March Lions & Sheep: Thoughts on Ethics + a printable too!

by Joanne Gilbert of Drawn to Letters

March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb, or sometimes the other way around. Business is like that too. We simultaneously lead and follow, roar and cuddle in an effort to carry out our business mission, and that includes customers as well as sellers.

Sometimes I feel like a sheep (lamb days are gone) following the grassy internet pathways. Sometimes I feel like a lion marking my territory. Sometimes I feel a bit homeless.

Let’s say you are the lion with a clever plan. You execute it and so many people admire your results that you need help with the delivery of the plan. Now you have sheep: Sheep to feed, sheep to lead, sheep to sort, sheep who may copy your plan and become lions in new territory — lions with a new brand.

Or…

Let’s say you are the sheep with a passion for your fellow sheep and a joy in being part of the whole flock eating the growing grass in this big beautiful meadow. Then you notice that the grass is getting trampled, and if you move along the edges of the flock you have a better view of the grass ahead. You might even flirt with the lions along the path. Now you have your community plus lions to watch. You might be the most clever sheep in the flock — a sheep with a brand name among sheep.

Be careful before you decide who is the sheep and who is the lion and what values are being served in each business circumstance. It can be very confusing and you may find yourself far from home.

My personal peeves are things like “handmade designers” who cleverly assemble other people’s art or handmade items at a better price margin. Or chasing a celebrity product placement for a “unique handmade” item which can only then be sourced in China for the volume of production needed in the profit margin required to stay in business. Or furnishing a “green home” on 2 acres of land in the desert. Ethics is a tricky thing. We are often disturbed by people’s motivation and ethics in business until it involves a loved one or colleague and then we defend it as an act of deserved success or protecting one’s own talent and future against scavengers. Lions and sheep we are.

Can you protect your territory and grow and still “do no harm”? Bottom lines can change the top line in a wink. What does your business value? Sheep become lions and lions become sheep.

Download my free frameable Lion and sheep print and color it your own way. I wish you success and peace in finding your way home.

All Oh My! Handmade Goodness printables and free downloads are for non-commercial, personal use only please. Copyright is owned by the designer unless otherwise stated.  If you have a commercial inquiry please contact the designer or email the editor. Please don’t host the PDF on your own site, we love sharing but link to the original post for the download, thanks!

7 comments

  1. Jessika says:

    Thanks for your comments ladies & Happy Women’s Day too: )
    I love the thoughts this post generated for me-the end result of my thinking is along the lines of the picture. Lions or lambs, it’s better when we all get along. Hopefully that will be the outcome of our ethics month too! Life is nicer when we’re nice.

  2. Katrina says:

    What a great analogy – I can completely relate to feeling like either lion or sheep depending on the situation. This is a very important topic to keep in mind when growing or expanding a business, and particularly important in the handmade world. Many turn to handmade sellers because they are sick of what they perceive as unethical practices by larger companies (product recalls, poor customer service, inferior quality) – nobody wins if these same practices start to creep into the handmade world as well. Thank you for a very thoughtful post!

  3. Love the way you put this and I am standing on that “soap box” with you!
    It is sad to see something that took time, thought, and planning for you to make and the next week on ETSY 10 people are trying to sell it too… I just started adding “The Original” to things that were mine. It helps the buyer know to look, and hopeful where to buy!

  4. Betty says:

    Adobe said it couldn’t print it.
    In regard to people taking your material, one sight that saw her work on another site would post that site and asked us to boycott. I liked it as it warned us who not to trust and lets the site get bad warnings. Some sites apologized and removed the copyrighted material..

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