I met Eva, the founder of parenting and Caribbean parent blog SocaMom.com, at my first blogger conference, Blogging While Brown, last year. In speaking with her, I saw that she was confident and comfortable in her skin. After reviewing her interview questions, I feel like I need to step up my real estate property game. 🙂 The knowledge that she drops about money, self-acceptance, and willing your dreams into existence are timeless and exquisite.
This interview was so good that I plan to print it out and highlight all of the nuggets. I suggest you do the same.
What do you do and why is it important?
This question is really difficult for me to answer! I am a wife and homeschooling mom of three first. After that, I work as Creative Director for our family IT firm. That is an important job to me because it keeps me in touch with corporate America, and allows me to make a significant financial contribution to our household. I grew up in a home with two working parents, so being a full time stay at home mom wasn’t something I was familiar with, or prepared to do.
I also run a parenting blog and community for Caribbean parents called SocaMom.com. I was raised in a Caribbean home with one parent from Trinidad and one from Tobago. When I was growing up, my parents were very clear about the fact that our home was different from other kids’ homes. It didn’t take long for me to fully understand that the sounds, scents, and values in my house were different, and at times I felt isolated – until I went to visit family in Trinidad and Tobago. There, everything felt normal. The first time I attended a Carnival celebration in America, I realized that it wasn’t just me, it wasn’t just my house, there were people all over the country with homes just like mine, parents like mine, and a love for Caribbean culture just like mine.
Once I had children, I wanted to make sure that they knew that side of themselves, and were able to embrace it, so I went on a mission to find Caribbean cultural activities for us to participate in as a family. It was difficult for me, since a lot of the activities aren’t posted online – you just have to know someone – so I figured that once again, it couldn’t be just me. My contribution to the Caribbean community is important because I work to help parents keep their children interested in and connected to Caribbean culture.
What advice would you give to your 20 year-old self?
At 20, I was a senior in college, stubborn, and ready to party. I would tell my 20 year old self that getting a regular job isn’t so bad. I grew up with two parents who were entrepreneurs, so I had this skewed view of what real work was, and was sure that people who worked for others and got a paycheck weren’t really working. I would also tell her, whatever you do, don’t sell that property. Find another tenant, rent it, and use the income to buy more real estate – build a portfolio. It is harder to build a great real estate portfolio with the responsibilities (and fears) that come with time, age, a husband, three kids, a dog, and a fish.
What are three things that you know for sure?*
One. I know that just about anything is possible with ambition, drive, and help. Technology has pulled so many things into reach of women, minorities, immigrants, kids – everybody – and choosing not to take advantage of the opportunities that are out there, and making excuses for failing to achieve goals is inexcusable.
Two. I know that relationships are important. I am an introvert, an extreme introvert at times, and the idea of getting to know people is something that can make me break out into sweats. However, I am happiest and most pleased with myself when I have made a connection with a new person. We can’t survive out here alone.
Three. There’s nothing that uttering one, some, or all of these six things can’t fix – “please”, “thank you”, “good job”, “let’s talk”, “how can I help you”, and “I apologize”.
What are you the most proud of as a woman, entrepreneur, scholar, or anything in between?
I think my most proud moment, was going to St. Vincent and taking my children to meet their great grandmother. I hadn’t seen her in 20 years, and I was bringing proof of sorts that I had made something of myself. I handed her a copy of my first book, and chatted with her about it – and that sealed the deal. All we want from our parents and grandparents is to hear them say, “well done.” I had no idea how much I needed to hear it until I actually heard the words. I’m happy with my life – I’ve won awards for work that is close to my heart, I’ve had three kids, and I’ve heard Oprah say my name. However, all the awards, appearances, Facebook friends, likes, and Twitter followers in the world can’t compare with my Granny telling me that I did something great.
What is the best advice (financial, emotional, spiritual, health-related) that you have ever received? Why did that piece of wisdom resonate with you so much?
Start buying real estate as soon as you possibly can. My mother told me that. I truly believe that real estate ownership is a great foundation for young people who dream of being successful in their family lives and in business – for men and women. I got my first house at 18, and I have been in love with real estate investment ever since. The sense of stability that it provides is unmatched in any other investment opportunity. When I was in my last years of college, owning my own home made me think twice about frivolous spending. When I became a single mother, purchasing our home for us gave me the feeling of security and stability that I needed at the time. Knowing how much I valued home ownership, my husband proposed to me at his housewarming! Now, we teach our children about buying real estate and how to invest. Hopefully we’ll pass on not just our properties, but also a desire to build their own legacies for their children through property ownership.
What is going on in your business/career that EVERYONE should know about now? Is there a product or services that we should ALL know about?
Last year, I published my first book for children and families, Anancy’s Family Reunion. It is available for purchase on my website, and on Amazon in paperback and ebook. I am also expanding the SocaMom.com community into offline groups. Right now we are in Washington, DC and Brooklyn, NY. By the end of the year, I would love to add 5 more cities to the list. Our online community is fantastic, but I believe that extending those relationships has really provided Caribbean families with great opportunities to connect.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next five years?
In the next 5 years, I will have two children in high school and one in college, so I see myself as a super busy mom. As far as in business, I see myself having finished several of the book projects that I have lined up, helped my husband expand our IT business, and having SocaMom.com known in the Caribbean community as the one and only place for Caribbean parenting news and events. Five years isn’t really that long, so I really have my work cut out for me.
What rituals, if any, do you do on a daily, monthly, or yearly to keep you focused, positive, or centered?
Each year, I revise my “future bio”. I have a bio that I have written based on where I want to be and what I want to have accomplished by the end of the year. I use it to measure how close I have come to meeting or exceeding my goals. I take some time out and go on my own “writing retreat” at a local hotel to catch up on my writing, be alone with my thoughts, and just relax. I do a lot in a day, so every few months I have to get my alone time in.
How do you handle setbacks? What skills, support, or personality trait do you rely on the most to help you overcome adversity?
I am a “fixer”. I see setbacks as opportunities to do something amazing. I rely on persistence and creativity to get back on track. My husband and I are business partners, so when I have ideas that I need to refine in order to tackle a problem, I rely on him as a sounding board.
What makes you a DreamGirl?
I have a difficult time accepting what others see as impossible. I still see the things that I daydreamed about as a kid as totally doable. Even more so now that we have the technology and access that we have. My mom came from a type of poverty in Trinidad that I’ll never understand. She would tell me about how she decided after reading an Ebony magazine that she found, that she was going to be a doctor, and was going to have her very own house with a pool when she grew up. She was going to have a daughter who was a debutante in a big white dress. If people laughed, she was undeterred – and her dreams became a reality.
Wilma Rudolph was one of my mother’s favorite icons – an inspiration. She would often talk about how she went from being stricken with polio and wearing braces on her feet to becoming the fastest woman in the world. I believe that understanding that my dreams are never too big makes me a Dream Girl. One of my favorite quotes from Wilma Rudolph is this: “Never underestimate the power of dreams and the influence of the human spirit. We are all the same in this notion: The potential for greatness lives within each of us.” This means that not only am I a Dream Girl, but every woman out there has the “potential for greatness”, and can be a Dream Girl as well.
Connect with Eva on Social Media: Facebook
Amazon – http://amazon.com/author/evawilson
Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/socamomdc
Instagram – http://www.instagram.com/socamom
Pinterest – http://www.pinterest.com/socamom/
LinkedIn – http://www.linkedin.com/in/socamom
Youtube – http://www.youtube.com/user/socamomusa