How volunteering can help your business

Little knowing what I was getting into, a while back I agreed to help with the program for the Arizona Bach Festival, a new musical series featuring internationally known classical musicians and the Grammy Award-winning Phoenix Chorale. When I said “help,” I was thinking “editorial help.” But what really happened was that I got volunteered to sell ad space for the program.

Well, of course, I don’t know the first thing about ad sales. But we just made our first sale! w00t!

In theory I’ve been offered a small commission on each sale, but in fact I plan to donate the proceeds back to the festival or to All Saints, whose music director is one of the moving forces behind this event.

Even though I’m just getting started, it’s already easy to see that I’m getting a great deal more benefit from this experience than a 15 to 25 percent commission. In fact, it’s forcing me to go out into the community and meet people—businessmen and women who can use my services and are likely to actually pay for them. How will this help The Copyeditor’s Desk, Inc.?

Let me count the ways:

Renew and re-establish old business relationships
Join or rejoin trade groups I’d allowed to languish
Take time to talk with people whose friendships I’ve neglected
Remind old friends that I’m still looking for business
Find new opportunities to market my business as well as theirs

Just about any time you get out of your cave, it’s good for business. A couple of months ago, I volunteered to edit the Arizona Book Publishers Association newsletter. When the group announced on its website that I’ll be taking over with this issue, right off the bat someone e-mailed me asking if we would do editorial work for an offshore fulfillment house.

Business—that is, making money—is about getting to know people. So is volunteering. The two work hand-in-hand.

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