Coronavirus diary: Government bailout

During the course of my experience as a small business owner, I’ve never really done well on getting government money for free. For several years, we had temporary part-time workers who either volunteered or whom I paid $1/hour (the government paid the rest.) That was a simple and helpful program, but the funding eventually dried up.

Other than that mentoring program, we just don’t take advantage of all the little ways you can make the government work for you. Partly it’s because there’s inevitably paperwork, which is my greatest weakness. Partly, I am stubborn: if I can’t make Browsers’ work without charity, then I’m doing it wrong. I realize government programs aren’t charity, but it still kind of feels that way.

I just applied for the SBA “loan” that was part of the $2 trillion package passed by Congress last week. I am hoping that it will allow me to rehire a couple of employees, and pay the rent long enough for us to open up the store again.

I feel a little weird about the possibility of getting this money (it’s called a loan, but doesn’t need to be repaid, as long as you use it for appropriate expenses.) If it weren’t for my employees, I might not do it: I think we could struggle through the months without it. But I’m worried about a couple of them, one in particular, and if this will get money into their hands, it’s worth a little humility.