A couple years ago I attended an internet marketing meetup I found on meetup.com. It was a valuable meeting, but the organizer got busy or whatever and the meetup “went dark.”
After the meetup lay dormant for many months I decided to step in, pay the fee and become the group’s new organizer, even though I’m not yet an expert internet marketer (I’m more of a beginner).
Tonight is the first meeting under my new management and I shot off an email to my co-working space’s email list announcing it. A couple hours later a woman walked up to me at the space and expressed a need to improve her nonprofit’s site’s web presence and SEO. This new prospective client now perceives me as an expert (or at least a hub/resource) simply because I stepped up to run this volunteer organization, which is a tiny commitment.
I’ve been paid similar dividends by having successfully run for and served as president of my local Toastmasters International club. The competition for this positions is so scarce that a term as president is almost yours for the asking. Now when I tell people (including prospective clients) that I’m a former president of a Toastmasters club, their estimation of my character gets a little boost, especially if that person is or was a Toastmaster.
I’ve also had the same thing happen by volunteering to help at a weekend code-a-thon to help nonprofits with their technical needs. I met the co-director of a certain nonprofit there, and at the end of the weekend she asked me to help with their website (for pay).
These are just a few examples. If you want to meet more people, get more clients, and/or just be perceived as an important or knowledgeable person, volunteer to run something.