I sent this message to the two forums I manage but thought I’d share it here too – in case you don’t belong to one of the forums!
Hi everyone, well, it’s the end of the year of 2009. For my family the year started off badly but has ended up quite well (if you ignore my computer challenges). A new home in the country, a new grandson (our first) and a trip overseas which meant I met many VAs from the US and Canada face-to-face for the first time at the Forum on Virtual Assistance. I was so thrilled to be invited by Barb Lang to speak at FoVA and it is an experience I would love to repeat. Perhaps for IVAA or one of the other VA conferences at some stage. I have spoken at OIVAC each year and enjoy that, but of course it’s not face-to-face!
Make I take this time to wish you all a joyous and prosperous 2010 and may all of your businesses grow to where you want them to go. For some that means a fulltime busy business and for others it means simply just a few hundred dollars a month to contribute to the existing household income. Whatever it means, don’t forget I (and many of the other experienced VAs) are here to help you in various ways.
Start making plans for the new year as to what you want to do. Each year I spend a full day in January as a prayer and planning day and it’s amazing to see at the end of that year how many of my business and personal goals have been fulfilled. I can tell you that one of my personal goals this year was to shift to the country and we’ve definitely done that. Another was to take up photography more seriously and do a course and join a club – I did both those things. I’ve even sold some of my photos which has been a bonus. I’m hoping to do further courses this year and will be joining a club in Knox closer to my new home.
On a business level the previous year I’d set a goal to secure my first international speaking engagement and that certainly did happen with Graham and I spending a month away – 3 weeks in Canada and a week in Alaska June this year. And we spent time with Tawnya Sutherland and Arnie – many of you will know Tawnya’s name from the VA industry as she owns a very large VA network and is very active in the community, as is Arnie.
Some of my goals weren’t fulfilled – I was hoping to publish another book but with the loss of our daughter Miriam late last year I must admit that my enthusiasm for some things wained and I just wasn’t in the mood for writing much till quite late this year. I’m hoping also to build up a Cafe Press account with Australiana items (drawn from my photography) and establish a publishing arm to my business – perhaps 2010 is the year to do this. As I have successfully self-published printed books and got them into bookstores as well as Amazon.com I am often asked for advice by others wanting to do the same. I love that we can pursue things of interest when working at home and if those things happen to complement our VA businesses they then become another arm or wing to our VA practice.
Make a plan to improve yourselves professionally in 2010 – as you should for every year. Working at home and for yourself does not mean you should not continue to do courses and improve your abilities. In the corporate world the training was provided for you (whether you wanted it or not) but in the ‘business-owner world’ you have to take responsibility for this to ensure you keep up with both your industry and your clients. How many of you have clients wanting to race ahead and get the latest….? I know I do and I’m sure you do too. And as your client relationships grow they (the client) will look upon you (the VA) to advise them and point them in the right direction with respect to the Internet and related technologies.
On that point, in 2010 there will be three things you may like to consider taking part in – either all or one or two:
AVAC – Australian VA Conference which is being held 12/13 March in Melbourne, Australia. Bookings will be open right up till Monday 8th March however early bird rates close tonight. If you’re a Melbourne based VA and would like to host a VA in your home during that time please get in touch with me offlist – I think this will be a great way for more face-to-face contact and relationship-building. For those wanting to book accommodation our travel agent, Kirra Moon-Curry is listed on the AVAC website – and Kirra is in the office as we (my husband and I) did hear from her yesterday relating to a family booking. If I do get ‘hosted’ spots I’ll advise those who have booked.
VATrainer.com course is a 10 week course, i.e. the lessons are delivered weekly via email over a 10 week period. There is no set intake period so you can elect to sign up when you’re ready. You can send your homework weekly or wait till the end of the 10 weeks and send it all in together – it’s up to you. The program list for the course can be seen at the site at www.vatrainer.com. It is not about teaching you how to use software programs – you should know that already, but it is about teaching you how to run your VA practice, market it, and gain clients and look after them. I’ve had excellent feedback from my students and the graduates list is growing. I do have a Christmas special which again, ends tonight.
VACoachingClub – new club being launched at www.vacoachingclub.com. We have a small number of members currently. This is for those who want continued support and coaching or mentoring on a monthly basis as they develop their VA businesses. We will have monthly teleseminars and Q&A sessions with a forum specifically for members where they can download recordings of past teleseminars, chat with members and ask questions relating to running their businesses. There will also be items available to them at discounted rates.
Well, that’s it from me for now. Looking forward to hearing what 2010 brings you as time progresses.
Happy New Year!