Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Who, me...volunteer in my work life?

I'm going to tackle a semi-controversial topic in this blog - but hey, I've never been one to shy away from at least a LITTLE controversy. If it starts a conversation, it's worth a shot.

The "V" word. No, not high school biology - actually, volunteerism. I don't mean in the traditional sense...via a soup kitchen, Habitat for Humanity, or some other nonprofit service venture. Today, I'm talking about volunteering to heed your calling. Maybe I'm a little more guilty of this one than others, as I run my own business and have to get creative as to building new relationships. The more I think on it, however, I think it applies to any adult - whether you run your own firm, or you work for a corporation.

Let's put it this way - do you have a dream? Okay, most of us would say, "yes, affirmative" on that one. If you don't, no offense, but start thinking & start...um...living? Segue, sorry. Back to that dream - what are you willing to do in order to make that dream a reality? Sacrifice? Toil? Make a financial contribution?

Well, what if I told you that you don't have to do any of the above? Well, unless you consider going unpaid a "sacrifice," which I'd deem a little dramatic. Your dream is waiting in the wings for you, just ready for you to take steps to actualize it. Depending on what it is, I guarantee if you volunteer your time first towards that cause, it will be karmic debt paid to you to increase your odds of a succesful venture.

Scratching your head? Okay, example time. Every client I've ever signed on in my firm, with the exception of my former employer (whom I consult for now) - I volunteered my services, or came on at a reduced rate, for first. It might sound insane, and yes, I've certainly had some interesting stories along the way - but it was the single most important way I could build trust with my future clients. If I believed in what they were doing SO much, that I would put my most valuable asset in life - time - on the line for them...how could they not know I was on board?

Each active client pays now, and I've earned that keep - and even to the tune of referrals, which is incredibly humbling. Do I have to still get out there and work it every day? ABSOLUTELY, I'm a small business owner. My day screams hustle. Love it!

BIG POINT HERE - massive emphasis - not every venture you volunteer for, will actually turn into business. Put a huge stamp on that letter in your head that says, "that's not why I'm doing this." Volunteering in business is not a means to an end, you can't approach it with ulterior motives. If you approach it almost like an internship with said business or person, you gain the following towards your dream: 1)field knowledge, ie, "boots on the ground entrenchment;" 2)valuable relationships; 3)resume building.

I also want to make the point that this is going towards a DREAM - meaning, something you're probably not doing right now in your daily life. For me, it was starting my PR firm and stating the affirmations every day, "I go above & beyond for every single client who trusts me with their business," and "I am THE most successful PR person that will ever exist on the planet." Bold dreams, bold statements...but both statements that I'm willing to do whatever it takes to make happen. No ego here- it's destiny and I believe it.

Joel Osteen gives a great quote - "You have to pray BOLD prayers. You have to watch out for the little ones, as you just might get what you pray for today." So in that quest to achieve your dream, throw it out there to the universe - and then give your TIME & energy to it. Volunteer. Build your base. Quit having an ego (and I work in some pretty ego-driven industries). Who cares what you make? The ones who care are the ones who are not responsible for your dreams.

So the next time you approach that dreaded "V" word in business, don't be afraid to go do it. As long as it's a NEW venture, you're ready, willing & able to go prove yourself as a new expert in your dream field - & the money will come. I promise.

In the name of V, rock stars...DKC

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