Revolutionizing Education: Innovations for the Future with Amy Cote


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This week on Maximum Mom, your host Elise Buie is joined by Amy Cote. 

Amy started Think Out because for most organizations prevention is an afterthought. With communication, consistency and execution, employees will perform well as teams that are prepared for the expected and unexpected. 

Thanks to Amy’s training and experience, she has strong skills in leadership, communication, change management, operations, labor relations, policy development and best practices.  

Thanks to Amy’s genes, she has an obsessive curiosity, keen ability to think out, problem solve and counsel. 

If you have questions or just want to think out loud together, Amy would love you to take action and advocate for yourself, your people, your business, your future!  

Take a listen!

Episode Highlights:

  • 11:34 How curiosity and innovative thinking play a role in Amy’s business
  • 19:29 The need to question traditional ways of doing things and the benefits of thinking outside the box
  • 20:38 A businesses to plan for the future 
  • 32:08 Amy starting her own business, including the initial uncertainty and the importance of perseverance
  • 44:08 Personal growth and self-discovery that comes with owning a business

📹 Watch the interview here.

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Transcripts: Revolutionizing Education: Innovations for the Future with Amy Cote

Speaker 1 (00:00:01) - Welcome to Maximum Mom with Elise Buey, where you'll hear from women who are navigating the same messy journey as you lawyering, entrepreneurship and mothering. What a trifecta. We're here to share tips, resources, wins, losses and encouragement for moms who are raising a family while building a law firm so you feel less alone in your journey toward a fulfilling career and being the best mom you can be.

Speaker 2 (00:00:30) - Come on. Welcome to the Maximum Mom podcast. I am so happy today to welcome my guest, Amy Coyote. Now, did I say that right? You did indeed, yeah. Thank you for having me. I know, But sometimes even after I hear somebody, I mess it up. And so I always. This is one of those name things. Amy and I were just talking before we got on her name, you know, has an accent at the end. And then tell us also, you said it has the tent on the Oh as well, correct? Yes. Yeah. So if it was if it was really done in French properly, it would have the tent on the.

Speaker 2 (00:01:05) - Oh the accent on the E but nobody can even get the accent on the E So we just that's enough for people without adding the O as well. Yeah. And I was saying, I mean I spent my whole life, you know, with this name Elise. And I mean, my real name is Elizabeth, but my parents immediately, like on my birth certificate, they put Elizabeth. But I mean, you know, the moment I got there, I'm adopted. I was named Elise. So everybody calls me Elise. But every teacher, I mean, from day one until law school has messed that up and said, Elsie. And I mean, I have had to, like, call out every teacher. I'm like, Could you just sound it out? You know, that's so funny that, you know, it's like gap filling with your brain, right? Like that. They just want to make it one way and it's really another ways. It's great. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (00:01:58) - Yeah, it's.

Speaker 2 (00:01:59) - I don't.

Speaker 2 (00:02:00) - I'm very careful with people's names. But so my youngest daughter, Lucy, her first name is actually Rebecca because I'm a fifth generation Rebecca. My middle name is Rebecca. It's always the second born daughter and it's always rotating between the first and middle name. And so when she was born, I said, Well, we got to go with the tradition, but we didn't want to call her that. And so we because there's a lot of them in the family, obviously. And Lucy is also a family name, which means I get the cookie jar from the family. But we we have always called her Lucy. And it's, you know, so we always put our period. Lucy But most people start out the school year saying. Rebecca And she says, My name is Lucy. You know, like, oh my gosh, it is something. I think it's kind of, I don't know. It's one of those things that I think we could all do a better job, kind of like you mentioned, of just listening to people, what their name is and asking and then repeating it.

Speaker 2 (00:02:59) - And no doubt I mess up and have to ask again sometimes or but I mean, just. Really trying, because I think in our diverse culture, you just can't look at a name and assume it. It is said one way or pronounced one way. I met an attorney recently and his name is spelled R, i a N, and people would say Ryan a lot of times. But it's Rian and and again, you know, I think it is just so important to ask. And I sometimes feel, though, that I'm a little annoying because I ask people all the time, you know, like even if it's just a little bit questionable to me, I'm going to ask. Yeah. Because, you know, I don't know. It just feels I think probably because I had that experience as a child constantly being called the wrong name. And obviously with Elsie, it became Elsie the cow. So then everyone would, you know, make fun of it. I mean, so I got to be a little snarky with my teachers, you know, after a couple of grades, you kind of have to put it into that, you know, or the other kids will kind of pile on.

Speaker 2 (00:04:07) - Right, Right. I try to listen. I think it's challenging and helpful now, actually. I mean, to say that people put the pronouns on their email addresses because not I mean, anybody can choose any any name that they want, Right? But not every name that's masculine is for a male and the government is the worst. They don't put their pronouns on and they'll and it'll be some name that like, like a Peyton. And you don't know if it's a man or a woman, and you're supposed to email this person back and say the thing and ask the question and you don't know. You want to be like, Hello person or hello individuals. You know, you can't say the thing. So sir or madam, you know, which is why that exists, right? Because people wouldn't know. It's very challenging. I try to be extremely aware and ask a lot of questions, but that's just in my nature. Well, I was going to say that. I mean, let's talk a little bit.

