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The Magic of Tiny Business: You Don't Have to Go Big to Make a Great Living

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"This is a powerful book--tiny is mighty. Sharon Rowe's simple shift in thinking is a profound idea, precisely what we need to hear."
--Seth Godin, author of Linchpin

Too many of us feel trapped by work that keeps us from living our purpose. We fantasize about starting our own business, yet we're warned against falling into debt, working eighty hours a week, and coping with the pressure to grow. Eco-Bags Products founder Sharon Rowe says there's another way: go tiny.

Like a tiny house, a tiny business is built on maintaining a laser focus on what is essential by living an intentional life. As an entrepreneur and mother, Rowe is most concerned with putting family first, maintaining financial security, and doing something that makes an impact in the world. Using the success story of Eco-Bags Products, Rowe distills the step-by-step process of building a profitable, right-scaled, sustainable venture that doesn't compromise your values. She shows you how to test your concept, manage your money and priorities, and more, while staying true to the "tiny" ethos.

160 pages, Paperback

First published May 8, 2018

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About the author

Sharon Rowe

1 book9 followers
I am a social entrepreneur, author, speaker, and CEO. I founded Eco-Bags Products to “clean up the planet one bag at a time” make a good living and put family first.

You can find out more about my business here: http://www.ecobags.com

Here's what Seth Godin, Author of Linchpin, says about my book:
"This is a powerful book--Tiny is mighty. Sharon Rowe's simple shift in thinking is a profound idea, precisely what we need to hear."

I introduced the ECOBAGS® reusable brand in 1989 and built a successful, “Tiny” impact business from scratch. More than 9 million bags sold to date. Time Magazine called me a “pioneer.” Glamour Magazine featured me as an Eco-Hero. The Oprah Show featured our brand, reaching millions. I’ve been featured on QVC, in the documentary BagIt and received many awards: Entrepreneur of the Year, Enterprising Women, Lillian Vernon, CBS Media. I was a young parent, an actress, who wanted my work to work for me. I wanted it to fit my life. Do you?

I speak on social entrepreneurship, from Yale University, New York University and Sing-Sing Prison to The FaFa Business Institute in Nairobi. I’m part of these communities: BCorporation, Social Venture Network, Women’s President’s Organization.
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5 stars
67 (17%)
4 stars
111 (29%)
3 stars
135 (36%)
2 stars
49 (13%)
1 star
12 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 59 reviews
Profile Image for Ivaylo Durmonski.
148 reviews33 followers
May 8, 2018
The first things you will want to do after reading The Magic of Tiny Business by Sharon Rowe will probably be to start your own company. In this book, Sharon - the founder of a million dollar tiny business - is sharing her story about her company called EcoBags. The difficulties, the mistakes, and finally the sweet taste of success after several years of hard work. If you're planning to start a business on your own, read this book first. Read my full review here: https://corehustle.com/the-magic-of-t...
Profile Image for Kristen.
209 reviews2 followers
May 7, 2018
As someone that is very familiar with the tiny business, I found this book so very full of awesome information! The author, creator of @ecobags_us breaks everything down: from time management to public speaking and makes everything feel less intimidating and totally doable. I highly recommend this book for small business starters, those that have been in for a while and those that want to spark a change in their life! A big thank you to @getredpr and @sharonrowe_ for sending me a copy (and an awesome eco bag!!!) for review.
February 5, 2018
I was lucky enough to read an advanced copy of the book. I cannot say how much it has already inspired me. Learning about business has always seemed so out of reach, all these books that are mundane, assume all you want to do is get rich. The narrative is so repetitive and strained. I have felt for a while that I somehow failed myself because I was so financially reliant on my husband and I do not have the skills to survive in the real world on my own. I am doing it, but it seems like the narrative for theatre majors is they have to either make it big, have an advanced degree, go back to school, hope you have a trust fund, marry someone rich, or live gig to gig on ramen noodles. It makes me crazy. So many of us are not doing the art we want to do because of poverty and slow death we feel when we approach the capitalist rat race. We carry this fear that the world will take over and suddenly our art will be gone from us.

Sharon is an artist who created something truly beautiful in this world that helps sustain the environment as much as it sustains her. A bag that is causing a revolution.

