• Rose Donnelly

EleVAte Conference, 4 & 5 October 2017

This week, I attended the inaugural EleVAte Conference. This event, organised and hosted by VIP VA, was billed as an ‘opportunity to bring the industry together to collaborate, discuss, knowledge share and generally elevate’.

The conference kicked off the evening before with a networking dinner, which was a great opportunity to finally meet in person so many of the VAs that I have connected with online over the past 18 months, as well as some of the fantastic speakers on the conference agenda. We were also able to have headshots taken, courtesy of The Headshot Guy. As I haven’t had any done since I launched RED Virtual Solutions, this was a great bonus.

We ate, we chatted, we laughed, we drank – all in all it was a fabulous evening and a great start to the conference.

Thursday morning dawned and we made our way over to the converted barn which was our venue for the whole day. As we entered the building we were met by Charlotte, Founder & CEO of VIP VA, and handed a goody bag (more about those later!). You could feel the excitement and expectation in the room as we settled down to listen, learn and #eleVAte!

The fantastic MC, Emma Stroud (Co-Founder Truth.Works), kept us well entertained with activities between each session and a few facts that we didn’t know about each speaker (for example, Charlotte can juggle – a fact she demonstrated to us at the end of the day!)

Following Charlotte’s opening words, during which she told us a little about her background, and how she came to found VIP VA, Rachel McGuinness, CEO of Wake Up With Zest, gave a presentation on How to Avoid Burnout. Rachel told us about her former corporate life, which was extremely stressful and unhealthy. She had had a ‘eureka moment’ and her philosophy now centres around the four pillars of sleeping well, eating smart, moving more and chilling out – wise words and a great lead to follow.

Rachel was followed by Nick Fewings, CEO of Ngagement Works, who was talking about The Art of Managing Multiple Personalities. Nick is a behavioural psychologist who explained that 85% of financial success is generated from people skills. His lively, engaging and interactive talk took us through the four colour energies that define our behavioural type. We were each given four cards and asked to read the adjectives on them whilst thinking about how we are in work and, based on this, to decide which style was most like us. The important thing to remember was that whilst we would have a preference for one colour energy, we are a mix of all four. Nick then gave us some hints and tips on how to recognise and connect with each type.

After a quick coffee break, Rikke Hansen, Founder of Rikke.me joined us to talk about How to Become a Confident Business Owner. Rikke’s talk was upbeat, motivational and contained some fairly tough messages. She told us that the entrepreneurial journey goes hand in hand with your personal life and therefore your business will never grow past where you are personally. Imposter Syndrome – the inability to internalise and own your success – can and often does strike. We, as business owners, have to learn to define success and achievements for ourselves. We must not be hard on our ourselves but instead trust ourselves and be confident. The most important takeaway for me here was that we all have the right to be here.

Next, I attended a lunchtime roundtable session hosted by Gemma Pybus, James Pybus and Jonathan Smith, Directors of Digital Marketing Implementation Services and talking about whether our business websites are as visible as they can be. They gave us some fantastic tips on how to ensure our websites are easy to locate - using the right keywords, looking at some of the 200 touch points that Google looks at (including page loading speed, 404 errors, broken links and image problems, amongst others) and having an SSL certificate are all important factors to take into account. I was pleased to receive some really positive feedback about my website!

It was an extremely informative and inspirational morning which left me with plenty to think about, some new insight into me and the way I work, and the confidence to move forward in a positive way.

Check back soon for my next blog, which will talk about the afternoon sessions of the conference and what I learnt there.

#EleVAteConference #personaldevelopment #networking #learning

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