#6: Mike Michalowicz — author of the cult classic Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and Profit First, speaker, and podcaster — has built multi-million-dollar businesses, lost it all, and come back swinging

Mike is a master at making lemonade from lemons. All of his books were written to solve a problem he had. Turns out he wasn’t the only one with those particular problems… Now an in-demand speaker, tune in to hear about Mike’s most embarrassing moment on stage.

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What was your biggest insight from this week’s episode? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter @influencer_inc.


An influencer is someone that wields influence in a positive way. They are persuasive, in a good way. They move people to where they need to be, even if the person is afraid or resistant.

Mike initially became an author to fix his own mess-ups. He was bankrupt at the time and was journaling through his experiences when he realized he had a book in the making. Every book he’s written has been to solve a problem that he had. Mike’s next book is about the productivity trap. Productivity tools allow us to do more, so then we do do more. Instead of slowing down, we just create space to add more to what we do.

Mike has a team of eight who help facilitate the membership organization of Profit First Professionals. He also has a personal assistant who helps keep him on task.

Most embarrassing moment: Mike blanked in the middle of a speech he had given 50 times and, in frustration, spilled water on himself.
Lesson learned: Always rehearse your speech, even if it’s one you think you know cold.

If Mike had to start over today, he would start a podcast. People are more appreciative of Mike’s podcasts than they are of his books or public speaking.

A reason aspiring influencers fail: They copy someone else. Don’t trade your style for someone else’s. When on stage, it’s okay — even beneficial — to amplify your own idiosyncrasies.

Don’t let people tell you that you can’t make money writing book. You can sell books, get speaking gigs, and get sponsors. Some big companies (like American Express) seek to collaborate with small businesses.

Favorite Five

  • Book: Purple Cow by Seth Godin
  • Influencer: Malcolm Gladwell
  • Conference, group, or event: EO
  • Preferred social network: real life conversations
  • Tool that you can’t live without: Voxer