Speaker 2 (00:05:09) - I mean, let's back up first. Tell us who is in your family. I always just like to start with that so people know kind of who you are and what does your home look like. So there are five of us. My husband and I have three children and we have two girls and a boy in the Middle East bookended by the girls. My oldest daughter is Ada, who often people want to say Ada is her name, which is strange to me because it's just Ada. And if there was an I like some people want to put on there, it would be Aida, which is Hispanic. So I don't know. But you know, Ada is an old English name and Irish, so Ada is 16. She's a rising senior. She's young for her grade. So we're doing the whole college deal with her right now. And then my son is James. He's 15, so he is going into 10th grade. And then Lucy is my youngest. She just turned 13 and she's going into ninth grade.

Speaker 2 (00:06:08) - So she is considerably young for her grade, but she is on her own little trajectory of things. So that is where she lands. So there's there's all of us And a dog, big dog. It's a it's a pretty wild place to be most days. I mean, just the memory of having three children in high school. I mean, you are going to have yourself one fun year. Yeah, this year is going to be interesting. It was I keep telling people we're in like the fifth circle of hell with three teenagers right now because it's just so much there's like we're determining now we really need another vehicle and. It's, you know, it's overwhelming at times. But yeah, so that is what our household looks like and everybody's very busy. I think we just did something like 24 soccer games and 11 days and oh my gosh, just like, Oh yeah, I've been there, done that and I do not want to go back to that. I have to say, like it is a wild experience to shepherd kids through these high school years, their activities, college cars, you know, all the pitfalls and pit stops of teamed them.

Speaker 2 (00:07:24) - Yeah. And I'll be honest, it's worse, I think, than ever before because it's not just the onslaught of the internet and social media and telephones on your hip every two seconds or in your hand non-stop, which we're really strict about. But it is in this wake of the pandemic. These kids are just. I think the human population in general is very angry right now. People are very angry and they're full of angst and sorrow and no one has properly grieved this whole thing we went through in all of the loss that we've had. And there was loss. I mean, whether you lost a physical being from the planet or not, there was a lot of loss of people didn't get to go to their graduation, You know, whatever it was, there was a lot of loss. But hugely into that was the loss of maturation, right? Like these kids were just and we're great. We were great. We were on the Ponderosa, We were all together. Everybody was happy. We did the thing.

Speaker 2 (00:08:25) - It was frustrating for me at times running a business when the kids were like, How do I do? How do I log on? You know, like, you know, stop talking. I'm doing this. Not every household is like that, right? Not every household had a great experience being home, and now everyone is just no one knows how to behave. And so it's very challenging. You know, teenage girls especially can be super cool, but now in this pandemic wake, they're all they're awful. At least they're just awful. So we we really are looking forward to our daughter getting out of high school, getting to college, like being with kids who have chosen specifically to be at a place which I think comes with a different headspace. Right. So like their mental game is going to be similar in some fashion. And so hopefully she'll find a good group of kids to be friends with and be around and enjoys what she's doing. It's just been it's been very challenging, very challenging. Kids are.

Speaker 2 (00:09:25) - Kids are not. They're not I mean, they're not kind to teachers like it's just a lot. Oh, it is. I mean, I think you have I mean, just barely scratched the surface, though, of what I mean. And I don't think we've slightly addressed what these kids have gone through. I mean, I really do not. And I mean, as you probably remember, I mean, I have a 21 year old son, So I mean, he was right in that end of high school, junior senior year, freshman year of college during this kind of three year pandemic period. And it has been not linear, to say the least, you know, as far as watching him and and again, like you, I mean, we had many very positive things, you know, in the home and, you know, just in our lives being able to just pay our bills and, you know, do our regular things. So clearly, I don't mean to come at it from a place without the appropriate gratitude for, you know, the situation we had.

Speaker 2 (00:10:24) - But there was some real social implications, I think, you know, for kids and missing graduations, missing that whole go off to college thing. And, you know, just it's been really interesting. And I think that I just think there's so much change in what these kids even think is needed now because they watched this pandemic period. And depending on their family circumstance, they might have seen their family thriving financially, you know, in the pandemic, working from home, whatever. And I think even college is becoming a bigger question mark, even for a lot of kids. Agreed. Agreed. And it's not you know, it's not for everybody. Right. Like, of course, trade, school and all the things that exist. But so I'm hoping I was very hopeful during the pandemic that we were all going to come out as a human race in a much better way and have evolved from this thing. And I think initially the answer is no. And I'm hoping that there's going to be a lot more transition in other things.

Speaker 2 (00:11:34) - You know, we're supposed to have this whole innovative re reformation of education. And I know that some colleges are doing that, like there are some colleges that have. Mechanics programs for building sports cars or engineering vehicles, which don't have to be, you know, an engineer with a four year degree to design a vehicle or an engine or something. And so they are definitely rethinking. Who are we attracting as our ideal student and what programs are we putting them into? And it's it's interesting to me, though, because the cycle is always behind, right? Like you just everybody figures it out a little too late and they're not thinking proactively, which makes me nuts. Well, and that, I think, is such an interesting point coming from you in particular. Tell us a little bit about your business. Think out. I mean, I would think innovative thinking and curiosity and innovation have to be some of your just like lodestar, you know, things. Yes. So I practice preventable law is what I have figured out to say to people.

