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2010 IVAA Conference

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Well, it's getting closer and closer to the 2010 IVAA Conference.

 

Who's going to Phoenix in April?

 

I'm really looking forward to it. I've attended a few VA conferences and I love learning new things each time I go. I also love seeing friends I've met before and meeting new friends. It's going to be great!

 

If you haven't been to a VA conference, you might want to think about attending. It's a great way to meet your virtual friends and learn a few things. If you're attending, let us know. If you have questions about the conference, post them here and I'm sure someone will be able to answer.

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2008 was my first Summit, and it was such an awesome experience (even though Candy was there) that I vowed never to miss another one.

 

I'm so excited that there's so many new faces coming this year - whether they've never been to one, or haven't been in a few years. It'll be nice to meet so many new people, connect with my friends, make some new connections and have some FUN!

 

I admire anyone taking their family with them. I toyed with it, but since I never get away from them - this is my time to let my hair down. WOO HOO!!

 

From the cocktail reception on Tuesday night, to Dinner with Strangers on Wednesday, to the Business Networking Reception on Thursday and ending with the Best Practices Open Discussion on Friday - its something you don't want to miss.

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2008 was my first Summit, and it was such an awesome experience (even though Candy was there) that I vowed never to miss another one.

Yep - Candy was at my first VA conference (it wasn't IVAA), so I know what you mean. ;)

 

She told me she'd kick my rear if I didn't show up this year. Well, at least my rear is safe. :P

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2008 was my first Summit, and it was such an awesome experience (even though Candy was there) that I vowed never to miss another one.

Yep - Candy was at my first VA conference (it wasn't IVAA), so I know what you mean. ;)

 

She told me she'd kick my rear if I didn't show up this year. Well, at least my rear is safe. :P

 

Ya know, I CAN read.

 

Just sayin'.

 

*laugh*

 

I'm excited for this one. I think it's going to be a really great conference this year, the location is perfect and it looks to be a good-sized crowd.

 

Now then... for those of you on the fence... I cannot stress enough how important in-person networking is. I know, I know, you're on a budget, you have a kid, you cannot afford it. But, in some ways you can't afford not to. My first summit went on a credit card. Not kidding. I thought it was going to be a big waste of money and I was worried that I had just tossed all my eggs into one basket. I was worried about my kids and leaving them with Dad for the first time for an extended trip - I basically said "they are your problem, I'm going". But it ended up being the best money I've spent on my business. And it's made going to the IVAA Summit a must-do. The face-to-face networking cannot be beat. The best part is that we all pretty much already know each other, so there's really not too much of that nervous stuff going around.

 

Things that came out of my first Summit:

1. A talk by Beth Quick-Andrews. It was 45 minutes, she may not even remember giving it, but during it she asked "what would do you if you were brave?". I decided to reach for the stars and said that I would grow OffAssist beyond just myself. Within a year, I had hired my first subcontractor. Today, we are multi-VA firm with an annual average gross income of a quarter of a million dollars.

 

2. Donnette Cowgill gave a talk about subcontracting. She still doesn't remember what she said (and neither do I to be honest), but she said something that struck me and changed how I viewed my business, she built off of what Beth talked about above (at least for me - remember, everyone's experiences with Summit are different, I had different reasons for going than some, I'm sure).

 

3. I actually drug an Austin VA with me (Lana Newlander). At dinner with strangers, we met Lauren Hidden of Hidden Helpers and Corie Hartsock of Core Office Solutions. Both were just as nervous as we were and we ended up having a great time. I consider them all my friends and allies, even today. Lauren and I have become really great friends and I was able, shortly after the summit, refer to one of my clients where she grossed $12k. It was a high profile client. There's no way I would have referred someone I had not met face-to-face. Lana and I are each other's rock to lean on.

