How A Country Girl From Arkansas Ended Up In Myrtle Beach with IVAA

I attended my first IVAA Live Summit in 2012 in Memphis, Tennessee.

I was brand new to the VA industry, and I walked in not knowing a soul. For a shy, small town girl, that was a very big step outside my comfort zone. But I went. I learned, I trained, and I networked. And when it was over, I left with new skills, a new-found confidence in my abilities, supportive colleagues and awesome friends. From that came two wonderful new clients, as well as referrals. I thought, “Okay, that was pretty awesome. I should do that again!”

My next Summit was in Las Vegas in 2014. At the time, my business was doing well, and my intention for Vegas was to reconnect with those colleagues and friends, and maybe learn a few more skills. What an understatement that turned out to be! I did reconnect, and I did learn some great new skills and tools to implement. But I also had an epiphany; a real light bulb, Ah-Hah moment that totally re-directed my business path. Wow! I never expected that to happen! And I thought to myself, “These people really know how to bring out the best in a girl!”

Now fast-forward to 2015. I had spent the past year turning that Ah-Hah moment into my own personal “Oh, yeah! I got this!” And I knew I wanted to go to this year’s Summit and share my journey, my successes, and my joy with those who were integral in helping me get to this new and exciting place.

As much as I wanted to attend the Summit this year, there were personal reasons that made it difficult for me to make plans, and because of the personal stuff, frankly, I was concerned about the cost. I knew I needed to watch my budget because chances were good that I would need that money to deal with this other situation. Money is a tough hurdle to overcome, sometimes; and I get that, believe me.

It wasn’t until a month before the Summit that the personal situation was resolved, and I began to feel like I needed to go. I had to go. My business needed it, and so did I. So I boarded that plane and ended up in Myrtle Beach, waiting for the next big thing to happen. After all, I was two for two, right?

IVAA live Summit 2015

Marilyn at the 2015 Live Summit with some VA friends

Well, it didn’t take long! The 2015 Summit was the best one yet! The training was awesome, and I’m still implementing new ideas and processes in my business that came directly from the Summit. Things like how to write a blog; how to change my mindset for success; how to use the very cool tools, To-Do-ist and Evernote; and how to market using the “Yes, and…” method taught by our amazing (and hysterical) keynote speaker. Oh, and I now have two more rockstar clients!

But I’ve learned that it’s never just about the training, or the networking; it’s always so much more than that.

  • It’s about the super-hero brain power that surrounds you for four days.
  • It’s about having those minds, that wealth of knowledge and experience available to you, and there for YOU!

There is no industry like the VA industry; and there is no other conference like the IVAA Live Summit.

It’s absolutely worth the investment of time and money, for newbies as well as the seasoned pros. We all walk away with something of value. Every year.

And what did I walk away thinking this year? “This is the single best thing I do for my business and for myself, and I will never miss another one!”


Afterthought…. I had attended one of the IVAA Expert of the Month Sessions this year and heard how one VA had tracked her income from a conference to learn if it was actually a good investment she had made. It was amazing how much return she got, so I decided to do the same. I just added my revenue from 2 clients I got as a direct result of the summit in Memphis. It is a total of $35,000, and one is still ongoing. 🙂 Not bad for a $1200 investment! And I’ve gotten 1 new client from this year’s summit…so far, with two more in the shadows.

I will never miss another IVAA Live Summit! The investment to go is really priceless compared to how it can change your business!

About the Author:

Marilyn Stafford is a member of IVAA and has been working virtually for 5 years. Her company Alliance Virtual Services is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas and she specializes in client care. She offers a level of care for her virtual assistant clients that elevates and separates their thriving business from the competition.  You can learn more about Marilyn on her website www.alliancevs.com