[quote style=”boxed”]You have to make sacrifices to be successful. If you are not willing to make major sacrifices, do not start your own company.[/quote]
Jordan Silverman is the co-founder of Star Toilet Paper, which is a unique advertising company that prints advertisements and coupons on toilet paper and supplies public venues with free printed toilet paper. He thought of the idea of advertising on toilet paper in 2009, while he was bored reading his phone in the bathroom. Jordan is a graduate from University of Michigan, where he received a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy. Over the past few years, he has been working arduously on making his dream a success. With the help of his brother, Bryan, Jordan officially founded Star Toilet Paper in the fall of 2010 and brought their first product to market in December of 2011.
What are you working on right now?
I am working on Star Toilet Paper, where we help companies advertise in a more cost-efficient and unique manner by placing their ads in front of an unmatched, captive audience. We use our guerrilla marketing to help save venues thousands of dollars on their bathroom expenses!
Where did the idea for Star Toilet Paper come from?
I thought of the idea in 2009 when I was a student at University of Michigan. I was sitting in the bathroom of the library, and was bored while reading my phone. I thought to myself about advertising and how it’s in every facet of our lives in ways we do not even notice. I wondered why advertising–which is about getting your product noticed by prospective customers–has never come to the bathroom, a place where people want to read and are surrounded by no distractions. With this in mind, I founded Star Toilet Paper in the fall of 2010.
What does your typical day look like?
On a typical day, I am up by 7:30 a.m., going through emails I received overnight, and setting up my schedule for the day. By 8:30 I begin making calls to current clients, doing follow-ups, and making cold calls. From 8:30 to 5:00, I am in and out of taking meetings, going through emails, making calls, following up on leads, and scaling the company. From 5:00 to 7:00 I usually take a break for dinner and some relaxation. From 7:00 to 9:00 I usually go through emails, take care of social media, and take care of our weekly theme (every week we try to focus on one aspect of our business that can enable us to scale successfully). From 9:00 to 11:00 I will review the day’s analytics and referrals from the website and social media, and then read. I try to read one book every two weeks to ensure I am constantly learning new things that can help me evolve the business.
How do you bring ideas to life?
I bring ideas to life through direct implementation. I am constantly reading to absorb more information, and when I read something I like, I write it down and then I am able to directly try it and see if it works for me the next day. The only way to bring ideas to life is to try them out. Worst case scenario is that you scrap them and learn what works and what does not.
What’s one trend that really excites you?
One trend that really excites me is the realization that startups are the lifeblood of our country. We are a Michigan-based startup and were able to get off the ground because of startup organizations like Ann Arbor Spark, GLEQ, TechTown, and New Enterprise Forum. The startup movement occurring in this country is incredible, and I hope it continues to grow.
What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?
I am lucky to be young and have loved all my jobs. However, nothing compares to running your own startup; you have the ability to make your own schedule, never be bored, and wake up every day feeling excited to go to work and create something from nothing.
If you were to start again, what would you do differently?
If I were to start again I would align myself with mentors from the onset instead of doing all the initial legwork myself. We handled our own market research, business plan and provisional patent because we did not know about the steps that an ordinary startup takes. However, this also allowed us to learn more about our company and learn about business first-hand.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
Work hard. Being an entrepreneur is amazing, but you cannot do it without putting in the necessary hours. Every entrepreneur has to spend long nights and weekends working on his or her product to be successful. You have to be willing to give everything and anything for your company, and I do this day in and day out to ensure we are a success.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
One failure I had (and still have) is an inability to let go of the reigns. When you start a company, it is your baby and you have to nurture it. The hardest thing to do is to let other people in; it is a risk, but it’s something you have to do in order to succeed and grow.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
My secret sauce is to work harder then everyone else. I know a lot of people say they work hard, but I truly do. You have to make sacrifices to be successful. If you are not willing to make major sacrifices, do not start your own company.
If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be and how would you go about it?
I would make it so that salespeople didn’t have such a bad name. Everybody is a sales person, and most people do not realize that. But day in and day out, people sell themselves and their products, so why is it that only cold-callers get hung up on?
Tell us a secret.
I love toilet paper, a lot. It is one of those weird things that nobody would love, unless they were to start their own toilet paper business–and I did just that.
What are your three favorite online tools or resources and what do you love about them?
- My favorite online tool is Google Analytics. I live on it to find out who is coming to our site, to find referring links, and to determine how we can improve our call to action and website flow.
- Timely. To have a website that enables you to pre-program your Twitter and Facebook page feeds according to the most popular times is awesome.
- Salesforce. Every company needs a CRM system, and in my mind, Salesforce is the best system for startups.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
My favorite book is The Lean Startup by Eric Ries. The guy is a genius. We totally transformed and revamped our business plan after I read the book.
Three people we should follow on Twitter and why?
- @Startoiletpaper, because we are awesome and deliver great value and coupons.
- @leanstartup. I am biased; I think they are the best startup platform that exists.
- @CNN delivers the best news you will find, in the most efficient manner.
When was the last time you laughed out loud? What caused it?
I laugh out loud a lot. I try to surround myself with funny people who can make me smile. You are always more effective and efficient when you are smiling.
Who is your hero?
My hero is my brother. He is the smartest person to know, and I am lucky I have him as my co-founder.
What do you look for in a new hire for a startup company?
I look for people who are hard-working and competitive. Having a hard-worker is obviously important, but finding a hard-worker who’s competitive is integral. If you like to lose and are willing to take no for an answer, you are not a good fit for a startup, because the bottom line is that 9 out of 10 people are going to tell you that you are crazy. You need people who can overcome this feedback with confidence and persistence.
What is your favorite part about running a startup?
Proving people wrong.