Speaker 2 (00:12:43) - I was a certified preventable reader in the state of New York related to public motor vehicle collisions. And so it could be big bus, big truck ups, trucks. You know, transportation authorities especially are government rated. And so that really clicked a light bulb with me where I thought like this, I am so good at this because it's not always the thing that happens on the road that causes the collision right then and there. It's six months ago where somebody in HR let that guy back on the road and he had a shoulder tear and, you know, turns out he couldn't do £80 of pressure, which is what happens when you lose your power steering. And so collision occurs and people don't really think like that. But I do. So it's it is a blessing and a curse for sure because I am obsessively curious and want to know everything there is about everything, but not everybody else does. And not, you know, most people I think, share with me pretty well because I'm authentically curious. And so I'm talking with them.

Speaker 2 (00:13:44) - In fact, my husband, when we go out to dinner, he's like, Could you please not talk to the waiter about his or her life tonight? Could could we just have dinner? Because could you not help people tonight? Because I'm always like, Oh, and how are you? What's your deal? Oh, you seem upset. What's going on? You know? And the next thing you know, they're telling us their entire life sob story and I'm connecting them to this person and this person and giving them Justin's and the whole thing. And, you know, they're sitting down at the table with us and he's like, Can we just eat? Because we don't go out very often at all, like ever. And so on the rare occasion it's happening, it's like, can we just have a solo night together? Just us as a couple. But you know, it's all very well intended. So yes, I'm very I am obsessively curious and it is what makes me really good at my job.

Speaker 2 (00:14:31) - I'm a digger, I tell people. So I'm digging through all the things and then we just sort of rebuild, Right. So it doesn't always have to look like how it was once before, right? Who is your ideal client? Is it always, you know, big companies, these transportation authorities, or right now in your role, who is your ideal client and how do you find your ideal client? Like I find your practice, I mean, fascinating actually, because I tend to be like you. I'm like, Ooh, could we figure out what caused this problem we're looking at? Because usually it's way long ago, you know, some little cycle of events. And I'm like, Let's figure out where we went awry in our decision making a while ago so that we're not repeating it. I find a lot of people, though, just want to kind of like push it under the rug and move on. And I'm like, Oh, no, we are going to dig and we're going to figure it out because I hate to make the same mistakes twice.

Speaker 2 (00:15:28) - Right? Of course. Of course. So so the ideal client really is not any specific. Organization. I mean, I will say I love working with municipalities and for me, that's because the ripple effect is so grand. You know, if I can make the city school district better, everybody in the community wins. Right? Because those kids ten years from now are the leaders of our community. And so wouldn't it be nice if they actually got to spend time learning and becoming better humans like high school is supposed to teach you to be instead of focusing on some of the other things that are being focused on. So, so those really are passion projects for me. But I really I think the the prime candidate of a of a client for me is really the one that cares. Like they I'm all about continuous improvement. And if the client wants to do that, you know, they want to come to me. And so it's not they want to come to me and they want to do that and they want to have these back and forth conversations and get to the root cause of the thing and sort it out and prevent it for future.

Speaker 2 (00:16:30) - I mean, I don't want to see anybody. There's a time and place for litigation. Probably 95% of what is occurring right now in New York State should never be there. And that really happened. I mean, I can tell you, when I was working for a law firm last, I've had this business for just over six years now. And when I last worked for somebody, every single trial that I went to court and tried the case. Should never have been a trial, like it never should have happened, let alone going to trial. The incident never should have occurred. And unfortunately, there's older men who run these law firms who don't want to go to the client and say. This shouldn't have happened. You really need to do X so that this doesn't happen. That's not a popular conversation, right? So because it doesn't make the law firm money. But it really should be said, and I think people appreciate that about me and my candor, that I can come to them and say, You don't want to pay me, you want to go do this other thing.

Speaker 2 (00:17:30) - And I mean, I have one time right now that is probably I have the greatest client right now and the worst client right now. And the worst client is because they're just like trying to check a box to say they had the conversation. And I keep telling them, because you've had the conversation, you're now going to be on legal notice that you. Yes, correct. The thing like your liability has just gone up. Yeah. So and they're just terrible, you know, they're like responsive and they don't really care. And they're the well, this is the way we've always done it, people and we've never had an issue. And I keep telling them, So what happens when somebody comes in and. You know, I don't want to give too much away, but so they house weapons for people and I keep digging and asking more and more questions about how the lockdown is and who has access and can you get in through the website and is there a digital platform and do you have cyber security and who's watching all these things And yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, you know, all the answers.

Speaker 2 (00:18:33) - And then I had to spell out for them like, so what happens if somebody breaks into the building and they take the weapons and they go and kill a bunch of people at their place of employment? Oh, I know what happens. You're liable. Well, no, the guy would know. No, you're liable. And, you know, and so, like, that was kind of eye opening to the point that some people actually left the organization because as a whole, they couldn't wrap around that. That was really the responsibility. They are not a great client. Like that's it's not fun work for me because I can tell them all day long what they need to do and ask them questions and they're just kind of like, So that doesn't feel great, right? No. And I think to your point, though, I mean, I think it just and it's an unfortunate stereotype, but it tends to be really true, you know, that whole kind of older generation, even older than me, you know, that just as like this is how we've always done it, this is how it looks.

