You are your own worst critic! I am absolutely guilty of always planning for the future and struggling to live in the moment. Sometimes it feels like whenever I achieve a goal, I focus on the things I could have done better instead of focusing on the fact that I just achieved this amazing goal! I love the quote “remember when you prayed for the things you have now.” On days that I’m struggling to be in the moment, I stop and think about the things in my life right now that were only dreams just a few years ago: our house, our children and the flexibility that my business provides. Having control over my own perspective in those moments really helps.
The COVID19 pandemic has disrupted all of our lives. But sometimes disruptions can be times of opportunity. Many people’s livelihoods have been hurt by the pandemic. But some saw this as an opportune time to take their lives in a new direction.
As a part of this series called “How I Was Able To Pivot To A New Exciting Opportunity Because Of The Pandemic”, I had the pleasure of interviewing Siobhan Alvarez.
Siobhan Alvarez is a mom to two young sons living just outside of Atlanta, GA, who shares her motherhood journey on her successful blog Mimosas & Motherhood, where she shares easy recipes, DIY projects, pregnancy advice, parenting tips and more. After teaching herself how to tackle SEO and generate an income with her blog, Siobhan now teaches other women how to launch their own websites that can generate a real, meaningful income for their own families, too.
She is also the Executive Director of the Atlanta Autism Consortium, a nonprofit organization that provides free educational programs and events for the autism community both in Atlanta and across the country.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
Absolutely! I was raised just outside of Atlanta, GA, and have lived here the majority of my life. After attending graduate school in North Carolina, I moved back to Atlanta to start my career in the nonprofit industry. I met my husband, Matthew, 5 years ago, and we are the parents to two amazing little boys: Archer, who is 2 years old, and Grey, who just turned 1! I am the Executive Director of a small, local autism nonprofit here in Atlanta, and also the blogger behind Mimosa & Motherhood, a family and lifestyle blog.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
My favorite life lesson quote is “There is no “right time;” there is just time and what you choose to do with it.” I think so often many of us feel like we have to wait until the “right time” to do so many things: make a career change, buy a house, plan a dream trip etc. I heard this quote a few months ago and honestly, it lit a fire under me. If we’re always waiting for the “right time” to make something happen, we might be waiting forever!
Is there a particular book, podcast, or film that made a significant impact on you? Can you share a story or explain why it resonated with you so much?
While not a business book, The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman has made a huge impact on my personal and professional life. If you’re unfamiliar, Chapman comes up with a theory that every person expresses love in a different way: physical touch, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service or quality time. If you aren’t showing love or appreciation in a way someone best receives it, they can feel unappreciated.
This book taught me so much about myself, but also so much about the way I interact with others I work with. If possible, I try to find out someone’s love language so I can work with them better and make them feel more appreciated. For example, cards or public acknowledgement of their success are fantastic for clients who value words of affirmation, while scheduling a one-on-one virtual meeting is great for someone who values quality time.
I feel like the book has also helped me become a better wife and mother. My love language has always been words of affirmation, but my oldest son’s love language is very clearly quality time. With that in mind, I try not to work on Fridays and instead take him to do something special, just the two of us, each Friday morning.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before the Pandemic began?
Prior to the Pandemic, my career was in the nonprofit industry. I love working for organizations that make a difference in the lives of others, and have been able to work for some pretty incredible missions. My career started out in special event planning, and transitioned to grant writing and managing corporate and foundation philanthropic gifts. Currently I am the Executive Director of a small, local autism nonprofit that provides free programs and events for the autism community both here and across the country.
What did you do to pivot as a result of the Pandemic?
A few years ago I started a “mom blog” while pregnant with my first child. I had always viewed it as a fun hobby and creative outlet, and before the pandemic I had never entertained the idea of making it into a viable business. Prior to the pandemic, both my husband and I thought our industries would always have opportunities, but I quickly realized in March when my organization temporarily paused our programs that there was a real chance we could both be out of work by the end of the year.
From a place of necessity, I decided to see if we could grow my blog in the course of just a few months to become a thriving source of reliable side income for our family. I threw myself into education and courses, and by the end of last month my small hobby blog had exploded in growth and was now generating more income for our family then both of our “normal” jobs combined.
Can you tell us about the specific “Aha moment” that gave you the idea to start this new path?
When the pandemic hit, everything changed. While my nonprofit organization was thankfully able to continue operating in a reduced (and now completely virtual) capacity, I watched friends and colleagues in the nonprofit industry have to lay off staff, close their doors to the populations they served, and in many instances, lost their own jobs.
My husband is a music producer and DJ, and the music industry completely grinded to a halt due to the pandemic. Every client he worked with had to cancel their projects, and every single party and event he had booked were postponed indefinitely. All of a sudden, we went from a two-income household to one, with no idea when things might change.
With so many of our friends and colleagues losing their jobs, I was very scared of the same thing happening to one (or both!) of us. Picking up an extra job outside of the house just wasn’t a safe possibility at the time, so I knew I needed to make the blog into a business to help protect our family.
