Five years after graduation, I found myself in a pivotal moment. One morning I
was looking at myself in the mirror after experiencing ageism, sexism, bullying,
and harassment from an inexperienced boss. I had to make a decision – stay or go?
I made the very difficult decision to walk away from a job I had thrown my entire
self into. I had started as an intern and worked my way up to COO. However, I knew that if I allowed that level of disrespect from someone who wasn’t worthy to have an
opinion of me, then how could I respect myself?
I had an opportunity laid before me that I hadn’t had in a long time. I could
choose what I wanted to do. But, isn’t that the most troubling question adults
face – what do I want to do? I’m lucky enough to say that I actually discovered
what I love to do, and I took my passion a step further and started my own
company doing it. I am asked constantly how did I figure out what I love and have
the courage to get started. There is no magic bullet to this, but I’m going to let
you in on a little secret: get out of your own way.
I had scars from my previous job and decided that working for myself would be better
than someone else. I made so many mistakes when trying to start my own
company. What are they, you may ask?
• I searched for what I wanted to do based on the attributes of my previous
• I rushed into my ideas and made a business plan for each one
• I didn’t connect with myself
• I didn’t know how to get out of my own way or that I needed to
Now, before we dive into this, let me make two things clear:
1. I don’t claim to have the answers to how to start a company, and I don’t
consider myself an entrepreneur
2. Don’t be afraid to fail
Some people automatically know what they are passionate about. I’m not one of those
people. I spent months trying to discover what I wanted to do. I was a COO at my
old job, but you can’t just love operations, or sales, or HR. All of those things are
attributes of a job, they aren’t THE JOB. I had come up with an idea that would
have definitely made money, but it was going to be an enormous amount of work
to break into the industry. I felt defeated because I didn’t want to work that hard
for this particular idea (this is not to be mistaken with not wanting to work hard
I was frustrated one afternoon after another failed idea and dropped everything
to go for a hike. I was so exhausted from being in my own way that I accidentally got
out of it. I started thinking about what I was looking forward to doing for the rest of the day. The list of things that came to mind had all of the attributes of a
nutritionist, but I didn’t know that yet. I noticed after a few days that I was
always looking forward to the same things day in and day out. Once I started
paying attention to what I genuinely liked, I decided to see what it would take to
make this my everyday life. I would have to go back to school and I would have to
relearn a whole new industry. This is where the doubts started to creep in. Did I
mention the whole get out of your own way thing?
I decided to just take a leap of faith and see where it landed me. I got my first
certification and found myself constantly talking about what I had learned. My
husband joked that I should be getting paid to talk this much… That wasn’t such a bad idea. A month after I finished my certification, I started my own nutrition
company. Now, I recommend doing market research and giving yourself real
expectations for how well your business can do in the industry. I knew I was in
the right space when I realized I didn’t care if I had the potential to be the first
ever billionaire nutritionist; I just wanted to get started. Rose+Ginger Nutrition
Rose+Ginger Nutrition is a year and a half old. I pride my business with helping
clients to cure fatty liver and heart disease. My combined clientele has lost over
200 pounds, and has dropped their cholesterol over 300 points. I have worked
with patients with liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and testicular cancer. Rose+Ginger Nutrition has partnered with RIDE Indoor Cycling studios to be the
in-person nutritional consultant, and Rose+Ginger Nutrition has done menu
consultation for restaurants and bakeries to offer healthier food options.
JMU developed a strong love for helping people in me that has only grown with
my business. The importance of helping the community and giving back to others
is so special to JMU, and it became ingrained within me. I love that when I get a
call from a new client my entire day is dedicated to helping someone become a
better version of themselves. Without JMU, I’m not sure how important that
would be to me.
JMU didn’t just nurture the desire to help others, it also gave me self-confidence
and courage. I came to JMU not knowing a single soul and because of F.R.O.G.
week I found myself with 30 new friends within a week. That kind of lesson really
comes in handy when you move back across the country and know how to make
friends. I had the self-confidence to put myself out there and develop
When I came to visit JMU for the first time I fell in love with it. But, it does take
courage to move 1,500 miles away to go to school without any family nearby.
That first courageous step led me to the most wonderful experience. I think
because I had such a positive experience from being courageous, I’m now not afraid to
step into unknown situations, like starting my company.
My classes helped me to become a leader- shout out to Dr. Keller’s International
Relations Class. Without that class I wouldn’t have learned how to be a leader
who values others and that I had the attributes to be a good manager.
P.S. The secret to being a good manager is always treating others like gold and
being more than willing to get your hands dirty with the lowest position. No one
is ever too good to go back and do the most hated job.
If you’re looking to start your own company of course you need drive, ambition,
and a strong perseverance but those things come after the idea. Get out of your
own way; it’s amazing what you will find.
Jana Jamail (’10) is the founder and CEO of Rose+Ginger Nutrition. Based in Austin, Texas her company works with people from across the globe to lead a healthier lifestyle and ditch dieting. In just a year and a half Jana’s company has helped clients cure fatty liver disease and heart disease. Collectively Jana’s clients have lost over 200 pounds and dropped their cholesterol over 300 points. Rose+Ginger Nutrition is dedicated to offering free services to cancer patients and has provided support for patients with liver cancer, testicular cancer, and pancreatic cancer. Jana has two certifications in nutrition and plant based nutrition, one from AFPA and one from Cornell University. With her education she has been able to help clients find a healthy balance with food, consult with restaurants and bakeries on healthy offerings, and teach cooking classes examining healthy habits.