Are You a Toilet Paper Entrepreneur?

By Mike Michalowicz

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:

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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