Meetup with a Virtual Assistant at Vanillas Coffee and Tea Cafe in Grand Rapids

Tuesday we drove from Jackson Michigan to Madison Wisconsin. Along the way we were going right through Grand Rapids Michigan where Pam Thompson lives. She’s a virtual assistant that has joined us on mentoring calls and just became a member of The CVO Source for virtual assistants. We couldn’t pass through her town without meeting in person. Pam suggested we meet her at Vanillas Coffee and Tea.

We arrived shortly before Pam and were greeted by the friendly staff, Lisa and Zach. Lisa had seen us pull up, saw our van packed and wondered if we were traveling. So we explained how we are traveling while working virtually. Lisa and Zach made us feel welcome, took our order and impressed Fiona with a complimentary order of mini cinnamon rolls. A bit later the owner, Beverly Ault, came in and we had a nice chat. We saw they were going to have live music Friday night. So of course Joel had to bring in his mandolin and play a couple of songs for Pam. Lisa asked if they could get a picture of Joel, the traveling musician, playing so they could post it on their website. We readily agreed and asked if we could get pictures of the staff to post at our blog.

After a great conversation with Pam, she had to leave. She didn’t leave empty handed; she also purchased a copy of The Commonsense Virtual Assistant – Becoming an Entrepreneur, Not an Employee. After we mailed off postcards and paperwork to Fiona’s teacher from the Postal Annex three doors down, the staff at Vanillas sent us off with a complimentary package of cookies for the road. Thank you to Beverly, Lisa and Zach at Vanillas! You made the ride for Fiona a lot of fun.

Guest Post by Sara Gaffney: You Have My Blessing and Envy

Sara is a virtual assistant who founded the Northern California Virtual Assistants Meetup Group. We’ve been able to get to know Sara quite well over the last year or two. She recently sent us a couple of emails that she has agreed to let us share as a guest post.

Hi Sue & Joel,

I have been following your blog. I think it is great what you guys are doing! I am enjoying reading your posts :) Where are you heading next? Do you have your two months planned out?

Make sure you have a good GPS, and good set of tools with you and your battery is always charged on your cell phones. Never take a detour if you are not sure if the weather is bad, and always let someone know where you are heading to. OK, those are my motherly tips for the day :) BE safe, have fun, enjoy, and experience life as it was meant to be experienced; meeting people in their own environment, face to face, seeing life through your own eyes; instead of what you hear on T.V, or in books.

This is an experience every child and adult should have.

What a history lesson. Fiona can really experience how others live, not just those in Roseville California. It is not always easy when your child/children asks you those difficult questions that most parents try to protect our children from. When you pass through a town that you want to lock the doors or a city that looks deserted because all the factories and businesses have closed down. Or where the majority of people have different skin color then you. If more people were able to get out of their back yard and travel around we would be a better place.

I would add that you make time for play groups. I would hate to think she has an imaginary friend :) That could be fun too… I seem to remember I had an imaginary friend. I didn’t turn out too bad!

This is from the Webster Dictionary: Guilt is a cognitive or an emotional experience that occurs when a person realizes or believes—accurately or not—that he or she has violated a moral standard, and bears significant responsibility for that violation. It is closely related to the concept of remorse

Wow, for some reason I don’t see how you fall under the category of guilty.

So don’t have any guilt. You’re giving your family an opportunity to live outside your backyard and make friends with people that have all different kinds of stories to share about their life. And for a person to grow, they need to get out of their own backyard sometimes. Who’s to say when that time is? Live in the moment, who knows if there’s a tomorrow?

You have my blessing and envy.

Take care,

Sara

P.S. One more thing, you are not cheating the system… We created virtual businesses so we didn’t have to work for any one. That we could work on the beach if we wanted to. Well, you have choosen to work driving around in your car right now, home to home. What’s is wrong with that? You are working, making money, doing what you like, while others are hating life, losing their home, fighting with their spouse and getting fired.

So I say, when you pack the car, smile wide and wave good-bye knowing at least for now you have done the right thing. You can always rent a place again. You can even move in with your kids :)

OK, that will be $55 hr for my counseling services :)

When we asked her if we could post this as a guest post she replied, “OK, sure. If it makes you not feel guilty and gives hope to others to see that living is not just behind four walls then go for it.”