Tis the season to dream
Indulge me in a off-topic blog post this week…
I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas just yet – especially after a surprise winter ice storm that hit us last week and left us without power for 30 hours.
No, I’m talking about the kind of dreaming we all do. Dreaming about goals we want to achieve, things we’d like to own or experiences we’d like to have. It’s healthy to dream and have aspirations.
Some of us weirdos dream about working. Working for ourselves, that is. To have a successful small business.
I guess we are gluttons for punishment? Seriously, we dream of all those other things but our means to getting the dream trip to Italy in 2020 (on my list) is fueled by having a business that gives me unlimited potential to make that happen.
I’m not alone. The dream of small business ownership is a popular one. There are more
than 30 million small businesses in the U.S. today which is 99% of ALL businesses. They employ 59 million people – approximately half of the total workforce in this country. In short, small businesses are no joke. They are a major economic engine and vital to the health of our country.
As one of the 30 million I pride myself on supporting other small businesses whenever possible. In my work life I have a part time virtual assistant, a business coach and an accountant (all small business owners). In my personal life, I shop at a local farm market when possible and frequent our city’s market district where I can purchase from small grocers and retailers. I buy handmade gifts from people with incredible talents; I get my car serviced at a local shop; and I have a “cake lady” who has made every special occasion cake for us for the past 3 years and created a magical display of cookies for our daughter’s wedding. These are just a few examples.
Would a cake from the grocery store chain have been cheaper? Maybe. Would a baby hat and sweater have been easier to order online from a kid’s clothing chain and have shipped directly to the new parents? Yep. But by buying that cake and having my friend knit a one-of-a-kind sweater for a precious little girl, I’m fueling that economic engine. I’m making families stronger and more stable. I’m stoking the fire of creativity and passion in people who have gifts to share and deserve to be paid for them.
So many of my friends and former colleagues have made the leap like me. Scrolling Facebook, I see former coworkers who were in the field of communications now doing some pretty cool things. They include a realtor, an interior designer, a landscape designer, and a printshop owner. And others have taken on side hustles selling everything from essential oils to skincare to children’s books to fitness wear just to make extra money for the things they need or that make them happy.
And while it brings me joy to see people that I call friends going after a dream and making it happen, I know it’s not easy. It’s downright scary to start a new business. There are worries that keep you awake at night, make you question every decision you’ve ever made and can allow the debilitating thought of… “what if I am a complete failure?” to creep in and paralyze you. I’ve been there – a few times.
So my wish this holiday season is that you might consider “shopping local” with a friend or relative. I’m not suggesting you give up Prime because, um, procrastination. However, as we head into the start of the Holiday Shopping season, I encourage you to look through your friends list on Facebook or Instagram and see who you can support. It doesn’t have to be a big purchase. Even an encouraging message or sharing their business with your friends and followers can be a boost to their bottom line and their confidence.
Sometimes they are a little more expensive. And, they may have to charge you shipping but you know that the extra couple of dollars or the shipping fee is helping them sustain and grow a business. They can’t compete with Amazon or Wal-Mart and they likely aren’t trying to. They are simply chasing that dream and trying to make a better life for themselves and their families.
In the season of giving, I hope you’ll support local businesses like mine and help bring them a little closer to achieving that dream.