Brene Brown Boundaries and Compassion Quote

Can Small Businesses Be Ethical and Still Make a Profit?

Let's clear this up.



This will be one article in many.

So today, let's dive into why profit is getting a bad deal for those working in traditionally caring business relationships, the ethical and compassionate ones…

What is Ethical About NOT Making a Profit?

You are a caring person with high ethical principles.

Somewhere along the line you began to feel you are ‘not allowed' to price for the time or expertise you bring, for the space you hold to deeply help someone in their need.

You undervalue yourself, this makes it harder to attract clients, and when you do your pay is teeny compared with the hours of time spent in marketing yourself, networking, learning, paying bills to run your business.

And what about you? What goes to YOU?

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Over the past few years there is something of a trend.

And that is for some members of the smaller business community to feel impoverished by what they are able to earn because of what they feel they're able or ‘allowed' to charge.


Allowed by who?

This isn't exclusive to one sector and there are a huge swathe of attitudes and behaviours. Here I share my observations.

People Who Love People

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What sort of businesses?

Those I see are run by the most caring and compassionate people.

Those with a gift.

Those who are in the space they occupy with a desire to make a difference.

With empathy and compassion.

They LOVE people.

What Is This Thing About How Much They're ALLOWED To Charge?

Because they love their clients and just want to help, there is a tendency to give freely.

That might mean literally NOT charging. Or giving much more time to a paid service than reflects the cost to the client.

In other words undercharging or over delivering. Or both.

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So in this case, they are NOT allowing themselves to charge what they are worth.

Then there is a CULTURAL influence – what the culture of the sector in which they operate ALLOWS them to charge…and I don't mean a price cap.

  • It can be peer pressure, “This isn't how much we charge in our industry.”
  • It can be imposter syndrome, “This isn't how much we charge in our industry.”
  • It can be societal, “This isn't how we value this industry.” (Just think of the poor pay of care workers who look after our precious older family members.)
  • It can be a mismatch with what is thought of as ETHICAL. (By any of the above.)

Downward Spiral

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There is a race to the bottom with this thinking. Who can charge the LEAST for the MOST brilliant difference made!!??

It is doing a disservice to those who have the highest ethics in society if they find that the expense of running their business is leaving them with little or no profit – wage, money in their pocket – however you want to carve it.

It just is not SUSTAINABLE – in the sense of the word that means ‘it continues'.

Without YOU, because you burnt out or you couldn't afford to bank roll your business anymore, there is NO making a difference. There is no ethical business. There is nothing.

Profit is like water in a desert.

The desert might not NEED to be AWASH with water – just like your ethical business does not NEED to be AWASH with profit.

But life in the desert cannot exist where there is no water – and your business is the same.

No profit, no money to sustain you, no money to reinvest in your business.

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You ARE allowed to run an ethical business and to price right. There are ways to do that, to take your valued service to a market that can afford you and STILL serve those who you may feel cannot afford you. (A future post no doubt!)

Boundaries Create Compassion (With Profit)

For now let me leave you with the idea of setting some boundaries to make sure you give value – but not your entire soul.

Boundaries secure a level of fairness for you as well as for your client.

WITHOUT compromising your empathy, ethics or compassion.

Dr. Brené Brown, (author, researcher and professor) says, “The most compassionate people are also the most boundaried.”

So being ‘boundaried' is compassionate: it serves you, it serves your client who gets a less stressed and stretched (resentful) version of you.

You set boundaries.

You agree a time, a service level, a charge that is fair AND profitable.

You remain ethical and true.

You make a difference – you make money – you do more of the same…

UPWARD spiral of positivity.

Protect Your Business Boundaries

I have some simple steps to share, all about setting boundaries in business – and not just set, but boundaries which you keep.

There is a deep opportunity for transformation, action led and customised to each person who uses the information.

And I have decided to offer this solely 1-2-1 in a 60 minute coaching session.

This benefits my audience so much more than a downloadable. It means they can achieve their own true transformation NOT just another freebie to read ‘sometime' – or never.

The freebie which leaves them with

  • NO difference
  • NO new skills
  • NO boundaries kept.

You are worth it, you are worth your boundaries, you are worth an investment, you are worth making a profit…whilst maintaining your values, principles and ethos.

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NEW Session Booking Now (Bonus additional 121 time if you sign up in June)

The NEW! 121 Coaching Session “Protect Your Business Boundaries” helps you:

  • set meaningful boundaries for dealing with clients without fear
  • assert your rights in your business or work with a customised action plan just for you
  • get clear on what those rights are and why they matter
  • all whilst preparing for the potential challenges so you can keep on setting boundaries with confidence.

The moment we have the courage to set boundaries in your business, the world starts opening up.

Please find out more and sign up here


Add your comment below if you have anything to add – do you agree? Have you experience of the ‘downward spiral' – keep in touch below.

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