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Tawnya Sutherland

VAnetworking Conference 2011

VAnetworking Conference 2011  

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After years of procrastination and flip flopping, I've finally decided there will finally be a VAnetworking Conference in 2011. The first one will be held in beautiful Vancouver, Canada (giving members plenty of notice to get their passport).

 

I feel it's about time the largest social network in the VA industry gives it's members an excuse to meet each other :)

 

My intention is to make this annual conference the definitive conference for the VA industry for both new and veteran VAs. Therefore, instead of coming up with my own schedule of events and speakers I want you, as members, to tell me what you need to make your business more successful.

 

We've got some time to plan so please speak out and tell me what you want to see/learn/do at this conference. Think of other VA conferences you have attended in the past and what wasn't there that you wanted.

 

I will need a committee of people to help out too and if interested, please let me know.

 

I'm really excited to finally put this down on paper and say I'm going to do it. Looking forward to your feedback!

 

Also, scroll up and please answer the poll I've started. If you think of other questions I should add, please let me know.

 

In closing, I want to reiterate that the purpose of the VAnetworking conference is to give you what you need to run your business. I cannot do that by creating a conference on what I think is important. I can only do this by creating a conference with the information you need so speak up, tell me what you need in a VA conference!

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My preference would be to be a "FoVA-ish" style where it is more workshop type vs. actual conference type. I would also like to see more vendors, and not just VA industry ones - Im talking about running a business type, with demos and such.

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36 views and only Kristi has some feedback?? Please, give me your thoughts/feedback on what you would love to see in a conference (whether or not you can attend). Let's brainstorm, share ideas, create a conference that the VA world talks about! ;)

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zzzzzzzzzz.....ssssssuuuuummmmmmiiiiiiiititttttt......zzzzzzzz

 

That's on my brain right now. I'm sure I'll have PLENTY to add/say/suggest after April 24th! Hang tight, T!

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I definitely prefer panels with 3-5 people having a conversation. My biggest complaint right now about our industry conferences is that there's too many touchy feely things. That's great, but really, coaches and marketers, coaches and marketers. Yawn. I would also rather those panels have more experienced VAs up there (unless it's a newbie panel, of course!). I see so many "new" VAs touting their coaching programs and making promises that they will never keep and suddenly, they are speakers too? What? Get some street cred first, ya know?

 

Anyway, that's my feedback.

(and remember, don't ask if you don't wanna know) LOL

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(and remember, don't ask if you don't wanna know) LOL

 

I do wanna know...that's why I asked! Thanks Candy ;)

 

The more feedback I have, the better conference suited to the VA industry. We've got a year to plan, let's plan it the way we want it! :)

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WOW, you don't waste any time. You know I already signed up to help, whatever you need. I'll provide feedback in May after I return from the facilitators conference I'm attending. I have a few ideas to put words to them I'll get them posted.

 

I choose September for the month, that is a lovely time of year here in the Pacific Northwest. The weather is warm, and those that are mothers/fathers of school age children might enjoy a break after getting the kids back to school after the summer break. The kids will be too busy to miss them also. :thumbup:

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Interesting to see a slant towards September as I would have thought that September would be a bad time to have it with kids going back to school, etc.

 

I'm also surprised about everyone wanting a hotel with food included because that can be very expensive and push tuition costs really high.

 

Looking forward to all your feedback and ideas! Please, don't be shy ;)

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For me "food included" is usually breakfast and lunch. Dinner is almost always on your own for conferences.

 

LOL, when I read food included I was thinking a restaurant at or beside the hotel instead of inclusive in the pricing.

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Some hotels that have meeting rooms make arrangements for snacks. It might interesting to see what they would offer in terms of a brown bag lunch or a donut break. Dinner is usually after the meeting hours.

 

I work with a manufacturer who offers training classes in 3 intense days. We have up to 30 students. We have continental (granola bars, fruit, bagels, donuts, beverages) breakfast/break. a plain home cooked lunch and dinner for two days, but no dinner on the third day because everyone has gone. It is cost effective in terms of time. Letting people off campus to go even to an interior cafeteria is time we don't have to spare. Last time, we had students who didn't want to quit their projects to even stop for meals a few feet down the hall!

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I have to agree with Candy Although here I am technically a newbie I have been to plenty of conferenece that have had inexperience and its difficult to get the answers you need when they do not seem to have all the answers and you are getting "I will get that information for you and get back to you" yes it can be a great lead but that doesnt help. I also think that there should be a variety of vendors that might be relevant to our business. I attended an expo in Salt Lake City where it was all office supply stuff and they gave out tons of free samples and helped you on software updates and any software questions, etc. that was rather nice even if its just someone in our area who might be proficient and specializes in a specific software from our networking group can maybe put on a panel of problems, solutions, and brief trainings etc. This is my thought. I have moved to south Alabama from Nebraska so I have been out of the loop for the past couple weeks now I feel normal. LOL

 

I definitely prefer panels with 3-5 people having a conversation. My biggest complaint right now about our industry conferences is that there's too many touchy feely things. That's great, but really, coaches and marketers, coaches and marketers. Yawn. I would also rather those panels have more experienced VAs up there (unless it's a newbie panel, of course!). I see so many "new" VAs touting their coaching programs and making promises that they will never keep and suddenly, they are speakers too? What? Get some street cred first, ya know?

 

Anyway, that's my feedback.

(and remember, don't ask if you don't wanna know) LOL

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This would be my 1st VA industry conference and one I would definitely plan to attend. My suggestions are based on needs as a new VA and from viewpoint of attending, staffing and planning non-VA industry business conferences in the past.

 

Topic #1: VA Mentor Workshops "bird of a feather" workshop: goal would be to screen and pair new VA with experienced VA and have them complete 2-3 workshops during scheduled time slots during the conference. The workshops could be facilitated by a mentorship "kit" which I would be happy to help create prior to the conference.

 

Topic #2: Client Success Stories: Experienced VAs share real-world examples of how they attract target clients and build relationships that lead to follow on / retainer business.

 

Topic #3: Multi VA business panel discussion: including both multi VA business owners and solo VAs exploring or considering joining a MVA practice.

 

Topic #4: Value Pricing: selling our value, responding to objections from prospective clients who are price shopping and how to weed out the price shoppers and get clients who are truly seeking VA partners.

 

Topic #5: Best practices for running a successful VA business, finding the right balance of time/resources/tools to successfully deliver on client projects while managing and growing your business.

 

Looking forward to attending and happy to assist in any way I can.

 

~ Terri

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I am in for sure and Vote for Sep/Oct as well.

I'd like to see some hands on training for people in specific areas for new/experienced alike:

 

How to blog and use a blog (how to make links and add pics)

How to setup and manage your website

Organizing your business to run smoothly - ie how to get systems in place to manage your own work and client work (how to set up online filing system and filing of client data etc)

Pricing and packaging of services

 

I am sure I will think of more...

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