Am I a SAHM? - Yes, I definitely am. When I was single, I used to look down at mothers who stayed home and thought, "Wow, they must have it really good. I'm never going to be that way. I'm never going to depend on a man to take care of me." Low and behold, everyone who said I would not feel that way once I had my own family, was right.
Tell us about you (mini-bio!) - Ok, the fast, shortened version: I came to the U.S. to meet my biological parents when I was 6 years old. At age 18, I fought as a teenager with my parents for the last time, and then waited until they left to go to the store so that I can pack my things into my car and drive away.
I struggled to go to school and make rent, pay for my car, and live. So I quit school. I worked at a restaurant for 3 years, before I met someone who introduced me to someone else, who trained me to be his work slave. What I mean by this is that I worked for free for about a year so that I can learn everything I possibly could about the mortgage and real estate business. Actually, I take that back. I made about $300 a month.
A year later, I was hired by a Vietnamese lady who too advantage of me even worse than the first guy did. I worked for $1200 a month, but was in the office at least 11 to 12 hours per day. However, I made the most of it and learned even more tricks.
At age 22, I married a man who cheated on me and was convicted of raping an unconscious woman.
At age 24, I was divorced for the first time. However, I had a better job that paid me 4 times the amount I was getting paid by the Vietnamese lady.
At age 25, I got an even better job. Then went back to school.
At age 26, I got an even better job, working for an investor who gave me a sweet corporate experience. I had the opportunity to work at some of the best mortgage companies all over the U.S. Every Sunday morning, I flew off to a different state, where I would audit a company's files until Friday (or whenever the due date was). Friday evenings, I usually flew back home so that I could spend time with anyone who was in my life at all.
At age 28, I met the now "love of my life" through an unbelievable (yes, it really was) love story. And now I live happily ever after.
At age 31, I decided to stop work altogether in preparation for motherhood.
Now at age 32, I sit home and ponder on all the things I could possibly do to help someone else. So I continue with voiceBoks.
How did you find yourself getting started with your business/venture? - I started a blog about pregnancy as soon as I found out I was pregnant. I wrote in it almost every day. I thought I would help the world out by talking about pregnancy. Little did I know that there are already millions of blogs out there with the same idea.
After I gave birth, I decided to do some jumping around on blogs and various other sites. After doing some major blog hopping, I started to notice patterns. There were some very interesting sites and blogs and some that were filled with junk. I also noticed the business with the "follow me and follow you" transactions.
Of course I signed up for the big community sites, which I was initially very excited about. These communities had thousands of followers with what seemed to be very friendly moms. Little did I know that they weren't that friendly at all and they just really wanted me to support their site(s).
That's when I decided, I was going to create a community where moms really connected and cared about each other's work and information. After all, isn't it a much better feeling when you know that your work isn't just being thrown out there for people to see, but really don't care about? I mean, when you write a post, do you wonder if the person who's read it actually care about it or are they just trying to gain another "follow" from you and not ever return once they do? Well, voiceBoks is my attempt to create a community where moms can connect and really engage in activities that help drive traffic to their site(s) without the mess.
Do you still keep up with your original blog? - I have not had any time to do so, but would really love some time because I quite miss it. It was very therapeutic for me to write down my thoughts. Actually, I think it helped me get through depression and post-partum. Now I just have to find time to squeeze that in with some exercise!
The name voiceBoks - where did it come from? - Well, to tell you honestly, I meant to start a different social network about 2 years ago. It was going to be something that involved messaging through voice. Didn't quite come to fruition. Since I already had the name and wanted something completely "out there," I thought, "why not?" It would stand out and people would definitely wonder what it is.
How did you go about seeking your information? - EXTREME blog hopping.
When you work on the website, is this all self taught or do you have someone that helps you with it? - I took Computer Science in college. However, I still ended up in the mortgage industry. After the crash, I decided to do something I really love, which is math, coding, computers, and websites. I do like to try to solve everything myself. However, sometimes I do run into issues that are out of my "scope of knowledge" and just can't afford to spend hours trying to figure something out that I know would take me ages to figure out. So from time to time, I would either ask for help or hire someone to do little jobs here and there.
Do you have a mentor? Would you consider mentoring someone who wanted to start a similar business? - no and yes
What mistakes did you endure to figure out the right path? - I was very trusting. Little did I know that even through the mommy world, there are a lot of shady and dishonest "parents" out there.
Moments of brilliance? - Progress and proven results through the site and through members' testimonies.
Advice to others that are considering an online business? - Yes, please make sure you download a copy of my online traffic manual once it comes out.
How do you balance mommyhood and online work? - It is VERY difficult. As my now 7 month old baby grows, so does his needs. I have no life, but am working as hard as I can now so that I can be there for him more when he is more aware of mommy's presence. For now, I work when he's napping, occupied with something, and throughout the night when he's asleep.
Are there any aspects of your business that aren’t covered here that you want to share? - As I am in the process of letting out my secrets, I do not have anything extra to share at the moment.
You've made this amazing community for women (and a few men) to connect. Is the website heading in the direction that you envisioned or are you brainstorming more every day of ways to add on? - This website is nowhere near completion. Major changes are still in place. Yes, it's definitely heading in the direction that I envisioned. Actually, better than that. I know the importance of traffic and wish to be able to help as many moms as I could by driving them to their site(s). At the same time, I wish to be able to continue my relationship with all the wonderful women I've met through this site. I truly am amazed at how blessed I am with all the new friendships. I am from the bottom of my heart, so grateful to be a part of all of this. My goal is to make this site big enough in the next year so that we can all meet in person. Oh, I would love that so much! A voiceBoks conference would be fantastic!
A special THANK YOU to Lexie for taking the time to fill out the survey. If you like what you've read here and you're not part of this special community, go check out http://www.voiceboks.com/. You're going to like it there!