People are often amazed when I mention the annual Australian VA Conference. The next thing that usually comes out of their mouths is something along the lines of “But you work in a virtual world, why do you need to attend a conference in real life?”

Our industry is growing rapidly, and like every other industry – we need personal development to continue with our business goals and hurdles. Thanks to the AVAA committee, we have an annual conference for that exact purpose – 2 days of quality speakers sharing their wisdom, tips and suggestions.

Virtual Assistants, Sandra, myself & Julie – In Real Life!

Related: What happens when the room is full of Virtual Assistants?

Just like any conference, workshop or event, you take away key messages that are relevant to you and your business! My key take-a-ways were;

· For those outsourcing, there is a strong preference for using local service providers (61%). This good news was provided by Robert Gerrish and the Flying Solo Community Survey.

· In typical and animated style, Katrena Friel reminded us that you should not classify yourself as Extroverted or Introverted, but instead recognise that you have a range, and learn to apply that range depending on the situation you are participating with.

· When considering a new direction, partnership or arrangement, do you ever ask yourself “Does this align with my Vision and Values?”. This should be a good temperature check to help you make the right decision for you and your business. Angela Counsel shared this piece of wisdom.

· Did you know close to 3,000 people will die from air pollution in Australia this year? What a scary thought. I’ve always been worried about the impact we are making on earth for future generations, and was pleased to see Climate Change on the agenda. Judging from the conversations within the room, and with a vast array of stats, Andrew Woodward didn’t disappoint. Fellow VAs commented they now have a better understanding of the impact they are making and how they can turn it around to work towards reversing the effect on the environment.

Related: Read our previous article on how we are saving the planet (one small step at a time).

· Tara O’Connell reminded us that with self-belief, setting strong foundations and focusing on the skills gap, we can do anything we set our minds to. Tara also provided me with my takeaway quote:

“Outsource anything that makes your eyes glaze over!”

I have many more scribbled notes from Tara that will keep me motivated and on track to success.

· How important is your health? Another important takeaway from AVAC was courtesy of Rosemary Marchese. A business cannot function without good health – particularly for solopreneurs. I’m more focused and aware of my health and fitness (not obsessed) as I get older and try to lead a good example for my children. After all, without my health I can’t operate my business.

So once again, I return from a motivating and educational VA Conference. My head and notepad are full of ideas to improve my business and better support the businesses of my clients. I’ve connected with new VAs, who are progressing through the start-up phases, as well as those who have been established in their business for some time, and of course even a fellow VA who has supported the EVA team without meeting face to face until this conference.

Related: Curious about previous years? Read our review of AVAC2013 and AVAC2014





by Sam Spence Founder & Executive Virtual Assistant, Executive Virtual Associate.

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