I'm Syd Young. Lawyer, writer, thespian, business woman. I'm hooked on stories, have been all from life. And I've always loved writing, whether it was for those judges in Fort Worth, Texas or for other lawyers and clients, or for the stories that come into my head. I've won some awards for my writing, and am actively pursuing representation for the latest novel I've written.
This was a fun interview, so I copy the full interview below.
You may also wonder about writing and stories, as the following interview doesn't touch on my creative life. I've always been a storyteller. Perhaps its because I'm (a high functioning) dyslexic. My mom and grandmother were teachers, so as soon as they saw me writing my alphabet backwards in chalk, they got me in tutoring and hooked me on books, grew my vocabulary, and helped me recognize words by how they come rather than by how they look. I took to it, couldn't ever wait for my next Nancy Drew.
Naturally, once we started working on the farm, (way before the days of ipods or even personal cassette players), I passed the time by telling myself stories and telling my younger brother stories. I later obtained an English degree with a lit emphasis. This made writing in and after lawschool much easier. Once we bought the title company and after the kids were grown, I started pursuing fiction writing, in between time on the local stage, after hours.
Yes, even as a professional, wife, and mother, I believe it is important to take time for yourself and pursue things you love. Look, its better for you than sitting around watching TV.
For me, I think it is pretty safe to say that will always be stories. So I read and write about it, and I write. Now, enjoy a little bit about me from this fun interview by EParis Extra.
From Women Today Questions Interview for EParis Extra
Tell me about growing up. Who inspired you?
I worked on the farm from the time I was 8 years old – always even on my summer birthday! Dad treated us older daughters like sons, a wonderful gift. And my grandmother was inspiring, just a bundle of energy and joy, always had something she was doing.
At 16, I finally got tired of working for “free,” so I got a job at Piggly Wiggly. That inspired me to pursue higher education. I grew up in one of the best times for women; people were always telling me I could do anything I wanted to! In college, I worked for three different bosses (two women), all of whom mentored me and cheered me on. Then in lawschool, a friend ahead of me embraced me and took me under her wing, showed me the ropes. It made a huge a difference.
When did you know you wanted to own a business?
I wanted to be a lawyer since high school. I did well in law school and ended up clerking for a judge in Fort Worth, and when he got elected to the higher Court, I worked for multiple judges. It was wonderful, and really spoiled me so that when I moved to that job in the downtown Dallas law firm I thought I wanted, I quickly realized there was something more. Gary and I kept coming to Paris to get away—and one thing led to another. We never regretted moving out of the rat race, to a place with a much more idyllic way of life.
How did you start your business?
Dad always laughs at me because I couldn’t wait to get a job and get away from the farm. Then, once I had my own office, my love was being outside, and gardening, and I returned to being creative! The truth is, it was very hard to be a two trial attorney family. Invariably, we both had “the most important case” happening on the same day. The title company came up for sale and we took the leap, and lucked into a business that complimented my talents as an attorney. couldn’t have done it without the support of my spouse, my in-laws, and my grandmother-in-law, who was so special. (She had been the boss back when it was much harder to do). Victorene and George Young both taught me so much about business.
What advice did someone give you that you took and to this day still implement in your business?
SEVERAL thoughts here. First, save pennies. Operating a business is dreadfully expensive. Profits come and go. To keep from getting over your head, especially at first, watch those expenditures. Stay away from credit card debt and high interest rates. Call your bankers! We have great ones in town.
Second, embrace the creative. I read a book about creativity in business (Imagine: How Creativity Works, by Jonah Lehrer). For some reason we perceive creativity as a liability in business. But as the cornerstone of your business, innovation adds that special “you” touch and goes a long way to earning the public’s trust.
What advice would you give a women who wants to start their own business?
Don’t roll your eyes. But, first, hire a lawyer to set you up. Yes, you can fill out forms you find online, but they may not be what you need and a lawyer will help you get it done right, streamline things with your bank and accountant, etc. Also, you need to establish that attorney client relationship, so that in a moment of need, you have a quick foot in the door.
Second, be prepared to work harder than you ever have. It takes a while to establish your business. It will be hard. If you want it, you will push through. Just don’t do it alone. You’ll wear yourself out.
So marry/partner well. In the sense of having someone else pitching in. Now, Gary could never do closings, he definitely doesn’t have the temperament for it. But as soon as he saw how overwhelmed I was with all my duties, he started picking up the slack. From helping with Christmas to cooking, to listening about my day, too. I’m so thankful. That goes for kids, too. In other words, DON’T fall into the trap of thinking you have to do all of this, every bit of it, all alone. It isn’t possible, you will crack. Save yourself the agony and ask for help. It will bring all of you closer and help you thrive! You know the saying, when mama’s happy, everybody’s happy.
Also, hire good, smart employees. I'm very thankful for my excellent crew.
What challenges have you overcome as a woman in business?
It’s honestly not a bit of a problem in the title company business, it’s female centric already. But it was hard to establish myself as a trusted real estate attorney, so I became one of few women in the state with the highest degree of real estate specialties. I’m just extremely thankful for the customers, bankers, and realtors who use us, who gave us a chance all those years ago, who’ve remained so loyal, and who send us referral business. Truly, truly thankful.
Is there a personal story or experience you can share with our readers to encourage women they can do anything they set their minds to?
We recently went to dinner with friends. Over the drive, we wives bonded over being business owners, even talking employee retirement and payroll accounting systems, while the guys just listened. Happily listened. They’d been trying to get us together; they knew we had a lot in common. Besides the bonding that we needed, it was just so refreshing to get to talk about these things with another long-term woman business owner! So I say this to myself as much as women just starting out or still dreaming. There are those who have gone before you. Call them. Call me, I’ll be happy to help! Ask questions, find a woman whose experience can help you avoid or get through mistakes (you’ll make them!). Supportive women friends are a great secret weapon.
Is there anything else you would like for us to know?
Coming back full circle. Get an estate/business planning lawyer, so that you protect all your hard work for the future. Being in the title industry, I just can’t stress that enough.