany that you had. In just a couple sentences, share that with Fire Nation.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Sure. So I think I had to just view myself as just like another entrepreneur, not as a lawyer. I had to think as a business person and not put my legal hat on and really put myself in the shoes of the people that I was wanting to serve instead of expecting them to already know what it is they wanted and needed, instead of just saying, like, "Okay, let's start from the basics and just put myself in their shoes and say, 'I have no idea what I need when it comes to the legal side.'" And so that's how, then, I created what I did and delivered the course that I did.
John: The curse of knowledge is so real just because –
G. Shingle Jaffe: It is.
John: – we know something. We assume that everybody else knows that thing. And when I launched podcasting, Genavieve, I just assumed, hey, everybody just knows that you can just plug a mic into their computer and start talking. I mean it's so obvious. It's so seems so obvious to me, but everybody's like, "How do you do that? How do you podcast?"
And, Fire Nation, you have to get outside of your own head, and that's one thing I always stress my audience to do, Genavieve, is whenever you can, you have to have one-on-one conversations with your target market, with your listeners, with your audience. Because they will get you outside of your own head because you can ask them the right questions, just, "What are you struggling with? What's your biggest problem, right now? And for you, Genavieve, today, what do you consider your biggest weakness as an entrepreneur?
G. Shingle Jaffe: I get in my own head way too much. I'm my own worst enemy. I mean I'm very hard on myself. I'm very Type A, and so if something doesn't go the way that I want or expect it to go in the time that I expect it, I get really hard on myself and really down.
John: What's your biggest strength?
G. Shingle Jaffe: Self-motivation. I was a nationally competitive gymnast my whole life, so I have big work ethic, big drive, and good time management.
John: You have a lot of things, Genavieve, going on right now that's – you're just – rightfully so – fired up about. But what's the one thing that has you most excited today?
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yes, my new program that I created with that other attorney. I've been doing things on my own my whole journey thus far, and now to have this new partnership and for us to reach a broader audience with what we're doing is really exciting.
John: Now, where can we find out more about this? And who's it really for?
G. Shingle Jaffe: Yeah, so my main website is www.genavieveshingle.com, and the course is called Damsel Goes Bare, so www.damselgoesbare.com, but it's on my website. And it is for anyone who is in the U.S. that has an online business.
John: Pretty all-inclusive, Fire Nation.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Straightforward.
John: Fire Nation, don't go anywhere because we are about to not only enter but crush the lightning round. But first, let's take a minute to thank our sponsors. Genavieve, are you prepared for the lightning rounds?
G. Shingle Jaffe: I am.
John: What was holding you back from becoming an entrepreneur?
G. Shingle Jaffe: The security and stability of a paycheck. Definitely.
John: What's the best advice you've ever received?
G. Shingle Jaffe: That building your business is a marathon and not a sprint.
John: What's a personal habit that contributes to your success?
G. Shingle Jaffe: I do a lot of introspective work, and I think that really figuring out who I am and aligning myself with my purpose completely, then, turns my business into the direction that it's supposed to be going.
John: Share an Internet resource, like Evernotes, with Fire Nation.
G. Shingle Jaffe: I love Keynote. So I mean you probably know PowerPoint, but Keynote I just discovered because I started using a Mac, so I used Keynote for all of my presentations. And then, I use the screen share option whenever I do my webinars to just share that.
John: I'm obsessed with Keynotes. I've done all my presentations with it. I love it. Definitely a Mac guy here. And if you could recommend just one book, Genavieve, for our listeners, what would it be and why?
G. Shingle Jaffe: So I read, a few years ago, Spirit Junkie by Gabrielle Bernstein, and it really just shifted, completely, my perspective on so many things about life. I love self-help books, and this book was just such a transformation. I'm sure that many people know Gabby's story of being a drug addict to then really doing so much self-discovery and becoming this guru for all of these people on this journey. So that just really, to see somebody pick themselves up by the bootstraps when they were almost dying – seriously – was so inspiring to me.
John: Well, Fire Nation, I know that you love audio, so I teamed with Audible, and if you haven't already, you can get an amazing audiobook for free at www.eofirebook.com. Genavieve, this is the last question of the lightning round, but it is a doozy. Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning in a brand-new world – identical to Earth, but you knew no one. You still have all the experience and knowledge you currently have. Your food and shelter is taken care of, but all you have is a laptop and $500.00. What would you do in the next seven days?
G. Shingle Jaffe: That's a good question. I would create, create, create, and what I found in my business that is the most effective is giving a ton for free. So the first few days, I would just create and then just give for free, and then really kind of collect that audience. It's all about the know-like-trust factor, right? So once people started to know me, like me, and trust me, then they would buy what I had, and I would put something out there on the fourth or fifth day or so to try to get them in. But Facebook is my best friend, and that's how I really get all of my clients, so I'd probably spend most of my time there.
John: Now, do you do any Facebook advertising whatsoever?
G. Shingle Jaffe: I do.
John: Cool. No, Genavieve, I wanna end today on fire, with a parting piece of guidance, the best way that we can connect with you, and then we'll say goodbye.
G. Shingle Jaffe: Awesome. Awesome. So I'm all over Facebook – Gena Shingle Jaffe, and my website is www.genavieveshingle.com. And I'm always happy to answer any legal, life, personal, bankruptcy, depression questions that anybody has. I'm very open with my journey.
John: Love that. Well, Fire Nation, you're the average of the five people that you spend the most time with. You've been hanging out with GSJ and JLD today. So keep up the heat. And, Genavieve, what's that parting piece of guidance?
G. Shingle Jaffe: Oh, well, first of all, thank you for listening, and second is just always be yourself. I call myself the "sparkly lawyer," and I love pink, and I love sparkles. And so for me to just be able to be myself in my business and just be so authentic means that I don't ever have to put on a show for anyone. And every day, I just wake up, and I come into my office, and I do work, and it's so easy because I'm not pretending. So take that one unique thing that you have and you love, and just put that at the forefront of who you are and of your brand.
John: Wow, Fire Nation, head over to www.eofire.com. Just type "Genavieve" in the search bar. Her show notes page will pop up with everything that we've been talking about today, of course. Her website: www.genavieveshingle.com. You can go straight to www.damselgoesbare.com to check out the course. And, Genavieve, I just wanna thank you for sharing your –
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