Can Pro Bono Work, Work for You?

1:42 AM

Vision without action 
is a daydream.
Action without vision 
is a nightmare.
~Japanese Proverb

Let me start off by saying that I've never been happier in my professional career.  I am s-l-o-w-l-y building a base of clients that I enjoy working with. I've been able to execute most of my projects from my sanctuary - my home - which is where I work best.   I've been pushed and challenged in ways that have forced me to take a really good look at myself.  I'm writing again.  Well, the list goes on and on.  However...

When choosing to work as a freelancer, you must know that you may face moments of bewilderment, frustration and limits - none of which I like.  As a beginner, my cash flow is unpredictable.  A friend of mine put it best, "I'm making enough to pay the bills, but not enough to put back into my business."  No schmoozing at expensive networking events. No "I'll get this one" at one-on-one lunches. No professional memberships.  No super glossy die-cut brochures to mail to your dream clients and partners. No shelling out cash to pay for lead lists. That list goes on and on too. Nonetheless...

There are ways to invest in your marketing efforts with a non-existent or limited budget. My answer as of late is strategic pro bono work.  Yes, it is a significant investment of your time and resources, but with the right perspective and a clear strategy, pro bono work can be a great way to do grass roots marketing with productive results.

A year ago, I started to work with a select few organizations on pro-bono projects.  I couldn't believe it when before long I had paying projects from a few of the organizations. It felt great to know that they valued my work enough to hire me for their budgeted projects.

I only take on a couple of causes here and there, but the pro-bono work is working for me:
~ I'm working on fun projects.
~ It certainly helps with building my portfolio.
~ Pro-bono work can help cultivate business partnerships.
~ It's a great way to stay in the mix and continue to build your skills during dry spells.
~ And we can't forget the great feeling of being involved in causes or ventures you believe in.

Now off to update my portfolio.

What do you think about pro-bono work? Has pro-bono worked for you?

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