IRAMA VALDES, ESQUIRE

As a mom, how do you prioritize your day?

My calendar is my boss. If it’s not on the calendar, it may not happen… of course, I even calendar time for just-in-case emergencies and other time-sensitive matters, but mostly, I schedule appointments and make a list of things to do and stick to it. I calendar time for marketing, for following up on matters, for employee development, everything. And since my calendar is color-coordinated, it’s really pretty to look at, too. Like a to-do-list-rainbow. lol

What made you decide to start your business or blog?

I always thought I wanted to own my own law firm but was really looking forward to incorporating myself into the previous law firm I was working at. Unfortunately, the culture of the firm changed, and it was not suited to my ethics, morals, and lifestyle. So, about 5 months after my son was born, I opened my own firm (took ZERO clients with me from my previous firm), and rocked it from day one. I don’t know why I thought I was going to be okay, but I knew I had to for my baby. I gained an extra 3 hours a day (from not having to drive to downtown) but lost about 6 hours because being your own boss is like working double time!

Who are your biggest influences?

My parents, without a doubt. As Cuban immigrants in the 70’s, they arrived in Miami with the clothing on their backs and the hopes of making a better life for themselves than the communist government took away in Cuba. My father worked in several companies until he discovered a love of chemistry when he purchased his business 37 years ago. He transformed 6 [crappy] products into the amazing line of cleaning chemicals his clients know and love today, without so much as a high school degree. He taught me to value my employees, to treat everyone with dignity and respect (no matter what) and that talking a lot wasn’t such a bad thing (after high school). My mother has ALWAYS put me first, which has both been a lesson in parenthood and what *not* to do in a marriage. But, hindsight is always 20/20. She created the standard for me as a mom… she WAS the PTA Queen; she ran the school supply store at my elementary, and there wasn’t a single field trip she didn’t chapterone and that was WITH a full time M-F 9-5 job. She is my role model as mom.

What advice would you give moms who work from home?

I have no idea how they do it! When I started my firm, I created a home office. That lasted 8 months. I couldn’t do it. I think any woman who successfully works from home with little ones running around are just GODS.

What advice would you give moms who are working to start or build their business?

DO NOT LOSE HOPE!!! It may be tough… you may work longer hours than you used to… but it is SO gratifying to create success for YOURSELF. When I started my business, I did a LOT of listening. I asked other women and moms who were laywers what they did… I asked them for tips on programs, on processes, on shopping, networking, fax machines, EVERYTHING. I figured they’ve done the hard work of weeding out the best of what I could use to grow my firm, and then, I LISTENED to their advice. I used what they told me as a guide and went with it. If something didn’t work for me, I’d try something else that was advised to me. Learning from others is just cutting back on the number of failures you’ll have to go through.

What one word would you choose to describe yourself?
PERSISTENT.
Is there anything else you want to share with the Mom Empire?

I didn’t realize how incredibly difficult being a mother would be until it actually happened to me. And then I decided to start a business… THAT’S when it became even harder. Trying to be both 100% mom and 100% business owner is impossible. I know… I’ve tried. So… I’ve learned that being a mom boss is an ebb and flow of effort. Sometimes I’m 75% business owner and 25% mom, and other times I’m 90% mom and 10% business owner… and that is O-K-A-Y.

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