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Meet Indira: Mother, Activist and Freelancer Living a Nomadic Lifestyle Aligned With Her Values

by | Mar 19, 2024 | 1 comment

Indira smiling at the camera in front of a city backdrop
Image description: Indira smiling at the camera in front of a city backdrop.

In this student spotlight series, we are highlighting some of our wonderful Virtual Excellence Academy (VEA) members to share their journeys.

All the ups, downs and surprises on the way to building their dream business. Giving you a realistic insight into where this career path can take you and how it can impact multiple areas of your life! Today, we’re interviewing Indira Wislocki, a highly-skilled Virtual Assistant who joined in the VEA in July of 2019.

Hailing from Argentina, Indira transitioned from an overwhelmed travel insurance employee to a full-time VA who is now in control of her work schedule. Reclaiming her time, she travels abroad with her child, successfully balacing remote work, parenting, and the nomad lifestyle. With a heartfelt focus on human rights activism, Indira thrives without sacrificing the values she believes in. Let’s dive in to learn more about her story!

All About Indira

Hi Indira! Let’s start with an introduction: who are you, and what do you do?

I’m a VA (Virtual Assistant)/OBM (Online Business Manager), and I provide support for non-profits and social justice-minded businesses by finding the gaps in their processes and results and helping them bridge them, either through strategies or implementing new systems.

Tell us more about yourself – where you are in the world, and what has you excited about life right now?

I’m currently in Argentina (where I’m originally from), and planning to hit the road again by May. I’m pretty excited about it, I’ve been longing to go back to SEA (South East Asia) for a while now.

What was your work and lifestyle like prior to joining the VEA? What sparked you to make a shift and start this venture as a VA?

Life was SO overwhelming before joining the VEA. Before I left Buenos Aires, back in 2017, I was working doing logistics for a Travel Insurance company. I was a person-person, you know, took my kid to school, went to work, picked up kiddo, made dinner, went to bed, occasionally went out every other weekend. Then I moved to SEA to teach English. It was never the plan but there I was, losing my mind, barely seeing my own kid.

I remember I made a post in one of those Digital Nomad Facebook groups talking about how much I was struggling, and someone recommended the VEA so I joined. I had already looked into becoming a VA in the past, because I truly love supporting people, but what discouraged me was the rates I was seeing VAs get paid. That changed when I joined the challenge and felt like my thoughts on ethical hiring were valid and making a VA career work out for me was possible.

In what ways has your life changed through your continued work as a VA? Have there been specific benefits that the freelance lifestyle has personally afforded you and your family?

Freelancing changed everything. I now have the freedom to choose who I work with, when and how much I work, and the flexibility to travel around as much as I want. I get to spend time with my child and watch them grow up.

What are three values that you hold onto both in business and in your personal life?

  • Effective, open communication. Being able to communicate what we mean is fundamental for business and non-business relationships, saying what we mean, asking for what we need, and speaking up when something is not ok.
  • Kindness. People are just people, they have their own days, work, bills, families, friends, and dirty dishes as everyone does. There’s no way to know what other people are going through, and I think that the only way to make this world a safer place is to be kind to both others and ourselves.
  • Responsibility. Taking ownership of whatever we do, right or wrong, and being able to deal with it.

Are you ready…

… for BIG change?

A Journey to Success

Let’s talk about your brand! Tell us the story behind your business name, SororityAssistance, and the inspiration for your logo and branding.

Well, the funny thing here is that the IC (Inner Circle – the VEA exclusive community) actually voted against my business name and I kept it anyway lol.

The word sorority in Spanish means something different than in English, something closer to sisterhood. Back in 2018, my home country was experiencing a high rate of femicides and Congress was debating body autonomy laws during a complicated political situation, and the relationship between all us activists during that time was called sorority.

The grassroots organization National Campaign for the Right To Choose created a symbol: the green handkerchief, people would wear it every day as a daily sign of protest, and to signal themselves as a safe person who random people could reach out to for help.

During one of the protests, a dear friend of mine painted a piece that represented a group of women wearing handkerchiefs, and I decided to use that color palette and the drawings as an inspiration for my branding and logo.

Over the years, I have questioned myself and thought about changing it, rebranding, and making it easier for prospective clients to understand what I do and who I am, but I honestly couldn’t think of a better representation of my willingness to help others and make the world a safer and more inclusive place.

At SororityAssistance you offer marketing, management, strategy services, and more. How did you decide on your current service stack, and which ‘offline’ work experiences did you find yourself transferring to the online space?

When I first started, I was creating simple landing pages, translating texts, and creating simple graphics on Canva and tried in vain to focus on offering just one thing. I’m neurodivergent, and doing just one thing bores me and makes it hard to keep me excited about my job. Listening to my clients’s needs and paying attention to the tasks I actually enjoyed doing was key to determining what services to offer, allowing me to have a variety of services to keep me both busy and engaged.

Also, I have a background in Anthropology, and an undergrad in ethnolinguistics, which came in handy to work on my marketing skills.

I worked in call centers and logistics before joining the online space, and lots of the skills I gained there were transferable. Many call centers use their own CRM systems, managing projects, sales, customer service, working with people in different timezones, prioritizing, and time management are just a few of those.

Image description: Indira and her child looking at one another beneath a canopy of pink blossoms, behind them a bridge can be seen over the water.

Since taking the 5 Day VA Challange, what was the timeline of your journey? When did you launch your business, when did you land your first client, and when did you reach an income that fully sustained your lifestyle?

