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 building.
With no experience, no contacts and no savings he systematically bootstrapped a multi-million dollar business.
Then he did it again.
Now he is doing it for other entrepreneurs. Mike is the CEO of Provendus Group, a consulting firm that ignites explosive growth in companies that have plateaued; is a former small business columnist for The Wall Street Journal; is MSNBC’s business make-over expert; is a keynote speaker on entrepreneurship; and is the author of the cult classic book, The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur.
I settled down with Mike and asked him a couple of questions on what makes him ‘tick’.
In the beginning, what motivated you to become an entrepreneur?
I was tired of working for someone else and thought it would be easy to do on my own. I found that it was extremely hard to be an entrepreneur but also extremely rewarding so I stuck with it and fell in love with being an entrepreneur.
Tell me about your first entrepreneurial experience as a kid.
When I was in 5th or 6th grade I would “rent” cassette tapes. I remember I had an album by the band Queen that rented for one dollar a day, and they kid kept if for two weeks. I was thrilled that I made $14 on the tape. But he said he wasn’t going to pay me (and he was about twice my size) and that’s when I learned the difference between revenue and cash flow.
How have your entrepreneurial motivations changed since you first started?
I started to get rich. I wanted tons of money and was willing to do any line of work to get there. I was immature and greedy. I learned my lesson (I tell you why in a second) and now focus on “getting rich, right.” What I mean by that is that I want my soul to be rich, my contribution to society to be rich… those kinds of riches. Ironically, I have found that when we contribute to society by being 100% authentically ourselves, and leverage our business to amplify it, it brings about the ultimate in both personal riches (happiness, etc.) and also financial wealth.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Becoming an author. I wanted to do it for the longest time, but ignored it. I am proud that i finally listened to my heart.
What’s your most memorable experience as an entrepreneur?
It is probably Christmas time every year. I always close the office down early before the holiday and I like to be the last in the building that day. I then walk the entire office and just absorb it all in. I become so grateful for my (and all entrepreneurs) ability to make a thought into reality – to make the invisible, visible. It is a great feeling.
Describe to me the most exciting minute of your entrepreneurial journey.
When the check slides across the table, it is an amazing feeling.
Selling my second company. I will never forget the last minute discussions, the lawyers haggling and all that. When the check slides across the table, it is an amazing feeling.
What does a day in your life of consist of?
I get up usually between 5:30 and 6:00am. I go to the gym (unless I am traveling) or if it isn’t a gym day, I make breakfast for my kids. I then hit the office and tackle my task list, which includes 3 major categories – writing my books, working with my corporate partners, and speaking. If I am not actually writing that day, I work on promoting my books. If I am not actually working with a corporate partner, I am seeking new ones.If I am not actually speaking that day, I am working with my agent on new speaking events. I am always pushing those three levels. Also, I have a consulting company called Provendus Group – I use all three of my primary activities to promote Provendus Group.