I am so grateful to have the opportunity to read her story and am inspired to reach more deeply into making my own tiny business. The book is a primer that is open and flexible enough to where you could apply it to anything. I am taking it into my theatre company. Because lord I know we struggle with the business side. Now I am more resolute and less frightened of the things I don't know.
Profile Image for Jay French.
2,032 reviews74 followers
November 7, 2018
If you’ve read a lot of Inc magazine articles, or other books are starting your own business, you will find this book trods familiar ground. The focus was on operating your business, not on the initial sparks of creation. So you learn it's not all magic. Then you learn about the "tiny" side of the title. The focus was also on “tiny business”, but while some of the book is about those tiny businesses you tend to call side-hustles, much of the book is about businesses that are larger. The book is short, so it has the feel of an extended magazine article or series. The author includes many anecdotes about her own experience of growing her business, an early eco business, which makes this interesting (although a bit dated) and more than a how-to book. A nice, short reminder of how to think about problems as you grow your small business.
Profile Image for Mark.
Author 5 books12 followers
May 16, 2018
I loved it. The book helped me look at my own business in a more realistic way, without minimizing it for being small. And it helped me see the benefits of a tiny business. Growth just for growth’s sake is just not something I need. I prefer to do something I love and enjoy it!
Profile Image for Grace A..
360 reviews38 followers
July 19, 2019
This is a fast read and informative. I liked that i can apply some of her tips and advice to other areas of life, not just business.
Profile Image for Aubrey.
462 reviews19 followers
June 10, 2019
I picked up this book because my goal is to have a business with a “tiny” ethos. I want to open a sustainable, zero-waste coffee shop that sources locally. I don’t want a grand, expensive life, I want to live sustainably, ethically, and minimally. I want to work enough to be able to travel for at least two months out of the year and have a cute little eco-friendly family.

WANTED: a fun boy interested in an eco-friendly lifestyle, loves being outside, enjoys drinking coffee, and wants to build a tiny house with me.

Great. Now that that’s out of the way…

I enjoyed this book because of the things it explained and the ideas it stood for. I think having a tiny business makes so so SO much sense for the lifestyle that I’ve started living, and I can’t wait to create my business after I’m done with college!

I do have to say, quite a bit of this book went right over my head. There were sections that were kind of hard to understand because of the business world lingo. I’ve not taken that many business or entrepreneurship classes, so I don’t know a lot of these concepts, but I look forward to learning more about them.

One of my favorite parts about this book was the idea to get up and drink a glass of water. It helps you to think things through before jumping to any conclusions, and to also gets your body up and moving. I think it’s applicable to most everything in life.

Reading this book just made me really excited to create my coffee shop and live the tiny lifestyle I want to live.


Aubrey Joy
Profile Image for Alexandra Cross.
103 reviews15 followers
January 27, 2019

I always feel terrible giving low ratings to books. I related a lot of the author, I respected and agreed with her choices, both with her sustainable business and the 'me time' in her business structure.

However, I was able to read through this very quickly. The key take aways were put into bullet points which left me thinking it could have been a really solid blog post.

But a 160 page book? Meh.

The other reason for the two stars is that this book isn't really about owning a tiny business. The author spends the first few pages (or was it the introduction?) redefining the word 'Tiny' to fit her argument.

Instead of 'tiny business' she actually means '...Business on YOUR Terms -- that fits YOUR Life.'

She goes on to describe her tiny business featured on Oprah, buying an office in NYC, having several employees and even hiring a CEO while she took a breather.

All good info shared - but it doesn't fit my definition of 'tiny business'. It's misleading, vague and a tad disappointing for someone looking for something more.
Profile Image for Rebecca.
717 reviews2 followers
November 15, 2018
When the author uses the word tiny, it doesn't mean keeping your business sized that way. Which ends up putting this book in with all the other business advice books about being a million dollar enterprise with suppliers, employees, contracts, benefits, warehousing, office space etc. While there are some good bits of info, I would have preferred the book go in the direction of how to keep your business from becoming a sprawling entity and instead being focused on your local market and how to be successful by staying tiny.
Profile Image for Melody.
293 reviews65 followers
April 13, 2019
DNFed around 40%. This is a really misleading book!

