Some of the first businesses to get hit with quarantine closures were service-based — the people who make their living talking to nad touching people. In this community, they’re our friends, family, and colleagues — they’re all of us. And we all want to do whatever we can to help.
Whether you’re struggling to find a way to support your favorite service businesses as a client or you’re seeking ways to support yourself or your colleagues, it’s been beautiful to see how people have invented new forms of grassroots fundraising for closed shops and fitness studios.
Here are some of the most common, plus a couple you maybe haven’t heard about yet.
Start a GoFundMe
If you’re a stylist or fitness instructor who works in a larger studio space with multiple colleagues who are also out of work, starting a GoFundMe to support the whole studio team is a great way to crowdsource resources.
You’ll need to make sure that everyone on your team is on board with the project. It’s okay if some colleagues opt out because they don’t feel they’re in need of extra help, just make sure they know they have the option. You should also consider designating a couple point people for your clients and community (they can send the link around to clients who want to share, provide updates, etc.).
Once you have the GoFundMe page set up, send it to all your clients via email and add it to your social.
Venmo-ing (Or PayPaling) Is a Great Option, Too
If you’re missing your yoga or Pilates instructors right now, and you know they’re hurting, consider reaching out to their studio to see if they’re accepting donations via Venmo or PayPal. Same goes for your stylist or barber or esthetician. They may turn you down, but they’ll be grateful to know you care and want to help.
If you’re the person in need, adding your Venmo account info to your social profiles and into an email asking for help is a quick way to get access to funds. Similar to GoFundMe but less formal, it’s a quick fundraising option especially if you’re a one-person business.
Throw Donation-Based Classes or Tutorials
Regardless of whether you’re using GoFundMe, Venmo, or Paypal, you can also get creative by offering donation-based fitness classes or hair or beauty tutorials on Instagram Live or Zoom. Make sure to remind everyone at the beginning and the end that you’d appreciate some Venmo support. Ryan Heffington is doing this with his 5x weekly Instagram dance classes (if you haven’t done one, you should!). The funds raised are going directly to his LA-based studio and his 14 employees.
One thing that’s brilliant about this approach is that you don’t have to limit your ask to current clients. By offering free fitness classes or at-home haircutting tutorials on social, you can reach people everywhere who are locked up at home and in need of a bang trim or workout. More people, more donations.
By the way, here’s our guide to using Zoom for the fitness industry and the hair and beauty industries.
Encourage Clients to Buy Gift Cards
Gift cards are a huge opportunity for businesses that are closed but still need to pay the bills this month. By asking clients to buy gift cards or packages in advance, you’re not asking for a straight-up donation (though there’s nothing wrong with that in times like these!). Rather, you’re asking for them to pay upfront now for their bookings later, so you still have some revenue coming in this month.
We offer a gift card feature, but many of our clients have been using a combination of Schedulicity Pay and our package feature to sell service or class packages online. Bonus: Because we’ve waived fees on all of our products, you can use all our features, including these, as much as you need until July 1 for free. (Note: Schedulicity Pay’s processing fees do still apply, but they’re at the lowest rates in the industry. Now’s the time to switch if you’re feeling overwhelmed by the fees of your current processor.)
Offer Products and Even Product Drop Offs
Encourage clients to buy products for at-home use while they wait to come to see you. If you haven’t typically sold products, there are plenty of ways to get creative. One of our team’s spin studios is offering bike rentals and another’s stylist is offering “color kits” where they’ll blend your custom formula for at-home touch-ups.
If you’re still able to travel in your area, offering delivery is a great way to show you care and to fill up some of this downtime. My facialist is dropping off goody bags on doorsteps for anyone who isn’t comfortable coming to her studio.
Start a Virtual Tip Jar
Until now, we’d all get our hair cut regularly, maybe a gel mani two times a month, a massage every three weeks — and we’d tip every time.
A beautiful tipping trend recently surfaced in New York City after bars got shut down. People began sending a tip for each of the drinks they made at home to the bar or bartenders who would normally have made it for them. $2 for happy hour. $10 on a Saturday night. $15 for when you and your partner both have one too many margaritas. Digital tipping.
The idea has since expanded into other industries — I have a friend who is now shaving his head at home but still Venmo-ing his barber his normal fee as a sign of solidarity.
We loved this idea so much at Schedulicity that we decided to build a version of it into our platform. In about two weeks, we’re launching our new “tip jar” feature — which will look like a banner at the top of your business profile — so that clients can support you with as many dollars as they’d like, whenever they’d like. (Don’t worry, it’s going to be optional whether you include it on your profile or not!)
Normally, we’d wait to announce something like this until it launches, but because these payments will go through Schedulicity Pay, you will want to have a Pay account activated and ready to go if you’d like to use it when it launches. Getting set up can take a few days, so apply now! We’ll send an email when the feature goes live (around April 15).
As always, we’re sending you and yours all our support. Stay safe and healthy, and keep your chin up.