In a world of Amazon Prime deliveries and SHEIN hauls, small businesses can get overlooked. Sure, clicking ‘buy’ from your phone and having your purchase arrive on your doorstep in two days might be cheaper and more convenient. But by shopping small, you can actively invest in your local community. And thanks to rising costs and labor shortages, small businesses are struggling. So if you have the means, consider shopping small this holiday season.
Buy gifts for loved ones locally. According to the US Small Business Administration, when you spend $100 at a small business, $68 stays in the community. So keep your money local by shopping small.
Shop women-owned small businesses. Women have historically been left behind when it comes to entrepreneurship. (See: Limited funding, especially for Black women.) But thankfully that’s changing, and there are more than 13 million women-owned businesses in the US today. Let’s keep that number growing.
Rethink how you shop small. Because you can buy more than ceramics, books, and jewelry locally. Consider shopping for the ingredients you need to prep your holiday meal at a local farmers market or grocery store.
Shop small all year round (if you can). It’s a privilege to be able to shop small. If your budget allows, consider helping grow your community’s economy by putting your funds into it on the reg.
Promote a small business. Supporting a small business doesn’t always mean making a purchase. If your budget is tight, share a small business’s Instagram account with your friends or like a post to boost their engagement.
Financial Goal Unlocked
The goal: Start a side hustle. A survey of American workers by Prudential Financial Inc. found that 77% of millennials and 81% of Gen Zers have pursued gig work, or are considering it, to supplement their income this year. (Thanks, inflation.)
A winning mindset: A side hustle can do more than just bring in some extra cash. It can help you expand your skill set, change jobs, or launch a new career. It could even develop into a full-time gig that allows you to quit your 9 to 5.
A winning strategy…
Define your goal. Looking to bring in supplemental income? Saving up for that next big purchase? Pick a goal to work toward. Ex: This side hustler paid down $40,000 of debt.
Consider your talents. If you’re a Canva pro, you could create the next hot printable and sell it on Etsy. Psst…need ideas? These side hustles let you earn cash from your couch.
Do some market research. Identify your target customer and the problem you can help them solve. Then, develop a product or service that meets their needs and is competitive with the market.
Be mindful of taxes. Sometimes side hustle income can reduce your tax bill (hi, deductions). But if you make over $600, the IRS will want a cut. Plan accordingly and consider working with a tax pro.
Explore business entity options. You don’t need to form a business to start a side hustle. Hint: You can be a sole proprietor. But if you have personal assets, like a house, you might want to. Forming an LLC separates your business from your personal life and can protect you.
Set up a new bank account. Commingling your side hustle money with your paycheck can get messy. Open a separate account just for your side hustle income to make it easier to manage your money.
theSkimm: A side hustle is a great way to turn a passion into an additional source of income. Or a small business (hey, think big). And it can help you get one step closer to reaching your money goals.
Asking for a Friend
Q: What’s your #1 piece of advice for a woman who wants to start a small business?
Denise Woodard: “Everyone's entrepreneurial journey is so personal. I would say there are two things I think about when asked this question: Ensure there is a market need for your business and that your idea clearly meets that need for the audience it's serving. If you can't wait to get out of bed in the morning to solve this issue, you're in the right headspace. From there, just get started. There will never be the 'perfect' time to start a business, and your business and product will evolve over time, but starting — dedicating some time to the business every day — is a reliable way to grow over time and know if your business has staying power.”
Denise is the founder and CEO of Partake Foods, a natural food company that was inspired by her daughter Vivienne’s experience with multiple food allergies. Denise is the first Black woman to publicly raise more than $1 million for a CPG food startup.
Mayssa Chehata: “My #1 advice for a woman launching a new business venture is to find peer mentors. There's a misconception that we need to find the most accomplished entrepreneurs and convince them to be mentors. But they don't remember how to open a bank account, file a trademark, or secure your first investor — they're far removed from all of the ‘zero-to-one’ tasks that you'll be facing every day. Find people around the same stage as you, or six to 12 months ahead of you, who are launching similar products, and you’ll become your own mentorship (and sometimes therapy) circle.”
Mayssa is the founder of BEHAVE, a company that works with world-renowned chefs to create low-sugar candy with all-natural ingredients.
Cyndi Ramirez-Fulton: “Ask yourself if you're the target customer. If the answer is ‘No,’ ask yourself why this is the business for you. If the answer is, ‘To make $,’ you're thinking about this the wrong way. Storytelling is key to growing a successful business. You need to be connected to whatever you're selling. Whether that's because of a personal experience or because someone close to you was affected by something and it in turn affected you. Consumers see through the bullsh*t. Don't start something to get rich. Having heart in whatever you're building is #1.”
Cyndi is the founder and CEO of Chillhouse, a self-care brand dedicated to all things skincare, haircare, and nail care.
Priyanka Ganjoo: “Think long-term. Building a business takes time, patience, and perseverance. When I started building Kulfi, I thought we'd launch within a year. It took me nearly two years to get to launch day, another 18 months to launch with a retailer online, and it will take another year before we are ready to go in-store. Now, ask myself, ‘Will this action be accretive to my brand five years from now?’ This has allowed me to make intentional decisions on product, marketing, and my team, and to stay focused on our vision.
Priyanka is the founder and CEO of Kulfi Beauty, a beauty brand dedicated to celebrating Southeast Asian Culture.
Gloria Noto: “Understand what your strengths and weaknesses are, and find somebody to fill the gaps where you feel weakest. For me, that would be in the operational space, since I like to be more of a creative, conceptual person and an art director. If I could squeeze in one more piece of advice, it would be to make sure that you find the best CPA/bookkeeper possible right out the gate.”
Gloria is the founder and CEO of NOTO Botanics, a clean, gender-neutral, cosmetic line, with over 15 years in the beauty industry.
Katie Sturino: “My number one piece of advice for women who want to start a small business is to come in with a point of view: How are you going to differentiate yourself from what’s on the market? Make it clear what is special about you. Having an idea or wanting to start a small business is not enough to take on the risk and the uphill battle that it entails.”
Katie is the founder of Megababe, a beauty brand tackling taboo body issues, and the author of “Body Talk: How to Embrace Your Body and Start Living Your Best Life.”
Sarah Paiji Yoo: “Start before you’re ready. Most of the time, you’re not going to feel 100% ready, 100% prepared, or 100% not scared at all. Think of how far you can be by next year if you just start today. I think that’s so unfortunate that these doubts kill way more dreams than failure ever will.”
Sarah is the co-founder and CEO of Blueland, which is reimagining cleaning products to eliminate single-use plastic packaging.
Trinity Mouzon Wofford: “Lean into what makes you different. There is value in ‘best practice,’ but not at the expense of diluting your brand’s differentiators. Put the blinders on and focus on building your vision, not another version of what’s already out there.”
Trinity is the co-founder and CEO of Golde, a superfood company on a mission to make wellness more accessible for everyone.
Marina Larroude: “As challenges arise, stay driven, resilient, and ready to pivot. Find a business partner as committed as you are whose strengths complement the company.
Marina is the co-founder and CCO of Larroudé, a premium shoe brand you can find at retailers like Nordstrom and Anthropologie.
Answers have been edited for length and clarity.
Tell Us How You Really Feel: Do you own a small business? Tell us a little about yourself and your business here and you could be featured in our next newsletter.
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