I thought, based upon the title and the blurb, it was going to be about how to start and maintain a small business that you want to stay as a small business. Early in the book she starts talking about million dollar profits and making money all over the world and I was like, WTF? This is the opposite of tiny business. Not that small businesses must automatically equate to small profits, but that blurb sounds like a completely different book than the one I read.

Disappointing and not what I was looking for.
Profile Image for Dave.
364 reviews12 followers
April 22, 2022
I like the French Press rule/exercise- what is all you need to keep you happy / grounded. I wish there was more of this.

Later on there is Choose a New Habit and later Quit

These were the best takeaways from the book which is a little repetitive at the start. And is mostly a how I did it.

January 19, 2020
I have read several books that would fall into the category of 'Management' or 'Self-Help' or 'Business'. I am well acquainted with the works of authors from this domain.

I rate 'THE MAGIC OF TINY BUSINESS' by SHARON ROWE as the BEST BOOK EVER READ BY ME on the subject of 'Management' or 'Self-Help (For Entrepreneurial Pursuits) or 'Business' or better still on the subject of the point of intersection of all three.

Crisply written and on a very focused subject, this book is a must-read for anyone who either A. wants to start a business and does not know how or where to look, AND/OR B. wants to first find out how much money/profit is 'enough' by way of a target from the prospective venture, AND/OR C. is already doing a business but running around crazy just to add the numbers up etc etc.

Well, it is also a good book to read for those interested in spiritualism! Yes, it teaches you the meaning of 'enough' as compared to 'more, more. and some more.....'

What do I like about the book:

1. QUICK READ: 122 pages. Easy to understand language where the author levels with the audience.

2. NOTHING GRANDIOSE: No fancy acronyms like BEE-HAG's or the likes....just a simple book that you and I can connect with without first graduating from an Ivy League Business School.

3. BUSINESS NOT AT ALL COSTS: Talks about how she likes to go for her daily swim and returns to the office with wet hair! Talks about how she wants to be at home for dinner and how she keeps a 'meeting' with herself at least 4 or 5 times a week, and never misses the meeting with herself. I found that almost spiritual or just about as spiritual as one needs to be.

4. TALKS ABOUT WANTING TO QUIT: How nice! No, really, how nice is that. I thought I was the only loser who thinks of quitting every year and running away from hell.

5. TALKS ABOUT FAILURES AND STRUGGLES - HER OWN: Everyone talks about it but from a 'preachy' point of view. She speaks from her own experiences and instantly makes that connection with the audience.

6. EASY TO FOLLOW AND REPLICATE: Her advice is something that you will immediately follow because you know it is doable.

I can write more, but would rather let you discover.

For those interested in a comparison of this book/author with other greats and stalwarts and Goliaths from that domain, please read on:

I am beginning to like Chris Guillebeau a lot, and it is his turn next to be rated by me as I am about to start his book, 'The Happiness of Pursuit' (No, not the same as the Will Smith movie The Pursuit of HappYness)

I have read Jim Collins' 'Good to Great' and 'Built to Last' and it was clear to me then when I read it, and now as I recall it, that he did not write that book with me (or my type) in his mind as the prospective audience- he wrote that for the big boys of business and I am sure they like him a lot.

There was this time when the whole world was raving about 'The Seven Habits....." by Stephen Covey. I could not get past the First habit in that book and when I returned to it to see what 'win-win' means, I knew Stephen Covey must never have done business in his life- and the little research that I am capable of confirms that he has not really been a Businessman or Entrepreneur other than making a business out of his writing and teaching. That's the reason I like the Rabbi, amongst all classes of religious priests- A Rabbi is expected to marry and live a normal life, for how else will he understand and advise on life's problems to his flock. Judaism does not differentiate between “clergy” and “laymen.” Whether you are a rabbi or a taxi driver, you are expected to live a “normal” life, to be involved with the struggles and pleasures of the mundane world. Stephen Covey is no Rabbi in that sense. If he were to be ordained to be a priest, he would not qualify to be a Rabbi! Similarly, if he were to do Business, and then again in a country like India or China, and then teach about it, I would probably give him a read. He will acquire a new perspective on 'win-win'.

