Small businesses are an integral part of any community. And while the journey of starting, and maintaining, a business can be rewarding, it can also be just as difficult and risky. Long hours, fear of failure, constant doubt, and the overwhelming pressure of doing everything yourself can be a lot for any entrepreneur or small business to handle. These, and so many other reasons, are why supporting those that venture into the world of small business is so essential. While support from your community is important, for every entrepreneur it should always start with your family and friends. Your family and friends are some of the first people you bring your plans or ideas to when starting a business. Sometimes they are your first customers, your first employees, your first promo team, and so much more. The support they provide you from the beginning can lay the groundwork for an entrepreneurial journey. As impactful as it seems, many small business owners are not that lucky to receive any support from family and friends when getting started, or at all. I can recall when I first made the decision to start my business. The decision for me came from a really dark and depressing point in my life. I just moved back home after graduating from college, couldn’t find work, barely felt like I had a real purpose even. So I chose to tap into my talents and made the decision to start a blog. Started off very small, but it quickly grew into something much bigger than I expected. I was excited! I felt rejuvenated. I felt like I finally had the chance to make something out of myself and really pursue my passion. When I first brought this all to my family, I did not get the same reactions. I don’t even really think I got a reaction at all. It was just something that was kind of passed over in conversation. Or I’d be confronted with those awkward speeches from older relatives that think doing anything other than working a 9 to 5 job is a waste of time. It was literally, and still is, one of those things that they remember in passing like, “don’t you own a business?” Well yeah, it’s only the most impactful thing I’ve been doing with my life for the past 8 years, but it’s no big deal. That absence of support from my family, and a lot of my friends, really made me bitter for a while. I wouldn’t talk about my business as much. I didn’t like going out to networking events. Those experiences with them planted seeds of doubt in my mind about everything I was doing. You are taught to believe your family and friends are your core people! Your interactions with them, teach you how to interact with the world. I can only imagine how far I’d be professionally if I had that proper support from the beginning. Not everyone may share the same experiences as me, or any other small business owners, but it’s important to understand how necessary that lifeline from your family and friends is. One of the most interesting things I think I’ve learned about this is that many of your family and friends don’t even know how to support you. Sounds crazy right? But it’s actually a real thing! When people think of support a small business, it goes beyond just buying from them or taking advantage of their services. Support can come in so many different forms and doesn’t even have to be financial all the time. Supporting your entrepreneur friend or relative can be as simple as just checking in with them regularly to see how they are doing. Even if you may not understand their reasons for pursuing a certain path, it’s still very important to be there for them. The feeling of having people believe in you can go a long way for any creative mind. If I’ve learned anything along my entrepreneurial journey, is that just inquiring or talking to your small business owner's relatives and friends is the first step to supporting them. We want to feel acknowledged and know that someone believes in what we are doing. That someone sees how hard we are working, and how passionate we are about what we are doing. Taking the time out to give them your time and a listening ear means the world to a small business owner. It gives us confidence and reassurance to keep going and keep fighting. The only way you can know how to support to them is if you actually talk to them! To help those that may be confused or lost on how you can support these creative minds, or where to even start, I’ve compiled a list of some pretty great things you can do for the small business owner in your life: New or Updated Software they may need Many small business owners are responsible for doing 100% of the work on their own. This includes things like bookkeeping, administrative duties, branding, and marketing. Doing all of this often requires purchasing the right software to get the job done. Subscriptions (Year-Long) Just as the right software is important, subscriptions are necessary as well. These can be hosting subscriptions for their website, memberships to professional organizations, and even subscriptions for their favorite productivity apps. Upgraded Equipment This is often one of the most difficult things for small business owners to secure. If they use any type of equipment for their business, offer to upgrade it or help them upgrade it. Planners Planners are a godsend for every entrepreneur. Whether they are physical or digital, entrepreneurs love them! They keep us organized and on point when it comes to day to day activities for a business. New Branding Pay to have their logo upgraded, or their website revamped. You can even go as far as purchasing print marketing materials for their business like brochures, business cards, banners, posters, and so much more. Pay for Marketing Research the costs of promoting on the radio, or on TV, or even through local outlets and platforms. Share your findings with your entrepreneur, or help cover the costs to get them on there. Facebook Ads & Boosts While they aren’t always necessary, they can really help a small business struggling to get exposure. Facebook advertisements and boosting posts, with the right budget, can push a small business in front of the right audience. Google Ad Credits/Yelp Ads These avenues are often forgotten about but are just as effective. Maintaining a strong online presence is essential for any small business. Google and Yelp offer advertising, and credits when you invest in promoting your business in search results and other avenues. Pay Administrative Fees Business licenses, registering your business, and other legal steps can be a big headache for an entrepreneur but are still necessary. Covering the annual or one-time costs of these can give any small business the legitimate reputation they need to bring in more business. Musicians Maybe the creative person in your life isn’t a small business owner, but instead a musician. Musicians catch a lot of slack and are oftentimes left in the cold when it comes to support from family and friends. Just like with entrepreneurship, the music industry is unpredictable. But when you have the right tools and support at your disposal, your chances of success become more and more possible. Here are some ways you can support the musician in your life: Pay for Studio Time In this new digital age, recording studios are not hard to find or get into. If you have a musician in your life struggling to create the right sound for their business, cover the cost of studio time, or to have their music properly mixed and mastered, can make the world of a difference. Down Payments or Layaway Equipment Many musicians are dynamic when it comes to their musical talents, which requires them to have certain kinds of equipment. Look into putting the equipment they need and help by covering the costs, putting a down payment, or putting the items on layaway. Help them get their publishing Another thing many musicians aren’t aware of when they are first getting started. Securing their publishing rights for their music can not only be lucrative, but beneficial for their career in the long run. Many publishing companies, such as BMI and ASCAP, offer free memberships you can sign up for right online. Pay for Branding Musicians need branding too! Whether it is a logo, merchandise, or materials to push their music upon release, these can all make a world of a difference for a musician just getting started out.