Launching might be a bit of a big word here, but my business went live on day 3 of the Challenge, I think, and I landed my first client the next day. It was a project-based contract with someone outside of my niche, but it was a client and I was SO happy about it.

I joined the VEA immediately after the challenge, and it took me about six months to reach the point where my income replaced what I was making as a teacher, and another 3 months to get to a more comfortable level.

You’ve reached many milestones in your journey, but were there any moments that you were especially proud of? And what goals do you have for the future of your business?

I’m proud of all the work I’ve done over the past years, but the moment I cherish the most is when I got my first review. Seeing my work be appreciated by others gave me the validation I needed to keep moving forward.

Who knows what will happen in the future. I’ve reached a point where I’m happy with the hours I spend working and the income I make covers all my needs, so I’m taking baby steps to make growth sustainable. I recently hired a VA and plan to expand and take on new clients once they are settled on their role

Behind the Scenes

What does an average week at SororityAssistance look like for you? How do you balance work, traveling, and parenting in a way that keeps everything in motion?

Planning, flexibility, and lots of patience. Days look different depending on where we are, but in general, I try to organize my week around my kid.

I have two days per week assigned to taking calls/meetings, and at least two days where I don’t work at all. The other three days are used for work work work.

But the key here is to be flexible, what I detailed above is more of an objective or guideline than something set in stone. If kiddo is sick, I don’t work; if we have to catch a flight, I don’t work, and so on. It goes both ways, sometimes emergencies happen and I end up working from the airport or taking a call from a boat.

My kid is 10, they have been traveling for the past 8 years, and they watched me work online since they were 5, so they’re used to the whole thing and deal with it just fine, which definitely makes things easier because they’re also able to change and adapt to new circumstances and routines.

When it comes to running your business, what are some of your favorite tools of the trade?

  • Slack for client communication. It has this instant messaging app kind of feel to it, and at the same time, it allows me to have everything in one place. It’s also easy for clients to use, and it has a lot of integration and automations to improve the workflow.
  • Asana. It’s my favorite task management tool, hands down. The visuals do the trick so my brain is not overwhelmed by all the tasks and timelines.
  • Calendly for calendar management. Easy to integrate, customizable, and intuitive, it’s the whole package.

Since you started this journey, what was your biggest “failure” or something you wish you had done differently in hindsight? How did you overcome it?

Oh, this is a big one. I partnered with a friend to grow our businesses together and it didn’t work out. It was bad bad, not only business-wise, but also because I lost a friend. In perspective, I should have seen the signs and continued to grow on my own instead of trusting that someone else would know better about my business.

I took a long time off, that’s how I overcame it. There was nothing I could do to fix the situation, it just had to run its course, and I had to focus on feeling better so I could go back to serving my clients the best I could.

In addition to your work as VA, you’re also a passionate human rights activist. Could you tell us more about why you support this cause and its importance to you?

I’ve been a human rights activist for as long as I can remember. My home country has a complicated history that directly affected my family, so it was a topic that we discussed a lot at home, and I remember driving my teachers crazy with all my remarks and complaints. I’m also queer, neurodivergent, and grew up poor in a country that is not always kind to minorities, so being an activist is part of who I am because I probably wouldn’t be here if I didn’t know what my rights are.

I love helping others the way others have helped me get where I am today. We all deserve a chance to live our best lives, no matter our background.

Image description: Indira sits at a site of historic ruins, her child on her lap as they embrace in a warm hug.

Digital nomad families are increasingly popular, do you have any insights you could share about how traveling and working online has impacted you as a parent?

I honestly think I’m a better parent since I started traveling full-time and working online. Parenting is never easy, and the 9-to-5 life doesn’t make it any easier. It’s hard to be kind and patient with your kid when they are crying because they don’t like their shoes anymore and you’re running late for work. Freelancing took away all that external pressure. Of course, parenting, traveling, and working are still stressful things, but I get to choose what I get stressed about, if that makes any sense.

Kiddo and I have a better relationship since we started traveling. We both love exploring new places, chilling at the beach, and making new friends.

Traveling (even if to nearby towns) is also a great learning opportunity for children, as they get to explore their surroundings and gain practical skills.

What’s one piece of advice that you’d share with parents looking to pursue a VA career or start traveling full-time as a digital nomad?

Keep your priorities in order, let go of the crazy idea of having control over anything, and never lose sight of your why. Always keep in mind that your children didn’t choose that lifestyle, and whatever challenges you face through the process, they will feel it too, so be extra kind and adapt your plans to fit their needs.

Find community. There’s a huge world-schoolers/nomads with kids/expats with kids communities out there. Join the ones that resonate with you, and rely on the support and experiences others have to offer.

What’s your favorite book that you’ve read in the last year – and what was your biggest takeaway from it?

“Building a life worth living,” by Marsha Linehan.

She says “You can’t think yourself into new ways of acting; you can only act yourself into new ways of thinking”. This book links science and some sort of agnostic spirituality, focusing on building skills to deal with reality, observe our feelings, and take actions that are aligned with our why. Doing things is what makes us move forward.

Thank you Indira for sharing your inspirational story with us, we’re proud to see how you’ve thrived in your career. Quickly approaching 5 years as a member of the VEA, we look forward to where your location-independent journeys will take you in the future. You rock!

Connect with Indira

Where can people follow you?

Instagram: @Nadadenanna
Website: SororityAssistance
LinkedIn:
Indira Wislocki

But, how?

1 Comment

  1. Siya

    This is such a great story and spotlight. I received so much inspiration and encouragement to keep going after my dreams as a mother and entrepreneur/VA. You are amazing Indira.

    Reply

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