Diva Spotlight: Gazelle Simmons-Admin Services

Gazelle Simmons
Business Name:  Admin Services
Website Address:  http://www.admnsrvcs.com
Year Business Was Founded:  1998

Tell us about your business:
Since 1998, I have been a Virtual Assistant specializing in social media navigation, data entry, presentations, word processing, database management, editing and proofreading services, mass mailings, thesis and manuscript processing as well as other clerical services.

What inspired you to start your business?
When I first started, I had two elderly parents to care for as well as two children not yet in elementary school and I was overwhelmed. Now I can start each day with joy, looking forward to my work with my clients and enjoying the day. Having two children in college, straight A students, focused on learning and growing having watched me do the same every day. Enjoying hearing my clients say, I don’t know what I did before I met you. Being able to be here for my family and doingwhat I love has definitely been the best part of working from home

What has been the biggest challenge in your business and how have you dealt with it?
Restarting after Hurricane Katrina. At the time, I had no clients, no connections in the new place I had chosen to make a home and none of the resources that were available to me. Buying new equipment, promotional materials and getting back into networking were definitely challenges. I started little by little to get what I needed and with 6 months I had my first client again.

What would you say has contributed to your business success?
Keeping God first, family second and work third. Networking and more networking since you never know who knows your next client. Persistence day in and day out to keep the business going and growing.

What advice would you like to offer to other women/moms who arethinking about starting a business?
Be certain that you are a self-starter, that you don’t need the daily contact of other adults, that you can work un-supervised and that you can interact well with unseen individuals. You should careful screen to see if the person contacting you is going to be a good client. Not everyone who calls is going to be the right fit for you. Before working on any project, make sure you have a clear vision of what’s expected of you, a signed contract and a retainer up front. I stress to clients that I work with them and as we have entered into a partnership, to which I have a vested interest in seeing them succeed.

What has been the most rewarding aspect of being an entrepreneur?
The freedom to do the work I love, raise my children and enjoy the flexibility of it all. I truly know I am blessed to be able to be an entrepreneur.

What is your favorite tool/resources you use for your business and why?
Online networking has been a phenomenal aspect of getting my business growing. I work with people I wouldn’t have met in a million networking events. It allows me to connect nationwide and keeps the word of mouth flowing.

How do you manage your personal and business activities?
Because I work from home, work is always at my fingertips. I can move back and forth between work and family during the week but set hard rules about not working on weekends and keeping my 5pm close as close to that as possible. I’ve given my children the freedom to say, Hey Mom, it’s after 5pm. They keep me from working too much and remind me to get a life when necessary.

Looking back, is there anything you wish you’d done differently?
I wish I had started my business sooner.

Please share your social media connections:
I’m online at the following:
Facebook http://www.facebook.com/gazelle.simmons
LinkedIn http://www.linkedin.com/in/gazellems
Twitter http://twitter.com/gazellems 
Ryze http://www.ryze.com/go/gazellems
Meetups http://www.meetups.com

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