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How to Crush 2021 Like a ‘Boss’

Advice from a startup Co-Founder and President.

January 12, 2021

I know 2020 was an insane year for everyone, so I’m sure we can all agree that we’re ready to move on and move up in 2021. If you don’t know me, hi, I’m Sara! I’m the Co-Founder and President of TapOnIt, a tech startup based in Iowa. I wear a lot of hats at our company, so setting goals, staying organized, and getting sh*t done is kinda my forte 🙂 I’ve put together a list of things I do to help me take on the year like a boss!

Set realistic goals. Everyone says it, but it’s so true. If you start the year by saying “I want to run 5 miles every single day”, but you never go on runs to begin with, you’ll crash and burn before you can really get started. Begin with small goals, and build up. No one says you have to wait until the next new year to make more goals! 

Hold yourself accountable. The key to keeping myself on track to reach my goals is to write them down and track my progress throughout the year. I recommend keeping a journal or notebook in your purse or on your desk so you can easily jot down your efforts and progress on a daily basis. Here’s the one I’ll be using this year: Daily Intentional Life Journal. It may feel tedious at first, but it’ll quickly become a habit. 

Celebrate your wins. Something else that has made a big difference in reaching my goals- and staying optimistic during hard times- is celebrating my little victories. I’ve found that rewarding myself for smaller wins helps motivate me to work towards bigger goals. Whether it’s buying myself a new pair of shoes, going out for drinks with a friend, or grabbing a latte from my favorite local spot, acknowledging my successes keeps me energized throughout the year.

Put yourself first. I think a lot of people have a habit of saying “yes” too much (myself included). “Yes, I’ll help you move”, “Yes, I’ll pick up an extra shift”, “Yes, I’ll host the dinner party”. Before you know it, you’re booked solid for the next month with no time set aside for yourself. It’s easy to get wrapped up with friends, family, co-workers and everything going on in the world right now. If you give yourself more attention, you’ll get a lot further without feeling overwhelmed. I like to schedule time just for me to avoid burning myself out. It might be a couple yoga classes a week, a few hours away from my phone, or a walk with my dog, Paisley. Little things add up, and can really help your mental health.

Find a routine. Having something steady in your busy life can help keep you a little more balanced. Something I started last year that I think makes a huge difference in my weekly success is a nighttime ritual. I light my favorite candle, put on some Taylor Swift (certified Swiftie, here!), and do my skincare routine. Lately, I’ve been loving face masks (I’m not talkin’ COVID face masks). Adding this extra step once or twice a week has been a treat I really look forward to.

Create a better work/life balance. Whether you’re back in the office, or you’re still working from home, you need to find balance between work and play. My job requires a lot of TLC. I’m a manager, president, and co-founder at a startup company that is always evolving. No two weeks are the same, which is why I’ve set some ground rules for myself. Something I like to do is start my day one hour earlier. That way I can make my coffee, take care of personal tasks, and prepare for my day before the phone starts ringing and I’m pulled into meetings. I also set a boundary of when I step away from the computer at the end of the day so that I’m not answering “just one more email” ten times. During the weekend I give myself certain windows of time to check work emails, and then outside of that, I let myself relax.

As we have learned this past year more than ever, we never know what life is going to throw at us. But, being prepared and having goals will help keep you moving in the direction you want to go. So celebrate your little victories, stay organized, spend time on yourself, and make 2021 your year.

Sara

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6 Ways To Support Small and Shop Local Online

December 16, 2020

We’ve heard it time and time again – things look a little different this year. Graduation, birthdays, work, school, and now the holidays. As we continue to adjust to the “new normal” we might find ourselves questioning most everything we do.  Throughout this giant storm we call “2020,” there have been a few tiny rainbows that have opened our eyes to work towards a better future. 

Hashtags such as #shopsmall #supportlocal #smallbusiness have been trending as of late. Our nation relies on small businesses and supporting them is critical to the well-being of entrepreneurs, communities, and the economy. The dire importance of supporting our community stores, restaurants, salons, etc., is top of mind. We’ve all seen the headlines, read the statistics, and watched as each day another small local business announces that they will be closing their doors. 

