Friday the 13th, unlucky for some…and me (on paper).
Ok, being less cryptic- on the 13th Oct 2023, I attended the UK VA Conference a day filled with inspiration, connection, and fun by the Bournemouth seaside, even if it rained non-stop, so my bucket and spade have been put away until next year.
There are so many things I loved about this day but what I wanted to do was shine a light on the lack of luck I mentioned! I was a finalist for the VA of the Year with a small team award. I didn’t take home the trophy.
And I think this is the fear that stops you from entering awards.
BUT, the outpouring of congratulations and well-wishes from other Virtual Assistants in the room (and others beyond) was lovely. Simply being a finalist in such a competitive category was a significant achievement, and it reinforced that recognition isn’t solely about winning but also about celebrating the journey and growth.
I will go on to tell you why you should enter awards and celebrate your success.
I also want you to consider making space in your business to attend conferences, networking, socials, etc- all great for your growth but can all end up on the back burner because you’re swamped with other ‘stuff’.
Lots of people I spoke to about the conference found it weird that I was going to network with a bunch of “competitors” but the value is incredible. And is sipping Sauvignon and choosing cocktails really networking- yes, yes it is! I was keen to get some new associates for my virtual assistant team and meeting people face to face has really helped that. Building a support network within your industry can open up new opportunities for collaboration and growth and I’m here for that 🖤
This experience led me to reflect on the many women in business I’ve encountered, including both virtual assistant clients and non-clients. It’s surprising how many of these talented and skilled individuals don’t enter awards, whether self-nominated or otherwise.
But, maybe we should give some value to “it’s the taking part that counts.”
Here are some reasons I think you should join me in both awards entry AND getting out of work and networking- enjoy these benefits 👇🏼
🖤 Visibility with other Virtual Assistants.
Being a finalist provided me with increased visibility and recognition within my professional network. The exposure and acknowledgment from fellow entrepreneurs is valuable to business and gives you the warm fuzzies.
🖤 Marketing opportunities.
Awards demonstrate credibility and excellence. Also, as a finalist, I now have more content for blogs and social media posts, like this one 😂 that makes life much easier, right?
🖤 Connections with finalists.
I had the chance to connect with other finalists, who I may never have met otherwise. When you’re at a similar stage it’s great for knowledge sharing too!
🖤 Business review.
The application process encouraged me to review my business in full. It’s a great exercise as you see how far you’ve come and where your gaps are. I also set new goals and refined my focus, which may not have happened without this.
In addition to the award experience, attending a conference like this offers numerous benefits, including 👇🏼
🖤 Valuable connections
Networking at conferences generally gives you more time than at a standard networking session. It allows you to connect on a more personal/deeper level over lunch, at dinner or at the bar. It hits a little differently.
Sometimes when you run a solo business and your team is virtual it can feel lonely. Chatting with women going through the same as you- so valuable!
A great conference features speakers and sessions that enhance your skills, knowledge, and expertise. It’s a fantastic way to stay up-to-date with industry trends. And this year the UK VA Conference theme was resilience so we tackled some mind monkeys head on 🐒
🖤 Time away from the “norm”.
Stepping out of your daily routine, even if it’s only for a day, can recharge your entrepreneurial spirit, creativity, focus and you get to mix it up a bit.
🖤 Creative insights.
No Wi-Fi on the train (for 6 hours 🙄) forced me to get scribbling- putting pen to paper became an unexpected creative session and ideas/solutions that must’ve been stuck in there somewhere just flowed out. Sometimes, all you need is a bit of solitude/change of scene to brainstorm fresh ideas. However, on my train journey back, I smashed Queen Charlotte! Balance, right?
I hope I’ve helped you consider recognition or networking opportunities. They can significantly impact your growth. And if you’re a Virtual Assistant I say get your arse to next years, I’ll be your friend if you’re worried you won’t know anyone.
If you’re looking for a Virtual Assistant to support your business, I’m just a call away. Let’s connect, chat, and explore the potential of having a fantastic VA in your life.
Book a call or grab the free planner below 👇🏼