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A Day In The Life: Tonya Allen

Since January 2020, BELAY Virtual Assistant Tonya Allen has been the poster child of virtual work: Literally living on the road while earning a living.

Sounds more like living the dream if you ask us. Here’s how virtual work with BELAY made it possible.

Why The Third Option?

“We are full-time RVers so working remotely makes sense for me.

“It's flexible – if we're traveling, it is super easy for me to stop for a few days somewhere that we'd like to visit, and still work. As long as I have a WiFi connection, I can work anywhere!

“That's the beauty of working remotely.”

Why did you make the switch?

“Being full-time RVers who left the rat race of New York City in August of 2018, I had been looking for a remote job for myself, while my husband, who is a horse wrangler, works at the various locations we travel to for his work.

“I was a C-level executive assistant in New York City for over 15 years and struggled with trying to figure out how to take a job that I loved on the road with me.

“When I found BELAY, I knew that it was just what I was looking for.”

What has the Third Option has afforded you that you didn't have or couldn't do before?

“I cannot stress how much I love the flexibility of working for BELAY from home.

“I'm an Army brat, so traveling is in my blood. The ability to work and still travel – at the same time – is invaluable to me.”

Who do you spend time with and what do you like to do when you're not working? 

“I like to spend time with my husband – we're still considered newlyweds. We just had our three-year anniversary.

“I love to travel – if that weren’t already obvious – [and] I also really enjoy swimming and reading! I read a lot – at least a book or two a month.”

What do you love most about your clients?

“I really love my 2 clients! That's not an understatement.

“They are a married couple who are co-CEOs of their company. They couldn't be more different but that's what makes it exciting for me – every day is different.

“At first, I was just supporting the husband, but now I'm supporting them both, and it's been so much fun!

“They trust me, and I trust them. We have a wonderful rapport with each other. I meet individually with each of them once a week and I do completely different work for each of them so I'm never bored.

“I couldn't be happier supporting them!”

Can you talk a little about how you have integrated into your clients' culture?

“I truly feel like I've integrated into my client's culture.

“In fact, I know I have because one of the CEOs told me that I'm a great fit culturally for his business. It's such a wonderful thing to have someone tell you that after only four months of working with them.

“It truly made me feel like they get me – we got along great right from the start, actually!

“My client's company is 100-percent remote, and they pride themselves on really helping each of their employees and freelancers to be successful.

“They have six core values that guide them, and one is ‘connection’ which states that they care and they share, and are better together. And I truly believe that to be one of my guiding principles as well.

“I'm a firm believer that being nice to each other takes less work and willpower than being mean to one another, and the energy that you harness from a group of like-minded people helping each other out – those people can change the world.

“I don't think it's a pipe dream – and neither do my clients – so culturally, we fit together!”

How has your background and past experience helped your clients?

“My background is as a C-level executive assistant but I have also been a teacher, an actress, a manager of a retail store, a camp director, and a high-end salesperson for a robotics company – and I think I pull a little bit of talent from each of my former jobs to help with my clients.

“I have an MBA in Human Resources so I use that with this client. I also use my C-level work with executives to help with this client, too, as I'm really well versed in high-level scheduling.”

Was there anything from your background and past experience that helped prepare you for serving clients virtually?

“When I was working for my C-level executives, I often worked from home [as] weather in New York City was brutal in the winter – and even sometimes in the summer – and we couldn’t always get to the office, so I was already familiar with working from home.”

What was one of the struggles you had transitioning to a remote workplace that you have had to overcome?

“None, really. I do live full time in an RV so making a workspace that was quiet was a bit of a transition.

“I finally found something that works, and my husband knows that I work at least six hours a day so when he comes home for lunch, he's often quiet because he knows I could be on a call.

“My cats are not fazed but are super happy that I'm home more with them now!”

What is one thing about what you do that makes you excited to get up tomorrow and do it again?

“I truly love working from home! I get up every day, make my bed, get dressed, and set my intentions for the day.

“And if you work for BELAY, you can even continue to travel! Some days, at lunch, I'll go meet my husband and ride a horse, or I'll swim some laps. I come back to the RV, snuggle my cats, and do some more work.

“I have traveled through states, been wine tasting, and then worked from the car. The freedom you have when you work for BELAY is invaluable!”