Young Millionaires 2005: Staying Motivated During Startup
The amount of work that goes into a startup company can be both exhausting and exhilarating. Here's how our young millionaires survived their startup days.
Starting a new company can be an exhausting effort--mentally, physically and emotionally. We asked our 2005 young millionaires for their advice on staying motivated during the long days and nights of startup. Read their answers to help you stay in the game.
"There was the reality that we raised money from people who knew where we lived. There was a strong desire not to disappoint them. This has always felt like a noble mission."--Jonathan S. Bush, co-founder of Athenahealth, a Waltham, Massachusetts company that provides internet-based revenue-cycle management for the health-care industry
"I kept very focused. I'm a disciplined person, so I would make sure I wasn't just watching TV. I received a great deal of support from my wife. I've always been motivated to be an entrepreneur. I like building things. I like creating value."--Vinay Bhagat, 36, and David Crooke, 34, founders of Austin, Texas-based Convio, a provider of online constituent relationship management software and services for nonprofit organizations
"Loving what I did. It was a vision that I believed in. it was a product that I believed in. Building a business is very hard and a lot of times there is no clear end in sight anywhere and there are a lot of uncertainties and if you don't love what you're building, it will be very hard to stay motivated. So for me, it was just belief in the vision for the company and knowing that as I was building the company. Whether it was a new product or new department, it was getting us closer to that vision."--Babak Farahi, 32, founder of Multivision Inc., an Oakland, California, company that records and broadcasts coverage for clients
"With confidence that we'd come out on the other side. Just knowing that that was a possibility and that piece by piece we would get there. I think it's probably better to not know how long it might take."--Doug Zell, 39, co-founder of Chicago-based Intelligentsia Coffee & Tea, a coffee roaster, retailer and wholesaler
"Definitely the passion comes from the dream of what we're creating. And creating something out of nothing and having that passion and just an excitement... and watching it develop right in front of your eyes. And I don't think it's unique just to our business but to any business. But for us, every time that newspaper would roll of the presses and people would receive it in their mailboxes and we'd get phone calls and letters from readers that loved the paper-that's not tangible. Those things don't pay the bills, but they kept us up at night when it would be 2 o'clock in the morning and we were laying out pages and we're tired and grumpy and the computer's crashing. Those are the things that keep you going: knowing that what you're doing is having an effect on our customers, our readers and our advertisers."--Ryan Duques, 29, co-founder of Shore Publishing, the publisher of 16 community newspapers in Connecticut and Rhode Island
"When you love what you do, you don't feel it or at least the pain doesn't last as long. It's painful being in business for yourself. You really never power down. Choose the field you enjoy. It's easy for me to forget the sacrifices I made to build the business that I have now because I love what I do."--Billy Strade, 35, co-founder of The Closet, high-end clothing retail shops in Orange County, California
"It really is great to have a partner that you work well with to keep each other motivated and to be supportive. Entrepreneurs face lots of rejection, so it's great to have support in your corner. Lots of Diet Coke and M&Ms also helps a lot!"--Donna Slavitt, 38, co-founder of World Packaging Corp., a New York City manufacturer and distributor of promotional, private-label and licensed items
"Up until 1999, we both worked full-time jobs. We'd get off an eight-hour workday, grab Taco Bell or something and return customer phone calls and pack orders until 11 o'clock at night."--Scott Sanfilippo, 34, co-founder of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania-based Neeps Inc. and Solid Cactus, which include pet supply websites and a website development and internet marketing group
"Some people just have the entrepreneurial spirit. You'll know. If you're not the type of person that can put in 90-hour weeks, owning your own business is not for you."--Joe Palko, 33, co-founder of Neeps Inc. and Solid Cactus
"This was supposed to be a part-time job for us to get like $50 a week for spending money. We never in our entire lives thought either business would be where it is today. My motivation now is that I come in to work and don't have to report to anybody but myself."--Scott Sanfilippo
"Part of the motivation is knowing you're really doing good and setting goals for yourself. I set myself daily, weekly, monthly, yearly (10 years out) goal sessions. They can be simple goals to achieve daily."--Joseph Semprevivo, 34, founder of Joseph's Lite Cookies, a Deming, New Mexico-based manufacturer of sugar-free and fat-free cookies and food products
"I'm always motivated; that's never been a problem for me. I'm motivated on both ends, by success and the fear of failure. During the long days of startup, no one knows who we are and just the thought of one day having a brand that when you think of urban marketing, you automatically think Power Moves, that's my goal."--Shawn Prez, 34, founder of New York City-based Power Moves Inc., a street promotion, marketing and event-planning company
"The debt load is always a great motivator. I've always been a gambler and repeatedly gone all in over and over. I've always just enjoyed the idea that the harder you work, the more you'll be paid."--Joel Boblit, 29, founder of Somerset, Wisconsin-based BigBadToyStore Inc., an online toy retailer specializing in collectible action figures