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Dandy Cast 010: Business culture makes me do the sick face emoji

Sean Anderson
Sean Anderson

This podcast episode was recorded as an accompanying audio version of the Dandy Newsletter that was published on February 4, 2020.

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Show notes

Entrepreneur is a word that’s guaranteed to make me gag a little bit. It’s really unfortunate that so much of running an online business depends on buying into the idea of being your own “entrepreneur” and then telling everyone you meet about how much entrepreneuring you’ve been doing. Entrepreneur all day! Entrepreneur all night! Now take my business card and only call me when you have money to give!

I could do without that sort of culture for, well, ever. For... ev... er. It’s not a healthy way to do any sort of business. Instead, I prefer a much better sounding moniker. Why not “business owner”? What the heck is so wrong with that one? Not a thing, in my opinion.

There’s also a brand spankin’ new blog post waiting for you. It’s called, Clean Your Desk to Feel Better.

A clean desk and workspace is something that not only helps you work better, it also helps you feel happier. I believe that with my whole being. It’s the hill I’ll die on. A clean desk is something you should have and I’m going to help you get there. Stop thinking a messy desk means that a lot of work is being done. A messy desk is just a messy desk.

We’re wrapping things up with what I’m watching, reading, and listening to this week. It’s a great assortment of media that’s worth your time.

Links to stuff that was mentioned:

Entrepreneur - Merriam-Webster

Business card scene | American Psycho - YouTube

Clean Your Desk to Feel Better

The Mandalorian - Disney+

Silver Tongue | Torres - YouTube

The Affair | Lee Child - Goodreads


The full text

The Dandy Newsletter - 02/04/20

Is there anything more nauseating than the word “entrepreneur”? Maybe “moist” or “cheese-less pizza” (more than one word, I know), but entrepreneur ranks pretty high up there in the echelon of gag-inducing words that humanity has created.

Okay, but what does it mean? An entrepreneur is just “one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” (Thanks Merriam-Webster.) In other words, entrepreneur is just a synonym for “business owner.” A person who owns a business. Sounds like a more succinct and accurate description of someone who bills themselves as an entrepreneur. It gets the entire point across in about the same amount of time and you don’t have to risk confusing someone who might think entrepreneur is pronounced “en-tree-pree-knee-er.”

Sounds like a serious win-win to me.

I’m a fan of language. I love when it’s used well and in a proper way. I’m not a perfect speaker or writer and sometimes knowing when to use a semicolon trips me up, but I still love language. It’s important to me and its evolution is something I’m interested in following. So when a word like entrepreneur starts popping up with some regularity, I think, “This is an interesting development, but what’s wrong with what we’ve already got?”

There’s nothing wrong with using business owner (or maybe “small business owner” if you don’t yet have a bank vault full of gold coins) as a way to describe your profession. It’s an accurate word for what a person does. If someone owns a business, then they’re a business owner. Unfortunately, it’s not very hip. It’s kind of dusty, you know? You’re not going to find many people dressed in snazzy suits and sitting in glass cube conference rooms calling themselves business owners.

And if you’re not using the best lingo, then really, what are you doing, man?

We’ve been so busy trying to come up with the most unique way to describe ourselves that we can forget that it’s really just about doing our work. Our lives turn into an endless recreation of the business card scene from American Psycho. Everyone’s using minor, meaningless status symbols to try to one-up the next person because if you’re not being seen and applauded, then you must lack value. And let me tell you, that scene is poking major fun at people who have bought into the entrepreneur lifestyle. If you feel as upset as Patrick Bateman did that his business card isn’t the perfect white card stock with raised lettering, then something may be wrong.

The word entrepreneur, to me, represents personal devaluation. It’s saying that your own time and effort aren’t worth much unless you’ve got a jazzy buzzword attached to your name. If you aren’t an entrepreneur, then what are you, basically.

The culture of business encourages thinking that you need a label or designation to succeed in life. Instead of just doing your work and being rewarded for it, you need to play the business game. You’ve got to do a song and dance to earn that recognition you crave. That’s a whole heap of toxicity that makes me sad to think about. It shouldn’t be this way, but unfortunately the culture encourages it.

I don’t want to see people fall into that trap. You shouldn’t have to apply a word like entrepreneur to affirm your worth or the work you do. If you feel it’s necessary, then there’s trouble brewing. You’re losing your sense of self and accomplishment. A word like that becomes a small bandage placed on a large open wound.

You see, if you’re a business owner and you’re doing the tough work of operating a business every day, keeping it alive and thriving, then you’re doing a pretty damn good job. You don’t need to call yourself an entrepreneur. You’re living the dream and should feel proud of yourself. I’d be willing to bet that the effort you need to put into running a thriving business is consuming enough to prevent you from thinking you need to apply any different label to yourself.

If you think you need to tack entrepreneur onto your name because you feel it’ll help get you noticed, then you’re not putting in enough work (or maybe you haven’t quite clicked with the right people just yet).

I’m committing to never using the word entrepreneur seriously again. It undercuts the effort we put into our work and hurts our value as individual people. This email probably isn’t going to change the culture of business, but I do hope that it’ll help remind you that you’re worth more than a label.

Plus, saying entrepreneur makes me gag and I don’t want to do that anymore.

A clean space is a happy space

There’s a new blog post waiting for you. Huzzah! 🎉

It’s called: Clean Your Desk to Feel Better.

If you want to call me a “neat freak,” then go ahead and do it. I don’t mind it and I’ve probably referred to myself as that a few times. Plus, it’s pretty true.

I’ve got a pretty immaculate desk. There’s nothing on there that doesn’t need to be on there. Everything serves a purpose. Best of all, this means there’s no clutter to distract or frustrate me during the day. Face it, a messy desk is a maddening desk.

When everything is in disarray, how much time do you waste trying to find that billing statement you need or contract you have to send away? I’m going to put my money on “loads.” Loads of time.

When I committed myself to cleaning and organizing my workspace, I noticed a wonderful thing happen—I started to really enjoy the time I spent there. I felt better! It was amazing and I want the same for you.

Click through the link above to read all about how the state of your desk can actually affect your productivity and your mood. I go deep into the changes I saw for myself and share advice on how you can improve your own life with a clean desk.

If you ever want to throw some suggestions my way, then leave a comment at the end of one of my blog posts. Or heck, reply to this email.

Seriously friend, I'd love to hear from you.

Until next time, stay dandy, cat.

P.S. As an added bonus for everyone who’s been following along with the Dandy Newsletter so far, I’ve given you a complimentary subscription to the paid content on Dandy Cat Design. Sign in with your email address on the website and you’ll be able to leap over that paywall. Give it a try and enjoy!

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Sean Anderson

Lover of productivity tips, Apple devices, and vegan ice cream. Mostly, I'm busy petting cats 🐱 and dogs 🐶


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