Allow me to humble-brag on behalf of my pals: it’s pretty awesome to have gung-ho friends who are starting their own business ventures. From gallery owners to Etsy e-commerce queens and freelancers striking out on their own, being in their company is inspiring, to say the least. I love seeing them in action, and they offer me kernels of wisdom that help me up my game in my own adventures in self-employment.
But while I do my best to play the role of cheerleader and support their efforts as much as I can, I also often feel conflicted about supporting them monetarily, given that I’m a frugalista and aspiring minimalist. I like to keep an eye on the bottom line, and I have gone through two massive purges in the last year, so I’m not terribly keen on spending too much money or accumulating more stuff. Still, I feel a slight pang of guilt when I chat it up while nibbling on free aperitifs at a friend’s art gallery opening, only to leave empty-handed. I’m sure that I’m not the only one.
So how can you support your friends in their entrepreneurial efforts when you’re on a budget?
Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Write a Positive Review
Snag a review copy of a book or get a sneak peek of a friend’s upcoming app release? Bolster their new venture by writing a positive review online. After all, reviews could make or break your business. According to a BrightLocal consumer review survey, a whopping 88 percent of respondents used reviews to determine the quality of a business. Your words have value and power. So spend some time writing a glowing review of your pal’s product.
2. Give a Shout-Out on Social Media
The gifts of social media are many. Simply saying how much you love something that your friend is offering helps to spread their reach and gives them cred. Help populate their Facebook invite list or retweet about a new online course that your friend is putting together. Just gushing over how much you like what they’re doing on a social media could boost their business big-time.
3. Record Their Event
Do you have basic video recording skills? Even if you just have a basic knowledge of how to use the video function on your phone, you can memorialize a talking engagement that they’re giving. Maybe even give them a hand with recording a video tutorial.
Do you or your friends have lots of business-related videos? Consider hosting them all in one place on a site like Vimeo.
4. Volunteer Hours
When your friends are ready to pull their hair out, offer to help them with their business. Even if you’re just doing menial tasks, you can learn about the inner workings of a new enterprise. Plus, you’ll be able to squeeze in some quality bonding time, which is often challenging when your friend is busy hustling to get their business off the ground.
Offer to watch the kidlets or furbabies while your friend burns the midnight oil getting their business off the ground. When they’re balancing multiple obligations, give them a brief break from domestic responsibilities. You’ll spare them the trouble and expense of finding a reliable sitter — they have you!
6. Play Matchmaker
If you have any single entrepreneur friends, try setting the millionaire-to-be up on a date. Setting them up with a highly eligible bachelor or bachelorette could be a fun respite from the stress of running a business. But speaking from experience, just make sure to proceed with caution, as playing matchmaker could potentially backfire if things turn south with your match.
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7. Connect Them to Valuable People
If you know of someone who could help boost your friend’s business, provide an introduction. Could they benefit from meeting with someone who is also getting their business off the ground? Are they looking for an expert in a different field? Or maybe they want a partner-in-crime? Be generous with sharing your network and make the extra effort to link them to valuable connections.
8. Be a Sounding Board
Sometimes your friend may just need someone to bounce ideas off of or somebody who will listen to an idea for their business venture. Help them get the creative juices flowing by lending an ear.
9. Help Them Get Help
I’ve done this on several occasions for friends who needed extra help quickly and didn’t have the time to recruit temporary employees. By reaching out to friends who might be interested and available, you can help multiple pals out.
A Final Thought
As you can see, you don’t have to spend much money to support your friends in their entrepreneurial efforts. A bit of thoughtfulness can go a long way and show that you’re in their corner.