THE BALANCE PROJECT | No. 109: Jo-Ná Williams, Attorney and IP/New Business Advisor

Welcome to THE BALANCE PROJECT: a series of relevant and refreshingly candid interviews featuring inspiring and accomplished women talking about balance. I’ve always been curious about how women I admire manage the tragically glorified “doing it all” craze. So I asked them. As I suspected, no one really does “it all.” Everyone’s making sacrifices somewhere. And that should make us all feel a little better. I hope the conversation will be steered toward that reality rather than toward the flawed and dangerous assumption that we should try—or even want to try—to perfectly do “it all.”

By the way, looking for THE BALANCE PROJECT novel that was inspired by these interviews? It’s here.

No. 109: Jo-Ná Williams, Attorney and IP/New Business Advisor

Age: 35
Where I live:
 New York City
Job: Attorney and IP/New Business Advisor, J.A. Williams Law

24Have you changed jobs or adjusted anything in your career to have more balance?
Yes, I did. Originally, I started my career as a lawyer doing entertainment litigation. I hated it. I hated being on that side of the law. People are upset, bills are expensive, hours are long, and everyone is blaming everyone. I am too sensitive to have the energy for that. So I had to let it go. I knew I wanted to help people and prevent them from having costly disasters and getting to that point. Being on the prevention side is not only empowering, it’s also incredibly inspiring. Watching new business be created that help the world or helping companies expand their reach is a dream. I love it so much.

Do you think having “it all” is realistic or overrated and why?
I think that it really depends on what someone’s idea of having it all really is. I do believe that you can; however, it may look different from what you thought that it would. I think that if we expand our idea of what having it all is, I believe we can have whatever we desire.

What part of “balance” can you just not seem to figure out?
I have had some challenges around really making time for the relationships in my life. It took me awhile to really get my OWN self-care in place, and once I did, I realized that a huge part of that is taking care of my relationships. I am still learning how to manage my time to give my all in all areas including what’s really important, your friends, and family, etc.

What part of “balance” are you getting better at?
Morning and evening routines DEFINITELY. As an entrepreneur, we often put ourselves at the end of the line. However, once I made the decision to take care of my needs first, my entire life changed. I felt more connected to myself, my work, and everything in my life. It should be innate but when you’re a woman on a mission, you have to be reminded of what all this is for, living your best life while also making a difference in the world.

Do you have a favorite time management tool, hack, or other strategy you use that helps you achieve balance?
I don’t open my email on the weekends and I removed social media apps from my phone. I also cut my phone off during the day, except for days I have appointments. The fewer distractions the better. I also LOVE the Gqueues app. It’s a Google-based task manager. So far it’s been great for keeping me organized!

What was the best advice you ever heard on balance?
From a mentor? “You have to learn how to sell and you have to have a trade. With those two things you can always support yourself.”
From your mother?
 “Put your spiritual path first.”

If you had one extra hour in each day and you couldn’t work or be with your family, how would you spend that hour?
I would go to Salsa dance classes every day except for a few times a week! I love to dance, and I wish I had time to do it every day.

What do you wish you’d known when you were 20?
I wish I knew my value. I ended up dating and being friends with people I would NEVER NEVER have in my life now. They weren’t nice. In fact they were more abusive.

What do you hope to know by time you’re 60?
That I have truly made the difference and impact at the scale that I want to. I want to know it and feel it.

What one part of your home life do you wish you could outsource?
Wow, there’s nothing at the moment; however, once I get a dog again, I definitely want to outsource dog walking. For sure.

Whose job do you wish you had?
I love the work that I do. However, I would love to be Beyonce for at least one tour and see what it feels like to perform at that level and connect with millions of people.

Whose job are you glad you don’t have?
I’m so glad I am not an accountant. I appreciate them A LOT, but I could never do that work.

Favorite books?
The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, Giovanni’s Room by James Baldwin, and #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso.

What are you reading right now?
Stand Out: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It by my dear friend Dorie Clark.

Biggest vices…
Activity? Emailing. I have to shut it down during the day.
Food? Almond milk ice cream (I can eat a whole pint in one sitting).
Website? Pinterest and Instagram. I love looking at the beautiful photos, but I can easily get lost there.

How many hours do you generally sleep at night during the week?
6-7 hours.

What do you read every morning?
My gratitudes. I write them, feel them, then read them. Then I take a trip to SisterGoddess.com and post some encouragement.

Complete the following sentences:
I think: that life is a journey.
I wish: that everyone had enough to eat, drink, and shelter.

Do you have a personal motto or favorite saying?
“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” —Thoreau. I am having it tattooed on me.

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Screen Shot 2015-09-21 at 12.27.21 PMAbout Jo-Ná:
Jo-Ná A. Williams, Esq. founded J.A. Williams Law P.C., The Artist Empowerment Firm, in 2011 to provide artists, entertainers, and this generation’s thought leaders with ways to successfully navigate their careers and provide assistance with business, entertainment, and intellectual property matters. She is dedicated to issues regarding the rights of artists and content creators because she believes they are a population highly vulnerable to exploitation without proper knowledge. She founded Artist Empowerment Group in 2013 to advise artists on business, branding, and marketing. Some of her clients have written best-selling books, created award-winning blogs, been nominated for Grammys, listed in the Billboard Top 100, Amazon and iTunes Top Album Charts and received local and international acclaim.

Jo-Ná served as legal clerk for Jekielek & Janis LLP, an entertainment law firm in New York, and Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in Massachusetts where she worked on intellectual property and entertainment law matters for low-income artists. For five years she was the Special Markets Coordinator at John Hancock Wealth Management Company where she worked with attorneys on annuity, financial, and estate planning matters. She also served as the ghost-writer for the entertainment firm, Cowan, DeBaets, Sheppard, and Abraham LLP, writing legal commentary on the most recent developments in intellectual property and entertainment case law on the firm’s blog.

Jo-Ná was one of the editors of the American Bar Association’s Annual Review of Intellectual Property Law Developments, 1st edition, and she has conducted webinars on legal business structures, trademark law, and artist branding for Volunteer Lawyers for the Arts in Massachusetts. She is licensed to practice law in New York. On a personal note, Jo-Ná is a yoga and meditation enthusiast, a vegetarian,  and she loves a good bottle of red wine.

Find out more about Jo-Ná:
www.jawilliamslaw.com
Twitter: @JWilliamsEsq
Facebook: J.A. Williams Law
Instagram: @JWilliamsEsq
Pinterest: JWilliamsEsq

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WANT TO READ MORE ABOUT WORK-LIFE BALANCE? CHECK OUT MY NOVEL THE BALANCE PROJECT!

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