Are You a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur? “Big Idea” Expert’s New Book

In garages, basements, spare rooms and even dorm rooms all across America, hard-working dreamers are launching businesses right this minute. The thought of this really gets me going.

I’m all about the underdog, the passionate entrepreneur with a small amount of cash and a huge heart. I refer to these people as Toilet Paper Entrepreneurs,the resourceful men and women who can get by on three sheets. They find a way to make it happen, even if they are at the end of their roll.

The best ideas come from having precious few resources, and yet so often people see this as lack, an obstacle to their success. On the flip side, many businesses throw money at problems the very second the cash starts flowing in, thereby eliminating the magic of necessity.

Toilet Paper Entrepreneurs work miracles with just three sheets – or less – even when they have a warehouse full of stockpiled toilet paper. Here’s how you can too:

  1. Cultivate a Powerful Foundation of Enabling Beliefs – Your most important assets are your beliefs. Firmly held beliefs that support your goal are more valuable than an Ivy League education, or even a pile of cash.
  2. Work in Your Field of Passion – Building a company is not for wimps. You will need a boatload of passion for your business in order to stick with it long enough to succeed. Your competitors with a get-rich-quick agenda will give up when the going gets tough. Passionate entrepreneurs stick it out and achieve phenomenal success.
  3. Slant Toward Premature Action – Do not wait for the perfect conditions to start or expand your business. Taking action early is better than taking action too late. And don’t be nervous about these lean times we are experiencing right now. This is the perfect time to start a business. With everyone waiting until the economy is ripe, the startup competition is almost non-existent.
  4. Be Extremely Great at Extremely Little – Don’t fall in to the trap of the “do everything” entrepreneur. Exploit a select few of your top strengths, and outsource everything you dislike or can’t knock out of the park.
  5. Use Ingenuity Over Money – Having enough money can be a hindrance, covering up potentially disastrous problems. Use ingenuity and a razor-sharp focus rather than money to create, launch, and troubleshoot. You will come up with a better idea every time.
  6. Dominate a Niche – Rather than try to sell to everyone, identify a market in which you can provide better or different products or services, and then dominate it.
  7. Marry Long-Term Focus with Short-Term Action – Know your destination, but don’t plan out every step of the journey beforehand. Instead, plan out the next quarter and then track your progress.
  8. Be a Little Crazy – Whatever you do, don’t play by the rules. It’s the risk takers, the odd balls, who make opportunities and grasp achievement.

You don’t need angel financing, a college degree, or any experience to build the business you envision. Heck, you don’t even need a garage.

So many myths about launching and running companies hold people back from taking the next step. My goal in writing The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur was to bust through every last one of them, arming the underdogs with essential “three-sheeting” advice that will help them launch their business. And more importantly, grow that business into a multi-million dollar dream-come-true.

Mike Michalowicz is the author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, available on and at

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8 Responses to Are You a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur? “Big Idea” Expert’s New Book

  1. Shonika Proctor September 4, 2008 at 7:42 pm #

    great post, and I really believe that 2-4-6-8 sums it all up.

    Don’t overextend yourself from day 1 even if it is a break even proposition when you are starting out, otherwise it will be next to impossible to separate yourself from your business later. Don’t be a jack of all trades, instead be a Master of One…and if you find something you can do without pay, you will realize that problems create opportunity after opportunity and you will be able to see that by knowing the ins and outs of that industry. Just have fun and great crazy with your business. It is not so much as being a risk taker. You can’t worry about accommodating and trying to please everybody otherwise you will never truly connect with anybody. Just keep it real and keep it moving.

  2. mattunger September 4, 2008 at 8:24 pm #

    I don’t think I’ve seen enough of Mike without his pants on in this past month…

  3. Mike Michalowicz September 5, 2008 at 11:00 am #


    I am laughing my ass off (and you know what that looks like).

    – Mike

  4. le baron September 8, 2008 at 6:59 pm #

    #s 4 and 6 are I think pretty much the same…

    Yeah, these aren’t only good shoestring business tips but just general entrepreneurial rules…especially #1. I was helping a buddy of mine with his copywriting business and I witnessed a situation where he had the opportunity to turn in a poorly-thought out assignment or say no, despite the loss in cash flow. He said no. I always respected that, because he was committed to giving every client the best possible work, even if their definition of that differed from his. We could argue whether or not he made the right decision but I think professionals who know what they’re doing should stick to their guns.

    And yeah, by all means, be a little crazy, just don’t wind up like this guy

  5. TheContestBlogger September 18, 2008 at 3:18 pm #

    Yeah, it’s good to be a toilet paper entrepreneur but do remember to transfer your ideas from the 3 sheets of paper into a more presentable format like powerpoint slide show or a proper proposal. Don’t think anyone will buy your ideas if you were to present them on the very toilet paper that you were going to use earlier on 🙂


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