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The Dirty Truth About Being an Entrepreneur

tpentrepreneur We were joined today by Mike Michalowicz. Mike is a serial entrepreneur and author of the just released book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. He has been featured in Inc. magazine, The New York Times, and is a frequent guest on one of our favorite television shows, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch.

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marylynn
The first thing we have to ask is … what the heck is a “toilet paper entrepreneur”?

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mikeA toilet paper entrepreneur sheds insight on what entrepreneurialism is all about. What a lot of us read in Inc., Fortune Small Business, and Fast Company is what Google, Facebook, and YouTube did. They’re overnight successes. The dirty truth is that “overnight success” is ten to fifteen years of hard work for most entrepreneurs. Just like with entrepreneurship, there’s the stuff that happens in the bathroom that no one talks about. So the title came from an experience we’ve all had. We’re in the restroom and we’ve done what we came to do. We look over and, sure enough, there’s only three sheets dangling there. It’s in that moment where true entrepreneurialism kicks in. We do the incredible – we grab the toilet seat like a pommel horse, stretch the foot out, hook the garbage can, root through it and find three sheets and the torn up cardboard roll. With that, we’re able to complete the job!

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georgeMaybe Sheryl Crow is the quintessential Toilet Paper Entrepreneur because she can get by with one sheet! Seriously, that’s a great analogy – entrepreneurs find a way to get the job done, no matter what.

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mike
No matter what. A true entrepreneur will dig deep and use things no one would ever consider.

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marylynnDon’t you think that the Facebook guys and the Google guys did that at some point? We often hear that some of these overnight successes are created in a garage. They do the same thing too, don’t they?

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mikeThey do in the sense that that’s how they all started. The only difference is Google received funding within a year. That’s what I call the “full roll” of cash. Most entrepreneurs don’t ever receive funding. There’s a path when you don’t get that money; there’s other ways of doing it, sometimes just as quickly.

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marylynn
In your book, you say that sometimes money is actually a detriment to entrepreneurs.

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mikeI totally believe that money is a detriment. Money amplifies the habits we have. In my own life experience, I was 25 the first time I received a good chunk of change – a $250,000 investment. I bought nice furniture. I hired employees. I got a good car to impress people on sales calls. I wasted the money. When I didn’t have the money, I learned how to leverage it appropriately. Then as the business grew, and more money came in, I was able to use it as a vehicle for growth.

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george
Another thing that I found interesting is that you’re not a bigg believer in business plans.

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mikeI’m the antithesis of it. I just received some hate mail from a university professor saying that he couldn’t believe I said that.

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georgeHey, today was my business plan lecture by the way! I’m kidding – we actually don’t talk about business plans in my class.

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mikeIn my experience, business plans are wonderful dust collectors. If someone can project their own financials four or five years out, they should invest in stocks because, if you could do that only ninety days out, you could become a millionaire overnight.

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georgeI’m not an advocate of “ready, fire”; you do need to “ready, aim, fire”. But at the same time, it’s amazing how many times someone writes a full-fledged business plan and then, within a few months, they end up in a completely different business. And that business takes them to their success.

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mikeYes. So I think, in the early stages of a business, you have to be very cognizant of everything that’s going on, watch the consumers’ behavior, and then flow with the river and adjust the business, sometimes 180 degrees, to match what they want to buy.

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george
I thought you were going to say “flow with the toilet”!

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marylynnSince we’re back to toilet humor, tell us about one of the crappiest resources you used when you had nothing.

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mikeHere’s one little trick I’ve used – the most expensive cost, besides rent and your employees, is professional services … your attorneys, accountants and so forth. I go to the local colleges. They have CPAs and attorneys working there that are now professors. They are more than willing to give free advice and work up the documents with you. Sometimes the exchange is simply being a case study for their class. It saves me thousands and thousands of dollars. I still use it today.

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You can get a free chapter of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur on Mike’s site. It’s a great book that we highly recommend to you. You’ll find it to be great bathroom reading!

Thanks, Mike, for sharing your time and wisdom with us. We wish you bigg success with this wonderful book.

Next time, we’ll talk about lovin’, touchin, and squeezin’. Until then, here’s to your bigg success!

 

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The Secret to Action

Sharon Ayn joined us on the show today. She is the author of five books, including the newly released Create Your Own Reality: The Ancient Wisdom. Sharon has made many appearances on radio and television, including the nationally syndicated radio show, Minding Your Business, and an appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.

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marylynnWhat inspired you to write your latest book?

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sharynI work with entrepreneurs and people who have been downsized, and I’ve found one thing that’s consistent. People know they could do better, work less, and make more money, but without someone stimulating their imagination, it’s very difficult to go through a change. So the book is designed to help people realize that, no matter what’s going on in their life, if they take one step or enroll one person at a time, they can change anything that isn’t the way they wanted it.

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georgeWhen we talked before our interview, you said that this book goes beyond where The Secret took us.

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sharynExactly. I love the fact that The Secret brought consciousness to so many people about staying positive, but the one thing people missed is being in action. You have to be in action. It's not enough just to think about it. You have to take a proactive role in your life.

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marylynnWhat do you think keeps people from taking action … what is it that holds people back?

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sharynSome people truly believe that they’re not entitled. Some people think it’s too much work to get what they want. Other people are too overwhelmed by what’s first, so they just stay at what they’re doing even if it’s not what they want.

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marylynnFor someone who feels that, what would be the one thing you would tell them to work on right now?

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sharynMake a list of all the things you want to change, but put it in the positive. I work with clients who want a better job. I get them to describe what it’s like to work at the company, what their tasks are, what the people are like that they work with. And then backtrack – how do we get to that point? So for anything that you want to change, what is the first step you can take to be in control? Because I think a lot of this is people feeling that they are out of control of their own lives.

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georgeThat is awesome … there’s a lot of practical advice that people can use right away in this book.

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sharynIt’s simple knowledge that most people don’t apply to their own life, even though they might be aware of it.

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marylynn Oprah calls it the “aha” moment. What do you call it?

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sharynIt’s the dawning of the day when, like in City Slickers, you get your “do over”. So don’t think, my life is just surrounded by quagmire, all my friends are always complaining and leaning on me, my relationship isn’t working … we’re fighting all the time, I hate my job, and all these things. Instead, think about every day being brand new. Every day, we get to reinvest ourselves.

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Sharon’s book comes with bonuses

You get an incredible $4,661 in bonuses when you buy Sharon’s wonderful book, including great material from:

  • Annie Jennings, who helps people who want to be authors or speakers, and get interviewed on the radio.
  • Dave Sheffield, who works with corporations, helping people take the first step to change what’s happening in their career.
  • Jim Bouchard, a good friend of ours, who helps people tap into their personal power. Jim’s material alone makes it a great deal to us!

Find Sharyn's book at createyours2.com

 

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