Lucas Florian gives his view on the entrepreneurial attitude of Martien Meiland. He now applies the mentality of 'roll up your sleeves and just start' to his own work.

The practical entrepreneurship lessons of Martien Meiland

Last summer my mother drew my attention to her new favorite program: Chateau Meiland, which is about a Dutch family that emigrates to France to refurbish a chateau and run a bed & breakfast. After her insistence, I started to watch the episodes and I really enjoyed it from the beginning to the end. Not only because of the ‘wines, wines, wines’, the screaming at each other or the legendary one-liners of Martien, but also because of the entrepreneurial attitude of the whole family and the results and successes that are achieved at the French chateau.


I can divide my work at Studentflex into two categories: tasks that are urgent, such as a client or candidate who calls with a question and matters that are not urgent but are important, such as updating administration or projects to get in touch with new clients. In the delusion of the day, you subconsciously often choose for the urgent work, because this is often linked to a deadline and certain pressure. However, when you start a project, you think long and hard about how the project should be done, but then you run into obstacles or problems and you get discouraged. This makes it easier for you to focus your attention on the urgent work, because after all, those tasks have the highest priority.


While watching TV I noticed how the Meiland family deals with such challenges: when they enter a dilapidated room or garden shed, they think about what they want to do and they just start doing it. They don’t inspect the details and obstacles first, they just roll up their sleeves and start. At one point Martien was planting plants. At the place where the first plant was to be dug in, it was full of stones and he couldn’t get the plant in. Instead of throwing in the towel, he continued undisturbed in other places: ‘You know, if you just start and it’s almost all in there, you just put in the last one with the rotten stones’.


I’m now trying to use this mentality in my own work as well: just start with the project. After all, it takes less time to adjust things than to do everything perfectly at once. A colleague of mine also started a project to decorate our office in Amsterdam. Instead of thinking about what he wanted from A to Z, he immediately took action and ordered some things on the internet. The result wasn’t great, but it did motivate him to take the next step and perfect it. Of course it will happen sometimes that by just starting you forget things or things turn out less than you had hoped for, but it inspires you to finish and deliver projects. This is extremely important if you want to be more enterprising.

For this blog, I started writing first and then fine-tuned it as well: just like Martien Meiland would do. How do you approach projects?

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