As a Virtual Assistant, the one event that is a must on my calendar each year is the Australian Virtual Assistants Conference or AVAC. While this year’s conference was the fifth of its kind, it was only my second year attending, but has very quickly become a ‘non negotiable’ event on my agenda!
Let me share my experience of AVAC 2014 and perhaps you’ll understand why.
This year, set in sunny Brisbane, fellow Bendigo based VA Sandra (PAVirtual) and I made the journey north together. Arriving the afternoon prior to the conference, allowed us not only a little sightseeing, but also to start networking with others within our industry. The VA Industry is very collaborative and AVAC is not only an opportunity to learn from the presenters, but also each other. Many of us know each other online, but only have the opportunity to meet up when based in the same area! Meeting face to face assists us to develop great friendships and sometimes business partnerships that may not otherwise happen.
After registration, Amanda Stevens, the wonderful MC for the event, kept us in fits of laughter with her tales and stories. She is an “in demand” speaker and if you have been at an event that Amanda has hosted – it is easy to understand why!
The opportunity to hear from 14 speakers over 2 days can overload many attendee at any Industry conference. Now that I am back at home, I certainly feel overwhelmed with the insights, tips, advice and opportunities I have at my fingertips. I won’t recap each speaker (you can see a list of speakers on the AVAC website), but a few that have given me food for thought.
Here are my ‘take-aways’;
- I’m not getting any younger, and I really need to listen to my body when it tells me I’m not taking care of it! A lesson from Dave Liow & Angela Jenkins (Kaizen Exercise Physiologists)
- Warrick Bidwell showed us a process to plan and breakdown our goals to define sales targets. My diary now has a planning retreat scheduled to ensure EVA’s success reflects my personal goals and dreams, and set my shopping list for life.
- The EVA website will be under review in the upcoming weeks (perhaps months) to ensure I have a call to action on each page. Thank you Paul Barrs for the other page and a half of notes I now need to review and action.
- Content for social media is always a topic of interest for any business owner, and Natalie Alaimo & Cas McCullogh shared some of their own social media strategies with us. Tip – Are you talking to your target market?
- Michela D’Addario shared some great tips and resources – the ‘Venting Tool’, and the reminder to take regular breaks.
- Tracey McGuiness of Southern Cross Accounting, provide a very practical, and clear presentation on how to work smarter not harder. I really enjoyed Tracey’s presentation and have some changes to make for the future growth of EVA.
- I’m no longer a slave to my inbox, more aware of my personal safety (and that of my children) and have a whole heap of websites and apps to review.
- A statement that was mentioned by one of last year’s presenters – which I find very true, was reiterated again – “It’s not what you know, or who you know, but who knows you!”
AVAC wrapped up with the announcement that the next conference will be held at Melbourne’s Docklands. VA’s around the country are now waiting for the date confirmation to block out their diaries and I am no exception.
Congratulations to the AVAC Committee on another successful event!
By Sam Spence – Founder & Principal Executive Assistant, Executive Virtual Associate.