Kathy Colaiacovo, President
This month we are focused on Education and Training for your Business. Now, some people may argue they don't need any more training as they are skilled at what they do. That's your opinion... but let me ask you - How is that working? Is your business growing? Have you stagnated in what you offer clients?
Education and Learning are Key to Business Growth.
I believe in constantly learning — whether by reading, taking a course, attending sessions at a conference — all of it can and WILL improve you and your business. We should be open to more education and knowledge. New knowledge does nothing if not bring more to what you have to offer the world. More depth to you and what your brain is capable of — all of that can only add to what you offer your clients.
As we hit the 4 week mark until our IVAA Live Summit — our annual in-person conference for Virtual Assistants — I am reminded of many ways past and present that I continue to build on my skills. Self-learning is actually how I learned many of my skills — by being resourceful and finding courses and training online and at conferences. I dropped out of university (I was painfully shy and fainted when people looked at me!)... so most everything I know I learned myself somehow through training I found.
I also find as I prepare presentations and workshops, I also learn. The background and research in making my own presentations teaches me more — every time. I feel as a VA and Business owner I need to have an education plan for myself.
By creating a plan of education I need and want in order to bring more to what I offer my clients — then I am making it a part of Working 'on' my Business. Watching for opportunities and ways to improve. It's all about how to develop me and by doing so I can offer more to my clients, making me more valuable to them. Creating that dependable relationship will lead to more business whether direct or referral.
So... if you are one of the people that think you don't need more training, more knowledge... I challenge you to challenge yourself.
Think about the last time you felt that a client was looking for more from you — a time you felt a bit inadequate when they asked a question. Maybe you offer a service and something new has been changing how the 'service' works. Are you changing as well? If you don't continue to learn then you may find yourself the dinosaur in the room — and others happily taking your clients because they have that added value to offer.
Don't be the dinosaur in the room — be the leader. Take charge of you and your own development. Learn. Invest in yourself and take some training, find where you can learn more to bring to your business.
I hope to see a change in how you look at self-education after reading today's articles. Maybe I will see you in Vegas at our VA Conference in late April. It's one of my must-do's on my education plan.
And, if after reading today's articles and pondering your own plans, you are now kicking yourself for having missed out on the IVAA Live Summit — please don't. Reach out to me and I can arrange a special deal for you. I call it the "I Shoulda had a Summit Ticket" deal and we can make sure you can be part of our amazing conference — especially since the conference room hotel rates are only $33 a night.
The important thing however, is to make a plan for yourself. Expand your Mind and your Business.
Wishing you Virtual Success in 2014,
Make Time Everyday For Inspiration
By Christine Bearse
"People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing — that's why we recommend it daily." ~Zig Ziglar
Today I am going to borrow a page from the network marketing playbook. Running your own business can at times be very lonely, and sometimes you feel like you just can't face another rejection. Whether you sell administrative services, online marketing or make-up you are in sales when you are a solopreneur. Each direct sales meeting that I have attended offers their associates an opportunity to purchase motivational books and CDs. Why do you think they go to all that trouble? Because it takes a lot of work to stay motivated day in and day out when you don't feel like what you are doing is improving your income or moving you forward. Along with motivation comes goal setting and monitoring your progress, another topic often covered in the same materials.
I can tell you from experience that after I listen to one of the great motivational speakers via a podcast or YouTube something inside me awakens and I am brimming with new ideas. I get so many new ideas that I have to write them down so I don't forget. Here is a very short list of some classics just to get you started.
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill — This book is often referred to as the "Grandaddy of all Motivational Literature". It was published in 1937 and has sold over 70 million copies worldwide. The philosophy taught in this book can be used in all areas of your life no matter your career path or life choices. You can download free copies of the book from different places on the web (because of its age and copyright expiration) or purchase for an eReader very inexpensively. I recommend the revised edition with updated stories of modern day successful people. Also, there is a Napoleon Hill Foundation website where you can sign up for daily motivational quotes. The quotes are all based on Mr. Hill's philosophies so they are a great daily reminder of all you have learned.
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson — In my opinion if you read this book first, it will help you to put all the other self help materials to good use. This book is very simple to read and understand.
- Podcasts and books by Jim Rohn. He is such an animated speaker who has a gift for keeping the listeners interest and emphasizing the important points so you don't miss them. His humor is quick and makes you think.
