Jessica Fox is an Advanced Certified QuickBooks Online ProAdvisor, Xero-certified advisor, and AccountingSuite certified specializing in service-based businesses and small non-profit organizations. She is the owner of Florida Virtual Bookkeeper LLC, a company that offers cloud-based bookkeeping services to small service-based businesses and nonprofits. Fox is passionate about helping small business owners have peace of mind by taking the burden of bookkeeping off their shoulders so they can focus on growing their business.
Where did you grow up and what was your childhood like? Did you have any particular experiences/stories that shaped your adult life?
I grew up in Puerto Rico and was raised as an only child surrounded by adults. For this reason, I was very mature for my age and struggled relating to children my own age. I preferred to join adult conversations than play with the children at gatherings. This led to a very introverted and solitary childhood but I never felt lonely. Instead, I read a lot which gave me an academic advantage and fostered a love for reading that is still strong today.
What is something you wish you would’ve realized earlier in your life?
I wish I had realized earlier that authenticity is the key to success. I wasted so much time trying to copy the success formula that worked for others but it didn’t work for me because it wasn’t authentic to me. Once I shifted my mindset and approached things from a unique and individual perspective, blockages to growth and success disappeared.
What are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise?
I see a lot of recommendations about how someone should market that I consider being expensive and while not necessarily bad, are complicated, time-consuming, and not required for success.
Tell me about one of the darker periods you’ve experienced in life. How you came out of it and what you learned from it?
Almost 15 years ago, I experienced a lot of change in both my professional and personal life. Everything changed overnight, I had to leave a long-term job I loved and the ripple effect led to me having to relocate. I feared change so I wasted time feeling sorry for myself instead of learning and adapting. It took a few years to “recover” from the upheaval but I learned a lot about myself, my strengths, and what I am capable of when I put my mind to it.
What is one thing that you do that you feel has been the biggest contributor to your success so far?
Being authentic and focusing on my zone of genius. I gave up trying to be a “Jane of all trades, master of none”, instead, I have narrowed down my focus to what I am good at and enjoy and changed my business model to reflect that. Once I learned that I don’t need to be everything to everyone, I was able to target my messaging and attract the perfect clients.
What is your morning routine?
I am not a morning person, I wake up at around 8 am and have a slow start. I hug my kids and cuddle my cat for a few minutes while the fog from sleep clears. I shower, have breakfast, make coffee and I am usually at my desk sometime between 9 and 9:30 am. The first step is to triage my to-do list and make any adjustments to my time blocking for the day so I can be the most efficient with the time available based on that day’s schedule.
What habit or behavior that you have pursued for a few years has most improved your life?
As a workaholic in recovery, I went through a process to establish clear boundaries and set up systems and processes to separate my work and my personal life. This can be easier said than done when you are a business owner with a home office.
I now only work during specific times, disabled business email notifications on my personal devices, and made it a point to establish boundaries with my clients to fit my needs. Now I am able to disconnect, relax, and enjoy time with my family without thinking about work 24/7. I have a lot less stress, higher productivity, and better quality of life in general.
What are your strategies for being productive and using your time most efficiently?
A combination of systems and time blocking is key for me. I use workflow management software to get the stuff out of my brain and use time blocking to manage everything I have to do. This way, I am not a slave to email or deadlines. I can plan in advance, tackle things in bite-size pieces, and have the flexibility to adjust when life inevitably happens and requires change.
What book(s) have influenced your life the most? Why?
Personally- I don’t remember the name of the book but over 20 years ago I read a book that said “If it doesn’t bring you joy, why are you doing it?”. This phrase has stuck with me and I ask myself this question frequently when making decisions and determining if I need to change tracks.
Professionally- Profit First by Mike Michalowicz. It completely shifted my thinking and allowed me to remove the mental block to being profitable. It had a huge impact on increasing my profit as I was no longer stressed about expenses, tax deductions, or my tax bill. Not only did it allow me to pay myself, but greatly contributed to the growth of my business.
Do you have any quotes you live by or think of often?
The quote above: “If it doesn’t bring you joy, why are you doing it?”
Also “I don’t lose, I win or I learn”