Start-up Therapy


From Gail Billingsley:

The intensity of running and growing a start-up company is off the charts and relentless.  Entrepreneurs know they have to balance that intensity with…something.  But, what?   Perhaps that  balance can be found in volunteering.

Cartoon by Kelsey Sarles for Handshake 2.0What benefits can you receive as a volunteer? 

  • A total shift in focus that will give your brain a chance to operate differently. 
  • Connection with community members who  aren’t associated with your business.
  • A reminder of the “bigger” world outside of your company.

Try volunteering by doing something that is totally disconnected from your work life.  Do you write code or develop algorithms for a living?  Then stop by your local thrift shop and help sort books and clothing.  Or, find a local food pantry and help stock shelves. 

Do you work in an office all day in front of a computer screen?  Community gardens often need extra hands to help with daily tasks. Try helping an elderly neighbor harvest tomatoes or tend to window boxes. 

Do you work alone or virtually?  The local Head Start or kindergarten might enjoy having a new story-time reader.  Or, sign up as a “lunch buddy” and mentor a middle-schooler through lunchtime conversations.

And when you return to work after your two-hour volunteer break, you might find a fresh perspective and a new take on tackling a work issue.  Or, you might just find that you are more at peace.

Reconnect. Give back. Find balance.  Volunteer two hours a week.

Gail Billingsley is the Director of Marketing and Strategic Planning for Smart College Visit and works as a marketing strategy specialist with clients in Virginia and New York.

Cartoon by Kelsey Sarles, originally in this version.

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