If you have already read these books then you don't need me to tell you of their power. I highly suggest reading 10 pages a day of a self-help book and at least 15 minutes of listening to a educational or motivational podcast or video. You can download audios to your phone or mp3 player or burn them to disk to listen in the car. I love music, but it does not give me the rewards that listening to this material does. However, as much as you will learn, it quickly loses its effectiveness if you do not make it a habit and repeat daily. The reason for this is that the world around us is full of negative influences and people who do just enough to get by. It can feel easier to just give in and follow the crowd, but in the long run you will be sorry. These books and recordings will remind you that hard work and dedication do pay off.
Gaining Skills a Variety of Ways — Learn Something New Today
By Yvonne Weld
To keep yourself ahead of your competition and to keep your business staying fresh, it is important to keep up-to-date with your training and continually be gaining knowledge. Being a business owner, you no longer have an employer to offer the benefit of various training opportunities. You have to find them yourself.
You don't have to sit in a classroom to gain knowledge. There are a variety of other options.
If you Google "free online courses", you will find over 1 million hits. This gives you the opportunity to sit at home and learn. It was interesting to see that you can learn just about anything from business topics to fun and games. Some of the courses you find will offer Continued Education Units (CEUs). This would help in getting that certificate or degree you have been working on.
You might also check to see if a local university or community college offers online courses.
When searching through the online courses, don't just look at courses to help you out. You may find some great courses to assist your clients too. This could be a value-added benefit your clients just might appreciate. You may even want to check these courses out for yourself.
Of course whatever you do don't discount my two favourite online training tools; YouTube and Google University (as I affectionately call it). Entering what you are interested in learning into the google search bar or into YouTube will provide you with a variety of online learning options — completely free!!
There are a variety of online and offline conventions and seminars where you can gain valuable training. You should look at conventions and seminars that will not only assist in gaining knowledge such as the IVAA Summits, but also see if there are some that your potential clients and competitors may be showing their products or services. You may just want to go as an attendee or you may want to participate and have a booth yourself. By having a booth, you are not only showing your products or services to potential clients, you can also learn if there is something more you can offer them. Individuals are always asking questions. What better way to find out what someone is looking for?
Another way to stay on top of things is to subscribe to and read trade magazines. Now, don't only subscribe to magazines for your trade. Subscribe to your target market's magazines too. You never know what interesting tid-bits of information you may find. Since Google is our friend, try doing a search for "trade magazines" or even "free trade magazines".
Subscribe to competitors newsletters, newsletters that your target market would subscribe to, or newsletters that would assist in growing your business. You never know what you might learn.
Become a member of online forums where your target market and your competitors hang out. Read through the forums to learn what is going on. Create relationships with other like-minded professionals so that you can develop a support network for learning and growing.
Learning never hurt anyone. As the saying goes "We learn something new each day." By continuing to increase your knowledge, your potential for helping your clients increases and you will have truly created a thriving business.
2014 IVAA SUMMIT SPONSORS
The IVAA Live Summit Committee would like to take a moment and recognize and thank our Summit Sponsors for their contribution to our upcoming conference in April.
Virtual Assistants from all over the world will be gathering for our annual conference to learn, network, share and grow.
Thank you to our Educational Sponsor - Be My VA, an Online Directory of Virtual Assistants all over the world.
Our Networking Sponsor - Direct Pay, reseller of the popular 1Shopping Cart software.
Our Empowerment Sponsors
Virtual Employent Academy, Offering online training that will broaden your pathway to a more successful career in the workplace
Online Business Manager, Where Strategy Meets Implementation
Scalivity - Marketing and Office Management CRM for Virtual Assistants
STAFF WRITER BIOS
Christine Bearse co-owner of Van den Braak, Bearse and Associates, a mult-va company with associates spanning the globe. To learn more about VBBA, please visit
www.vbbassociates.com. When she is not consulting with clients, she enjoys time with her husband and two young sons in Bridgewater, MA.
Yvonne Weld is a Marketing Consultant and Strategist and owner of the multi-VA business, Able Virtual Assistant Services. Yvonne works with Solopreneurs who would like to work less, increase their passive income and stop trading dollars for hours. Her primary focus is developing tailored and unique marketing plans that provide step-by-step instructions for implementation. She has also made it her personal mission to encourage solopreneurs to start taking the "solo out of solopreneur" and via speaking engagements teaches them how partnering with a Virtual Assistant can do this.