5 Simple Ways to Support Small Businesses and Handmade Shops (Without Spending a Dime)
I think it's safe to say that I'm a bit of a serial entrepreneur--and it's certainly not because everything I touch becomes pure gold. It's more because I have so many ideas, love creating, and keep learning/growing. Thank goodness I'm not stuck in 2010 making napkin rings and strange soap dish pedestal things ;)
If you don't believe me, let me introduce you to all the small shops I have started:
-- Dulcitas, 2010 (honestly not even sure what I sold...)
-- Home for Hire (Shop), 2011-2013 (One thing I sold was love birds...it was fun while it lasted--which was until Luke was born)
-- Nicole Joelle Print Shop, 2014-2015 (Started as a way to earn money to go to the Influence Conference, but ended for a number of reasons--such as feeling directionless and burnt out)
-- Cultivate Co, 2016
-- Color + Kindness, 2016
So far, my last two have been the most life-giving and positive flow generating, but I'm still on the fence about whether I can realistically run two businesses--so I'm currently doing a lot of evaluating and thinking about it. But, that's a topic for another day!
Today, I want to chat with you about how to cheer on small businesses without spending a dime. Of course, every shop owner loves to make a sale, but positive feedback and encouragement can be just as motivating. Maybe you don't have a hundred bucks to spend on that sweet jewelry your friend creates, those adorable shoes that momma is making, or buying the handmade coffee mug that you've been eying for 5 years--but you can still support small business and handmade shops. Even without purchasing from their shop, your support can actually be profitable for them.
As a momma who spends 75% of her time during nap time (and often the evenings too) chugging old coffee and designing new items like a mad woman, I can't even begin to tell you how much it means to have people support you and cheer you on. So, I'd encourage you to think of a few of your sweet friends (or some small business owners you think you'd be besties with), and do a few of these things to help support them without spending a dime.
So, here we go:
1. Pin. Pin. Pin. If you are on a small business's site and you see something you like, pin it. Pinterest helps gets the image/product in front of more eyes. And more eyes often translates into potential new customers for a small business. Taking one quick moment to pin an image could ripple into hundreds or thousands of more views for that shop.
2. Share a shop or product link with your friends on Facebook. Maybe you love the mission of a company you just discovered--so share it with your friends who might love it too! Maybe you think a product would be useful for some of your friends, share it with them. Maybe you share it with every one of your Facebook friends or maybe you just share it with a few. For a small business (especially an online one), your sharing (or even likes!) gives credibility to a shop and people feel more comfortable purchasing from them.
3. Give positive feedback/comments. Even if you never buy that adorable shirt a small business is selling, let them know you love it. I can't tell you how often it has encouraged me to keep creating when someone shares that they like something from the shop. Not only is it encouraging on a personal level, but it helps me better understand what appeals to my market.
4. Ask about collaboration. Many small business are looking for people to help spread the word. It never hurts to ask if they would be interested in trading some product for your help in marketing/sharing the product. Depending on your influence or their size, they may say no, but it never hurts to ask!
5. If you have an item from their shop (purchased or won), post a picture of how you are using it in everyday life. It is so fun to see products that you shipped or created in someone's home or being used. Plus, it helps other people see how to use the products and often generates interest.
As always, I'd love to hear your feedback and ideas! I bet we could add some more ways to this list.