Why I’d Never Call Myself A ‘Virtual Assistant’

Through networking and job postings, I’ve met a series of different people with various job titles – usually the ones they’ve coined for themselves. A term I was introduced to recently was that of a ‘virtual assistant.’ A virtual assistant helps businesses with administrative, creative and social media tasks online. Virtual assistants are typically hired on a contract basis with no employee benefits. They typically work from home and update everything through online channels.

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Networking in Ontario this November

November should really be coined “Networking Month”, at least for That’s the Idea and it’s one and only employee, Jill Kennedy. I feel like I have been tossed – lovingly – into a great series of events this month. I wanted to highlight the events and the benefits that come with them.


Generally Speaking

For those on the job hunt and new business owners who frequent the Greater Toronto Area, there are plenty of opportunities to be found through Meetups and Eventbrite. With a quick profile creation on each, you can search for networking events close to home. Not only will this save you money and travel time, but it will build you a network in your own community.


Local Events for Durham Region Business Owners 

Hey Durham Region-ers! We have quite a lot going on around here. I gained access to multiple groups in my local area using tools like Meetups and Eventbrite and by meeting new people who introduced me to other groups. Here are a few I’ve taken interest in:

  • TheNetworker.Today: Durham Region Chapter – A monthly Meetup group focused in online marketing, but flexible in allowing small business owners to present their expertise. I attended my first meetup with this group on November 5th and we discussed the subconscious limits we set for ourselves and our accomplishments. It was a great session.
  • Durham Contact Business Exchange – A local group that meets for monthly networking breakfasts. There is an opportunity to introduce yourself and your business and get to know others around you. Each month, a guest speaker presents for a short period of the breakfast. It is a great group for meeting lasting contacts. The membership fee is $50 a year, but you can attend your first event for the individual event fee as a guest.
  • The BOSs’s Business Breakfast – A monthly breakfast event to network with local business owners from across Durham Region. There are networking activities, speakers of the month and prize draws each month. It is quite a fun and uplifting event where you can meet a variety of business owners. They also have a Lunch event now, too!
  • Ajax-Pickering Board of Trade – A group that meets multiple times each month. Like most boards of trades,  your name becomes a main contact for your area of expertise. The annual fee for a business owner with no employees is $215 and it goes up from there. The benefits of joining are that your event fee costs are lowered and costs of office supplies, gas, e-mail marketing, and some insurances are lowered too.

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  • Do It In Durham: Global Entrepreneurship Week – Between November 17-23, 40 events are cropping up all over the Durham Region – there is even one in Beaverton! A lot of the events are seminars on different topics around small business but some are more social and focused on networking. I am excited to take part in this week-long series and can’t wait to meet new entrepreneurs. Oh, and almost forgot: the majority of the events are free! “Free” is music to my entrepreneurial ears.

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Ontario Events


This month, I am attending two conferences!

November 22nd: Socialight 2014, Toronto – It is always a treat to attend an uplifting conference that enlightens one to get back out into the world and get the business rolling. This will be my first time attending this conference, so I am excited to learn more about it as the week goes on.

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November 26th: Startup Canada’s Day on the Hill, Ottawa – I am taking the train out to Ottawa in a couple weeks for the Day on the Hill conference! I can’t wait to meet all of the lovely entrepreneurs taking part and to hear all of the speakers. Oh, and bonus points: I am staying in the Ottawa Jail for the nights I’ll be there. I am an odd mix of excited and horrified but I know it will be an experience I’ll always remember.

Where do you find awesome events to attend? What conferences are you checking out in the next few months? I’d love to learn a little bit about your business, dear reader, and to hear some tricks for event-finding you’ve picked up in your business experiences.