One of the good things about lockdown was being able to support the businesses around us – shopping small and local to get us out of the house while still staying safe. We all made great discoveries on our doorstep: the tiny corner cafe that serves the perfect latte, a greengrocer with produce fresh off the fields, a food truck in a car park cooking up the best tacos in the world. Shopping small allowed us to stay connected to our local community and help businesses through tough times. Now that restrictions are easing and the big chains are back open again, how can freelancers continue to support small businesses? It’s important that we little guys stick together. In this guide, we look at easy ways to find and support small businesses with your hard-earned cash.
Now that pubs are back open indoors and you shouldn’t need your thermals on to order a pint, you might be thinking of enjoying a meal out or a few after-work drinks. Wetherspoons – and other chain pubs – are ubiquitous on British high streets, and experts estimate that this comes at a significant cost to smaller boozers who don’t have the buying and marketing clout of the big chains. We know that we should be supporting independents, but when you’re in a rush trying to decide where to settle down for a drink, it can be tempting to stick with what you know. For finding somewhere a little more soulful and characterful to enjoy, there’s an app for that. Neverspoons is an easy-to-use app for Android and iPhone that will help you find your nearest independent local, wherever you are in the country, so that you can support a small business while you enjoy that post-work glass of rosé or weekend family brunch.
As a nation, we’re addicted to fast fashion. Even as clothes sales in physical shops dropped away during the pandemic, online retailers saw massive booms. But again, small businesses have struggled to keep going. Etsy is an online marketplace of makers selling everything from earrings to egg cups. You buy direct from the artist or crafter themselves, meaning you can often put in a request for an extra-special personalised design that’s unique to you. As well as getting an original item that no one else will have, you can keep another small business owner afloat. Etsy is an international platform, so you can directly support artisans from across the world. We’ve been using it to keep ourselves stocked in funky reusable face masks as we head back to the office and browsing for one-of-a-kind Fathers’ Day presents.
We’re all guilty of putting in a few too many panic orders to that big online bookseller over lockdown – especially when the news that we would have to home-school hit. However, now things have calmed down a bit, there’s time to make more considered purchases. With online platform Bookshop, you have a choice of ways to support independent booksellers. You can either find a specific bookshop and buy from their stock, or you can purchase any book through the platform and part of the profits will be donated to a pool that is shared amongst all the indies signed up to the scheme. Bookshop exists to support the public good and keep independents in the game against the stiff (some would argue unfair) competition of the online giants. And, once you get used to it, it’s just as easy as shopping on the bookseller-that-must-not-be-named website. Add to basket, checkout, enjoy your reads and the warm fuzzy feeling that comes from supporting small businesses.
Another option for the bookworms is Hive, a network of local independent bookshops. Search for your books on Hive and you can choose a local business to receive part of the profits from your order. We especially like the feature to have your book delivered to your local bookshop, meaning you can pop in for a browse at the same time as picking up that hard-to-find read (the store gets a greater percentage of the profits this way too). But if you’re still happier at home, Hive will also deliver straight to your door – for free. If books aren’t your bag, they also sell DVDs and vinyl.
While we love the convenience, simplicity and choice of online shopping, sometimes you just can’t beat a bit of bricks-and-mortar. Head down to your local high street to find expert advice on hand, the chance to see products in person before you buy, and a bit of friendly chit-chat too. You never know what you might discover; perhaps there were a few gems that you used to pass on your daily lockdown walk that has now opened up for business. Shopping small helps keep your local economy strong. Research from Visa suggests that for every £10 spent with a small business, more than a third (£3.80) stays in the local area. Keeping this money in the community will help improve your area and can lead to job creation and new opportunities for freelancers too, so everyone benefits.
It’s great to see freelancers finding new ways to big up other small businesses. But, as things start to kick up a gear post-lockdown, don’t forget to get support in place for yourself. Freelance business insurance from Dinghy means that you can get covered for your professional indemnity, public liability and business equipment all in one place. All policies come with Freelancer Assist – meaning we’ll come to your rescue for any legal or tax queries and to help you chase unpaid invoices. Just another way we like to champion the little guys.
This is not a sponsored article and neither Dinghy nor our staff has received any kind of promotional gifts or payment for featuring the below websites or services.