I volunteer with several organizations. With some of them I do a lot of the type of work in my business and for some it is something very different. In all of these situations I am interacting with people on a level that I would do the same as if I were working with clients.
All my dealings with people they end up learning more about me and my business – which makes it even more important that I interact in ways that keep things professional. Over the past couple of months with one organization I have been part of a group working with many volunteers to plan an event.
It was very interesting watching all the personalities working together and seeing how some people represent and present themselves. It has made me realize more and more the importance of staying professional in all situations.
When I first started my virtual assistant business, I did some volunteer work with a VA organization … that work got me and my skills noticed by others who recommended me to someone as somebody to hire. The person took their advice, hired me and that truly kick started my business.
If I had acted any less than I would have with a client in my volunteer work, this bump might never have happened.
Now it’s not to say I didn’t relax and have fun with the people I was connecting with – that was definitely a big part of it all. But I made sure this happened at a time and place where it was appropriate. From it all I built my business and also started many friendships that continue to this day.
As a small business owner, representing yourself as a professional in all your connecting, networking and even volunteering is important, more important than we sometimes realize. People’s opinions of us are based on many things: Interacting in other situations outside of business is one of them.
So step back and take a check on you and how you act in these situations – make sure it is in a way than will help you grow your business, not have people questioning your professionalism.
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