I never had the courage to go near Peter Drucker just because of the size of the books he wrote. So I have nothing to write about him.

Jack Welch- I remember reading 'Straight From The Gut', but then again Jack Welch had the fortune to be Jack Welch. I admire his work but cannot say that he would have been able to do a Dhirubhai Ambani without GE.

THE ONE THAT I ACTUALLY LIKED- GRINDING IT OUT- THE MAKING OF McDONALD'S: Next only to Sharon Rowe perhaps, I would place Ray Kroc's own version of his success story on my list of all-time great books on management/business/ self-help. He is brilliant, brutal, honest (even when being slimy) and actually catches you by the .....well, guts.

Tim Ferriss: There is so much advertisement about Tim Ferriss that one is forced to acknowledge he must be good at what he writes. I have read his 4-Hour Work Week and Tools of Titans. I came away awe-struck but quite simply could not implement his advice or strategies for success.

well......if this review inspires reactions (I don't care which kind), it will necessitate that I return here and add to this list.....and I will.
Profile Image for GateGypsy.
417 reviews35 followers
August 10, 2018
I liked this. The advice in the beginning to set your goals and your guiding principles right from the start is particularly useful. When an opportunities and challenges arise, always return to that core belief and test solutions and actions against whether they'll keep you true to your mission or not. I especially liked, implicitly, that the book basically gives you permission to start a business that doesn't have to get enormous and earn millions. There are lots of us in the world who want to earn a living with our passions and interests, but don't necessarily want to be the next Elon Musk, y'know? (Well, he's pretty awesome, I admit.)
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
57 reviews
May 5, 2022
I admire the author’s long track a as a business founder and owner. It was fun to hear the scrappy EcoBags origin story and any anecdotes she told about its evolution.
In my opinion, the unique thing that she brought to the table was the idea of a non-conforming “tiny business” that’s sure footed in its values and knows when to stop working!

The book was short and messy. There were sooo many platitudes without examples or explanation! There was little practical information. I’m unsure what audience she had in mind. It felt too basic for me with a ten year old company. Yet, it seemed too impractical and high level for a new or aspiring business owner. Examples were randomly added, sometimes from the early years (storing boxes in her apartment hallways), and other times from two decades later (hiring a CEO when she got burned out). The book would have been much stronger if the examples and advice was organized from small to big.

There were two lists that I appreciated: ‘Tiny Business system for reviewing problems’ (page 48) and ‘How to be ready for anything’ (page 76).

The book is focused on product-based businesses so some of the advice is irrelevant/unhelpful to service-based businesses. I wish that would have been acknowledged more clearly.

There wasn’t much guidance for creating your own company ethos which is a shame. Had this been included, it could have been a book with bigger “magic,” since the author is so clear in her own company values and direction.
Profile Image for Matt Hutson.
222 reviews80 followers
June 3, 2018
Barrett-Koehler Publishers asked me to give an honest review of this book about how to build a Tiny Business from the ground up. I was pleased with the topic of this book because it fits directly with what I am working on right now in my own life. Building a Tiny Business.

I felt like Sharon Rowe did a great job of being 'different' from the rest of the self-help guru entrepreneur authors out there. After all, she comes from a different background from those jet-fueled productivity junkies. She has created what she calls a Tiny Business. In this review, I'll write more about what that is as well as more of my thoughts about the book.

Originally published at http://bookmattic.com/reviews/tiny-bu...

What is a Tiny Business?
They are laser-focused, mission-based enterprises that are about profit but also about meeting personal, lifestyle and social impact goals. This type of business allows you to initially work part-time gradually moving into full-time work while still having time for yourself, family, and friends.

But can you make millions of dollars off running a business like this? Yes, you definitely can and Rowe explains exactly how she did it with her unique style of running a business.

There's a big difference between a Tiny Business and a business like Uber. Uber started out small with global domination in mind. Whereas a Tiny Business will build gradually over time. Eventually, your company could grow to be a global phenomenon. The point is that it's up to you how fast or slow you go always keeping in mind that you need to put yourself, family, and friends first.

