Ahh, summer! Well, summer in Canada anyways! Here the winters are long, and we re grateful when the temperature rises and the sun starts hanging around longer so we can go outside without toques and parkas!

And now that summer is finally arriving here in the western hemisphere, it s that time of year when many of us in the Virtual Assistance and Online Business industry like to take some time to step back, regroup and assess where our businesses are at and how we need to strengthen them as we enter the last half of the year. No matter what season you find yourself in right now, it can be a season of growth and rejuvenation.

Over the past month, we have been listening to our members, VAClassroom faculty and business colleagues to identify the top skills and services that are being readily outsourced by the business community. Based on this, we first compiled a list of 19 “hot” skills and posted a special survey to our community!

Well, let me tell you our community responded in waves and submitted tons of surveys with their selections and feedback so that we were able to narrow the list down to the eight most requested skills.

So now, using that valuable input, we are excited to officially announce the top eight skill-based topics selected that will serve as the curriculum this year s Summer Skill Camp!

1. GOOGLE TOOLS – Building your business, maximizing your productivity and enhancing your communications using Google Tools. (Docs, Forms, Reader, Alerts, Photo-sharing, iGoogle etc.)

2. ECOMMERCE SET-UP – Building a Product Launch Marketing Campaign with 1ShoppingCart.

3. MOBILE MARKETING – Building an Effective Mobile Marketing Campaign for a Local Business Owner.

4. FACEBOOK CONTESTS – Blueprint for Creating a Compelling Facebook Contest.

5. SOCIAL MEDIA MEASUREMENT – Building a Social Media Measurement System and Report for Your Clients.

6. SETTING RATES AND BUILDING PACKAGES – Discovering the Fine Art of Setting Rates and Building Effective Packages for Your Services.

7. SEO and LINK-BUILDING – Discovering New Tactics for Building Relevant One-Way Links to Your Website.

8. SOCIAL MEDIA MONITORING – Setting up a Social Media Monitoring System for Any Type of Client.

This year s Skill Camp will be similar to last year s popular format, except for one key change: this time we will be running two 90-minute sessions per week for the month of July as opposed to scheduling weekly webinars across the entire summer. The two sessions will happen on Tuesday and Thursday at 12pm PDT (3pm EDT). We have chosen this time in order to best accommodate the different time zones of our global student audience.

So no matter what season you find yourself in as a Virtual Assistant or Online Professional, take some time to look at your business and see if there are any areas where you may need to sharpen your skills or acquire new powerful tools. If you are interested in more information about our 2011 Summer Skill Camp, check it out here.

And if you have any questions or comments, please write us a note in the comment box below or on our VAClassroom Facebook Page.