Speaker 2 (00:19:29) - And I'm like, Can we flip that thinking completely and actually think, okay, this is how we've always done it? So let's imagine flipping that completely like all kinds of different ways. Throw some color on it, flip it, you know, 180 degrees, tweak it a little sideways, you know, put some polka dots on it, and then let's look at it and see if what you were doing actually made any sense. Like, Right. This mindset of this is how we've always done it absolutely makes me like a psycho person. I mean, yeah, like so, you know, appreciate when I was still in-house at the Transportation Authority, we had big buttons made that said, This is the way I've always done it with the big line through it and the red circle and the line. And any time somebody would say that to me, I'd pull the button out and say, Not an answer, not a valid response, you got to come up with something else. And a lot of the older generation people did not enjoy it, you know? And I think, honestly, that's why we're having this mass retirement now.

Speaker 2 (00:20:38) - Right? Because people are saying, I don't want to do it the new way. I don't want to do this new software program you're downloading and making me train on. It's too exhausting. I was on the cusp of retiring. I probably would have stayed 5 or 7 years longer, but now I'm out. Right? And problem, right, because there's no pipeline. I hate that word pipeline. But in this instance, like, I don't know a better word, but, you know, they have they have not been thoughtful enough. Right. Like that is occurring. And nobody was preparing for it 15 years ago. And there's and again, to your point, preparing 15 years ago, like in dealing with this succession planning. And I mean, I think as a business owner, I mean, I've become a little kind of crazy with succession planning. I mean, I've unfortunately had some situations that have kind of required me to do that with, you know, losing a bookkeeper and a plane accident, things like that, where it was like, oh, whoa, okay.

Speaker 2 (00:21:34) - You know, this, you know, proverbial hit by a bus really does happen some. Oh, yes. Yeah. And, you know, you need to be prepared and that that doesn't just mean one role needs to be prepared. Every role needs to have succession planning. People need to be thinking about it in their day to day work constantly. Like how how are we preparing for, you know, the proverbial bus or you have emergency surgery or whatever the case may be? Yeah, you know, and I think that as business owners, a lot of times we put our head in the sand and we just think we'll deal with it when it happens. And that preparation is game changing, at least not only to your business operations but to your level of peace. I mean, the times that I have been completely prepared in our systems have been followed. And, you know, it's literally been like a 30 minute ordeal to go in and be like, okay, I'm going to move tasks from this person to this person and, you know, maybe have a one big 30,000 foot view meeting and whatever versus those times when we haven't been prepared.

Speaker 2 (00:22:44) - And I'm like, Oh my. Like, we need to, you know, dig in for two weeks and figure out everything this person's been doing. And, you know, I mean, you know the routine. Yeah. The problem is no one thinks their house is ever going to burn down. Right? Right. No one ever thinks that's going to happen. No one ever thinks they're going to get hit by a bus. And I mean, obviously, you experienced it, right? Your bookie bookkeeper went down. And that's a huge challenge. And if you don't have something in place for the if come. Then it's scrambled. And now you've lost all this time just to ramp up and cover. So I really like the clients that are like, Oh, I've never thought of it that way. Thank thank God for you. Thank God for you for asking that question, because I don't know if I like to make a difference. And so I guess that's really it, right? Like I'm fulfilled through service.

Speaker 2 (00:23:32) - And if I can't be of service, then it's not fun. So. Right. Do you end up helping clients a lot, like get insurance for some of their if's or, you know, in addition to do you also kind of dig into their processes and see what you can do to kind of build out better processes? Yes, because so, for example, if I'm going to help an organization have an emergency ops plan or have a new contract with one of their vendors, if I don't fully understand how that affects everybody on the ground, then I can't put into the contract because. Right. The contract is just a I explain this to everybody all the time. It's just a roadmap for the if something happens, the car breaks down, do you turn right or turn left or do you call XYZ person or do you go backwards? You go to the contract and it tells you what it says. And any judge is going to look to that contract, too, and say, well, you guys didn't put it in here, so I'm going to decide for you.

Speaker 2 (00:24:32) - And you may not like the decision, so let's just put it in there and let's not make it crazy legal jargon. Let's make it super clear, especially when I work with a lot of construction firms and they might be massive, you know, hugely successful large construction firms, but you're still working with people who are throwing a hammer for a living. Right? And most of these business owners grew up throwing a hammer and now they just happen to be the leader in charge, but they don't necessarily know what all these things are. And so those are fun companies to work for, too, because you can talk to the person and say, Well, tell me about the I need to understand, you know, when you're throwing this hammer, like exactly what's happening, where are you going? And because, of course, then everybody wants to share their story. And so they're happy to do that. And then I can say, okay, so if you're throwing your hammer this way and then you do that on Saturdays, sometimes it doesn't make sense to have payroll necessarily process on a Monday.

Speaker 2 (00:25:26) - Right? So there's there's a lot of operational stuff that goes into it. So if another contractor comes in and says, Well, we want payroll processed on Monday, I have to kick back and say, no, no, no, you know what? I'm making all this up, but we have to do it on Tuesdays because we've got guys who work on the weekend and then they go, Oh, really? Okay. So it's it's it's very interesting to me to have to solve that problem. I started this business because when I was in-house at the Authority, I was well, we went from a $40 Million deficit to a $30 Million surplus. And so yes, it was a very, very, very big deal. Very big deal. And we were advocating on behalf of all organizations that are municipal arms or actual transportation authorities or arms. And so we were going to Albany and saying, you really need to do things differently. And here's what we suggest. And it's worked for us and it could work for others.

