Saw that question on Twitter the other day.
And I get it. We’re all reeling to some degree or other, and don’t we have better things on our minds, besides business?
Well yes, we do: Smile. Or do you have anything better to do?
(Ok, that’s a bit snide, but I really really mean it: smile. It’s better).
But that business and selling thing…
Should we? Is it right? Does it matter? Is it ethical?
Well, think of it this way:
You’d better hope your baker keeps selling bread.
It would be nice if you supermarket keeps selling and serving your needs.
If your phone breaks, hopefully someone is selling new or second hand ones, or selling repair services..
Petrol, for those who need to get to work, such as medical, transport, foodstuffs professionals…
The online platforms you use for your business, they’d better keep operating and taking your monthly payments.
Now these are obvious… of course they should stay in business and keep selling. They’re important, for all kinds of reasons.
But if you think that because you’re a solopreneur, or a coach, or an author, or literally whatever it is you do or whatever reason you’re telling yourself why you should take your foot of the gas, that you’re not supposed to be selling your work, you’d be making a mistake.
Even if you’re an artist, and you’re telling yourself that ‘there’s more important things than art at a time like this’, you’d be wrong a mistake. (Art matters a lot for culture, and even more now that folk will increasingly struggle to keep their head on straight. As evidenced by the uptick in the consumption art and music during past recessions and such.)
And another thing: it’s not that you have to keep operating and selling if you don’t want to, but there’s nobody ‘exempt’ from operating their business.
Because whatever the world is going through, it will always have an economy, and you’d better hope that it keeps working, in whatever way.
Without an economy there’s little left except barter, and humanity is no longer organised in a way that makes barter easy on a wide scale. Besides, barter is just another form of economy, so my point stands.
‘The economy’ is a big, big thing, spanning continents and industries and demographics and crossing all kinds of societal and cultural divides… a huge, complex, web. And while I don’t know a whole lot about ‘the economy’, I do know this:
An economy exists, and functions, by virtue of people trading things of value against each other: buying and selling things. And the more that happens, the more things can happen. Hopefully, good and ethical things.
But without an economy, things suck a lot more for people. Kind of like smiling, in fact: if there’s less of it, life is less fun.
So the question ‘is it still ethical to sell’, can be replaced with a more important question:
Do people still need what you do?
If the answer is yes, and people also want it, but you’re struggling to enroll people under current circumstances, you might want to check this out.
Your baker is selling bread. Go and keep selling your stuff. And then go give your baker some money.
Smile as you do so.
Also published on Medium.