Having a Tiny Business Does Not Mean Having a Tiny Purpose.
The cool thing is you can still have a purpose which may be small yet has a huge impact. Taking, for example, Sharon Rowe's company, ECOBAGS. She first started this Tiny Business back in 1989 with the simple goal of replacing plastic bags with their original stretchy cotton net bag. The idea slowly took off and took years to reach the million dollar mark.

But to Sharon, this didn't matter. She knew she was making an impact on the environment by encouraging people to use her bags instead of plastic ones. We all know plastics take thousands of years to decompose when thrown into landfills or even worse rivers or oceans. Even though her business was small she knew her purpose was big. She had to reach the right influencers to make her product tip to a wider audience.

One of the ways Rowe suggests doing that is reaching out to people who believe in your cause who have a bigger following than you. The bigger the better. In Rowe's case she set out for one of the biggest opportunities she could ever get. Se got featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show in 2007 for the Earth Day Special (read the article for more details). By doing this it opened up thousands of doors for her Tiny Business.

Your Tiny Business Must Fit With Your Why
I love the fact that Rowe refers to her 'why' a lot in this book and recommends that if you're starting your own Tiny Business that you make sure it fits precisely with your 'why'. If you don't know what your 'why' is or how to find it I highly recommend reading both Start With Why and Find Your Why.

Whatever your 'why' is your Tiny Business should not stray from that. Not for money and especially not for time. One of the biggest reasons Rowe started her Tiny Business was so that she could have time for herself and family. This is part of her 'why'. You should find what fits with yours too.

Steps Rowe Took in Building Her Tiny Business
For the purposes of this review, I picked out 7 of the top tips I gained from this book. For the rest, I recommend buying the book from Amazon here. The book is well worth it.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 1: Think About What You Have and Don't Have
When you're first starting out you may have no idea what you need or don't need. So do the research. Take out your pen and notebook or laptop and start making a list of things you need to start building your business. No one starts with nothing.

Make a list of things as the book suggests in one of the exercises:





Family Income

Health Insurance



Wealthy Parents, in-laws, or others close enough in your network.

Trust Fund


Good Credit

Access to Credit

Business Connections

You can't let money be the deciding factor on whether you start your tiny business or not. Money is only a tool. It's powerful, but it's just a tool. It's so important at this stage to harness the power of what money and skills you have and put it to the correct use.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 2: Get to Know the Right People
Networking is your friend. Try getting yourself out to meetings, fairs, and conferences as much as possible. Any sort of event which is related to your business you should go to it. Get to know the people at the event, especially those closely related to your Tiny Business niche.

Here are a few tips from the book about preparing yourself to go into a room where you don't know anyone.

-Make sure you're healthy, energetic, and hydrated.
-Make sure to breathe, get the oxygen flowing.
-Commit to listening instead of talking too much.
-Be curious.

Going to events related to your Tiny Business is a way for you to toss your ideas out into the open, hear what others are saying, and make connections which may or may not be of use to you in the future. Some of your closest connections can turn out to be great partners or loyal customers in the future.

It's like what Hugh Locke said:

One single real connection is what satisfies when I go to an event. I never know how that connection will play out but somehow it always does, in time.

Search All Around You
In fact, look all around you for the 'right' people whether it might be a future customer, partner, friend, lawyer or investor. Rowe even found out after decades that the neighbor she was living next to the whole time had connections she had no idea about.

You never know who you might meet in a place you'd least expect to meet them.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 3: Be Clear on Your Priorities
Rowe calls this her 'need to do vs. nice to do' and what she would usually do is frequently make a list of thing that needed to get done and prioritize them into two separate columns, need to do and nice to do. Eventually, the items in the nice to do column would build up and either get done or be tossed out as unimportant.

An important thing to realize with any sort of list is not to try and get the whole thing done all at once. Try taking care of your list in chunks. It makes it much more doable and so so overwhelming.

The 80/20 Rule
80 percent of the results are produced from 20 percent of efforts. Rowe followed this rule tightly but also added an extra layer. She would give herself a little room to fail and try again as well.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 4: Get a Glass of Water
You will be coming across problems running your Tiny Business. As the founder, you must come at the problem with a level head. That's why Rowe recommends 'getting a glass of water' before dealing with the problem.