Speaker 2 (00:26:20) - And not everybody listens. But there were a lot of really pivotal moments there where we challenge the status quo. And one and everybody stood back and went, how did that even happen? And it's well, because because we're doing really good work here. So I was going around the country on a circuit of conferences and explaining how we had made these great changes and the things that we had done. And a lot of people were then saying, and there's no competition in government work, right? Like it's all one shareable pot. So everybody is anxious to share all of their ideas. So I ended up getting hired by other municipal entities around the country to go and help them. And so, so one of the ways is an example. I love the story. I went down to a transportation authority in the South and they didn't know the CFO knew they were losing money and knew that their insurance policy premiums were way too high and had spiked but didn't know what the problem was. And they took a really strong employee who was in the safety department and said, You're now going to be in charge of the risk management department.

Speaker 2 (00:27:29) - And he was having a complete freak out because he said, I don't know anything about risk management and the, you know, the people in the leadership positions. We're saying, yes, you do. You do safety all day long. And he was like, no, no, no. It's two different things. Like, this is crazy. So he was having a freak out. And when I when I got involved, I read all of their policies and procedures, all of their paper, anything that's on paper, I read it. Job descriptions, contracts, vendor agreements, whatever. And then I went down there and prepared to ask every single one of the employees in this now like 45 person department who literally, at least when I walked in, were screaming at each other. One lady was sobbing at her desk. Another series of people were screaming at each other like everyone was. And I said, Where did I walk into this? So the main guy, like, took me. You know, we went and talked.

Speaker 2 (00:28:20) - I interviewed everybody and some of them were really angry and screaming and but I got everybody calm down. In fact, there was a man who happened to be in the same room with one lady who was really upset. And after I got her calmed down and talked to her and answer all the things, she left and he said, how did you do that? How did you. And I said, What? You said She was like a crazy person and you just made all of that go away. And I said, It's all about trust and listening and doing the things you say you're going to do. So now that woman knows I'm going to do exactly what I told her to do because it's me doing it and not the organization or whatever. But I walked out of there and it turned out the head risk manager was stealing money and stealing time. And we uncovered all of that. And that was part of the reason people were so upset because they sort of knew it. So I went to I went through and had to prove it.

Speaker 2 (00:29:10) - And in the end, when I gave my leadership presentation at the end of the week that I was there, I said, you know, I'm not a forensic accountant. I can't tell you. But from my rough numbers, it's like $1.4 million, like this is you need to send her to prison. Like this is a problem, Right? And so I gave them my list. There was 27 things they needed to do. They did four of them that day, which included terminating her. And they offered me a job on the spot, which was fascinating. But I came home and I had this big goofy grin on my face and my husband met me in the driveway and he said this This is what you should be doing for a living. And I went, I don't want to own my own fur. I can't buy insurance. And here's my own continuing editor. I don't want to do that. And I wasn't ready. But fast forward ten years when it all just came upon, you know, it just like choice by circumstance, right? Like I just did it.

Speaker 2 (00:30:06) - And but it's funny. I knew I had to grin because I knew what I had done and I knew how good it was going to be in two weeks later, they called me and they said, We don't know what kind of rabbit you pulled out of the hat, but people are literally whistling while they work, and we cannot thank you enough. But it was great because it was I mean, some things like it's not all rocket science, right? Like, right. We were looking at the guys who pull video, the guy who pulls video and not had a vacation in two years because he had no backup person. Right. And I was like, wait, what? So that's like I kept saying, but if you work tomorrow, who's pulling the video? Nobody. So why have the video at all like this? Makes sense. No backup plan like so. So there were things that were like points of frustration for people that literally were burning dollars and making people worse. Right? People.

Speaker 2 (00:31:03) - And that was a great I love that project. That was such a good project. But yeah, yeah, that was amazing. Yeah, it was. They they literally saved millions of dollars and every once in a while I'll call them and say, This is still going well. And they'll say, We still want you to come down here at work. It could still be that much better. Thank you. I can't handle the humidity. It's bad enough up here. Oh, my gosh. I love that. That is amazing. Well, if you were going to give some of our listeners, I mean, people, you know, who are lawyers, mothers, entrepreneurs, I mean, what is your like think of your top three things. I mean, how do you. Recommend that people do and feel confident to start their own business. I mean, what are some of the things that you think you had to kind of overcome in that initial grin in the driveway to the day you did start your business? What are some of those top three things you had to overcome to feel confident to run your own business, I think.

Speaker 2 (00:32:08) - Well, I mean, for one, mine was really choice by circumstance. I went to I left a job to courted for two and a half years. I finally said yes. And I was doing great work. And they were not ready. Right. They were the bad client that was not ready for somebody to come in and make change. Right. Which I'll tell you that whole story another day because it's pretty bad. And in the short time that I was there, I did some really major work with them, some major, major work, which was great. I mean, it was really great. And some of those stories are some of my most memorable and fun to share also. But I never stop, right? Like, I'm always like, you just have to keep going because there's no other option, right? I don't know how to stop. So I literally just said, I'll spend $35, I'll file a DBA. I can worry about the rest later. I'll see if I get some clients.

Speaker 2 (00:33:00) - If I don't, I can go apply for a job. But I know I'm just going to see what happens. And it turns out immediately people were excited to know that I was available just to get to me without going through somebody else. And so that happened. But I guess I would say to people, you know, there I just said this the other day, there are successes and there are sadnesses in owning a business. And when you're working through the sadnesses, you just have to remember. That what you're doing matters and what I do makes a difference. And although it's not always the difference today, it is a difference in the long run and I know it and my clients know it and they thank me for it every day because they can. They see it. And especially I have a client I've been with six years now since the beginning, and they now are really, really starting to dig in with the millions and millions and millions of dollars that they're saving because of the hard work that I'm doing.

Speaker 2 (00:34:02) - And it was hard at the beginning. You know, not everybody trusts an outside person and it's really difficult for them to get to that space. And so they're really starting to see this output that is not always visible to everybody at the beginning. And I think that's sort of the hardest, the hardest part that and finding out what motivates you, right? Like why do you want to own your own business? What do you want to do? Is it something that matters? Is is it a niche that not anybody else has been in? And if it matters to you and you know you can make a difference, whatever it is. You know, if it's entertaining and putting a smile on somebody's face like we're cooking or whatever, like, then, then, you know, if it's what fulfills you, then it's something worth pursuing. Right? So. Right. That I mean, those would be the two biggest things I think, to keep, to figure it out and then to keep going. And then also, I guess the last thing would be just, you know, at the beginning, there's so much that bogs you down.

Speaker 2 (00:35:00) - Oh, yeah. You know, like corporate formation. I'm not a corporate attorney, and so I just did this DBA at the beginning, and now here I am all these years later and I'm restructuring some things and I'm doing more and some of it's okay, but some of it's a nightmare. You know, moving, moving just email platforms is a huge nightmare, right? Like everybody starts out with a free Gmail account and then you move to the paid premium Microsoft deal and they don't communicate. They don't like each other. And it wasn't for lack of trying. I mean, I asked everybody, what do you do? What do you do? Because I'm not a techie. I don't know. What do I do? What do I do? And I followed the bits of advice that were common among all of the expert advisors that I reached out to. But all these years later, I'm just like, Oh my God, it doesn't work, you know? And so you want it to work that and for people, I mean, because you're a mom and you have kids and you did this when your kids were younger, like mine and.

Speaker 2 (00:35:57) - You know, I didn't I did not want to have kids, at least I don't know if you know that about me. We were not going to have kids and we feel very lucky that we did that. Things did not go according to plan. We would have missed out on quite a bit if that was the case. I got pregnant on the pill the first two times and then the last time I was not taking it and we were doing other things that clearly also did not work. And so we were unsuccessful. But but, you know, I have very healthy kids and I was very good at being pregnant. And so it worked out. It's very challenging. Now. There are days where I'm like, This is why I didn't want to have kids. And it's challenging with the business, but it's all sort of, you know, you navigate it right? You navigate it because you have to, but you also navigate it like the kids sometimes are, like you're working too much, you're working too much.

Speaker 2 (00:36:49) - And I think but that's what's fulfilling to me, right? And I think that's one of the biggest things. Like I've said to everybody, the hardest part about being a mother is that you oftentimes get married, so you become a wife. You're already a daughter, mostly a sister, a cousin, you know, your sibling, whatever. Now you're a wife, then you're a mother. Somebody's calling you mama. Somebody else is calling you baby. You know, you just all of your identity sort of folds away. And for a while, I felt like a caged bird, right? Like, I just was like, sometimes I need to just go out and do something and and do my own thing. And it was really great to be able to have my own business because you can do it your own way. And, you know, there's, you know, there's a group of us that sometimes we say we're unemployable at this point, right? Oh, yeah, because we do things our own way.

Speaker 2 (00:37:38) - And somebody said to me that day, I don't know that I would necessarily frame it that way, but it is sort of true, right? Because we want to just sort of question And when I look back to all of the things that I did as a kid, like, it all points to this one place completely, right? It all points. And so I think if somebody is sitting in a desk listening to this and has a side hustle and they're just like looking around and resentful towards all the things happening around them and going, Well, if it were my decision making today, I do it this way like it's time to get up from the seat and not look back. Exactly. And start making those decisions. Yeah. I mean, everyone I know, I'm sure you've heard this before too, but everyone I know that has built their own business. We all feel like you're building the jet as you're flying it completely. I mean, I think building the jet while you're flying it and it's on fire and you're maybe like flying through like some kind of knife or maybe even like Seafair, where you have the Blue Angels flying around you at like, yes, I mean, breakneck speed and you're supposed to be doing this all fine.

Speaker 2 (00:38:52) - I mean, it is a wild adventure, but I mean, don't know how to do it any other way. And I cannot imagine life sitting at a desk just taking those decisions, coming down and just being like, okay, sounds great. Yeah. Yeah. Do you know that I. So I recently got myself into trouble. I guess it was like, well, Covid has sort of time warped our sense of time recognition. But so it was pre-pandemic. I was at a baby shower for one of my very dear friends, who's also an attorney. And so, of course, other female attorneys were there and one of them who works at a law firm I had been at previously, and so had the woman who was having the baby. But a bunch of us were there. And I kind of made the joke of like, we should do a ladies Who lunch for those of us who've left the firm because there's so many of us because they just don't ever learn, right? And it's because as long as there's people coming out of law school who are willing to take those jobs because they don't know better, they're going to just keep doing it that same old way.

