Member Spotlight – Sharnae L. Smith
Sharnae Smith is an attorney who focuses her practice on Business Law and Estate Planning. In addition to her law practice, Ms. Smith has developed several complementary businesses and self-published her first book in 2018 “Mogul Moves: Practical Tips for Mastering Entrepreneurship.”
Recently, we caught up with Ms. Smith to learn more about her legal career and other ventures that are in the works.
Q: What does being an attorney mean to you?
SS: In many ways, it means the freedom to be able to control my own destiny. Being a lawyer opens up so many doors for different types of careers, and you can do just about anything with a law degree, including entrepreneurship. A legal education is invaluable.
Q: What does social media add to your practice?
SS: Social media has added the ability for me to reach an audience that I would not otherwise have been able to reach. It allows me to connect with potential clients, potential business partners, and honestly I’ve made a few new friends through it as well.
Q: How does being part of the legal profession differ from what you expected?
SS: Growing up, I thought that the legal profession encompassed only lawyers and judges that hung around in the courtroom all day, I thought lawyers only litigated. The legal profession is much more than that. I see it in politics, advocacy of varying kinds, business ownership, education, and so many other areas. It’s so broad!
Q: What is your fondest memory of your legal career so far?
SS: My fondest memory of my legal career so far was when I participated in the MSBA Leadership Academy. I made so many connections, and have some new lifetime friends from it.
Q: Tell us a little about your biggest project related to your professional career right now.
SS: My biggest project related to my professional career right now is a project that my younger sister, who is a pediatric nurse practitioner, and I are joining business forces to create. With my experience in the legal field and hers in the medical field, we decided that we would team up and create several pre-recorded online courses that will assist the public in their time of need. There are a lot of instances where the legal field and medical fields intersect and our goal is to educate the public in practical ways. We would love to see more people with greater access to the information they need to make informed decisions about estate planning, social security, and nursing care, and etc.
This is important to me because so many people just need help. Many people cannot afford to reach out to an attorney for advice, many cannot afford to have visits with their physicians because they’re un/under-insured, and things as simple as how to fill out paperwork in certain situations are not readily available to the public. People tend to resort to ignoring these important topics because they do not have the resources they need to get the help they want.
Our goal is to bridge the gap between the “haves” and “have-nots” and give people an option to help themselves instead of not starting.
Q: You wrote a book recently, tell us a little bit about that project? What motivated you to write?
SS: I self-published a book called Mogul Moves: Practical Tips for Mastering Entrepreneurship, in October of 2018. I would always get questions from people about business, from the formalities of them down to social media presences. I decided to write the book because I knew that I could speak to the reality of entrepreneurship. It’s sensationalized in many ways, especially in the social media age. There was a time where I totally stopped doing it because I felt that was the best decision for me at that time. Entrepreneurship is a journey filled with ups and downs. Those ups can sometimes be really up, but the downs can also be really down. The book gives practical tips on what’s needed to weather the storms and how to best set yourself up for success, starting with your mindset.
Q: What are your goals that you are hoping to accomplish in the upcoming year?
SS: In the upcoming year, I’m hoping to do less. Though the pandemic has given many people the opportunity to slow down, I’m still very busy. My hope is to institute systems that work for my business(es) so that I can slow down a bit.
Q: What are some of the challenges you face in achieving these goals?
SS: I still have many things that I need to do before I can get to a place where I feel I’d be able to comfortably slow down. It takes work to create good systems but once they’re instituted, you reap the benefits of your time.
A little more about you…
Q: What’s your favorite hobby?
SS: Singing loudly in my car, and traveling.
Q: What do you do to unwind/ de-stress?
SS: Sing loudly in my car. Watch mindless television. Spend time with loved ones. Cuddle with my dog. Read. Go on a hike.
Q: What’s an interesting fact about you that no one would guess?
I like classical music.
Q: What’s your favorite restaurant?
SS Any place with great, authentic, tacos!
Q: What’s a cause or charity that you are passionate about?
SS: There’s so many, but the cause I am most involved with is autism awareness. I have younger loved ones and friends that have children on the autism spectrum. I participate in walks/runs at least twice a year for this cause.
Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot?
SS: This is a very hard question to answer. I really just like to travel! Any place with water and mountains are right up my alley. I’ll name a few places that I loved. For ease, the hospitality, and the all inclusive vibes, the Dominican Republic. For places that required more planning Waikiki, Hawaii; Panajachel, Guatemala; and Split, Croatia.