Simply said, calm down and take a breath before you make any rash decisions. Look at your list of 'need to do and nice to do' to help you decide on your next course of action. Try making this 'problem' into an opportunity and call for help if you have no idea where to begin.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 5: Tell Your Brand's Story
There is almost nothing stronger than telling a compelling story. Stories are what we are made of. Stories are who we are.

Rowe found out fairly easily back in the 90s that people were interested in her product. But, she also found that having a story of where her product came from was even more important. Her brand's story created loyal followers who sported the product and the story as if it were their own.

When your product is your story people embrace it and will be loyal to it for as long as your brand is alive.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 6: Getting Seen
There are some inventive ways of getting seen that I didn't think of so maybe you'll appreciate as well. Best thing is usually these two things are either free or very cheap.

1. Win an award

2. Get media or influencer attention (I talked about it earlier with the Oprah example. After that opportunity came up Rowe received several features in Inc. among other huge media outlets.)

These are two free ways (usually) of drawing attention to your brand. For example, Rowe applied for awards at her local business chamber or business media outlet. Her brand won the award for best entrepreneur of the year at the Business Council of Westchester where she attended the ceremony in front of hundreds and got featured in the news publication where it was sent out to thousands along with her photo and bio.

Imagine the exposure you could get through any of these opportunities. Any type of exposure is almost always good exposure.

The more you get, the more you're seen; the more you're seen, the more you get.

Building Your Tiny Business Step 7: Pivot Quickly With Growth
As I mentioned earlier, Rowe managed to get on The Oprah Show in 2007 which changed everything for her Tiny Business. But to Rowe, she wanted to still have the freedom to have weekends and nights off. She wanted to have the freedom to go on holiday as she pleased. Even though her company was making millions she still wanted to stay Tiny.

A Tiny Business is about building something agile and profitable, on your own terms, so that you (and your team) can be home for dinner.

Here's one way she was able to keep some of her own freedom during a growth period.

Outsourcing my stress allowed me time to regroup, keep my free time prioritized, and see what the business needed next. I consciously limited my role in my own business in order to stay true to my Tiny Business principles, which, let’s not forget, included remaining a profitable company.

Last but not least if you ever get too tired of running your business there are certain levels of responsibility you can place yourself in. Afterall you are the CEO. You can:
-Sell and walk away.

-Sell and stay on in some capacity (if your future professional life is linked to the brand, there’s no reason to lose the leverage on what you’ve built).

-Find a partner and work side by side.

-Find a partner to run the business and become a silent stakeholder.

-Continue to own 100 percent and not participate by hiring a CEO and putting key metrics, goals, and reviews in place.

-Sell to your employees.

BONUS: Other takeaways you'll learn in this book include:
When the competition gets tough collaborate.
Going where your brand is already getting love.
Protecting your brand
Knowing your numbers
And many more!

The Magic of Tiny Business
All in all The Magic of Tiny Business is about making the right connections and building up the right relationships to help move your Tiny Business along the right path. Rowe gives many great insights into how she grew her Tiny Business from a small powerful idea into something much bigger. She is the one who helped create the plasticless bag movement by providing an amazing product with a great story behind it.

Best of all while reading this book you can feel the connection with Rowe, herself. She writes in a very personalized way. I would have liked to read even more about her and her journey. This is a tiny book packed with big takeaways. And it's much different from the other 'bigger' business books out there. You'll enjoy the personalized insights Rowe has to offer you so that YOU can grow your own Tiny Business.

Read reviews like this one at http://bookmattic.com
Profile Image for Adam.
453 reviews9 followers
June 17, 2018
Winning in life is more then just money. I was able to peek my head into the world of a Magic tiny business. After finishing her book I'd love to Sharon to be a possible collaborator.

