‘Tis the holiday season—the time to squeeze in last minute projects and to chase those lingering unpaid invoices, so you can get ready to close the books on 2016. For self-employed professionals, it can be a hectic time of year. However, the holiday season is also a great time to give back. Social responsibility not only makes you feel good, but it’s also good for your business.
So, in the spirit of giving, we’re introducing the 12 Days of Freshtivus. Each day, we’ll encourage you to do one good deed for clients, coworkers or the community.
Sound good? Let’s all come together and help spread the love this holiday season. Share on social media using #Freshtivus16 if you pledge to do some good over the next 12 days. Better yet, encourage others to do the same by sharing this blog post and help make the world, your business and yourself better one day (of Freshtivus) at a time.
Day 1: On the First Day of Freshtivus… Send Handwritten, Holiday Snail Mail
As a small business owner, your clients choose to work with you because you’re amazing at what you do. So this holiday season, rather than sending a generic holiday e-card, consider getting crafty. Handwrite your cards and then send them through good ol’ snail mail. You can either purchase holiday cards or get creative from the get-go and make them from scratch. If you don’t work alone, get the entire team to sign them. Crafts aren’t only for kids, anyways.
Here are some free printable templates for your handwritten cards from the fine folks at Xerox. (Remember: Holiday mailing cutoffs happen soon—be sure you send yours before it’s too late.)
Day 2: On the Second Day of Freshtivus… Have a Festive Sweater Day
Work with a team? Why not get everyone into the holiday spirit by planning a festive sweater day? With the holidays just around the corner, bringing some levity to the workplace is a great way to boost morale and establish company culture—right before you transition into a productive new year. Host a festive sweater party, create a contest and give away small prizes. Everyone will appreciate some light-hearted fun.
If you need help locating your festive garment, choose from this handy list.
Share your festive fashion on social using #Freshtivus16.
Day 3: On the Third Day of Freshtivus…Surprise & Delight a Client
The holidays are all about giving. So, why not send a little treat to the important people who help your business grow every day? Kick off the holiday season by taking some time to surprise and delight a client—send them a coffee shop gift card, mail out company swag or offer a small discount on their next project as a ‘thank you’ for being a loyal customer. The gift doesn’t have to be anything fancy—the surprise and delight factor is what really counts.
Need some inspiration? Check out our list of ways to delight your clients in this FreshBooks blog post.
Share your surprise & delight ideas on social using #Freshtivus16.
Day 4: On the Fourth Day of Freshtivus…Start a Toy Drive
‘Tis the season to give back. Throughout the year, it’s easy to get caught up in the busy work day. So as we move toward the end of the year, it’s a great time to give back to the community. Consider the little ones this year, and organize a toy drive in your neighbourhood. Get your team, your neighbours and perhaps even your customers involved. It’s a great way to keep social responsibility top-of-mind when it comes to your small business.
A simple Google search will help you find a local toy drive to support, or, you can contribute to Toys ‘R Us’ Toys for Tots initiative, one of the biggest of it’s kind in the US.
Day 5: On the Fifth Day of Freshtivus…Pledge to Volunteer in 2017
Social responsibility shouldn’t only be practiced once a year during the holiday season. So today, take a pledge to tie “giving back” into your small business’ mission. Make a commitment to give yourself (and your team members) a couple of days to volunteer in your community in 2017. Employer-driven volunteer efforts have extraordinary benefits. Volunteering invites team building, professional development and improves presence. Consider finding a volunteering organization to join or creating one yourself.
Here’s an infographic with 15 benefits of employer-supported volunteering.
Day 6: On the Sixth Day of Freshtivus…Perform a Random Act of Kindness
When was the last time you paid it forward? Today is the perfect day to lift someone’s spirits through a random act of kindness. Not every day is a good day—and as a small business owner, you’re able to relate. Today, consider doing one nice thing for someone else—it’ll surely make their day. If you work with a team, send a note of appreciation for something great they’ve done. If you work alone, buy a coffee for the person behind you at the cafe. Do one good deed today for a colleague, neighbour or friend and, one day, someone will pay it forward back to you.
Need more ideas? Try using the Random Acts of Kindness generator.
