You may wonder what it is like to attend an IVAA Live Summit.

I thought I would share my experience of attending my first summit last spring.

My sister, Brenda, and I signed up for the summit in January before we even had our VA businesses set up.  By the time we arrived in April, we had our business names, but little else (we wrote our contact information on pieces of paper to enter in the drawings and hand out to anyone interested in exchanging business cards). We were ready to network and learn from others in the industry.

In addition to the live summit, we registered for the pre-conference new VA workshop. (This workshop is not offered for the 2014 Live Summit, however, you can register for the 3Ms for Business Success.)  Since I didn’t know what to expect when we arrived, I was very nervous.  However, the volunteers working the check-in table warmly greeted us and my nerves gave away to excitement.

The first opportunity to network presented itself as we enjoyed breakfast with some of the other VAs attending the workshop. The information presented by Tracey D’Aviero, Sue Kramer Harwood, and the Q&A/Discussion Panel with Tracey, Sue, Patty Dost, and Terry Green was more than worth more than the $97 I paid for the workshop. I was even more excited about the rest of the Summit.

Wednesday and Thursday offered so many great breakout sessions.  However, many of them were offered at the same time.  I had some tough decisions to make. Brenda and I finally decided to split up and hit two separate workshops each breakout session.  By studying the description of each session and talking to other VAs attending the summit, we were able to decide which ones best met our needs and then plan which session each of us would attend.  Later in the evening we would share the notes and handouts from each session we attended. I highly recommend this method if you can find one or two other VAs willing to try this approach.

The keynote speaker, Doreen Rainey, and general session speaker, Allison Babb Phillips, were so full of energy and enthusiasm.  They left me feeling invigorated and ready to face any challenge of getting my VA business up and running.

In addition to all the outstanding training sessions and superb speakers, there are so many opportunities to talk with the other attendees during the summit.  The evening welcome reception and dinner with strangers were two excellent opportunities, but I found that I was able to connect with many attendees during lunch and breaks.  What I found most interesting was that so many successful VAs were wiling to get to know me and share valuable information that helped me from trying to reinvent the wheel so to speak.  After my experience last year, I’m confident that you will make lots of new connections and a few friends when you attend your first summit.

After attending the IVAA 2013 Live Summit last spring, Brenda and I returned home better equipped to move our businesses forward.  We both have gotten clients and feel confident in our choices to start our own VA businesses.

 The cost to attend my first Live Summit – about $1,000; the experience and information I received – priceless.

Contributed by IVAA member Debby Hays



Kathy Colaiacovo