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VOICES: Work@Home

What Goes Around Comes Around

I have a confession to make. I am notorious for meeting people, liking them, and then when they realize what I do and that I could help them, I end up giving away my servicesÖfor free. I have this uncontrollable urge to help people, especially when I know itís something that I am good at and enjoy doing.

Now I donít do this all the time, but occasionally I will, and I will tell you why. It comes back to me tenfold.

For example, we just adopted a Great Dane. In my search for information on this mini-horse breed, I came across a Yahoo! Group for local Great Dane owners. I joined, sent my welcome message introducing myself and Napoleon, and the owner of the group noticed my signature line and contacted me for possible help with my services. We were on the phone for at least two hours. I liked her.

So when we finally got around to talking business and she told me she needed a sales letter written to send out locally, I told her I would do it for free.

I didnít think twice about it.

We have chatted a few times on the phone, and we have met at our Great Dane get-togethers, and I did her sales letter. It was pretty good if I do say so myself. But here is what happened that I was not expecting.

Sheís telling people about me.

Thatís right. Iíve gotten new clients by referral from her, and all I did was spend two hours on her sales letter. Not a bad trade, eh?

I didnít do this letter for her with the expectation of something in return. I honestly didnít. My boyfriend, my coach, and my colleagues love to get on me about giving my services away, and I can see where they are coming from. However, Iím a firm believer that what goes around comes around.

This is just one example. I also had a colleague that wanted her blog template to look just like her website. I was almost sure that I could do it, and before I knew it, she sent me the information and hired me to do it.

So I did it. It was a lot of trial and error, since I was dealing with a programming code that I was not an expert in writing. I worked with it until it was just right. When it came time to bill her, I simply dropped her a note and said, ďItís on me. Iím just tickled that I could actually do it.Ē And I was. I didnít expect anything from her.

Yesterday, the FedEx man came, and I now have 12 brownies from Fairytale Brownies. (Well, I HAD 12Öthere are only 9 now!) But again, I wasnít expecting anything. I was just pleasantly surprised when I got a package in the mail and it wasnít my birthday or Christmas.

And Iím sure when the conversation comes up and people ask her how she got her blog to look like her website sheíll say, ďHeather at Valley Virtual Assistants did that for me.Ē Even if she doesnít, thatís okay with me. I felt good helping someone out, the brownies are delicious (and hidden where no one can find them), and Iím content with how I do business.

Letís be honest. Weíre not non-profit organizations, and many of us rely on our customers and clients to put food on the table, a roof over our heads, and clothes on our backs. We cannot afford to give the farm away, but we can give a few bales of hay away, and we can choose who should get them.

Heather Jacobson Heather Jacobson doesn't pay for marketing or advertising if she doesn't have to and has several profitable online businesses. Learn how she does it and get ten FREE inexpensive marketing tactics you can implement today at www.inexpensive-marketing-ideas.com

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