What we leave behind
When I launched my business I knew that I would have to compromise on a regular basis in order to cover all my personal and professional commitments. Volunteering was the first to get the short shrift what with all of the networking, workshops, sales and marketing efforts, and other things that vied for the sole proprietor's focus.
It wasn't until last summer that I came up with an idea and plan that brought my intention (give back to the local community) in line with my schedule and necessary focus on growing a business. With 'Get A Photo Makeover and Pay It Forward', I went looking for an individual or small business owner who had a history of (or wanted to establish one) donating time, services, or product in service to their local area. I promised a creative custom photo shoot highlighting them (or their company) in exchange for their "paying it forward" to a local charity or non-profit of their choice.
Together, along with the non-profit, we would document and cross-promote the experience from beginning (shoot) to end (donation given) with the hope of building more connections between the non-profit world and local businesses and individuals who want to be more involved.
Since Andrea and I haven't finished our final photo shoot, the story's not quite done. Plus, there's the 2012 Get A Photo Makeover and Pay It Forward to plan and start promoting soon. This year, I hope to have other photographers join in and organize their own projects. And, so on and so forth in the coming years.
With the incorporation of volunteering in my professional life, I feel I'm working from a stronger foundation. By combining the sheer love of photography itself with good business practices and service within my local community, I get to spend more time creating and sustaining and determining my own success.
Keywords: small business issues, giving back, business mission, photography, volunteerism, pro bono work, photographer's vision, new business owners, legacy, self-motivation, corporate responsibility
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