The most inspiring success stories come from ordinary people who’ve found themselves in tough times. Today’s story comes from a woman who found herself in such a situation filled with obstacles at every turn. Yet, even though the future seemed bleak, she gave it her all and never doubted herself.
Our story is about Alexandra Atlanova—a single mother of two who found her path to success during the pandemic. We’ll cover Alexandra’s inspiring story here and then look at some advice and tips she’d give for those looking to find their own path to their success.
Getting to Know Alexandra
Alexandra Atlanova was born in the country Uzbekistan. In 2010, she, her husband, and her 16-month-old son left and moved to America. Her family had won the Diversity Visa lottery, which secured their American green cards (permanent resident visas). This was a wonderful opportunity, and they were ready to take it!
They first moved to New York but struggled financially. Times were tough, and finding work to support their family was difficult. They only stayed there for a year, and in 2011, they moved to California, but work was still tough to find.
Starting Life in California
Alexandra and her husband completed QA engineering courses and searched for new jobs in California. While her husband was able to find a job, Alexandra struggled more. Unfortunately, she faced another issue as daycare was very costly, so she needed to be home with her young child. Finally, she found work as a QA freelancer and could do this job while babysitting her friend’s child along with her own.
Finding the Right Job
Throughout the next couple of years, Alexandra would go to work as an Android QA Engineer for Motorola. Then she would switch jobs and work for Sony and later on for LTK Company. While at LTK, she gave birth to her daughter Milana. And in 2018, she went to work for Google as a VR/AR QA Engineer. But it would only be a year later that her world would be turned upside down, and everything around her would change.
New Beginnings: Alexandra’s Climb to Success
In 2019, Alexandra’s world was completely turned upside down on her. Her husband left her and her two small children to move to another country. This took Alexandra by surprise and left her with serious depression. Determined not to show this to her children, she worked hard to build herself back up mentally. Her daughter was only two years old at this time, and her son was already eight years old. While her son was in school, her daughter still needed a sort of childcare. Even though her husband had left Alexandra alone, her wonderful friends stepped in to help her.
Alexandra worked harder than ever to repay the half-a-million loan on the home she and her husband had bought. Times were getting tougher as her salary was barely enough to pay for the house payment, bills, and groceries. She had no money left for anything else. Unfortunately, her daughter’s daycare also fell into this category; it was simply too expensive.
Alexandra’s New Path in Life
Alexandra’s husband paid for her daughter’s daycare for a few months after he left. But this money soon stopped coming in. Alexandra was left completely financially alone. Her situation was bleak, but she never gave up hope.
Alexandra was determined to find a way to make everything work. She knew deep down that only she held the key to changing her life. She was ready to make big changes, and she knew she needed to find a new path urgently. A few years prior, she’d had the idea to open a daycare. But, at the time, she wasn’t sure it was the best step to take and couldn’t convince herself it was necessary.
But now was the time to throw caution to the wind and give her previous idea a shot! So she sold her house to make some money to open her business. This situation gave Alexandra the clarity she needed to realize that opening her own daycare was the right path to take.
Alexandra and Her Daycare
During Alexandra’s moment of clarity, she realized two reasons why opening her own daycare would be the best move.
Her reasons why starting a day was the best option:
- She wouldn’t need to pay for her daughter to go to daycare if she had her own daycare. Daycare costs around $2,000 a month in her area, which was just not financially feasible.
- None of the daycares in the surrounding area met the standards she had in mind.
Alexandra’s Vision of a Bright Future
Her second reason motivated her so much. She envisioned a daycare unlike what she could find in Silicon Valley. She dreamed of a spacious, modern-designed daycare with toys from around the globe, a place that offered new teaching methods, and a park nearby for the children to walk in.
She saw how this would benefit society as a whole. And as a mother, Alexandra knew that other parents would want the best for their children and see that with her daycare. The idea of helping families and their children by giving them a place filled with happiness to grow and learn greatly inspired Alexandra. Knowing her daughter would benefit from being in such a place and that they’d be able to spend more time together had a special hold on Alexandra’s heart. She was ready to create a safe haven for the little ones and form the perfect daycare.
Creating the Daycare: Fluffy Llama
A tip that Alexandra held tightly to was that if one’s business benefits society, you are doomed only to have 100% success from it. So Alexandra took a loan from her friends to repair her home to sell, move to a new rental, and begin opening her daycare. She spent her free time researching and learning everything she’d need to run this business; from banking affairs to fixing faucets, she was determined to be completely prepared.
Once Alexandra sold the house and received her share, she decided to spend the entire $100,000 on opening her business. And in 2020, she registered Fluffy Llama LLC for her new business. By March, she’d found the perfect place for the daycare and signed a 5-year lease.
Troubled Times Rolled In
One week after signing her lease, Covid-19 hit full force. Businesses were closing left and right, people were stuck at home, and fear was growing for the future. Alexandra’s friends advised her to wait on her dream. After all, why risk the money when other daycares around have all closed their doors too?
But Alexandra made one of the most important decisions of her life at this time. She decided to preserve and keep pushing for her dream to become a reality! She focused on positivity, creativity, and making her daycare come to life. Even though the logical choice seemed to wait and hold off on pursuing her dream, her intuition told her to go for it. She trusted the latter and would go on to truly appreciate this tough decision.
Bringing the Fluffy Llama to Life
Alexandra knew that it might never happen if she didn’t bring her daycare to life now! But, she felt that even if she failed, she would have given it her all, which she could be proud of.
With Covid-19 in full swing and everyone at home, she could complete all her work tasks using only half the day. The rest of the day, she worked on creating her daycare. First, she would repair the daycare remodeling the building herself. And then, she began looking for furniture, but shipping times were nearly at a halt due to the pandemic.
She brought toys in from all around the world, from places like Russia and China. The children would be able to have unique experiences with toys from other cultures, along with educational games.
A Beautiful Start
Once Alexandra Atlanova had set up her daycare with beautiful, modern furnishings and education multicultural toys and games, she had created a daycare that mirrored a fairytale. Finally, she was ready to open the doors. Only a couple of things left to do— to find new teachers and receive her fire and basic licensing.
Unfortunately, the licensing offices were closed due to the pandemic. But Alexandra was not deterred! After a flurry of calls and requests, Alexandra talked an inspector into coming out for the fire safety inspection, and she did the basic inspection over Zoom.
A Flourishing Daycare
Alexandra’s daycare was finally brought to life and was more beautiful than she could have imagined. She found amazing teachers, and her daycare was quickly filled with children. After only a year, she quit her job at Google and decided to open a second daycare.
And after only four months of this daycare being opened, every slot in it was already sold out. Word travels fast when you offer premium childcare in Silicon Valley. So now Alexandra spends her days doing what she loves making the world a bit brighter for little children.
Alexandra’s Advice For You
Alexandra found the true meaning of success for herself. She never gave up, even when life kept handing her obstacles. Her advice for anyone wanting to succeed is, “If your dreams are filled with love and benefit others, they come true much easier.”
When it comes to taking advice, follow your heart and your gut. Advice can be helpful, but it’s best to take advice from professionals rather than well-meaning friends and family.
Chasing your dream might be scary, but change is always hard and scary at first. You’ll never know what could’ve been if you don’t try. Never be afraid to ask for help and trust in those who support you.
Rather than focusing on why you can’t make something happen, focus on how to do it instead. Don’t be afraid to try, even when it gets complicated. One day, you’ll look back on everything you went through and understand that those experiences were needed because these weren’t only problems; these were your path to success.
Photographer: Katerina Erofeeva