BarCamp SarasotaThere are a lot of great things about being a Virtual Assistant. Mainly not being location dependent with the ability to work anywhere I have a high-speed internet connection. I do, from time to time, really miss the “coffee pot chatter” associated with working in an office. Despite being in business for nearly four years I still keep traditional office hours and rarely take time off during the day to do things (lunches, errands, beach visits, etc.) and evenings are typically reserved for being a mom and doing regular household work. Because of that I don’t get out often to meet other local business owners and to experience my version of “coffee pot chatter.”

In the past two weeks I connected with the personable individual behind BarCamp Sarasota’s Twitter account, Evie. While I’m familiar with the BarCamp network I was not aware that there was one here in Sarasota, FL. Since moving to the Sarasota-Venice area two years ago it’s been generally pretty frustrating at how “behind” times many area businesses seem to be so it was delightful to discover there is actually a band of individuals who are techie, geeky, etc. in the area.

Evie quickly invited me to the monthly after-hours Meetup held at Shakespeare’s Pub on Osprey Ave and let me know about the October 2012 BarCamp Sarasota event.

Considering my overall perception of the Sarasota area (mainly retirees) I was pleasantly surprised to see so many people at the Thursday evening event. My intent for attending was not to grow my own business, rather I just wanted to meet some others in the area with shared interests. To chatter. Learn about people and their passions. It was perfect. (I imagine a bit of business networking typically happens too)

I’m hoping to sit down, one day soon, with Evie and see if I can get her to work with me to start a TweetUp group here in Sarasota. We’ve had one (maybe more that I’m not aware of) and I would love to see it grow into what Appleton, WI has with their bi-weekly Blueberry Hill event.

Anyhow, if you live in the Sarasota / Venice, FL area I’d encourage you to join the monthly events (free) and to attend their October conference (also free unless you don’t pre-register). If you are passionate about something they would love to have you speak at the event. (I’ll be attending but not speaking!)

And….Sarasota, thanks for the pleasant surprise. It’s not as “old” here as I thought!