Startup entrepreneurs are willing to endure almost anything to realize their dreams. Some even go to unusual lengths to finance their businesses.
What James Nesland hated most about working on his father-in-law's ranch were the ants. They crawled all over him, biting his hands and face as he dug irrigation trenches. But the ants came with the territory, so he endured eight months of manual labor to save up enough money to start his Bradenton, Florida, company, Bat-Attitude, which sells promotional baseballs, hats and its own brand of baseball gloves. "It opened my eyes to what it's like to be in the sun all day and do backbreaking work," says Nesland, 32. And his hard work paid off: His company projects sales of $100,000 this year.
When Forrest Kolb and Joe Paone, both 26, needed to raise money for BizzFlip.com, their online classifieds community for small businesses, Kolb decided to try earning money as a model to help get the business off the ground. "The checks that came in may have been in my name, but they were for the nurturing and growth of BizzFlip," says Kolb. Even with 2008 sales projections in the high six figures, Kolb continues to model to help the Sausalito, California-based company grow.
Christina Riordan, 28, moonlights as a bartender and a personal trainer to fund her Chicago-based business, REP Chicago. Since February 2007, Riordan has been selling promotional items, organizing networking events, and designing logos and websites for her clients, all while serving drinks at night. With 2008 sales of about $100,000, she's still looking to grow her business, working from home during the day while training her fitness clients on the side and bartending at least twice a week. Says Riordan, "You might be working until 3 in the morning, but you have to get up and do what you're supposed to do."