How are things going with this new initiative?
I have been blown away by how the blog and our business has just exploded in growth. My blog has increased in traffic by more than 10x since April, and that has led to so many new and exciting opportunities.
It has been an incredible experience, and I’ve recently started teaching other women how to do the same thing. This fall I launched a free course on how to create your own money-making blog, and have been so excited to see how many women have launched their own businesses with it. Before the end of the year I will be launching 2 fantastic eBooks that cover more of the “how” when it comes to generating money with a blog: sponsorships, ad revenue and affiliate income. I’ll be walking my clients through every aspect of these in easy to understand language, and giving them real information and tools for success that they can begin implementing right away with their own websites.
If anything, the pandemic has shown all of us that having a “back up plan” is so vitally important. As a mom to two little boys (ages 1 and 2), I’m thankful for the ability to be able to continue to keep a roof over my family’s head if the worst was to happen in my day job, and am excited to be able to teach other families how to do this too.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
The person who has been absolutely instrumental in my success with growing the blog has been my husband. He has been so flexible during the past few months, and such a fantastic cheerleader and motivator. He’s swooped in to help care for our boys in a bigger way, and has shown in so many ways his belief in what I’m doing. I’m so grateful to have a partner who supports and believes in me the way that he does.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
We moved into a new house at the end of last year, and there was an open front room space that I thought would be perfect for an office. We were able to have these beautiful, glass French doors installed in it, and I was so excited to finally have this peaceful, uninterrupted space to work… until my children realized that glass doors meant that I could see them. They are convinced that outside those doors are their stage, and every day they “perform” when I first go to work, dancing, singing, making silly faces. They are the cutest distractions in the world, but I totally ended up having to put up curtains!
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
- There is ALWAYS more work that you can be doing. Learn to set boundaries for yourself when it comes to your business. It’s hard to stop working when you’re passionate about something, but part of the joy of having your own business is being able to create your own life/work balance. One of the reasons I launched my own business was to be able to spend more time with my family. So, every day we have a slow breakfast with the kids, and I don’t start work until 9:30am. I break for lunch with the boys at noon, then go back to work until 4:30, and also try to take every Friday off to spend special time just with them. Sometimes I might need to work an hour or two on the weekends, but I’m grateful that I have the flexibility to do so.
- Owning your own business is like riding a rollercoaster. Some days/weeks/months you might be riding high, and other times you’ll feel like you can’t do anything right. Just keep riding that ride, and try to learn what you can every time the low points happen. This is especially true with a new business! There were a few points this year where some amazing things happened for mine, followed by some surprising low points. But I just kept pushing forward and focusing on the next big goal.
- You can’t please everyone. There are going to be some people who hate everything you’re doing! I’ve received some super negative messages on social media about everything from my parenting style to the way I write my blog posts, and that’s ok. At the end of the day, I try to remember that the most important thing is creating new content and new courses that I can feel genuinely proud of.
- Focus on what you can control. Our world is so tumultuous these days, and there are so many things that are out of our control. Sometimes it can feel overwhelming when something you have zero control over comes out of the blue and impacts your work and business. In those moments, try to focus on what you CAN control: the hours you work, the projects you take on, and the people you help.
- You are your own worst critic! I am absolutely guilty of always planning for the future and struggling to live in the moment. Sometimes it feels like whenever I achieve a goal, I focus on the things I could have done better instead of focusing on the fact that I just achieved this amazing goal! I love the quote “remember when you prayed for the things you have now.” On days that I’m struggling to be in the moment, I stop and think about the things in my life right now that were only dreams just a few years ago: our house, our children and the flexibility that my business provides. Having control over my own perspective in those moments really helps.
So many of us have become anxious from the dramatic jolts of the news cycle. Can you share the strategies that you have used to optimize your mental wellness during this stressful period?
The last few months have been so hard on all of us in different ways. It’s so tough to feel healthy mentally when it feels like every time you turn around, something has changed or happened. What I’ve found is really helpful for me is getting up early and having quiet time before the rest of my family wakes up. I try to wake up around 5am a few days a week to enjoy a cup of coffee and spend that time doing whatever is most helpful for me. Some days it’s knocking out a little work, while other days it might just be sitting and enjoying that cup of coffee while scrolling through social media. Having that true alone time before the day gets started really helps me get in a good headspace! Plus, I’ve learned that I’m super productive early in the morning, which I actually never knew before!
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
I would want to inspire a movement around random acts of kindness. We live in a world where lately it feels like there’s so much pain and negativity. Little acts of kindness can truly make a big impact on someone else. Whether it’s paying for the car behind you in the drive thru line, surprising a neighbor with cookies, or just plain opening the door for someone, the world needs more random acts of kindness.
Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have lunch with, and why? Maybe we can tag them and see what happens!
Chrissy Teigen. Not only is she a fantastic business-woman, but she’s an amazing wife and mother, who allows herself to be real, authentic and vulnerable with her followers. I also love how she is so unapologetic to her haters, and she’s hilarious.
How can our readers follow you online?
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!