The Good and Bad of Consumerism

If you’re like me you’re sporting a hangover from a weekend of Black Friday e-commerce madness. For most businesses, it doesn’t end on Monday and in all actuality, it continues until the USPS rejects a guaranteed shipment delivery by Christmas Eve. I have to admit I have a real love/hate relationship with this weekend. When I hear platforms such as Shopify doing $900M on their platform alone on Black Friday it makes me think of two things:

  1. Wow. How many people accomplished their dream of creating a product and building a brand that other people would one day want and got to see it all come to fruition on this day? This day represents the pinnacle moment for eleven months of hard work. It is our livelihood as entrepreneurs, and through those sales, we are impacting people’s lives in a positive way.
  2. America has its priorities all out of whack, and am I contributing to the problem? I know, it’s not a popular thought, especially in the world of entrepreneurs but I can’t turn my heart off. We spend and spend and spend in constant pursuit of satisfaction through “things”.

Here is what brings it home for me. My goal in coaching entrepreneurs in their businesses and even growing my own is to have a genuine, positive impact on people’s lives. Inclusive of employees as well as the communities we build through our brands. Businesses can change lives. Too often the successful entrepreneurs are painted as greedy because they could be doing something else to represent good other than creating ways for people to spend money. The truth is without the money these companies bring in, these leaders would be able to have a lot less of an impact. The problem in this world is one of the heart, and entrepreneurs cannot always be the scapegoat. For most, this money sends kids to college and employs the previously unemployed. It allows a couple to start a family through adoption using a self-made income when previously it felt like an unachievable dream. It opens the door for charity and compassion. It puts food on tables. It gives the forgotten a second chance.

So as you ice your fingers, and rest your weary souls after this long weekend, I encourage you to celebrate the value you created and the community you built over the transactions that took place, and with the reward you gained, go change more lives.

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