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Bright Lights, Big City

An opportunity written in the stars

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This story appears in the July 2000 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Most people go to Hollywood to find fame and fortune in the entertainment world. For commercial actor Mark Rollings, 38, starring in a big-budget action film with Arnold or Sly wasn't exactly his idea of a successful career in the city of glamour and glitz. Instead, Rollings' story of franchise success in Tinseltown is a model for anyone who wants to cash in on Hollywood.

The former radio station owner from St. Louis opened a Fastsigns franchise in Studio City, California, with one dream: to provide signs to the stars. He advertised in industry publications and directories, then networked like a Hollywood pro. One of the first jobs he landed was making several signs for NBC's Caroline in the City. Another big break came via a job he did for a televised concert featuring KISS, The Who, Leann Rimes and the Dixie Chicks-when the Internet company sponsor needed two 400-square-foot banners in a week's time, he delivered.

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