It’s fast approaching the end of the year and as a virtual assistant, I’m trying to tidy up and prepare for tax time and to set some SMART goals for 2014. I’m in the middle of going over all of my expenses and income for 2013 and setting up a schedule, so I can stay connected with my former clients. I’m still marketing my virtual assistant business and following up on leads, but with so much going on, it’s a little overwhelming.
I was invited to two Holiday parties. One was actually a gathering at a tea room. It was on a Saturday afternoon and I was debating on whether or not I should attend. I decided to go and I made the right choice.
First of all, I’m not an accomplished marketer, so networking and working my business into a conversation is not a thing that comes naturally to me. At this party, I met several new people and most of them were interested in what I do and how I do it. I found that sitting down calmly over a cup of tea was one of the best ways to discuss my business and all that I have to offer.
I went there thinking that this was an obligation rather than an opportunity to relax, network and enjoy myself. I had a very attentive audience and who knows what will come out of it. It turned out to be a great opportunity to talk about my business without forcing it on people. I also enjoyed their company and learned about them and what they do. As a virtual assistant, I work alone, so socializing is always about the business and not so much about me.
The second holiday party I attended was at a hotel. This was the annual holiday party with the Crossroads Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals. We had a 3-course meal with several choices of entrees, desert and coffee. The cornbread was so delicious and the bread rolls were fantastic, not to mention the dessert!
I always look forward to meeting with this group, because they are energetic, optimistic and they want to learn more about administrative professional skills, whether it’s refreshing what they already know or learning new ones.
After our dinner, we played holiday bingo and trivia games. I also met some members of the group that can’t make it to all of the meetings. Almost everyone asked about my business and offered to pass my services along to anyone that needed them.
Again, this was a very relaxing, fun way to meet new people and share news with the regular members. I won a scratch ticket (which was a loser) and a bag of Godiva chocolates. It wasn’t about the winning. It was about learning to network. It was about making myself relax and taking a positive attitude about meeting new people and actually enjoying myself.
At these two events, I didn’t just launch into my sales pitch about my business. I got to know the guests first and then the conversation came around to “where do you work?” or “what do you do for a living?”
Although I didn’t win a lot of the prizes, I feel I came away as a winner.
Because I wasn’t so nervous:
- I didn’t get lost driving there.
- I was relaxed, so I presented myself as a happy, friendly, open person
- I enjoyed the food and the camaraderie of the other members
- I approached members with an openness and interest in them
- And I planted the seeds for business growth and it was painless and easy to do
As I drove home on that cold Monday evening, I realized that I have to take time out of my schedule to socialize without my business being the main reason I’m there. I need to take time during the holidays to re-charge my batteries by relaxing and meeting new people, not only for business reasons, but for the sheer enjoyment of getting to know new people and maybe even make new friends. This was my Christmas gift to myself.
I don’t have any other holiday parties scheduled this year, but who knows, the telephone could ring and it would be an invitation to a party. If that happens, I will definitely be there. It felt good to step out without the stress of finding a new client.
So now, the parties are over. I need to get back to work.
If you know anyone, who can use the services of a virtual assistant, please ask them to contact me at 401-384-0257 or email me at JPlante@VirtualColleagueLLC.com.
Check out my website at: http://www.VirtualColleagueLLC.com for more information.