The Tribe Has Spoken

What They Did

DeAndre was working for a happy ending, of course. He got it, just a few hours after his frazzled wife fainted at the hospital and was sent to the emergency room. DeAndre left the hospital at 5 a.m.; at 8 a.m., $300 away from certain doom, venture capitalists agreed to keep his company afloat. Today, LoopNet has 120 employees and is the largest service of its kind.

Rozner, too, found the funding she needed. She moved out of her parents' basement more than a year ago and into her condo. Zipple, which has 15 employees, has received $20 million in venture capital and expects to make close to $1 million in revenue this year.

So now you know that Rozner and DeAndre made it. Clap, clap. Your burning question is: How will I make it? How can I stay focused on my business in the midst of all the pressure around me?

Presuming Rozner and DeAndre's advice is "one size fits all," here are some suggestions worth considering:

Remind yourself why you're making sacrifices. DeAndre kept envisioning the difference between what would happen if his business bombed and what would happen if it didn't: "The difference between success and failure was, you're out of work, looking for a job-or you control one of the biggest exchanges in the world. Commercial real estate: It's a three-and-a-half-trillion-dollar marketplace." But DeAndre kept things in perspective. He knew if he failed at his business, two armed guards wouldn't appear at his office one day to drag him outside, blindfold him and ask if he had any last words.

Rozner agrees, employing a "what's the worst that can happen?" mentality. She argues you can always pull yourself out of debt (she's still paying off those credit cards) and "you can always fall back to what you were doing before, whatever it is. If you're a lawyer, you can always go be a lawyer again. If you're a salesperson, you can always go sell something again. If you're a writer, you can always write something."

Bad days can equal good. There were times when Rozner took stabs at rejuvenating her love life. It didn't always work. She says, "When I'd get blown off, that would motivate me to be...Career Woman! It all depends on what motivates you. Some people are motivated by the carrot on the end of whatever; some people are motivated by [an] 'I'll show them' [attitude]."

Don't let the competition scare you. "Put the blinders on," advises Rozner. "The market's really big. Somehow, Borders is in business. So is Barnes & Noble. So is Burger King's in business, and so is McDonald's. Kentucky Fried Chicken's in business, and everybody's doing OK. So you say to yourself, 'There's enough space out there,' and if you're going to work harder, and longer, than anybody, you will succeed."

Geoff Williams has written for numerous publications, including Entrepreneur, Consumer Reports, LIFE and Entertainment Weekly. He also is the author of Living Well with Bad Credit.

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This article was originally published in the November 2000 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: The Tribe Has Spoken.

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