A Las Vegas business owner and entrepreneur has launched “Everybody is Essential,” a website to help the millions of small businesses and sole proprietors currently facing great economic hardships due to the closing of “non-essential” businesses to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus. The website seeks pledges from individuals to help businesses maintain and sustain positive cashflow through the lockdown. The website is not a fundraising effort, rather, it seeks personal commitments from consumers to continue to pay for services not rendered during the COVID-19 business shutdown, thereby putting money into the pockets of small business owners and sole proprietors, particularly those who provide services not considered essential to human survival but are an integral part of daily life – until now.
Until just a few weeks ago, people regularly frequented small businesses that provide personal services such as hair styling, dog walking, childcare, private lessons, house cleaning, nail and wax treatments, and many others. Concerned by the short- and long-term impact the shutdown will have on these businesses, Scott Robertson, managing partner of Las Vegas-based advertising agency, Robertson + Partners, created Everybody is Essential to recognize that “while some services may not be essential to our survival, the income generated by those services is essential to the survival of those who provide them.”
“As a business owner myself, I know first-hand the challenges any economic downturn can create, but the shutdown of ‘non-essential’ businesses is unlike anything I’ve ever seen,” said Robertson. “While the toll on jobs and our overall economy is staggering, I worry most about the sole proprietors whose incomes and families depended on our regular payments for their services. This is a time for us as a community to come together to support each other. Not only should we #StayHomeForNevada but we should #SpreadPositivity and if financially able, support those whose services we have depended on for so long. Any amount can help during this difficult time. I truly believe that everybody is essential, and we are #StrongerTogether.”
Everybody is Essential asks people who have the economic means to continue to support these small businesses by making an online pledge to continue paying for their non-rendered monthly services during the crisis. Donations would then be made personally to the specific business owner via Venmo, Zelle or other digital payment service. The website also encourages the community to think of other creative ways to help and to share their personal stories, showcasing how a multitude of small actions can collectively make a huge difference.
Robertson added that while the effort launched initially to help businesses based in his hometown of Las Vegas, he hopes the #EverybodyIsEssential movement would spread across the country to help as many businesses as possible.
Pledges to support local small businesses can be made online at https://everybodyisessential.com/.