10: Mike Michalowicz: No Excuses, Having Nothing Is Your Greatest Asset to Building a Million Dollar Business

Mike Michalowicz started his first business at the age of 24, moving his young family to the only safe place he could afford – a retirement complex. With no experience, no contacts an no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business. Then he did it again. And again.

His experience building three multi-million dollar companies fostered a philosophy rarely taught to entrepreneurs: the lack of money, experience and resources is, in fact, your greatest asset. Because, all, these “limitations” bring about the key ingredient to entrepreneurial success: innovation.

Mike is the CEO of a business growth consulting firm, Provendus Group: is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is the “business makeover” specialist on MSNBC; and is the author of both the Pumpkin Plan and the entrepreneurs’s cult classic, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.

Favorite Success Quote

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” – Oscar Wilde

Key Points

1. If You Want to Be Successful Stick to What You Are Good At

In the modern business world, it is easy to get sidetracked from your path and fall prey to the “shiny object syndrome”.

It’s easy to start looking at people in other industries who are achieving a greater level of success than you are and give into the temptation to quit your path.

For example, if you are an excellent copywriter, and your business is starting to stagnate, it’s easy to look at guys in real estate and ecommerce earning 6 or 7-figures a year and think “Darn, I should totally do that.”

Even though you have no ability or understanding of the other industry, you can easily fall into the trap of spreading yourself too thin and pursuing too many things.

If you want to be successful, find something that you are good at and something that you enjoy and stick to it.

Don’t let the success of others sidetrack you from your path.

Pick your one thing and stick to it.

2. Stay Humble No Matter How Successful You Are 

If you are not careful, success can breed arrogance.

Once you hit your first 6-figure year, it’s easy to think that you have it all figured out and that you have the “Midas Touch.”

But no matter how good you are, you need to remember that there is always someone playing the game at a higher level than you.

And you need to remember how long it took you to achieve the success that you already have.

Do not allow one or two homeruns to make you think you will have a perfect batting average.

Realize that you are still going to strike out and realize there are always “batters” who are doing better than you.

Stay humble, stay hungry.

3. Focus on the Systems in Your Business

Most entrepreneurs get into business for themselves in order to escape the perceived prison of the 9-5.

But most of them will find themselves, at one point or another actually working harder on their business and feeling more trapped in their own endeavors than they ever did as an employee.

For some people, ungodly amounts of “hustle” are just how they’re wired.

But for the vast majority of entrepreneurs, 16 hour work days 7 days a week was not the schedule we signed up for.

If you want to escape your own golden handcuffs, then you need to focus on systems.

Create processes and clear procedures for everything in your business from your sales to your marketing to your product creation.

Systematize every step of your company so that when the time comes and the revenue is sufficient, you can hire other people to remove your burdens.

Don’t allow your entrepreneurial dream to become a nightmare, make the systems now so that you can enjoy your success later. 

4. Realize that 90% of Entrepreneurship is Not the “Doing”

Most entrepreneurs think that 90% of their job will be “doing” whatever they are in business for.

If you are a website design company, you think that 90% of your time will be spent designing new websites for clients.

But in actuality, 90% of the time that you will invest as an entrepreneur will not be in the doing that you signed up for.

Most of your time will be spent in sales, marketing, content creation, management, customer relations, and outreach.

Realize that as the owner, you will probably not be doing what you “signed up for” and learn to be ok with that!

5. Derive Your Inspiration from Your Identity

So many entrepreneurs base their goals, motivation, and inspiration on fear and comparison.

But these things will only motivate you for so long.

Paying the bills will only motivate you for so long before you throw in the towel and decide to return to corporate.

Having a faster car than you d-bag neighbor will only motivate you for so long before you decide that you just don’t care.

Because of this, you must derive your inspiration from something deeper, something more powerful.

You must draw your inspiration from your identity and desire to serve.

If you see yourself as an entrepreneur, if you see yourself as a hustler, and if you have a purpose that is outside of yourself, you will find a way to succeed… period!

But if you are only motivated by materialism and fear, you will never reach the levels of success that you truly desire.

Influential Book

E-Myth by Michael Gerber


Connect with Mike Michalowicz


The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur, Pumpkin Plan and Profits First.

The Times Have Changed. This is the Way Forward in 2024.

Here’s how I can help in my new FREE training on becoming a stronger Grounded Man:

1. The new path for men that creates a purpose driven life and doesn’t require you to lose your personal power, put women on a pedestal or sacrifice your goals.

2. Why men consistently settle and ignore the most important areas of life like the quality of their intimate relationships, social life and happiness and how to optimize all three without sacrificing professional growth.

3. The biggest mistake 97% of men make that breeds loneliness, breakups and emasculation that is absolutely reversible with this counter intuitive strategy.