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Laurel Touby

"Thirtysomething" founder of Mediabistro.com in New York City

Description: An online and offline community for media and creative professionals (think Monster.com, but for the media set)

Start-Up: Zilch--"I begged everyone to do things for me for free."

Sales: Won't reveal specifics, but the site boasts 37,000 members.

In Denial: Touby first experienced success as a freelance business writer and contributing editor for Glamour. Then, in 1993, she began throwing soirees to unite the faceless names of the media, quickly became a much-recognized face and erected Mediabistro.com. "I tried to ignore it the first two years I put it up. Then the Internet shook me out of my sleep in 1999, and I realized this was something big, it wasn't going away, and I was already part of it."

The Groundwork: "It's a big challenge maintaining a personalized site and creating something professional as well. It's a constant balancing of the needs of people using the site and coming to the parties [networking events for media people] with the needs of a small, growing company." To keep herself balanced, Touby, a college track runner, sprints once a week with a coach.

Awakenings: Although she was an economics major, Touby says she sort of "got tracked into" business writing. "I didn't think business was interesting until I started my own company. It was then that I realized how interesting and creative it could be."

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This article was originally published in the February 2002 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Laurel Touby.

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