Nuggets of Truth:

Growth is good but not growth at all costs
It makes you a living and still gives you space to live
Risk tolerance
What are you working for really?
Whats enough money?
Get the lay of the land
Internet acquaintance
Practice takes practice
Don't let your business become busy-ness
Don't go mental go incremental - break it down before you break down
I'm an aspirational brand
Trusting your voice takes practice
Stress is when you don't know what you don't know but you know you need to know more
All I can see is growth
Know your lending sources before you need them
If you love stress practice avoidance
Everyone's a touch point
When the competition gets tough-collaborate
Go deep on the value you bring
Co-opetition Kermey & 1
Generosity breeds generosity
There can be dark clouds filled with unethical bumps
Business as usual approach profits over partnerships
What sound waves have a potentiality to disrupt your focus and intentions?
Don't freak out -figure it out
Calmly dissect what I'm hearing
Kermey is capable backup
Cash is the log in the campfire
Surviving and thriving is all about the numbers
Being an entrepreneur is an endurance sport
You are accountable to you 100% of the time
Make exercising your mind and body part of your schedule
It's your business to take care of yourself
Change is hard because it feels insurmountable
If your feeling stuck in your old ways start a new habit
I was bored and looking to reengage a sense of curiosity in my life
Take days to destress restructure
I'm in a ready state
Risk fail... risk again
Do it for the experience don't be attached to the outcome
Profile Image for Rita.
145 reviews6 followers
March 2, 2019
A memoir of how one organized lady runs her Oprah-endorsed reusable bag industry, including quite liberal interpretations of the words "tiny" and "don't have to go big"
Profile Image for Mihai Rosca.
165 reviews9 followers
December 5, 2021
A book on the journey, obstacles and mindset of starting and running a business. Sharon Rowe has written a work that has neither fancy language nor the academic business jargon that you tend to find in books on such a topic, but still provides some value.

The book is fairly easy to read and straightforward. Looking back, the ideas that stuck to me were that you:

1. Have to get out of the room, building and even town in some cases. Validating ideas, creating prototypes and making your first coin requires involvement. Most people fear it, as it requires you to talk to strangers, admit you are wrong and starting fresh each time. However, no amount of armchair intellectual activity will provide you with a working business. Execution is more important than the original idea.

2. Society today is mostly formed out of people taught to look out for number one. This, in business, means consistent failure. You are a part of a community, ecosystem and society. You must reach out to people to expand your personal network so that you will be able to pick up the phone and request for a loan, favor, extend your payment terms, get into an event, tv show and so on. You should expect interaction and get good at it.

3. Don't ignore the overall environment and economic situation. When you have a business you are exposed to it, as well as you expose those working for you, for which you have a big responsibility. Don't stop learning and expand your horizons to know when a storm is coming.

4. It's going to be tough, it's going to suck at first and you are going to do most of the work yourself before you will afford extracting yourself and do "real business". That's simply a common path in bootstrapping a small initiative. It's ok, it's normal and you should embrace it.

Most of these thing I already consider common knowledge so I don't really think this is a groundbreaking book. Also, the writing style is overcrowded with quotes in all the wrong places and maxims. A little less of those and more practical advice would have helped. Still, worth reading.
Profile Image for Pat Black-Gould.
Author 1 book85 followers
February 21, 2022
I appreciated Sharon Rowe’s story of how and why she created Eco-Bags and grew the business from there. Guided by a passion to create a sustainable eco-friendly business while also having time for her family, was not an easy task and I had to smile over a point she made: “A tiny business is about building something agile and profitable, on your own terms, so that you (and your team) can be home for dinner.” The thing is, this entrepreneur did it and she takes readers step-by-step through the process.

What I really liked was her down-to-earth approach in telling the story, especially details such as deciding on the name and the evolution of a brand logo. I also found this book delightful to read. She includes a series of cartoons, cleverly designed to fit the chapters, and, I discovered at the end of the book, were created by her son, Julian. At the end of the book, I was pleased to see how how a woman with a passion for “cleaning up the planet” was able to get her message across to a wide audience, both nationally and internationally, and even including her ECOBAGS being featured on The Oprah Winfrey Shows’ first Earth Day episode in 2007.
Profile Image for prplltrs.
65 reviews1 follower
May 25, 2018
This book was much like any other business self help book but with a twist- tiny business. It’s not small business like you’d think it’s more so the mindset of being very focused on the why of what you do and how that translates to your business. The concept is ok but not for me. Author’s story overall doesn’t apply to the business terrain of today (she started in 1990s) and her whole background felt hippie-ish and out of touch for me. There’s still something that could possibly be gained from her story like saving money or maintaining good credit, or even not working overtime on your business to preserve your free time, but for many it’s probably not practical or likely that anyone wouldn’t put in the time when they could. Also, hers seems like a long shot story (her product was featured on Oprah and benefitted from the Oprah effect) and can’t be duplicated by anyone since Oprah’s now off air, not that it would make any difference.

