Seven Ways to Serve Others with Your Business
Opportunities for service are all around us. I don’t necessarily set out each day intentionally AVOIDING service opportunities, but yet I still end the day wondering if I was really that helpful or provided much value to the world or my family that day. I’ve recently created a little handy cheat sheet for myself to keep my mind service-oriented, specifically when it comes to ways that I can serve others with my side hustle. For some reason, service through my business just seems more measurable and less overwhelming to me, because the sacrifice is mostly just my time and energy.
Today I wanted to share just a few of the ways I’ve been trying to serve others specifically through Bloom, regardless of whether I know them personally, whether they live near me, or whether the benefit to them from my service is large or small.
Promote others’ services and products on social media.
I’ve started to make a habit of sharing posts from people I follow and admire in my Stories on my business Instagram account. It takes a mere second to do this, and the potential promotion for the account I’m sharing extends to my entire audience, which I’d hope would gain them more interest in their products or services. Not that I should be credited with their increase in followers, because their feed of beautiful photos is doing that for them, but if I can get them a little more recognition for their talents and hard work, I’m happy to share.
Besides, social media was designed for sharing and staying social, and too often I think we get caught up in just scrolling, scrolling, scrolling. I know I’m flattered when I get that little notification that I’ve been tagged in something and see that someone has shared my work, and if it takes me hardly any effort at all to provide someone else with that mood-booster, then why wouldn’t I?
Offer to trade services at a much greater cost to you.
We’ve all been there, just starting out, and so small that we can hardly see any future with our little side hustle. Maybe you’re there right now. Remember that there will always be someone coming behind you who is still on the up-and-up, and a little bit of charity sent their way is going to mean the world to them, as it would to you.
Last Christmas, my business partner with another venture and I reached out to an Instagram influencer to see about promoting a holiday-themed product we felt would be perfect for her audience. As complete noobs to the idea of influencer marketing and working with engagement rates and follower counts, we were way under budget with being able to work with this specific influencer, but because she recognized the quality of our product and the value for her followers, she was incredibly generous with us, sharing much more of her own time and her followers’ time with us. She went above and beyond even the base level of promotion she originally offered us for the small fee we paid her, and the exposure for our holiday product was monumental for us last season.
I’ll forever be grateful for that creative, compassionate soul who had built herself up a platform that gave her the freedom to choose where she put her time and effort in running her influencer account and as a result was able to be so generous with us. I’ll always remember this act of charity and look for ways to offer the same kind of generous trade with others who need it.
Use your platform to promote a cause.
Anyone with a single follower on social media has influence, and it’s up to you to choose exactly how you use your influence. If you’re looking for a way to serve someone, promote their situation or cause online for them! I’ve seen awareness and hundreds of thousands of dollars raised by communities for families going through hard times, all as a result of the desire to serve, both on behalf of the person sharing their cause and from the people willing to donate or help.
If you don’t want to ask for monetary donations for a person or cause, consider holding an Instagram auction where people can donate their professional services or products to be sold by bid, and where all proceeds go to support the person in need. It doesn’t take much to make a big difference in someone’s life.
Support your family with extra income.
Obviously your side hustle is bringing in more money for your family, and that right there is a service. It offsets your husband’s pressure to provide, if needed, and helps you stay financially on track, in whatever small way you can. We’ve used my income from this side hustle to pay for bills, Christmas presents, vacations, and to build up our emergency fund, all things which have benefitted my family or will benefit them in years to come.
And besides the monetary support, running a side hustle has countless other benefits for your family, from helping you be a better mother to setting an example for your children.
Host a freebie day.
I want to stress the point that anyone can be charitable in whatever way they deem fit for them and their business. Just because you don’t have to capacity to work for free all the time doesn’t mean you can’t give away products and services to those who would benefit from them.
Here are some of my favorite ways I’ve seen businesses offer their services or products for free, just to do something for someone else:
boutique owners clearing out old, off-season inventory that hasn’t sold by offering one free product per customer, first come first served, or by donating the excess inventory to local charities and shelters.
photographers offering mini mommy and me photo sessions or family photos specifically for Christmas cards, for one day only at a set time.
offering digital downloads for free or hosting a day where all proceeds go to a specific cause.
rewarding audiences who perform acts of kindness with a voucher for goods or services if they share their service and tag the business.
Offer special rates for special circumstances.
Just like restaurants and stores who offer military discounts, or offering friends and family discounts, you can decide ahead of time what type of potential client or customer would quality for a specific service from you. Maybe you ask a few screening questions before they book to decide for yourself if they quality, or you surprise them with a special discounted invoice at the end of the project. An example: let’s say you have a special connection with veterans or cancer survivors due to a personal relationship with a veteran or cancer survivor, and you know just how beneficial your service or products could be for that community specifically. Find something unique to your industry that you know would be of value, and cater that service to others’ needs in a way that benefits them immensely and allows you to serve them thoughtfully and intentionally.
If you need to, build it into your pricing structure to be able to afford a discounted service every once in a while. Obviously the point of being charitable is sacrificing something to serve someone else, but if you have some fixed costs you need to account for to keep your business running, then make sure that the cost of serving others only takes your time and energy, or finances you’re willing to part with.
Build others up.
Again, you don’t need to be willing to sacrifice much monetary value from your goods or services to serve someone else with your business. Sharing about other businesses and providing word-of-mouth marketing for other small business owners is a fantastic way to get them new exposure and support for their entrepreneurial journey. As was mentioned before, social media was meant to be social - let’s bring it back to that!
Share acts of kindness on your feed, and feature fellow creatives who you feel inspired by. Boost their day and mood with your compliments, and go out of your way to make them feel like they are on top of the world. Serving others will always make you feel better about yourself. Spread joy one charitable act at a time, and see what joy is returned to you in both your business and your personal development and growth.
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