 

4. I obtained quite a few clients from the people I met there, both VA clients and people they have referred to me. My business is built around referrals for this reason. I show up, in person, so people trust and know me. So they tell their friends :)

 

Other things that have come about just because I went to the various Summits:

 

5. I now use the Summits to "troll" for subcontractors. I always look at the roster of who is coming and see who I want to connect with. Either because they've caught my eye or because I might want to hire them. A lot of us multi-VAs do this. BUT do NOT approach us for work. It turns us off and we probably never hire you. I know that sounds weird, but if I had a nickle for every time someone interrupted a conversation and said "oh, if you need any help with that, I'd be happy to join your team". A bit rude, to be honest.

 

6. The people that made an effort to seek me out, or sit with me at lunch or something are the ones I remember the most (and not always for good reasons, while it's pretty loose and I'm so very un-PC, don't be annoying - I learned this one the hard way, folks! *laugh*). There are certain people that I see their name and it makes me remember their face and what they do. Or if a client says "I need someone to do XYZ", chances are I'll remember someone I've actually met.

 

Anyway, do come to the Summit. It's a great experience. BUT, if you do come, make sure you get something out of it. Don't sit off in a corner afraid to talk to people. No one will bite you. Most of the ladies are very friendly. (Some are crazy - not mentioning any names *cough*dana*cough*patty*cough*

 

Okay, that's my spiel. I'm not guaranteeing you will have the same experiences, of course, but I really don't think this is something that serious virtual assistants can afford to miss this year.

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Wow Candy! I couldn't have said it any better!

 

Yes, I agree that there are people who can't afford it but then I also agree that you can't afford not to. I was also nervous about leaving my children with hubby. Not that I know he couldn't handle it, but because I've never been away from them. I'm also not very good at flying.

 

During my first VA conference, I met Candy, Terry Green, Sally Kuhlman, Tawnya Sutherland, Yvonne Weld, and many, many others. I was a nervous wreck! I had already been in awe with these individuals. It was like going to see some famous people. ;) When I got there, I realized these are people just like me and they were all just as nervous and excited as I was.

 

From that conference, I have now become a Team Member for pretty much all of them and, if I'm not on their team, they may just ask me for assistance with something every once in a while. My business has grown and grown due to these individuals.

 

Since then, I've gone to two other VA conferences in Canada (FoVA) and I've met more fabulous people. I've also been asked to join other teams since they know I love being 'The VAs VA.'

 

You so hit the nail on the head when you said "Now then... for those of you on the fence... I cannot stress enough how important in-person networking is. I know, I know, you're on a budget, you have a kid, you cannot afford it. But, in some ways you can't afford not to."

 

Thanks for such a great and inspiring post Candy. YOU ROCK!!!

 

Before I forget..........I didn't know you read! OOPPPSSSS! :whistlin: :whistlin: :whistlin:

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Guest

Montreal was the first one that I missed and I still regret it. I can't wait for Phoenix. It will be great to see everyone again and to meet those I have yet to meet. It sounds like there will be a great turnout this year! Can't wait!

Edited by MurphyAssistants

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I'll be there with bells on! Here's something I posted to the IVAA group a couple of days ago that those here on VAnetworking who aren't on the IVAAnet may find helpful (or not...whatever).

 

Here goes my “do not forget” list (this is only my 2nd Summit):

 

Do not forget:

