As you all know, this is a crazy time in the world and so many people are being affected, by sickness, by worry, by economic downturn, by isolation. Oh Joy! is a small self-funded business, and we are in the same boat with all of you – struggling to make sense of everything and feeling the very real economic realities of a country and world that is staying home and can't work. I am friends with so many other small businesses who are making difficult decisions and struggling to survive until we get to the other side of this pandemic and things can return to the way they were before. If you are a small business and struggling, I want you to know that I see you, I feel you, and I want to support you. So here are a few ways we can try and help our small business community. And if you can't afford to buy things right now, we understand! You can still support small business without spending a dime. Here's how…
1) The first one is easy! Buy something! Small business spans from the cute stationery boutique on the corner, indie kids clothing line, artist, author, your favorite local ramen spot, and everything in-between. So try today, or once a week, to order something online, get a food delivery, buy an author's book to read, or send a gift. Every little bit helps them right now!
2) Get a gift certificate! If you're not comfortable getting something delivered right now, you can buy a gift certificate from your favorite store. The small business gets the money now to keep things afloat, and in a few months, you get to go shopping (or have the perfect gift for someone else!)
3) Support someone's Patreon. If you are like me, you follow tons of artists, small shops, illustrators, and even cartoonists on social media. There is a service call Patreon that lets you give a certain dollar amount monthly and you basically become part of their reward club. For some, there are different levels of monthly content or gifts you get, for others, free shipping or first access to their content. It's an easy way to help (sometimes for only a dollar a month!)
4) No money? No problem! One thing we small businesses need is to be introduced to new friends and customers we haven't met before…YOUR friends and circle of influence! Share your favorite brands in IG stories; post the product you would buy and say it's on your wish list; retweet a favorite shop; pin the best brand for necklaces, etc. Sharing about your favorite brands might introduce one of your friends or followers to a company they haven't met but would love. And more eyes to their work is a great way to help support them, too!
5) Comment and engage on your favorite pages. All "likes" "follows" "comments" "pins" "views" etc. are welcome, needed, and so encouraged. Small business that serve the influencer and blogger space (raising hand that's us!) benefit from your engagement. You're already on social media a little more than usual right now (I know because I am, too!), so be generous with your comments and likes, and help get more engagement to your favorite accounts.
6) Send an encouraging email or message. I know we can't all afford to buy something from every small business we love – I know can't despite how much I want to. But we can send encouragement in the form of an email, DM, or comment. I can't tell you how much I love all your notes and comments everyday that help give me smiles during this crazy time. They mean the world to me and remind me we're all in this together. Send notes to all your favorite brands, artists, designers, and friends. Real people are behind every account and are touched to hear from fans and friends of their support and love.
These are just a few ideas from us…but share any of yours, too! And if you're a small business or have a favorite one, leave a link in the comments that we can all go visit and see! Keep spreading joy and support, and we'll get through this together.