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Diary of a Webhead

From newbie to netpreneur in under a year: If this online retailer can do it, you can, too.

Contrary to popular stereotypes, not everyone under 35 was born with a mouse in his or her hand, and just because you're young doesn't mean you speak fluent HTML. Even if you're a Net novice, however, you can still do business in cyberspace. Don't believe us? Then believe Tina Gasperson.

She and her husband, Darin, went from newbies to Netpreneurs at warp speed when they decided to start an online retail site. The following diary traces two years in the life of their start-up and the ups and downs they encountered on the road to high-tech success.

In 1996, Darin was the manager of one of the largest retail aquarium stores in the Southeast. An avid hobbyist, he developed valuable contacts in the tropical fish and aquatic plant industries (aquatic plants are used in aquariums, ponds and water gardens), and could secure almost any type of freshwater fish or plant. People around the country started asking to buy plants from us.

The time was ripe to start our own business. Darin's desire to be his own boss, coupled with my enthusiasm for Internet technology (I was a devoted online hobbyist at the time), were more than enough to get us started-even in our cramped, second-floor apartment. Here's a closer look at how our Internet-based business was born.

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This article was originally published in the April 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Diary of a Webhead.

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