Day 7: On the Seventh Day of Freshtivus…Bake Cookies
Everyone needs a day of rest–and that includes you! Spend Sunday afternoon baking cookies with a friend, family or even solo and bring a batch of freshly baked delights to work tomorrow. Our stomachs are connected to our brains, so offering a homemade cookie to a coworker or client will surely help brighten their Monday. Cookies are also a great excuse to take a mini break during the day, and short breaks are proven to boost overall productivity.
Try this classic gingerbread man recipe by Sally’s Baking Addiction. Share your favorite cookie recipe using #Freshtivus16!
Day 8: On the Eighth Day of Freshtivus…Share a Cuppa
Baby, it’s cold outside. Who wouldn’t appreciate a warm, cozy beverage? Share a cup of hot chocolate with a coworker or client this week and nurture the relationships that matter. Working remotely? Package the dry ingredients in a small jar or baggie and send out handmade packets. It will beat getting a bill in the mail!
Try a twist on a classic and whip up some FreshMint Ho-Cho.
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup cocoa
- 1 dash salt
- 1/3 cup hot water
- 4 cups milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon peppermint extract
Directions: Mix the sugar, cocoa mix, and salt into the water in a saucepan until completely dissolved. Bring the mixture to a boil; cook and stir at a boil for 2 minutes. Stir in the milk, vanilla extract, and peppermint extract. Continue cooking until hot, but careful not to let it boil! Serve piping hot.
Day 9: On the Ninth Day of Freshtivus…Be a Gingerbread Architect
Take a break from the daily grind today and keep your hands busy with something other than a keyboard or mobile phone–build a gingerbread house! Trust us, you will be way more productive afterwards and you will also have created a festive centrepiece for your home or office for everyone to enjoy. Who doesn’t enjoy admiring (and destroying) a fine gingerbread establishment? If you’re up for an extra challenge, have a friendly competition with friends, colleagues, or make it a family affair.
Check out these impressive creations for ‘gingspiration’.
Show us what you got! Share your gingerbread masterpieces on social with #freshtivus16.
Day 10: On the 10th Day of Freshtivus…Tell Us What You Love Most About Your Job
Running a business is tough and not always the most glamorous thing. Thoughts of finances, deadlines or difficult clients keeping you up at night? You’re not alone. But remember, there are reasons–good reasons–you went into business for yourself. Take a moment today to think about why you do what you do–it will make everything else seem worth it.
Now, take it one step further. Write it down, frame it and hang it on the wall. Or better yet, post it on social with #freshtivus16 and tell the world!
This blog post highlights some of the best reasons you became a freelancer. What would you add to this list?
Day 11: On the 11th Day of Freshtivus… Give Back
Giving back is good for business. Having a socially responsible business model builds trusts with existing and potential customers since they view your values as aligning with theirs. A whopping 90% of shoppers are likely to switch to brands that support a good cause. Not only that, it also helps when it comes to attracting and keeping good talent. 52% of workers say that helping ‘make a better world’ and ‘contributing to society’ is essential for their ideal job.
If you’re not already convinced, check out this post that explains why Corporate Social Responsibility is a great thing.
FreshBooks is making it easy for you to give back this holiday season. Simply follow this link to click a little good into the world this holiday season. For the first 20,000 clicks, FreshBooks will donate a meal to a family in need, care of Daily Bread Food Bank. Thank you for giving!
On the 12th Day of Freshtivus…Treat Yourself
Yesss! We’ve arrived at the final day of the ‘12 days of Freshtivus’. For the past 11 days, you’ve helped spread the love–so now it’s time to kick back and take some time for yourself. After all, you can’t take care of your business, clients, friends or family unless you’re taking care of yourself first. So why not run a relaxing bubble bath, meditate, purchase that new tech toy you’ve always wanted, take your dog for a nice long walk in the park…or just take a well-deserved nap!?
Today is your day. How will you treat yourself? Let us know on social using #Freshtivus16.
A tip of the hat to NBC’s Parks and Recreation for popularizing a yearly ‘Treat Yo’Self’ tradition.
And with that, may your holidays be happy and your New Year be fresh.
Sincerely, Your friends at FreshBooks.