  • That you probably will NOT remember everyone you meet, so don’t be super hard on yourself. TRY to take notes if you can during the intro session when we all tell a little about ourselves.
  • Your laptop!
  • Blackberry/iPhone/iPod Touch is great for Tweeting/Facebooking updates during sessions & after hours! (You just never know when you’re going to need to tweet about French strippers and pizza). ;-P
  • Business cards!!!
  • Suitable PJs for the pajama party.
  • If you’ve got “burning questions” about something, be sure to write them down so you don’t forget to ask them in all the excitement! Trust me, if this is your first Summit, you WILL be excited. I was quite literally on such an adrenaline high during the Montreal Summit that I found myself physically shaking from “coming down off the high” at the airport the afternoon I was leaving! It will all pass so quickly that you’ll wonder where the time went, then on your way home you’ll remember a hundred things you wanted to talk about or ask!
  • Don’t necessarily think you “know” someone’s personality just from the postings on-line or voice chats. Personalities REALLY only come through when you’ve met “in person”. I already knew I liked Dana and Sandi, but meeting them in person just totally cemented those relationship for me. AND I met Terri (O.) and Doreen in person and got to spend some QUALITY time with both of them. I “knew” them from IVAAnet & VAnetworking, but didn’t REALLY know them until Montreal. They made such an impression on me that I’m sharing a room with Terri this year (and we talk/Skype/email several times a week about all sorts of crap), and I drove 3 hours ONE WAY for a day trip with my kids to see Doreen this past summer, and I’d totally do it again!
  • If you don’t know the person sitting next to you, well, why not?! Start talking! That’s how I got suckered into being on the 2010 Planning Committee - um, I mean, that’s how I met Nancy and she asked me to be on the Planning Committee for the 2010 Summit. (Well, actually 3 different people asked me, but I already “knew” 2 of them – none of them knew the others had approached me about the Committee - ah, to be in such high demand does wonders for a girl’s self esteem! LOL)
  • Most importantly – BE YOURSELF & HAVE FUN! Don’t get me wrong, we will be doing a lot of networking & learning (the “in person” aspect magnifies all that exponentially)! I’m just saying to be sure to relax and have fun with it because I can almost GUARANTEE that with all the great things you learn at Summit, the best thing you bring back will be the relationships you form while you’re there!

 

I’m sure there’s more, but I’ll stop now! :-) I’m getting too excited and don’t want to wet myself! LOL! (Sorry, dog reference.) I can’t freakin’ wait!!!! (Breathe - in through the nose - out through the mouth.)

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This will be my first summit and I'm about as nervous as I can be. So thanks to all of you for pointing out that I probably won't be the only one! I've decided that this will be the year I either make it as a VA or I have to do something else. I will be soaking up every bit of information that I can!

 

Thanks for reinforcing my decision to go.

 

 

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Guest TerryGreen

I am soooo very excited to see that 60 people have signed up so early during the registration period, and to see so many new people that will be going to the Summit! That is fabulous. While I've been to many conferences over the past 18 years (NASS, IAVOC & FoVA), last year was my first Summit ... and I must say I was very, very impressed with the fabulous job the Summit committee did. And ... I made the same vow after attending last year that so many other VAs made after attending their 1st Summit; I WILL not miss another one!!!!

 

All I can do is echo everything everyone else has said about why you should attend. They speak the truth!

 

You WILL take away more valuable and beneficial information from this short, 3-day event than you could ever imagine possible ... from the sessions you attend, and from the networking you'll do with all of the other fabulous VAs that will be attending. I don't care how long you've been in business ... you have something to share and teach others, so please, please sign up right now! And, while you're at the Summit, please, please do not hide in a corner and wait for people to come up to you (even though they will). Walk up to people you don't know, but want to get to know and introduce yourself. We are all there for the same reasons, and we all want to meet YOU, just as much as you want to meet us.

 

I can't wait to reconnect with all of the wonderful and talented VAs I've had the privilege of meeting in the past (and yes, I'm really looking forward to seeing Candy again!), as well as meeting all of the new VAs that will be attending. I always look forward to conferences like these, because not only are they a great investment to my business, but it's my time to just hang out, relax and have fun with all of the great friends I've made over the years.

 

It is definitely a MUST ATTEND event!!

 

See you all there ...

 

 

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This will be my first summit and I'm about as nervous as I can be. So thanks to all of you for pointing out that I probably won't be the only one! I've decided that this will be the year I either make it as a VA or I have to do something else. I will be soaking up every bit of information that I can!

 

Thanks for reinforcing my decision to go.

 

Don't be nervous! This'll be exciting!!

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