Why applying for a business award is something every VA should do – Guest Blog by Katie Stone

I recently had the pleasure of being on a panel discussion with the lovely Katie Stone of Katie Stone Personal Assistant, where  we were talking about the benefit of entering awards. Katie was recently a finalist in the West Midlands PA Awards

I invited Katie to write a guest blog talking about her experiences of entering awards and why even if a little scary you should still enter them!

Let me introduce you to Katie. 

Katie became a virtual assistant after over a decade of working in primary schools, both as a TA and a teacher.  She is now a VA who works with educational businesses.  She loves helping edupreneurs to smooth out their systems and processes so that they can become more effective and efficient.

If you had asked me two years ago if applying for an award was something I would ever do, the answer would have been nope.  No thanks, not ever, no way.  My reasons were two-fold.  

1) You surely can’t put *yourself* forward for a business award? 

2) I’m not good enough anyway.

Two years in the future (that’s now, in case the maths is mind-boggling) and I have now been a finalist in not one but two business awards.  And guess what?  I had such a good time that I’m going to do it all over again, and so should you.

So – let’s go through all the reasons that you’re telling yourself that applying for a business award is not something you’d ever want to do, and I’ll show you why you’re totally, utterly and completely wrong.  Lovely, but wrong.

I wouldn’t know how to find an award to apply for.

I know – I’m starting off easy.  Solving this problem involves nothing more than you and Google.  And I’m going to save you the bother of googling because I’m nice like that.  For awards specific to virtual assistants, you can look no further than the ever-glamorous and only slightly sweary Amanda, who has recently taken over the running of the UK VA Awards.  The website is getting a lovely update and you still have time to enter for next year’s awards. Bosh.

While we’re on the subject though, don’t limit yourself to VA awards – there are lots of awards you can apply for that are more general, like the PA awards, which have a VA category (I know because I was a finalist last year).  The FSB and other small business organisations also have awards each year – you just have to check them out!

Top Tip – Boost have a newsletter which they send out once a month with upcoming awards deadlines.  It’s really handy.  I heartily recommend signing up.

No-one will nominate me – and I’m not asking.

  • You should TOTALLY ask – go ahead and find your fave client, the one who loves you and couldn’t live without you and ask if they wouldn’t mind just nominating you. Or put a nudge in your weekly newsletter (which I know you *totally* send out regularly, right? Me too. Yep.)

  • Why are you waiting to be nominated? Nominate yourself! I just went ahead and did that, and I’m so pleased that I did.  I promise, they are expecting you to do that.

It will take too long and will be a complete ball-ache

I mean…to an extent, yes.  If you want to be taken seriously, you will need to spend a bit of time on your application.  But I promise you, it is very much worth it.  The *good* awards (the ones that have a proper process to find a winner and don’t ask you to pay to be in them) will have some great questions, which are TOTALLY worth you asking yourself.  They will get you to look at your business – where it’s come from, what the values behind it are, where it is going and WHY.  You will be forced to clarify your thoughts, feelings and emotions about your business and why it is what it is – which in itself is a really valuable exercise. 

Also, the fact is that once you’ve done a few of those applications properly, you will have a set of copy that you can use as the basis of other award applications, so it’s time well spent (and no, you absolutely shouldn’t copy/paste your application from one award form to another – the panellists will spot that from a mile off, but it’s great to have a basis and a starting point to work from, right?)

(This is the big one) I’m not good enough for an award

This was me, big time.  I was so under-confident that I didn’t apply for VA of the Year, I applied for Newcomer and had to be told that they were shifting me to that category. 

The fact is (and I’m going to be brutally honest here) I came away from teaching with my sense of self-worth in the toilet.  I really didn’t believe I was worthy of anyone’s respect, let alone an award. I’m happy to say that this is no longer the case, but applying for a business award was a big step for me, and one I had to force myself to take. 

And here’s the thing.  I bet there are loads of you out there who have never considered applying for an award because you genuinely don’t think anyone would consider you for one.  Because us VAs are in the business of pleasing people.  We’re those folk who are quite happy in the background, quietly doing all the admin and helping business owners to do the shining.  We don’t think of shining ourselves.

But here’s the honest truth. 

You *are* good enough.  You *should* take a chance to shine.  Because virtual assistants are the hidden heroes of the online business world.  We do SO many things – and if we don’t know how to do a thing that a client needs, we go and find out how to do it.  We take on business owners’ stresses and worries and smooth them away.  We deserve some acknowledgement. 

Nobody else is going to shout about us – our profession isn’t made to be shouted about.  But if we want to spread the word about our industry, and the amazing people who work in it, then it is up to us to take that responsibility on, and shout about ourselves.  And then go and help other VA’s shout about themselves.  Which is what I’m doing now.

So go.

Shout about yourself.

You are amazing.

*We* are amazing.

And more people should know what we do.

(And if you want any help with an application or just a cheery word and a wave, get in touch, I’d love to hear from you.)


Meet Katie

Website URL: http://www.katiestonepa.com

Facebook URL: https://www.facebook.com/katiestonepa

Twitter ID: https://twitter.com/KatieStonepa (@KatieStonepa)

LinkedIn URL: https://www.linkedin.com/in/katiestonepa/


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