When I worked in Pierre, involvement in the community was the last thing on my mind. I was too tired and didn’t have time for it. After all, most days, I was gone at least 11 hours. And let’s face it, when I am not at work, I like to stay at home.
Even after Wal-mart, when I was self-employed, I avoided the public as much as possible. Part of it, was that I didn’t feel a connection to the town or have friends, and I was okay with that. Sure I wanted to fit in. But in other ways, it wasn’t a huge deal. Through my direct sales company, I was making new acquaintances.
Soon, John and I made our big decision to open a bed and breakfast. For about a year, it took all of our time. From the beginning, it was a learning process. We needed to figure out how to promote it.
First, we started with Facebook. Daily, during our remodeling, we posted new pictures of the house. Everyone was able to follow along as we prepared to become innkeepers. As a bed & breakfast was a new concept to most, this helped explain our business.
About this same time, a friend suggested we join Highmore’s Civic and Commerce organization. I knew it couldn’t hurt to be part of it. However, I wasn’t sure what we could bring to the table. We are just a small business in town, with no employees. Plus, my shyness was kicking in again. What would people think of me? For probably the first year or so, I didn’t say much or attend many meetings. We were quiet, inactive members.
Then, in the spring of 2017, the Hyde county 4H was considering combining with Hand county for achievement days in August. Well, the C&C didn’t want to see that happen, and they called a special meeting. From somewhere, I came up with the idea that we could have a Hyde County Fair again. I knew if I brought up, then I should be prepared to take a major role in the planning it. Luckily, others thought it was a great idea, and were willing to help. Each year, it has grown and changed some.
What I appreciate the most, are the business referals from the 4H families. This was unexpected bonus. With volunteering, there is no pay. But no matter what, it does help your business. Even if there no additional sales, you are out in the public eye and they are reminded of you.
Yes, I could have let stayed at home, uninvolved, in my happy place of my basement. And sometimes, I wonder why am I doing this. However, the things I have gained, both personally and business-wise, far out weight everything. Plus, I am very thankful for the relationships I have made, with people I would have never expected to be friends with.
Living in a small town is the best place to be. You can make your dreams come true, with great people along your side, cheering you on!