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What is most refreshing about Mike Michalowicz, author of The Toilet Paper Entrepreneur and The Pumpkin Plan is that he speaks the truth. Not just when it comes to his success, but also when it comes to his shame of his past misconceptions about being an entrepreneur. He encourages every entrepreneur to embrace their authenticity and swears by the idea that once our eyes are opened (sometimes suddenly and painfully) to how our personal mission and values translate to daily business practices, we begin to thrive along WITH our business!

Mike started his first business at the age of 24 and with no experience, contacts, or savings, turned it into a multi-million dollar business, then did it again and again. But then he lost EVERYTHING only to rise up from the ashes wiser and determined to be his authentic self and as the CEO of a consulting firm to help companies that have plateaued to continue to grow.

In business authenticity often hides behind various accolades, which in reality often only represent a microscopic percentage of the full experience of the entrepreneur. For this reason, Mike decided to share the “dark side” of entrepreneurship and tell the story of what REALLY happens along the way to business ownership and the benefits that most think come with the title.

Success isn’t financial, he says, although financial resources help to propagate your message. True success lies in getting that message across. Ultimately, we must let our business be an expression of who we are. Authenticity is THAT powerful because it is where joy, meaning, and purpose come from. We must all ask ourselves “Why are we on this planet?” And allow our business to be a reflection of that.

Prevent your business from a plateau with authenticity, experience, and appreciation.

Another point Mike makes clear is that oftentimes entrepreneurs hire their employees based on experience, and he cautions against it. As business owners, experience is the ONLY thing we are able to provide. Therefore we must be sure to ask the following questions:

-What is the person I am hiring like?

-What is their behavior like?

-What do we know of their attitude, energy, intelligence and values? (These are the things that are engrained)

Don’t look for another you! Bring the best person to fill a specific role and if you expand, hire more people instead of expecting one person to wear as many hats as you.

Uniqueness and authenticity DO pay off. Your personal and business brands form an entire experience and “put life back into business”. Consistency is important too. That authenticity should be seen in everything, from a piece of paper like an invoice to the way you communicate with your client. Authenticity, according to Mike, should be the number one priority, even if it means your business is smaller because you are unwilling to bend or sacrifice your authentic and unique self.

Mike Michalowicz can be found on Twitter @MikeMichalowicz

His books can be found here:

The Pumpkin Plan

The Toilet Paper Enterpreneur