Speaker 2 (00:39:54) - But this one woman in particular was still there. And she's such a lovely human. I adore her. She's lovely and amazing and she's smart and charming and and she's very free and easy, right? Like everything is just breezy and fine, and I'm not that way, right? Like, I've been just kind of fire. Everything is like, I got to go. I got to go. And, you know, and I work on that on a daily basis. But she's so calm and and relaxed about stuff. And she's she was just recently made partner right before this party. And I said to her, I don't know how you can do that. Like, I wish I had more of what you I need more of what you have inside of me because I need to be okay with things. Because not everything is my fight, right? Like I'm always fighting for the underground. I'm always fighting for justice. Always, always, always. But not everybody wants to hear it. And not everything is picking up the sword for right.

Speaker 2 (00:40:55) - Not everything, right? Is your battle. So and I've been doing that much better as an older person than ever before when I was a kid. But I am just this I mean, this literally. I was two years old. Did the bus stop telling the older kids, my sister's seven years older than me, I was like, stop picking on my sister, you know? But this woman, I said to her, I really like sincerely, I wish I knew. How do you do that? Could you? And she was like, What do you mean? And I said, Well, you know, you have to go to those tables and sit with all those people, all those men. And this is how I'm saying it to her. And you have to listen to their bullshit and you have to vote with them and you have to just go along with whatever decision they make. Like how do you just sit there and not tell them how stupid they're being or how terrible the decision is? Like, how do you not say those things to them? I can't do that, which is why I left there, by the way.

Speaker 2 (00:41:49) - And and she just I she got really offended. And I truly was being complimentary and was truly saying like, I need more of that in my life. But she got really offended and I don't know if she sort of internalized and was like, do I go along with things that everybody says? But I'm telling you, she does all of them too, right? They all just sit around that table and go, Oh, yeah, that's a good idea. That's a good idea. Sure. You know. Well, and even if she's disagreeing, I mean, there's not enough of her to make a tide change. Do you know what I mean? Like. Well, and I don't think that she I don't think she's even saying if she disagrees because in maybe and maybe I'm just making this up because I'm not inside of her head, but I imagine in her world that's not worth fighting over. But for someone like me, it totally is, because you're wasting money or you're wasting time, or you're making it so that people, which is money and time all over, but you're making it so that the paralegals can't do their job efficiently, whatever it is, or you're making the paralegals feel so much less than or the administrative assistants feel so much less than because you're telling them, No, no, no, you can't be in this room or have that space or whatever the thing is.

Speaker 2 (00:43:06) - And that creates negative feelings, which makes people not work to their greatest ability and makes them not loyal. Right. And so they're going to go out on the street and have these other conversations that are negative in appearance, whether true or not true or feelings or not feelings. And so to me, it's just like, why would you not stop that at the pass? And so it's really it's interesting when you own your own business. You do have to sort of be on all of the time. And I've had to come to this reckoning of like. People will be okay with me as I am. Right. And and so and I only want to work with people who want to be with me as I am. And so. I guess it's okay that I've been kissed by the fire. Some people really like that, right? Right. And if they know they shouldn't be clients, I guess. No, you need to refer them to somebody a little more chill. Right, right, right.

Speaker 2 (00:44:08) - Who wants to go, you know, ten miles an hour for the next 100 years? Right. And and just make small incremental steps. Yeah. No, it's I think it's just fascinating. I mean, I think I think owning a business has been the most personal development I have had way more than dealing with these six kids and, you know, all of that. I mean, I thought I thought raising teenagers was a wild ride. I mean, owning a business has been so much wilder. You know, just the the reality of becoming your true, authentic self and really asking yourself, like, what do you believe in and what matters? I mean, I was seeing something just today and somebody is like, you know, talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger and you know what a great guy. And I'm thinking, really? We actually think Arnold Schwarzenegger is a great guy. Like, I mean, I have all kinds of you know, I mean, obviously, he's a mixed bag like many people.

Speaker 2 (00:45:09) - I mean, I can never look to somebody who I cannot respect and who has, you know, Right. Done things that I look to as being just kind of wildly outside of my core values. And, you know, but I find a lot of people in business, they can turn a blind eye to somebodies lack of core values or, you know, okay, we're raising the housekeeper's child, as you know, not our own for years. I mean, like what where do we draw the line on what's reasonable? And sometimes I look at business owners and I'm just like, I can never be you because I'm never going to be able to turn that blind eye. I mean, I am like you in that there are certain things I'm going to fight for and I'm going to fight for what's right. And I don't care what that means in the collateral, whatever. There are certain things that are right and certain things that I'm not going to be able to roll with. That is so me and it's, you know, it's lost me jobs.

Speaker 2 (00:46:18) - It's oh, yeah, it's, you know, it's alarming for other people, I guess. I mean, so you'll appreciate based on what you do. When I was a baby lawyer, somebody sent me to handle a family court proceeding. It was just like a calendar call, something, something. And they were double booked in another courtroom. And so they said, Amy, you go do it. And they handed me the file as I'm walking out the door and I'm like, What am I looking at? I don't I don't know what I'm doing and I don't want to practice in family court. You know, family court is on level two in the courthouse. I was always training. You don't get off at level two. Like that's not where you go. So I get off and I go in there and there was the attorney for the child and the attorney for the spouse. And I had the husband and I don't remember what happened, but something had happened. The father had not seen the child in six months.

