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Enlightened Leadership Blog | A Side Hustle that Gives Back | June 2022

Accomplished professionals know how to hustle. Kind professionals know how to give. Big picture thinkers can combine the two concepts to create a side hustle that shares valuable expertise with the community through pro bono service offerings.

Know Why

As a pro bono service provider, it’s important to understand our own why. We are volunteering our professional skills and services (commonly in areas of finance, operations, marketing, legal, human resources, or technology) to boost others. Why? Typically, we are professionals passionate about giving back to our community.

Beyond the passion, there’s more. How are we expanding ourselves and our own companies? We can hone current skills, stretch ourselves into new terrain, gain customer insights, and more.

Set Boundaries

Clients will flock to pro bono offerings. Who wouldn’t? They are receiving high quality expertise from experienced professionals without paying fees. There will be folks who try to take advantage. Therefore, setting boundaries is a must.

Parameters can be established around your time and services offered at no charge. For example, tell your clients what type of work you will perform pro bono. Anything outside of that territory is fee only. This is fair. Although we choose to give back, we have businesses to run.

Seek Collaboration

Choose pro bono clients selectively. This is best done in person or virtually; within a few minutes, a decision can be made. Here’s what to assess:

  1. Are they willing to embrace change?
  2. Do they need pro bono services, meaning can they or can’t they afford to pay for consulting services? Try to understand their operating model. Some business owners can afford to pay for consulting services. They just don’t want to. Those clients are not optimal for this type of investment.
  3. Is their personality a good fit? A demanding, controlling personality or a disorganized, messy type can’t be changed. Don’t take that on.
  4. Do they value professional experience? Do they understand the value proposition being offered? If so, they are more likely to implement recommendations.

Clients aware that they must make changes will be more willing to collaborate. These can be the most rewarding customers to add to a portfolio.

Feel Satisfied

Those of us who perform pro bono work are committed to giving to others. However, providing such services requires an investment of time, energy, and resources. Here are some ideas to make pro bono work manageable:

  1. Accept one pro bono client at a time
  2. Treat your pro bono client as a paid client
  3. Define the scope of work
  4. Maintain control of (your) time
  5. Set a completion date
  6. Commit to learn something new

Work the pro bono side hustle to feel satisfied with a personal choice to make a positive impact.

by Jennifer L. Musser