Considering where to spend your time and money for the remainder of this year into the start of 2019?  Which events should you be focussing on?

I am lucky enough to speak with a large number of aspiring and established VAs and online business owners on a daily basis, and hear about their challenges and successes, their frustrations and their recommendations – it’s one of the things I love most about what I do.  One of the topics that has been under discussion recently is which events VAs should be looking to attend – so I thought I wanted to talk a little bit more about how you should choose the events to invest in and also give you some ideas around which events are on my list too!

Our VA and online business industry is growing, but it is still in its infancy.  It is hard to find good, valuable events that provide content and information pitched at the right level.  Some VA specific events are focussed on the introductory ‘what is a VA?’, or sometimes on the narrow (but still relevant to some) skillsets require if you are offering traditional VA services, such as ‘PA Assertiveness’ seminars.  

But what about the sessions recognising us as the business owners and entrepreneurs we are? Where is the ‘Create your killer business plan’ seminar? Who can see the ‘Be careful of burnout when you are running a business’ session?  And the ‘Understand the financials of your small business’ talk seems absent across the board.

Of course, if all VAs did the same thing and offered the same skills, this might tick the box.  Likewise, if all VAs were employees this might also be enough.  But VAs aren’t all PAs, or social media managers, or digital marketing experts – our industry is a puzzle made up of pieces coming from all kinds of backgrounds, industries and skillsets.  What we have in common is that we are all searching for the most professional, profitable, successful and rewarding way to run our online businesses, so it makes sense that this is where we need to spend our time and energy. 

Whether you are in our VIP VA community or part of the wider international VA network – you shouldn’t feel as though you can only to events that seem to be  designed for Virtual Assistants; please REMEMBER you are an entrepreneur and a successful small business owner in your own right (and yes you also support, other business owners – which is great!) so you should be attending events for entrepreneurs, freelancers or small business owners.

The key thing is that you are choosing an event that will help drive you and your business forward, rather than keep you stuck in a particular pigeon-hole or to teach you a skill or service you may never offer.

So my challenge to you when thinking about investing your time and money in events is to ask yourself three simple questions first:

  1. Is the focus of the event on building my business or strengthening my business owner skills?
  2. Will I learn something that will help drive run my business more effectively?
  3. Will I meet and build connections with other business owners?

I guess you are asking yourself if this event really serves you as a business owner.  If you can answer yes to all three, it is fair to say that the event is worth considering adding to your agenda.  If not, you might need to give it some more thought or seek other opinions.

To help you get started, here is our list of the top 10 events to check out as a small business owner – happy attending!

  1. Atomicon – 7-8 March 2019 – Newcastle Upon Tyne. The UK’s best (and most fun) digital marketing conference helping you to generate an avalanche of leads and sales.  Content Marketing mavericks Andrew & Pete are hosting their awesome conference again this year. One NOT to be missed.
  2. Elevate Virtual Summit – 14 February 2019 – Online.  Our signature join-from-anywhere summit with some amazing guest speakers and a whole heap of valuable content and connections.  
  3. Content Live – 15-16 November 2018 – London. Join PR expert Janet Murray to create your entire 2019 content plan for your business and connect with other business owners looking to do the same. What’s not to love?
  4. IPSE National Freelancers Day – 2019 TBC – London.  IPSE’s flagship event brings together freelancers and self-employed business owners for a day of workshops, seminars & panel sessions.  A star studded lineup and crucial information across the board – this event really should form part of your calendar for next year!
  5. KoffeeKlatch Webinars – Regularly – Online.  One of our partners, KoffeeKlatch provide contracts, support and advice around working with freelancers – and most recently have guided people safely through the new GDPR rules that came in in May 2018.  Join one of their webinars and you will be entertained, but more importantly educated.  
  6. The Congregation of Inspiration – 28 September 2018 – London.  Not on the HighStreet’s CEO Holly Tucker brings you the ultimate business event for creative entrepreneurs. A day full of energy, inspiration, real advice, and a whole host of incredible guest speakers and panelists sharing their unique lessons and advice with you.
  7. The Elevate Retreat – 20-23 June 2019 – Bordeaux.  It’s easy to get caught up with doing the do when you are running a business – but running at 100mph isn’t a long term option. We’re taking just 10 business owners to beautiful Bordeaux to plan, strategise, connect and practice self-care.  The first of its kind – not to be missed.
  8. The Business Show – 14-15 November 2018. A HUGE trade show with talks, advice and workshops around finances, startups, business growth and entrepreneurship to name a few.  A great opportunity to discover and connect with new people.

also if you are just starting out:

9. MADE Festival – 2019 TBC – London. A disruptive, engaging and interactive festival to shape the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.

10. VA in a Day – 07 November 2018 – London.  Want to kickstart your own VA business? Join us for our workshop where we’ll be planning, learning & creating to start your business with a bang! 

Of course, you also need to consider where you will be networking – and networking with your peers is an absolute ESSENTIAL element of building a successful business.  Click to find out more about our VA networking get togethers and our membership.

So, wherever you decide to spend your time and energy – make sure it sits right with you, your business and your vision.