Lauren worked in the finance industry for twenty years. Like most other people, this year in the mortgage industry, she woke up one morning to learn that she, and roughly two hundred other people at the company, were being laid off when they locked the computers. Interest rates increased, business slowed down, and cuts were inevitable. Lauren had been in the industry back in 2008, she was a veteran, she knew how to weather the storm, or so she thought.
"Back in 2008, it was really simple, I just applied to an insurance underwriter position and was hired immediately," says Lauren. Of course, eventually the market improved for mortgages and she returned to her industry. According to Lauren, it seems as though other industries are aware that many mortgage professionals did that previously, as well, and seem rather hesitant to take a chance on hiring mortgage industry professionals and possibly losing them back to the mortgage industry if the market improves in the future.
So, after 20 years as a mortgage professional, a handful of open mortgage positions to apply for, and tens of thousands of people vying for the same position; Lauren had to fall back on the only other career option she had that would hire anyone on the spot. She went back to serving in restaurants.
"Famous Amos on N Main St in Jacksonville, FL, was recommended to me by a complete stranger on Nextdoor. I wasn't even aware the restaurant existed. I contacted them and filled out an application and was hired immediately," Lauren said. "It's a great place to work, the people there are just truly phenomenal people and there are a ton of loyal customers that come in regularly and know me by name now. I even work at another corporate restaurant for a few shifts and when I see Famous Amos customers at that restaurant, they stop me and say hello. It's a really great feeling connecting with so many wonderful people and really feeling like a part of the community."
Unfortunately, while Famous Amos is known for their delicious breakfast options and has a healthy lunch crowd due to the many businesses in the area, the dinner crowd can be hit or miss. "Some dinner shift days were great and other days, the restaurant was a bit of a ghost town and we spent our time deep cleaning the restaurant for basic server hourly pay which is actually lower than minimum wage," says Lauren. Lauren says she likes to think of herself as a problem solver, so she decided that she needed to increase awareness of the restaurant with social media. She said she joined a Facebook Group called the Scoop with Jax Food Reviews. She began publishing monthly posts highlighting some of the great food options and trying to drive traffic into the restaurant for dinner.
"The posts just really blew up. There were lots of comments about people loving the 'hustle demonstrated' and loving reading the reviews. It was great, I enjoyed connecting with the people commenting and especially when they came in the restaurant to be served and said they had a great experience," Lauren said. It made Lauren realize that if she could do this for a place where she was just an employee, what could she do if she had her own business?
"So I launched Lauren Elizabeth Home | Electronics | Gifts website and am trying to use that 'hustle' that the commenters loved so much, and make it profitable as an online business," says Lauren. "It is a bit difficult to market a business on a server salary though. I know many people are feeling the effects of inflation and I am not alone in struggling, but I hope that sharing this journey with readers can inspire others."
Lauren says her goal is to possibly make the business an actual physical location here in Jacksonville, FL, to give back to the community. "My ultimate goal is to one day be able to pay it forward," says Lauren.
You can support her by becoming a customer of her website, donations through her LinkTree or visiting Famous Amos for dinner.
Any support through LinkTree donations goes along way to helping the company grow and ultimately become something that can give back to the community.
Even the smallest donations help and are greatly appreciated!