Notes: A problem with inspirational businesses

Mark Silver writes in Is It Possible to Do Financial Harm to a Client? about a problem with inspirational businesses:

"When your business combines transformational, spiritual, or aspirational work of some sort, there's an inherent risk. If you have a mission, something you care deeply about, and your business is a vehicle for that mission, you have a slight problem.

The problem is this: while any purchase you make is at least partially an emotional choice, your business means that there can be a real tangle. It becomes all too easy for someone to conflate their aspirations, hopes and vision with purchasing what you are offering.

Is it manipulation? Is it just good business?

Let's make it real. You have someone interested in one of your programs. They are totally excited about it, it seems perfect for them, it tackles something they really need to handle in their life.

And this person doesn't have the money. Their income is very low, and somewhat unstable. They'll be adding significant debt to work with you.

Is it okay to sign this person up and take their money? Is it totally their responsibility or do you bear a part of the karmic implications?"

I believe that we do play a part in the karmic implications and that we have a responsibility to work towards equality (as opposed to living and working in a manner that encourages inequality). This belief is what led me to write my latest essay, Permission Pricing for Digital Work.

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