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30,000 Layers of Paint

Recently I was made aware of the world’s largest ball of paint. Not the world’s largest paintball, but a ball of paint. Obviously, I immediately went down an internet rabbit hole to find out what this was all about.

The world’s largest ball of paint is in Alexandria, Indiana. It began as a fun thing to do with a kid- letting him paint a baseball.  They continued to add coats of paint and the ball slowly began to expand. Eventually, this family built a contraption to HOLD the growing ball of paint and its massive weight. They began to let people come to see what they had done. And they started to let other people paint a layer.

This ball of paint is now listed on Atlas Obscura and other sites as a Roadside Attraction worth seeing.

And I am obsessed.

While I figure out how to convince my family to drive some 10 hours to paint a coat of paint on a random humongous baseball, I have been pondering WHY I want to do this so badly.

And you may be wondering why I am sharing this story with you on a page dedicated to small businesses…

Entrepreneurialism in its simplest form

The world's largest ball of paint signifies entrepreneurialism in its simplest form. Someone did something different and ran with it, and now it is a thing that has over 26,000 layers. Many of whom were absolute strangers who came through to add their layer.

Each of these layers may change the color of the giant ball, but to the naked eye, the color is the only thing that has changed. Over almost 50 years, the baseball has grown to something that weighs over 3000 pounds and looks like a lopsided alien cocoon.

Do you see the relevance yet?

If you walk in tomorrow and paint a layer, and come back a year later to do it again, you will not notice the difference. But in 1977, it was a baseball.

We work and work and work and work and work to make something to put out into the world, to share with our communities, and we dream of it someday becoming something larger than ourselves. So often we are caught up in the daily paint layers, that we forget where it started. It may not look like what we dreamed but the world helps it to take the shape that it ends up in.

Each layer of our business is another way that we changed the community around us. The person we hired and gave a new skill to, the guest or customer we helped to have the perfect experience, the other small business we were able to bring along with us. Repeat 30,000 times.

Over 26,000 small steps

I hope that you look at the world’s largest ball of paint and see what I see: years of work developing a tiny idea into something larger than us, with over 26,000 beautiful steps along the way.


Side note: each time someone paints a layer on the ball, they become the world record holder until the next person comes. 15 minutes of fame! Imagine if we acknowledged each of our small wins like a world record- maybe we could breathe a little easier along the way.

Here’s to Mike Carmichael and his family for reminding us that the smallest acts can have a huge impact when looked at on a macro level.

Let us know what random thing you are obsessed with at or @bossyroc on social. Maybe I can stop trying to get people to drive with me to Indiana!

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