I don’t actually own the book I’m going to review because I gave it to someone else to read and they never gave it back. I’m also 100% ok with this, because I know that book probably gave that person all of the golden business nuggets that it gave me! I found out about this missing book a few weeks back when I was looking to read it a second time. Yes, it’s one of those books that can (and should be) revisited from time to time if you are serious about your business and need a reminder of the core principles within.
Many years back, I was starting out my journey in business as an aspiring entrepreneur; but in reality, I was just a perspiring small business owner. This is actually not a bad place to be, but the dreams of where I wanted to be felt so far way from where I was. I have never been the guy that was chasing money or unrealistic materialistic gains, but seeing guys like Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey making these waves in the world made my personal goals seem so far away and so unattainable.
In comes Toilet Paper Entrepreneur. A mentor of mine (and successful entrepreneur) introduced me to this book, then a number of others after him confirmed this recommendation from their own personal experience. At the time, I was hungry and trying to get any edge, tip, trick, or piece of knowledge that would help me get to my goals. Well, TPE turned out to be way more than I even bargained for, considering all of the gold nuggets of info you get in this book. The first few pages might take you a bit off-guard because it is the first business book that had me in tears after just a few pages. No, not because it was an epic saga of rags to riches, but because of how hard I was laughing at the three pieces of the toilet paper analogy.
Like the title implies, toilet paper is a common thread in this book, but mainly the “last three pieces of toilet paper” concept that has stuck with me. Even today, working with our variety of clients, I apply this concept to our business. Whether we are building a long term SEO campaign for a nationwide franchise, or if we are working with a client that is starting their own small business and need only a simple website, the “last three pieces of toilet paper rule” can always be applied.
Obviously, the pieces of toilet pieces of toilet paper mean different things to each scenario but the concept is the same. This book will teach you that your big business plan is completely unnecessary, which is something that I was very surprised by because that has always been made out to be so important by others. In this book, Mike Michalowicz does show you the value to plan ahead, but it’s a different type of planning. He teaches you to be effective and agile with your plans not just following a plan blindly…just because that was “the business plan”. For example, your goal might be to rank on the first page for specific target keywords, but when you start to analyze your SEO campaign you begin to see that you are showing up on the first page (which was your goal) but your traffic is still low. This probably means you need to adjust your plan (and goal) by adjusting your focus keywords by looking for those that will yield higher traffic numbers for you.
You can feel that Michael started writing this book with a “no holds barred” attitude. There is a section in the book (one of my favorites) when he jabs at other cheesy and worthless books out there that give the “10 magical steps to riches and success”. The reason I bring this up is because this book is so meat-and-potatoes that it almost makes business, marketing, SEO, web design, investing, or whatever you set out to do much simpler than it is. This book taught me (or reminded me) of so many simple truths like not procrastinating (but doing), not overstretching your budget, not biting off more than you can chew, and so much more.
The main thing I want to leave you with (that this book left me with) is: don’t use toilet paper like there is an unlimited amount. Instead always look at the roll as if there are only three pieces left and making the best of those three pieces. At first, your pieces will be small and insignificant, but as you value them, and make this part of your natural habit, you will start to see that this concept can be applied to many of your business decisions. I would strongly recommend that you pick up this surprisingly short and very entertaining read that might transform your business to become that empire you never dreamed possible. Although we live in the age of tech giants like Facebook, Twitter, Google and Amazon; you will learn that not all businesses are the same and most aren’t overnight successes. Instead, they have long histories of digging in the trenches and putting one foot in front of the other to build them into what they are today. So if you want magic steps, lots of feel good messages of “dream and you shall achieve”, then this book is probably not a good fit for you. If you want to take your business seriously, and can handle the heat in the kitchen, then you need to get your hands on this book.