Read if you like, but I’d opt for another read with more up dated examples of success and applicable advice.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
4 reviews
February 7, 2019
I really appreciate this little book. having had a tiny business for many years, I wish I had this book when I started out. It makes the least appealing aspects of this sort of thing so much easier, and I really like the light, friendly tone. Perhaps some readers will find the book a little too much like a pop psychology self-help book, but for anyone shying away from taking on a new project, the warm encouragement could be most welcome. I like the balance between realism and gentleness, and the structure of the book.
In the author's own words: " There's an awake and enlightened group of business people with a welcome mat at the door. It's a growing movement with the belief that when the tide rises, all boats rise. It's cooperative and collaborative. It's a global movement of B corps: business as a force for good...Whether you what to grow a Tiny Business or inspire other businesses with your actions, it's important to know you are not alone. Come join us." Most highly recommended.
Profile Image for Beth Hale.
Author 124 books92 followers
January 14, 2020
The Magic of Tiny Business is informative, engaging, and filled with tips for how to start a small business.

Sharon Rowe talks about her business, and the mistakes she made throughout growing said business.

She also talks about what she did right and offers tips.

I’m only giving this 4 stars. While I found the tips and information valuable, I think Rowe kept circling back to own business too much. I wasn’t personally interested that she swims almost every day or that she was an actress before ECOBAGS became a business.

I know everyone has a “how I got here” story, but some of the details were repetitive and could have been left out.

Other than that, it’s a great book; easy to read and full of useful info.
Profile Image for Veronica F.
293 reviews3 followers
February 13, 2020
What I liked- there was some great energy throughout the book, there were a few great ideas/thoughts that made me stop and think... especially 80/20, and it was a quick read written in normal English not business lingo.

What I didn't like- I thought it would a business book not a book about a bag maker who is in business, it was not the path many entrepreneurs have taken and it is a common path. I get we are to learn from it, but there not enough help to get from A to B. It was you are at A now running and swim in nature to B.

If you are looking for a book to help ponder (which I do believe can lead to growth) then go for it. If you are looking to start a business, there are alot better resources to help start.
Profile Image for Bree Taylor.
1,054 reviews2 followers
October 22, 2018
What a fascinating concept. Get really specific and "tiny" with your business plan and purpose. And the business will thrive.

Sharon Rowe provides a number of excellent techniques for getting your business thriving. The only part that seemed to be missing was the middle ground. She talks about how her business was still "small" when they were pulling in $700,000 per year. That feels enormous in my own business! I would have loved more specifics on how to get to that point!
Profile Image for Jennifer.
129 reviews1 follower
January 25, 2019
This is a good book with a misleading title, which is good. Apparently, by tiny, the author more means to designate a business that does not consume your entire life, but instead leaves you time to enjoy your family, take vacations and not work until 11 PM every night. She designates her own $3MM business as "tiny" in this regard. So this is definitely a book for those that run most any kind of home-based business, whether large or small.
Profile Image for Karen Whooley.
Author 36 books32 followers
March 5, 2019
Tiny Business is where it's at!

Having just come off reading Paul Jarvis's book Company of One, this book was a great dovetail into it! Sharon shares her story about building a small company with scaling as needed. It really put being small in perspective.

As a small business myself I found this to be exactly what I needed to help me shape my 20 year old business to be more profitable yet remain small with keeping my values in tact.
Profile Image for Cameron Norman.
47 reviews20 followers
November 12, 2019
Slow start, meh finish

This wasn’t what I’d hoped for. It might be a good read for someone in a similar business, but I didn’t get much insight into what a tiny business is and how it fits with my company. It was a very personal book, which might appeal to some, but wasn’t hooking me. The book becomes more practical as it moves on, but not enough to save it for me. Some people will like this and I hope it’s you.
August 26, 2018
As one of the first small green product companies, Eco-bags' founder Sharon Rowe guides the small business owner through a refreshing, practical approach to running a small business. It is a fun read as Sharon takes the reader through her trials, tribulations, and successes - from idea conception to the present.
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