Let’s face it, running your own business can put you under enormous time-pressure. You’re spending your days working for your clients and your evenings sorting out your own marketing and social media. And let’s not even mention the countless weekends at your desk, trying to balance the books. Being self-employed is hard work. So why would you dedicate any of your precious free time to help someone else or volunteer for a charity? Well, here’s why. Volunteering is good for business. And it’s one of the best ways to invest time into your own self-development.
Volunteering is brilliant for your mental health
It’s a proven fact that doing good, does you good. Giving a kid back their ball when they’ve thrown it over your garden fence. Helping your elderly neighbour carry their shopping to the car. Calling in to see your mum on a Sunday even though you’d rather stay in bed.
This is called altruism; the concern for the happiness and wellbeing of others above your own needs.
- disinterested and selfless concern for the well-being of others.“some may choose to work with vulnerable elderly people out of altruism”
Acts of altruism are proven to help reduce stress and anxiety and boost mood. Making the decision to do one tiny act of kindness every day can have amazing effects on your mental health. Imagine having the ability to increase that feeling exponentially. Well, you can do just that by donating a portion of your time to help change someone else’s life for the better.
Volunteering helps to build skills and broaden horizons
As you already run your own business, you’re great at many, many things. The most successful self-employed people, however, also recognise that they constantly need to strive for personal and professional improvement, if they’re going to up thier game.
Volunteering allows you to widen your perspective and see things from a different point of view. By supporting a cause or community that you care deeply about, your professional network will grow and so will your personal brand.
Volunteering is a brilliant way to develop transferable skills such as communication, project planning, negotiation and team working. These softer skills are not just beneficial for any freelancer or small business owner — they are the very reason why some entrepreneurs are more successful than others. And, these transferable skills are fantastic examples of the type of personality-boosting information that can be used to strengthen your CV or LinkedIn profile.
Volunteering could generate publicity
Who doesn’t love a feel-good story?
Open any newspaper right now or scroll through your social media feed to see how much negativity there is in the world. Any positive story, especially within your local community, will undoubtedly be well received and will generate great publicity for your small business.
By volunteering within your community — whether for a cause you care about personally, or one that’s important to you professionally — you can raise your own business profile. Volunteering should be done with a genuine desire to help those in need. But if an opportunity presents itself for your business to gain extra exposure then it could be great publicity!
Volunteering could help you discover a new passion
Everyone needs something other than work to think about. Volunteering for a cause or charity that has personal meaning to you, will help to create a better work-life balance and provide a welcome relief from a hectic working schedule.
Perhaps you’ll volunteer with a local dogs home or youth charity. Maybe there’s an arts centre nearby that could do with your accountancy expertise. Or perhaps you’ll teach social media to older people within your local area. There are so many skills to learn on a practical, social and economic level that will help you to become a well-rounded individual — and a better business person.
No matter what you choose to do or why you choose to do it, volunteering will help you thrive within your own business. If you’re struggling to find an opportunity to volunteer, the Do-It Trust has hundreds of voluntary jobs, mainly from smaller charities and not-for-profit groups within the UK.