No More Half-Assing this Entrepreneur Thing

I hadn’t really committed to business until recently.

I stapled the border to the wall. It’s not something I would normally do. Staples are a terrible way to puncture the drywall in your home. Their tiny teeth marks are impossible to cover when the item they’ve affixed has been removed.

It wasn’t a moment of rebellion. Not like when I was a teenager and stapled pictures from Thrasher magazine all over the ceiling of my bedroom. It wasn’t blatant disregard for the value of the property. I value the property.

It was permanency.

My home office has not always been a productive environment. There used to be a couch along one wall on which I frequently lay to read and nap. I had a round table in lieu of a desk for the first three years I occupied this room.

I have two white board walls but on one of them the paint never did what it was supposed to and it stayed mostly useless for the better part of a year. Friday I repainted both walls. Saturday I bought the materials for an adorable (albeit labor intensive) scrunchie-paper boarder. (Yes, Pinterest. Yes, an elementary school teacher’s creation. No, I’ll never do it again.)

The white boards had been bordered with the painters’ tape I’d used to mark their dimensions and that temporariness had silently mocked my intentions. It had suggested maybe I wasn’t serious about this undertaking. That maybe something better would come along.

Saturday afternoon, while it rained, I scrunchied and stapled and scrunchied and stapled and scrunchied and stapled until both usable boards had adorable orange, purple, and white borders.

Now the boards have the same feel of permanence that my heavy cherry wood desk has. I bought and assembled it in January. It collects a mess pretty quickly, but it’s functional and “work-like” and sitting behind it in my leather chair reminds me I’m working.

I’ve been thinking about all the ways I kind of half-assed being a start-up. I was a freelancer with a company logo. I hadn’t really gone all-in. I’d just been putting on the façade of a business without actually behaving like one.

This week I presented at 1 Million Cups, a community for entrepreneurs. I’ve been attending the meetings since January. To do so was my New Year’s resolution and the habit I needed to push myself from freelancer into entrepreneur.

Wednesday’s presentation was about Clemson Road Creative as a knowledge consultancy. We offer research, writing, and training as services (RaaS, WaaS, TaaS). We’re poised to grow: to add new contributors, to bring on new clients, and to put into practice the Knowledge Standard work model we purport. I had 54 minutes to convince my 1MC buddies that I’ve turned the corner and made entrepreneurship my occupation.

I didn’t show them the scrunchie-paper border.

Permanence feels like roots, like an anchor, like the kind of beginnings that suggest something amazing is on the way. Something as small as a designated workspace can really affect the amount and quality of the work that gets done.

Permanence is the opposite of half-assing this whole entrepreneur thing.

Dr. Kasie Whitener is President of Clemson Road Creative, a knowledge consultancy helping clients turn their business intelligence into usable stories. Learn more at www.clemsonroad.com or on Twitter @ClemsonRoad