We had the good fortune of connecting with Monika Cross and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Monika, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
I’ve had an entrepreneurial mindset, from about the age of 12 when I set up my own yard sale to sell the things I no longer wanted. I’ve had business many ideas and even started many things. However, Office Work Done is a mixture of my natural gifts and abilities coming together with gratitude and a desire to help others. After the birth of my second child, I left the workforce to become a stay-at-home mom. I was going to work from home, I was going to turn my then side hustle of being a freelance administrative assistant into more of a regular thing. My desire, at that point, was simply to make some money to help support my family. One thing I have to mention is that I have been someone’s secretary since the age of 7 when I would help the school secretary with filing and running errands around the school. It is something that has followed me my whole life. From assisting the church secretary to becoming the church secretary, to the family secretary, the friend who helped type your resume or create a newsletter for whatever cause you had. The administrative calling has always followed me. One afternoon, a friend from church gave me a call, she heard that I wanted to work from home. She told me how she worked at home answering the phone. This was in 2006 when there were not many online jobs available. She gave me the information, I applied and with two children under the age of 2, I began answering the phone from home. As I was thinking about Ms. Marcel, I just began to be grateful. You see, Ms. Marcel wasn’t a stay-at-home mom but she needed to work from home. She had to work at home. It was her only way of providing for herself. I was deeply appreciative of her helping me. It was as if God himself placed this blanket of gratitude upon me. I just knew, deep down in my knower, that I had to find a way to not only provide an opportunity for myself but also for others who wanted to work at home. I knew this was something I had to pursue. So, it was then that I decided to turn my side hustle of being a freelance administrative assistant into a virtual administrative assistant agency.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As I stated, this administrative calling has followed me my whole life. In elementary school, the school secretary would often call me to the front office to help her file things. I was advanced for my age and grade and my school did not have an advanced or gifted program. So, I was often sent to the front office to help the school secretary. She taught me how to file and arrange things. In high school, my Aunt, who has been an entrepreneur for as long as I can remember, went into business with a physician and opened a health clinic. They needed someone to submit the insurance bills so she taught me how to do it. It wasn’t long before I was helping other doctors’ offices in the same building with the same thing. Some of these doctors began asking for other administrative tasks like creating newsletters or creating a flyer. By the time I was an undergrad at GSU I had a small handful of regular clients who needed various administrative tasks. I had also started working for a mortgage company as a clerical aide and I had taken on the role of Church Secretary at my church. My administrative journey had begun. For all of my professional career, I have worked in some sort of administrative capacity. I’ve worked in higher education, healthcare, real estate, even the beauty industry, all in administrative support capacities supporting everyone from the CEO to the office manager. I’ve seen first-hand, what a critical role administrative professionals play in supporting businesses from the executive level down to everyday operations. I changed industries so much simply because life happened. I couldn’t remain in one industry if I wanted to survive. I left the mortgage industry because it was topsy turvy and I had been laid off enough times that I knew I needed a new industry. I pulled on my medical billing experience with my Aunt and went into healthcare. A car accident left me without a car so I had to get a job on the bus line so I began working in the real estate industry. From there one life experience to the next demanded I change and shift. The one thing that remained steady was my administrative abilities. Although the industry changed, the roles changed, the duties changed, I was able to be flexible and resourceful no matter where I landed. I could problem solve, I could transfer skills, I could correlate experiences to various situations. It didn’t matter who I supported or what kind of company it was, I was able to make a direct impact and improve administrative processes, everywhere I went. Not only that, my process-driven brain has helped me strategically grow operations in solo operations of entrepreneurs and companies with c-suite executives.
This flexibility, resourcefulness, and confidence have been cultivated in me. Not of my doing and choosing but life. I grew up as the only girl in a house full of boys. My creativeness and resourcefulness came because I was the only one playing with dolls or playing kitchen. I’ve had my fair share of being the only girl in the room, the only black person in the room, the youngest in the room etc. etc. This confidence in me has been groomed. Growing up, sometimes we moved a lot, I had to change schools more than I wanted to. I had to adjust. I had to be flexible. I was married for 15 years and now I’m a single mother of 5. I’ve loved, I felt heartbreak. I’ve endured emotional, mental, physical, and verbal abuse. I’ve been laid off. I’ve experienced grief. Life has given me a great cocktail. You roll with the punches, duck when needed, punch back when necessary, and keep it moving. In life and in business, flexibility, resourcefulness and confidence are paramount.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Hiking is a must. Atlanta is so scenic. Favorite places or must to hikes: Arabi Mountain,
Chatthoochee River Trails,
Falls at Roswell Mill Trailhead
Places to eat:
Zab-E-Lee Thai & Sushi (the best Pho)
Eclipse de Luna (the White Peach Sangria)
Desta Ethopian Kitchen (anything on the menu)
Highland Bistro (Fried Broccolli)
Broadway Diner in Fayetteville
Krog Street Market
Things to Do:
Dekalb Farmer’s Market
Atlanta Belt Line Eastside Trail
Walk through downtown from Centennial Park to Atlantic Station
JeJu Sauna & Spa
The High Museum
Atlanta Botanical Gardens
The Carter Center
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Rialto Center for the Arts
Place to Visit & Shop or Shop & Visit:
Little Five Points
Places to Worship
World Changers Church International
Word of Faith
Ebenezer Baptist Church
Places to Shop:
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to dedicate this shoutout to my story, my mother, my kids, and Ms. Marcel Stephens-Lee. My story is my history I wouldn’t be me without every single detail of my past. My mother because she is the biggest supporter and encourager I know. My kids because they hold my heart, and Ms. Marcel Stephens-Lee because your kindness toward me was a stepping stone toward gratitude that I didn’t even know I needed.