Real Assistants in an Online World

Continuing Education for Virtual Assistants and Virtual Professionals

Continuing education is important in any business. I’m always learning on my own via webinars, reading articles and books, hands-on learning of new programs, etc. But there’s something to be said for more formalized training sessions like conferences and courses. A few things I love about conferences:

  • Networking with peers & experts.
  • Learning about hot industry topics.
  • One price for tons of learning!
  • I get to pick and choose what I want to hear (especially when there are multiple sessions at once).
  • For virtual conferences, I get to listen to recordings later!

The IVAA Online Summit is one of my favorite (and one of the least expensive) Virtual Conferences to attend each year. Granted, I am a bit biased since I was one of those who helped get it started and off the ground! This is actually the first year I’ll be paying to attend (instead of being a volunteer, in charge, etc.) and I’m excited to experience it without fighting all the fires that come with running an event. :)

Check out the preliminary speaker and topic lineup at Early bird pricing is in place now and there are some great prizes you can win if you sign up early!

Simple Steps to Getting Started on Twitter

If you’re new to Twitter, you may be a bit perplexed about how it works and why you should bother using it for business. You aren’t alone if you have that deer-in-the-headlights look!

The good news is that you can learn it and get up to speed pretty quickly. A lot of this will come by way of following and watching what others are doing.

Here are some tips to get you started on Twitter:

  1. Sign up with a user name that represents your brand or uses a keyword. It should be memorable, but not too long as length matters in the Twitter world!
  2. Next, fill out your profile completely. In your bio, let people know about you & your personality. Mix business with pleasure a bit – we want to know that you’re human. Include your city so others nearby can find you.
  3. Post a few updates before you start following a bunch of people. It doesn’t have to be earth-shattering, but the early tweets are a good time to let others know what you’ll be posting in the future, what your interests are, etc. Resist the urge to self-promote or sell your products in the beginning (and when you do later, do so sparingly!).
  4. Start following people you know, businesses you like, colleagues, etc. Look for the Twitter icon on webpages you visit or search sites like or
  5. Once you’re up and running, work on making connections and building relationships with others daily. Just a few minutes a day can catapult you to Twitter success.

Here are 2 great free ebooks that will help you get started on Twitter:

And here’s what you need to know about Twitter Etiquette:

Twitter Essentials GuideFor more direction and resources on Twitter, download my Essential Twitter Guide. I’ve sorted through all the online noise to bring you the top tools and resources for Twitter that you need to know about! And of course, don’t forget to follow me on Twitter – you’ll find me @copong.

Articles on Working with a Virtual Assistant

Over the years, I’ve kept a list of some great articles about working with a Virtual Assistant. Here are some of my favorites:

Small Business Computing: I Could Have Hired a VA

Business Week: The Real Advantage of Farming it Out & The Many Virtues of Virtual Services Outsource to a VA and Save Money

USA Today: Virtual Assistants give entrepreneurs real help

What’s Your Secret Business Weapon?

Do you have a secret weapon for your business? Speaker Felicia Slattery says her secret weapon is a Virtual Assistant. See why here!

Quoted in recent article

One of the perks of being President of the International Virtual Assistant Association this year is that I periodically have the opportunity to speak with reporters from around the country. I recently spoke with Luara Raines of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution and am pleased with this latest article about the Virtual Assistant industry. Check it out and let me know what you think!

Why Blog When You Have Facebook?

This is a great post by blog guru Denise Wakeman on why you should have a blog even if you’re an avid Facebook user. Great food for thought and a reminder that you need to back up your content, regardless of where it resides!