Today is Small Business Saturday, and let me tell you – it doesn’t get smaller than businesses like mine! Although my driving purpose is to help my clients grow in wellness and vibrant passionate living, my business is all about ME!
…as in, I’m it! Accountant, Advertising Specialist, Product Designer, Laundress, Secretary, and of course mine are the magic fingers that keep people coming back for more! Whether it’s for jewelry, or the tarot cards I shuffle, or of course the hundreds of hours of massage I give a year, it’s all conceived of in my head, and built with my two hands.
Even if you are reading this long after I post this today please know this is my anthem to other solo-preneurs and small business owners like me.
We are what’s left of the American dream.
As you are scouring the ads for deals and steals – whether it’s the 5 pound Thanksgiving edition of your local paper, or a regular Sunday in the middle of the year – see if you can make some space for your budget for the little guy. …Because we are tough and scrappy. …Because we are tenacious in crafting our vision, and insistent on making it a reality.
…Because we are just like you: facing the same financial challenges, yet determined to keep our little ship of dreams afloat.
Don’t get me wrong. I love a sale. Paying a fraction of a price for a coveted item is thrilling. I feel like a mighty huntress returning triumphant. But I have to tell you, that while the prices and deals at the big stores are tantalizing enough to make you want to pitch a tent in the parking lot, the big stores are edging us little guys out. They have so much buying and advertising power it’s really hard to compete. Big retail chains buy mind boggling quantities of cheaply produced products for pennies. I was at a Wal-Mart convention where they had a video celebrating the mark up value of items. It blew my mind. That year they paid fourteen cents per unit on skull candy ear buds, and retailed them for fourteen dollars.
Then there’s the wages they pay their people. Lovely Wal-Mart, and your local massage franchise have one thing in common – they seriously underpay their employees. The starting wage for a Massage Envy employee is $15. While that doesn’t seem too bad if you’re comparing it to a 40 hour desk job, keep in mind that a therapist can’t really do 8 hours of massage a day and stay a Massage Therapist for very long. For Massage, because it’s so much wear and tear on the hands and body, 20 hours a week is considered full time. Then, know that no clients means no money. A spa or massage chain therapist could show up for a full day of work, but if they are not booked they don’t get paid. So that ‘suggested gratuity’, or the mandatory gratuity that they tack on, isn’t really a tip. It’s making up the difference of a living wage that the employer is not paying. Both Wal-Mart and Massage Envy count on the same thing: doing business in large volume, products with a gigantic markup, and underpaid employees.
These business models are what’s choking out the entrepreneur American Dreamers. The more people that get sucked into these giant machines
…that have to work for these behemoths because their other choices have evaporated.
…that have to close the doors of their businesses because consumers are beating a path to their local superstore
The more endangered Main Street America becomes.
You decide with your dollars who thrives and who dies.
When I am planning something new for my business I am always considering the ripples of impact – how what I do for my clients extends far beyond the time we spend together in a session. When they leave my office in less pain, or less strapped down by stress and worry, they are nicer to the world they go forth into (ripple). They can solve problems easier and communicate better (ripple). They have more patience with themselves and others (ripple). They may have a boosted immune system, be able to sleep better, and just have more color in their life (ripple, ripple ripple!)
Know that your buying power has ripples too. When you shop at the mega stores, you are just one more drop in the ocean of money that belongs to a giant corporation run by the upper echelon. When you patronize a small business like mine you really do make a difference. You feed my family. You are buying something that was hand crafted here and with love for you even if we had never before met. You become a part of the ripples of change that I can make in other clients lives and in the Universe.
So this is my cry: make a difference with your money!
Go to your local coffee house instead of Starbucks sometimes. Check out your local bookstore instead of Barnes and Noble every once and a while. Get some exotic salt or spices in that family owned market rather than Whole Foods. There is a community of hand-makers around you that you can find at a craft fair or artisan market, that make everything from home goods to jewelry, with more charm and style than anything you will find in a retail store
We artisans, inventors, creators, and entrepreneurs have so much love for the products we present, and for YOU who brings that part of us into your home and heart. So please, share the love by supporting your local small business person today!