April 25, 2020

7 ways you can help out small businesses for FREE.

FILED IN: The Hustle

Given the current climate, it’s never been more important to help out your favourite small businesses, but did you know that the answer isn’t always in the depths of your wallet? There are plenty of ways to help your favourite independents out for free right now AND when the c-word is a distant memory, so get on it and spread some joy. Here are just 7 ways you can help out a small business for free.

phone with phrase how can I help on screen

Write a review.

Google. Trip Advisor. Facebook. Their own website. If there’s one thing that you do today, write a review of your favourite brands or the products they sell and post them anywhere you can. Reviews help to inspire trust in future customers and can also help with algorithms when it comes to Search Engine Optimisation. I’ve written a list of my favourites and am going to try and spread the love once a day.

Create a small business directory.

If you’re a small business yourself, it’s highly likely that you’ll have a website. In which case, you’ll also have some kind of internet authority. Links to a website is how google determines if a site is important in its sphere i.e a website selling coffee with lots of coffee-related links pointing to it will show higher on search engine results than one with none. If you have a website or small business yourself, a simple blog post (like this one from Moxon London) will help to share the link love. You could even make it a permanent directory feature on your site.


I’m not sure people realise the impact a simple like or comment can have on someone’s day, but believe me, it’s a thing. I think that we often forget that real people run social media accounts for businesses and often they can end up feeling low if something they’ve worked hard on appears to have little traction.

Take the time to engage with your favourite content creators and small business social accounts (even more so if they are your mates too) and don’t hold back on appearing over the top. If I had a pound for every person that said to me that they loved my content in person, but didn’t actually ever interact with me online, I’d be rich!

Share, share, share!

Take the leap from engaging and shout about your favourites until the cows come home. Story shares and grid shout outs can make all the difference (even if you don’t have a following to rival Kim K), but do make sure they’re authentic and not just for a returned favour. It’s also important not to forget about life beyond Instagram – shares can have impact with likeminded people on Facebook and Twitter and will also likely lead to better conversions.

Snap your purchases.

Content is always a hard thing to come by for one-man bands that have a trillion things on their to-do lists, so help a gal or guy out by snapping a photo of your purchases, recent or otherwise. I’ve taken countless photos that haven’t made it onto my own social channels as a main feature, but I have sent on to the small business owner so that they can promote their own products (with credit of course). It’s a very simple idea that could help a small business at a time when they’re not able to create as much content as they might like.

Do a skill swap.

Got something you need but can’t afford to employ someone right now? Chances are there’s someone in a similar position and a skill swap might be a way to help both parties. I’ve even swapped dog sitting for a day of influencer outreach before, it doesn’t have to be that deep. If you think that you have something that you could offer someone, reach out to them and strike a deal on what “free” exchanges you could make.

Shop small where possible.

While I know that this piece is focused on helping businesses for free, there are simply just times that we spend our money in the wrong places. I understand that larger corporations all started out somewhere, but for the sake of culture and diversity in industries, put your money where your mouth is and spend a little bit more on supporting the businesses you don’t want to see struggle to make it through this time. Get started by buying supermarket essentials such as tea, coffee and bread from local places (most will offer a delivery service) and spend a little extra on toiletries from local makers. Buy presents for friends and family from independent shops and sellers, and think about purchasing gift cards for places you use regularly.

Do you have any other top tips for helping out small businesses? Comment below! For more interior inspiration, colour clashing and general life admin, check out the rest of my blog. Follow me on InstagramPinterest and Twitter for more EJP in your life.


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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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