Home Free

While their friends stick it out in corporate America, thousands of young entrepreneurs are heading home--today's hottest start-up spot.

Eric Poses was standing in his parents' Miami home, bottle of champagne in one hand, envelope in the other. It had been more than a year since Poses, then 23, had loaded up his '92 Honda Accord with camping gear and 30 T-shirts emblazoned with "Loaded Questions," the name of a board game he had invented.

With six cases of the game stashed in the trunk, Poses spent four months on the road, visiting toy stores and game shops and begging retailers for shelf space for the game he'd invented from his home office in Miami's trendy South Beach.

To launch the enterprise, Poses had tapped his life savings--and the $30,000 he'd hit mom and dad up for to cover the difference.

So here he was at his parent's home to pay back the tab in one lump sum. It was all that was left of the fat check Toys `R' Us had sent a few days before--after he'd cleared other debts.

"It was a nice day," admits Poses, now the 25-year-old president of All Things Equal Inc., his burgeoning game business.

It's a nice day for a lot of Gen X entrepreneurs. Although their parents and older siblings heard the siren songs beckoning them like drones to the corporate towers downtown, many in the younger generation have chosen to proclaim instead, "Not I." They've ditched business attire, daily commutes and corporate camaraderie and decided to launch their own companies from home.

"Those in the 20-something generation are starting businesses at rates previously unheard of," says Lisa Rogak, author of more than a dozen books on starting a business, including The Under 35 Guide to Starting & Running Your Business (Upstart, $14.95, 800-235-8866) and The 100 Best Businesses for the 21st Century (Williams Hill Publishing, $15.95, 603-523-7877).

"This is the first generation that has been able to flaunt the Establishment rules, make money and get respected for it," Rogak says. "They know nothing is written in stone, whether it's a job with a corporation or their own business."

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This article was originally published in the June 1999 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Home Free.

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