The past two years have been rough for a lot of us. Going to work and/or school completely changed for many people during the spring of 2020.
The global pandemic forced many businesses to shut down. Some companies shut down for a few months or so. Some businesses shut down for good.
But some companies and entrepreneurs survived, and even thrived, during 2020 and 2021. This includes new and more established businesses.
Is your business doing well? If your business is doing well and even growing, you’re probably grateful. But you might also feel a little guilty about doing well, especially when so many people are not.
Some economic experts have called these mixed feelings “pandemic guilt.” The popular quote, “it’s okay not to be okay,” is still true. But it’s also okay to be okay.
Here are some ways to deal with pandemic guilt while running your own business.
- Give thanks.
Thanking people for supporting you and your business during these tough times can help you feel less pandemic guilt and more gratitude. Start by personally saying “thanks” to your friends, family, and any customers you see daily or weekly.
You can also share your gratitude online. Create simple “Thank You” images and memes on social media.
If you have an email list or a YouTube channel, thank your subscribers. Share with them one or more specific examples of how they’re helping you and your business.
2. Give inspiration.
Sharing your customers’ stories is another great way to show your appreciation while dealing with pandemic guilt.
Reach out to a few of your loyal customers and ask if they would like to share any of their inspirational stories or experiences, such as dealing with changes during a global pandemic or overcoming other challenges.
With your customer’s permission, you can then share these stories in your business’ blog posts, email messages, and/or videos.
These stories are also more likely to be seen online by your customers as well as by people who are not your customers. How? The customers featured in these stories will probably share your content on their own social media with their friends and followers.
- Give discounts.
Part of your pandemic guilt probably comes from knowing that some people don’t have a lot of extra spending money. That’s why now is a great time to offer discounts to your customers who continue to support your business.
You can then expand your discount or free trial offer to certain groups of people, such as healthcare workers and teachers.
Also, consider having a sale or a free trial offer that’s open to the general public for a short amount of time (2 weeks, a month, etc.).
- Give back to your community.
Knowing that you’ve done something to help someone else won’t make the challenges facing your community completely disappear. But helping people can make you feel less pandemic guilt when you hear about or see people who are in need.
There are different ways to give back to your customers, to your local community, and beyond. Donate money to your favorite cause or charity.
Donations are a popular way for small businesses to help their local communities. Did you know that 75% of small business owners donate an average of 6% of their profits to charitable organizations each year?
Even before the pandemic, some restaurant owners were donating meals to homeless shelters. More meals are now being donated during this pandemic to homeless shelters and to other groups of people such as healthcare workers working in local hospitals.
- Give opportunities and connections.
Some of your customers may feel isolated. Other customers may be frustrated by divisions that are happening in communities online and in real life. Consider creating an online community for your customers to gather and share their thoughts, questions, and ideas related to your business’ services and products.
You can create these groups and communities using social media platforms like Facebook and YouTube. Or you can use websites that are specifically focused on online communities such as Slack or Circle.so.
You can also partner with other online businesses and/or local businesses to do cross-promotion campaigns.
Final Thoughts on Pandemic Guilt
It’s normal to feel some pandemic guilt about doing well as a young entrepreneur. Building your own business isn’t easy, even when many people seem to be doing well.
The good news? You can keep your business growing by continuing to help your customers and your community.
Some ideas for encouraging others include:
- Thanking your business’ customers and supporters.
- Sharing your customers’ stories and experiences, with their permission.
- Offering discounts.
- Donating your money, products, or time to your favorite cause or charity.
- Connecting with your customers as well as with other businesses and entrepreneurs.
Using these ideas and your success to help others could inspire people to use their skills to build (or rebuild) their own businesses and communities.