One of my first clients came indirectly from volunteering to design a website for a local not-for-profit organization. At that time I was learning how to do web design because it was a skill I wanted to offer my clients. I thought it would be a great idea to refine my web skills while at the same time getting my name out there.
I’m very interested in health and fitness, so I offered to design a website for the local athletics club. They were really happy with the results and that lead to another volunteer project for the local community festival. Neither of these organizations had large budgets for marketing, being not-for-profits, so I was pleased to be able to help out.
Even though I was doing the work for free, I treated it as seriously as paying work. I was prompt in returning emails and phone calls, kept the project manager up to date at all times, and never missed a deadline. All this diligence paid off, because they had no hesitation in recommending me and my services to everyone they knew!
It may seem counterintuitive to give away your time for free when you’re starting up your business. After all, you want to earn money pretty quickly, right? All I can say is, those volunteer projects really sowed the seeds of building a great reputation for me in my local community. One of the clients I gained as a result of those projects turned into a retainer client, with several hours of work a week. I’ve received many other referrals as well.
It’s also a perfect way to start your business while you’re still working a 9-to-5 job. I made time for the volunteer projects after work and at the weekends.
Here’s a comment I received from another Virtual Assistant who also got great results from volunteering:
“You are one of the few people I have read articles from that recommend this. And I am not sure why, because it REALLY does work. I have grown my business by leaps and bounds using this method AND highly recommend it.
Could it be that people just don’t want to be associated with recommending volunteerism? I don’t know but kudos to you for saying it out loud. I know that anyone that listens to your message will absolutely thank you for saying it.”
She made that comment after reading:
Has anyone else tried volunteering as a way of marketing their business?