The Holiday season is here, and I have been feeling really low.
Usually around this time of year, I am rushed off my feet with work. All those Holiday shows and markets are hard work, but I tend to sell really well in person. When I sell well at a market, or someone compliments my work, I feel a sense of validation. I am motivated to keep doing my work, because people appreciate and buy it. This year’s isolation and lack of feedback has been disorienting.
Last weekend on social media, I noticed a few other makers and small business owners were feeling down too. There were comments in the vein of “I don’t see the point of continuing with this” and “I made one sale this weekend, I feel so lame.”
I can relate. We are hurting. A lot of us were unprepared to convert to a one hundred percent online sales model. The smallest, and more fragile of us, the ones without a brick and mortar store, or a team to work with, are at breaking point. Some small businesses are just a single human being working in a room, trying to figure out how to crack SEO methods while keeping an eye on their kids’ online schooling. I feel as though I have been spending more and more time on marketing strategies, and less time creating. Soul crushing as this can be, it is far worse when it bears little fruition in terms of sales.
So, here are five really easy ways of supporting small businesses. Most do not involve spending a penny or even having to move from your sofa…
- Like their posts on social media
This one is really easy, and seems so obvious. When you like a post from a small business, other people will be more likely to notice that post, which leads to yet more likes, which leads to improved visibility for that business’s page. Score.
- Leave comments on posts
This helps to keep morale up and make us feel as though we are not sending all our energy into a void. Normally at in-person events, we would get feedback about our work. Right now, it is hard to know whether we are on the right track or, indeed, if anyone cares whether we derail (No more train analogies from here onwards, I promise.)
- Share posts
If you genuinely like something that a small business has posted, or think it might be fun or useful to share, SHARE IT! Share it on your page, or even a community page on Facebook, tag friends on Instagram that you think would appreciate it. Help to spread awareness of a small business in a world full of Amazon and Old Navy ads.
- Leave a Review
If you do buy a product or use a service that you like from a small business, please leave a review! It takes less than five minutes to leave one on a Facebook page or a website, or to shoot a positive email to the business owner. I get so many positive verbal reviews about my camps and products (which I really appreciate), but I wish people would actually put some on my Facebook Page or Google listing for strangers to see.
- Tag, Tag, Tag
Snap a decent picture of a product you have bought (or someone using the product), post it, and tag the maker. This will seriously produce so much happiness in a maker’s life, that they will feel a bit like superstars for a while. It proves to the world that people actually buy their products and enjoy them. It makes them feel valued. Priceless.
Anyone out there who would like to offer other ideas for supporting small businesses? Do share them here, and let’s help each other.
I wish you all a lovely holiday season full of kindness and warmth. X