Small businesses typically don’t have the online presence as big-name companies do, nor do they have large budgets for marketing and advertising. This could mean there are many local shops in your community that you’ve never even heard of.  So, what can you do?  How do you go about giving these small businesses your support from the comfort and safety of your own home?

Here are 6 ways you can support local businesses during a pandemic holiday season

1. Try New Businesses

You may already have your go-to spots, but trying somewhere new might help you discover a new favorite, plus it helps spread the wealth! A simple way to find new businesses around you is, dun, dun, dun…Google! Type in what you’re looking for and add “ in my area” after (ex. boutiques in my area). It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by what you can find. Another great resource is your city’s visitor website or the Chamber of Commerce.  These sites are packed full of great information on where to shop, eat, drink, and explore. Of course we can’t forget TapOnItAt TapOnIt we pride ourselves on giving people new places to explore in their community every week – no app needed!

Once you’ve discovered new places to support, it’s time to shop!  If the business offers online shopping on their website it’s as easy as “place in cart”, but what if they don’t?

2. Shop on Social Media

Try visiting a businesses’ Facebook or Instagram page to shop! Facebook Shops are located right on a business’ Facebook page or Instagram profile. From there, you can browse their items, save products you’re interested in, and place an order!

3. Call or Message Them

Small businesses want need your business!  They are likely to go above and beyond to secure your purchase. Give them a call or send them a message if you happen across an item you’d like to purchase. Ask them if you’re able to pay by credit card over the phone, or if they accept Venmo, PayPal, or CashApp. Then see if they offer delivery or curbside pick up.

4. Get Gift Cards

Gift cards make great… gifts!  And this year they truly are the gift that keeps on giving. Buying gift cards gives small businesses a cash infusion now to help make it through hard times. If gift cards aren’t available to purchase online, call them to ask if they could mail them to you. 

 *Do you know of or own a business that does not yet offer eGift Cards?  Check out TapOnIt’s easy and affordable eGift Card Platform!

5. Support Locally Owned Restaurants and Bars

If you’re able, try to get one or more of your weekly meals from a local restaurant, bonus points if it’s not a chain. Try ordering directly through the business instead of using third parties (like Ubereats, Grubhub, or Doordash), so that all of the money from your order goes directly to the business. Plus, who said eating at home had to be boring? A lot of bars and restaurants have gotten creative, and are offering take-home drink kits, food packages, growlers of your favorite beers, you name it (and if they don’t offer it, they would probably try it)!

6. If you do shop Amazon…

Look at the seller of the product you’re buying, and consider buying it directly from their website instead. Shoppers can also shop local via the Support Small page, which highlights small businesses, and allows users to search for products they sell.

BONUS. Free ways to help

1. Leave Online Reviews

Online reviews are a great way to spread the word about your favorite small businesses. Leave reviews on Facebook, Google, Yelp, or any site you come across. The more positive reviews that a business has, the more likely people are to discover them! 5-star reviews are a great way to show your appreciation to small businesses for providing such a great service. 

2. Support them on Social Media

Follows, comments, likes, and shares help businesses get more exposure on social media. The algorithms on social media sites control the visibility on posts and pages, so more interactions = more eyes seeing it. When you’re scrolling, be sure to engage with posts from your favorite businesses to help the ‘bot’ behind social media tell more people about that profile. 

3. Spread the word

Word-of-mouth is the bread and butter of many small businesses. It is one of the most effective marketing strategies out there because people are more likely to trust the opinion of someone that they know rather than a stranger. Tell your friends and family about your favorite small stores and restaurants. Better yet, post about them on social media to give them an even bigger shout out and make sure to share your TapOnIt offers via Facebook, Messenger, Twitter and text! 

4. Instagram (again!)

Instagram has a new “Support Small Business” sticker for Instagram Stories that people can use to easily show their love for businesses. They can mention businesses directly in the sticker to give their followers a preview of the account. When people use the sticker, their story will be added to a shared story, so more people can see it. The Support Small Business sticker can help businesses reach new customers, and stay connected to the people they serve.

If you’re in a position to support a small business, please do what you can to help the people who are the backbone of our economy. We wish small business owners and employees the best during these difficult times. If you have any other ways to support small businesses, leave a comment below.

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