Today it is my absolute pleasure to introduce this fiery friend from NJ. Jennifer Legra is the embodiment of happiness. Her eyes shine when she throws her head back in a full-throttled laugh. You just *know* she’s doing something right in her life. Jennifer is creative, passionate and she’s found a successful side business to bankroll her writing. She also quotes Rumi. Yes. She’s that cool.
Tell us who you are and what you do.
My name is Jennifer Legra. I’m the founder of Drinking the Whole Bottle, a blog about living life “uncorked” and also a freelance writer. I’m the mom of two creative and fun kids and I also have a virtual, global skin care business that I run from home.
Where are you based?
I am currently based in Guadalajara, Mexico. Our family moved here in July from the Dominican Republic. And both my husband and I are originally from New Jersey.
Did what you study have anything to do with your current career?
My mom always told us to get every degree, certification, schooling, training, etc. that we could. In my undergrad, I was a Communications in Mass Media major with a minor in Photography. Then I went back and got my certification as an English teacher and a Special Education teacher. While I don’t work directly in either profession, both gave me a good foundation for my current career as a writer / blogger.
What are your biggest career assets?
My biggest career goal is to publish a book. As cliche as this will sound, it’s been my dream since I was a kid.
Did you have a mentor or someone to help you navigate through your career? If so, please describe. If not, do you think you could have benefited from one?
We have so many leaders within my skincare company, Rodan + Fields. There’s no one I’d say is officially my mentor but it’s a beautiful thing to work for a company that offers so much leadership and training without being cutthroat. One of their big mottos is, “We’re in business for ourselves but not by ourselves.” I love that. It truly is a community or savvy, self-directed, determined people who want more out of life than a traditional job was giving them. It has been life-changing to say the least and a lot of what I learn there spills over to my writing and blogging career.
As a writer, it’s often lonely. You don’t have coworkers that you work with so it’s really important to find a tribe who understand you. I’ve been fortunate to find that recently and it has made such a difference to have that kind of support in a creative field.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
Getting paid. ha! Look, creative fields are hard. It isn’t a clear path like education or finance or medicine. You can be a great writer who graduated with honors with an English degree and still not find a job.
You have to find your own way and have thick skin and fail and accept criticism and be disappointed and still get up the next day and keep going.
I personally love it. There’s nothing I’d rather do. I love writing when I get paid for it and when I don’t but overcoming other people’s perceptions of “getting paid” is a challenge I’ve worked hard to overcome.
How did you overcome these challenges?
My writing career is an obsession and one I’d gladly do without getting paid but in order to feel like I was contributing to my family (monetarily), I looked for ways to add income without putting in the traditional hours. When a friend approached me with the business model at Rodan + Fields, I was skeptical. I rolled my eyes at the thought of getting into this business. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that this gave me everything I was looking for in order to continue as a writer. So I jumped in, determined to make it work.
How do you keep your life in balance?
With a lot of wine. LOL. Working two careers and being a mom and wife is a lot to balance, especially when you want to do all of those things well. But I’ve learned to make pockets of time for everything. When the kids are at school, I balance my blog & writing and my skincare business. When they get home, I focus on them. When they go to sleep, that is Husband time. It’s important to me that all of those things get the time they deserve.
What does Women Empowerment mean to you?
Women Empowerment means a few things to me.
On an individual level it means to support another woman in the ways she needs and not just in the way I think. When I started my Rodan + Fields business, a few people said it was a silly idea. Their idea of what a career looked like, didn’t look like this so they felt they needed to criticize. The same happened when I started my blog. People would ask me how my “writing” was going as if it was the punchline of a joke inside quotation marks. I found that some people wanted to support me but only on their terms… so I found other people.
I also think Women Empowerment means lifting each other up. I think it’s so important for those of us who have done it – who have gone through it – to remember how we struggled and help those that are coming up.
Rodan + Fields is amazing at this. We don’t keep secrets to boost our business. If we find something that works, we share it with others in hopes to lift them higher.
What is the best advice you have received?
“Live life as though everything is rigged in your favor.”
It’s a quote by Rumi and it changes everything. Because how would you live life if you looked at it as something that would always go your way? Wouldn’t you live differently? Wouldn’t you see failures as successes or lessons? Wouldn’t you take the risk, accept the challenge, say yes to the opportunity?
What advice would you give to your younger self?
Have no regrets.
I’ve always lived life like this and it has served me well. Say the thing you want to say. Take the trip. Be who you are. Take the risk — or don’t if it doesn’t feel right. I always think to myself Will I regret doing this or not doing this? And that usually gives me the best answer. It’s how I decided to come abroad. It’s why I decided to quit teaching and devote myself to writing.
If you live life in a way where you regret nothing, you’ll have no regrets and I think that is a life well lived.
What are your goals for the next few months?
I’m actually really excited about what’s to come.
On the skincare business front, I am building an empire. I am looking to expand my business and link arms with power partners who are looking for more – more income, more time, more freedom, more fun, more adventure. More. This is a “will-able” business, meaning I can pass it down to my children. That aspect really makes this business such an exciting one and really deepens my investment in it. So if you’re looking for another avenue to make a substantial, residual income in part time hours – let’s hook up.
On the writing front, I am rolling out a new, fun segment for the blog that will showcase Husband more. Yaaaay!
But I’ll also be turning my attention to a long time dream of mine… publishing a book. I’m soooo excited to get started on this journey which I feel has been a long time in the making. I can’t wait to see where it all goes.
Want to keep up with Jen and all her amazing stories about life, work, empowerment and saying YES to life? Drop her a line of follow her at the below sites: