At the beginning of the year, I promised that I would make a better effort to speak with people instead of this non-verbal life we’ve all created via social media. Recently, Ivonne Vazquez, whom I know on Twitter as @VIVAssistants, picked up the phone to make a live connection with me. I’m so glad Ivonne beat me to it, because she’s a person everyone ought to get to know…
Ivonne made herself known to me when she commented on a post I ran on virtual assistants on my other blog, The SMB Collective. Based on this comment, I coerced her into drafting a post for me there, too, and what a great writer she is! I’m slowly learning more about Ivonne and the services she offers via her own company VIVA (VIVA Virtual Assistants), which offers virtual assistant services to entrepreneurs and companies seeking to increase capacity by outsourcing or subcontracting administrative needs.
In addition to owning a small business, Ivonne is a single mom, with a 9-year-old son at home (and two older children away at college). She is head of household, bread winner, avid gardener (who wants to be an organic farmer when she grows up), mower of lawns and amateur photographer. Hailing from New York City, of Puertorican descent, she is now living in Maine. Ivonne has deep roots in her culture, is bi-lingual, and is doing more work with Hispanic marketing consulting for small businesses. Additionally, she was recently tapped on the shoulder to be Maine’s only Spanish/English bilingual and bicultural SCORE mentor.
She is one of the most supportive, engaging and lovely people I’ve met on Twitter. The other day I was having a hissy fit about my computer on Twitter, and Ivonne picked up the phone to call and help me. How amazing is that? It was such a delightful shock to me and a wonderful gift, too.
How she manages juggling her balls is a question for Ivonne:
First, thank you Jayme for being so wonderful and asking me to be part of this great concept that is Momaraderie!
As for juggling…I find that if you don’t think about how much has to get done, you don’t become overwhelmed and it gets done! Just like the old riddle “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time”; the same applies to life and business.
Organization, structure, a work schedule and self-discipline are all key in maintaining efficiency, productivity and your sanity both as a small business owner and working parent; more so if you also work from home. Adaptability and flexibility are also essential. While structure is good, being too rigid in a routine or schedule can also be overwhelming and an obstacle in accomplishing tasks and achieving goals.
I maintain business hours with VIVA, this is when I am available to the public. This doesn’t mean that I’m not, on occasion working until 1:00 a.m. or up at 5:30 checking e-mail, etc.; having a schedule gives me the opportunity to dedicate a portion of my day to my clients while also attending to my family and personal life.
Mobility in my business is also critical, and one of the reasons why I can accomplish multiple tasks and projects efficiently. As a virtual assistant, which by definition means that I can work from anywhere at any time, having a laptop, smartphone, portable hard drive, hosting plan with File Transfer Protocol (FTP) for secure file uploads/downloads, access to cloud applications and secure WiFi access allow me to work from my home office, co-working office space, local coffee shop or my car…without missing a beat.