You have seen several interviews of clients who use Virtual Assistants. This interview is about a man who saw a way to work with Virtual Assistants and assist them in their workplace training.
Please tell my readers a bit about who you are and what you do.
My name is Craig Cannings and I have had the privilege of working virtually as a Internet Marketing Consultant, Blogger and Entrepreneur since 2003. I actually have three young daughters who have never known their Dad to work “outside” the home, which has been a great blessing. It is funny that when I do go to conferences or outside meetings, they are confused as to why I am leaving work (home):).
In 2008, my wife, Kelly, and I co-founded VAClassroom.com, an online training center designed to equip Virtual Assistants and Online Professionals with the precise skills businesses are demanding today. We have been just thrilled with the strong response we have received from the VA community and the many new opportunities our courses are presenting for our students and graduates.
What was your experience working with Virtual Assistants previously?
When I first started in the Internet Business in 2003, I worked as a Marketing Director for a medium sized company. We experienced exponential growth in our first couple years and were regularly adding to our fast growing virtual team. Our team comprised of marketers, designers, developers, business development people and, of course, Virtual Assistants. In fact, we quickly realized that our Virtual Assistants were really becoming the glue that kept our company intact and moving in the right direction. In my role, I was responsible for training all new Virtual Assistants in Internet Marketing related tasks and over time put together a training system for new VAs that joined our team.
Why did you decide to start VAClassroom, a training center specifically designed for Virtual Assistants and Online Professionals?
After training many virtual staff, I started thinking, what would it look like to create a training center that would provide skills training certifications in those areas that companies were outsourcing, just like us. After much brainstorming and vision-casting, VAClassroom was born. While we are not Virtual Assistants per say, our experience comes from the business side and an understanding of the unique skill sets required to perform the tasks being outsourced today.
Outsourcing is growing at rapid rates even during this global economic slowdown, which is presenting many new and exciting opportunities for Virtual Assistants. Our goal at VAClassroom is help VAs keep their skills current and in-tune with the evolving needs of businesses today.
What types of training programs do you currently offer?
We currently have a couple different certification programs. Our foundational program is the Internet Marketing Virtual Assistant Certification Program, which provides skills training in the areas of Competitor Research, Search Engine Marketing, Affiliate Marketing, Web Site Analytics, Email Marketing, Blogging and Social Media. This course offers a good starting point for someone seeking to offer Internet Marketing support services to their clients.
Our Social Media Marketing Training Program has become very popular these days given businesses interest in using Social Media to grow their companies. This Social Media Marketing Training Certification is unique in that it is solely designed for those VAs or online professionals that would like to offer Social Media related services to their clients. The course includes such topics as Social Media Strategy Development, Social Network set-up and management, Online Reputation Management, Video Marketing and Social Media Submission and Tracking activities.
In addition, we offer a monthly membership program designed to keep our students current with the new skills business are seeking. We have an interactive social network, monthly webinars, monthly group coaching calls as well as a marketplace to connect with prospective clients.
What do you see as the best niche opportunities for Virtual Assistants to pursue over the next couple years?
As more small businesses set-up an online presence, there will be an increasing need for VAs with an understanding in Internet Marketing, Social Media, Blogging, Online Product Launches, Ecommerce Training (Shopping Cart set-up and support) and well as email and newsletter management. It is definitely exciting to be in the VA industry right now, given the tremendous growing and opportunities that are emerging here!