Black Friday and Cyber Monday. It's holiday shopping time, but the way people shop has certainly changed.
I was chatting with my hairdresser the other day, trying to not get hair in my mouth as I did. We were talking about steamed pudding molds, and where they could be bought. He was saying he would rather go to a small locally owned store to order one than to buy online. He liked to support local businesses.
I totally get that. The problem is, I'm a local business owner as well, I just don't have a brick and mortar store. Like a lot of other people these days, I make my living online through various outlets, including Zazzle, Cafepress, Squidoo, and a host of other websites. I have 34 online stores, and over 200 pages on Squidoo, including one that sells, yes, steamed pudding molds. What about me? I'm local too.
There is this idea that people who do business online are somehow there because they can't do anything legitimate. One person even called my work "setting traps for people." Seriously? That's pretty harsh, especially from someone who has been unemployed for over a year, waiting for something to happen.
I started working online because at the time I was
A) Homeschooling my kids,
B) Too poor to possibly open a store, and
C) Not one to wait for something great to come along.
And while I am no longer homeschooling my kids, I do make something approaching a living online, without having to tell them I can't come to their games or I can't take them to scouts, or whatever. Like most internet entrepreneurs, I get royalties from the things I sell, whether they are the things I've designed for Zazzle, or the collections I have put together for Squidoo, and I am not alone.
There are thousands of small business people around the world whose business is 100% online. They are stay at home parents, retirees, college students, and people who share their passions through writing blogs, each looking to make something, even if it is just a little pocket change. So as you head into the holiday shopping season, certainly buy local, but don't forget the internet folks. They're local too.