Speaker 2 (00:47:11) - The child was four years old. I think there were two kids. One was two, one was four. Six months is a lifetime for a two year. Yeah. Four year old to not see a parent and the attorney for the child and the other attorney. Oh, and the social worker. So the three of them and me. And they're kind of like, What are you doing here? And the wife was asking for a delay and they were all fine with it. And I said, Absolutely not. And here I have no idea what I was doing. And they said, What do you mean? I said, I'm not doing that. Like, we're talking about a two year old and a four year old that haven't had visitation for six months. I'm not going to remember who their father is by the time he gets to see them. And why? Why is that? Oh, because you're waiting for a court proceeding to decide something about something. Something. I don't even remember what it was.

Speaker 2 (00:47:55) - And so I kind of went off at the mall and said, Are we all in the same place? Like, are we all talking like? And I looked at the attorney for the child and I said, This is your job, right? You know, I'm fighting for the dad, but you should be making the argument that I'm making. This kid can't be without his dad. What are you doing? And everybody sort of looked like I had four heads for a moment and I just said, I'm going to walk away now while you guys figure out what you're going to come up with that's going to satisfy me. And then I'll come back and we can go into the courtroom and tell the judge what's going to happen. But it better look like that my guy gets to see these kids tomorrow, Right? So so that's what happened. Like, ultimately, there was an agreement. It was, you know, and we went into the court and they were like, well, this one, you know, and he's like, who are you? You know, not just like, I'm nobody.

Speaker 2 (00:48:44) - Just do the I'm the one who got off on the wrong floor. Right, Right. But seriously, like, I just, you know, I just don't know how to keep. My mouth shut about the things that really matter. Right. And so I do. And I think it is fascinating. I love that I have gotten to know you. And I just think the world needs more of that, though, because I think sometimes that deep authenticity gets so lost in everyone trying to, like, put on their best behavior and don't even know what they're trying to do, like curate a life and a social media reel. And I'm just like, it just isn't like that. I just find that being able to be blunt, real authentic, mean what you say and say what you mean every single time. Right? It is just to me as such a more comfortable way to live. I have to admit, my children have bristled at it at times, you know, because there's times that I say something.

Speaker 2 (00:49:52) - I mean, I remember saying to my daughter once, I'm like, Is it dressed like a hooker at school day, you know, today? And I was like, What are you wearing? She was like, How did you just say that to me? And I'm like, How did you just get dressed like that? Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's it's so funny. It's the same thing, right? Like, my oldest daughter is far more sensitive. Like, her superpower is being sensitive, Right? And mine is not. And. But my. But Lucy is more like me. So I could say to Lucy, you're not wearing that. That's a hooker dress that could wear in the store. And she comes out, but the older one will be like, What's wrong with it? What? Why would you say that to me? That's so mean, You know? No, I'm not being mean. And in fact, when they ask me about like, does this look okay? And I say, Oh, that looks great, you know, I would change, pull the sleeve up or put it down or something.

Speaker 2 (00:50:42) - And they're like, Really? Really is there, okay? And I look at them and go, If it didn't, you know, I wouldn't tell you. So why are we having this conversation? Why are we having this? Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. It's so crazy. It is true. And I would I think that's a good point that you were making, though. Like you have to do it every single time. And so whatever your core values are, every single time is what you have to do. And I know that it is like I constantly am saying it's lonely out in front of the crowd, doing it your own way or being the only one to speak up. But I don't know what else this is all for. If we all can't be our own person and bring our talents to the world to benefit everybody in this way that we will, then I don't know what it's for. And although it is very difficult at times, I mean, you know, it's extremely challenging to lose your job because it's not the right fit and you have to change the lens and understand that it just was not the right fit and I have to move someplace else.

Speaker 2 (00:51:44) - And it really is where people say, you know, I'm glad that this happened to me and whatever. And and that last time when I lost that position and started this company, I found myself reflecting on that. But I was saying to people, I would not want to live through this again. I'm glad it happened. I'm glad the outcome is what it is. But this sucked. Like this was really bad. And you come to terms with this idea that it's just that there is a place for everyone. There is a piece of the pie for everyone. There's a space in place for us all. It's big enough in the world. And so going out on your own and doing the thing that you're passionate about is really a great path. Unless you're okay. Sitting at the desk doing what the big man tells you to do, right? Like, clearly neither of us are that people. No, no, definitely not. I really appreciate your time today. Amy and I so look forward to spending more time with you coming up soon.

Speaker 2 (00:52:43) - And so thank you for joining us. Tell us, how can people reach out to you if they want to learn more about your practice, understand how they can work with you? What is the best way for people to reach out to you? I'm okay if people want to email me directly, my email is Amy at. We thank Outcome. I love that and I love we think out and it's just brilliant. I just I mean, it suits you so well. I'm glad. I'm glad to know it because most people think it's like the dumbest name ever, so. Oh, I think it just suits you perfectly. Well, I hope you have a great rest of your day. And I cannot wait to hear about your adventures with three in high school. You are going to have one wild year. Yes, for sure. Thank you for having me. I'm so glad to see you and spend time with you. Absolutely. Thanks so much. Enjoy your day. You too. I'll talk to you soon.

Speaker 2 (00:53:35) - Okay. Bye. Amy.

Speaker 1 (00:53:38) - Thanks for listening to the Maximum Mom podcast, a production of Maximum Lawyer Media. Be sure to subscribe to the show so you never miss an episode. See you next time. You.

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