How 11 savvy but cash-strapped founders substituted imagination, know-how, and effort for capital

What does it take to start a really successful business? for many people the answer to that question is simple: plenty of capital. In this issue, Inc. showcases a contingent of company builders who started their businesses with notably distinct -- and in at least one case, debt-ridden -- portfolios. Money was the one resource they lacked. In the formative years, their now-flourishing enterprises relied on an abundance of assets more inventive than monetary. Today their ingenuity is our inspiration.

* * *

Collegiate Publisher
Campus Concepts · Founded: 1985 · Start-up capital: $48 1994 revenues: $2.5 million · 1995 projected revenues: $4.5 million

As a student at Hobart College, in upstate New York, Ian Leopold envisioned an unofficial student guide to the Hobart experience, loaded with practical information about sports, student life, and off-campus attractions, as well as key phone numbers and a calendar of events. He'd need enough advertising, Leopold reckoned, to distribute his book free. He fleshed out a business plan as his independent-study project. And even though his professor flunked him, Leopold persevered.

He founded Campus Concepts, investing $32 in order forms and business cards -- generic ones -- so that he and his ad-sales recruits could pencil in their names. With the $16 left over, he opened a checking account. Then Leopold and his sales force -- students on commission -- pitched retailers. "It cost $50 or $100 to advertise in the book," he recalls. "When I got cash I bought an answering machine, and it started to feel like a business."

Once the editorial package was complete, he approached a printing company. "They wanted $1,000, and they didn't think I had the money," Leopold says, still relishing the moment. "But I did. I'd already sold the ads." The first annual Unofficial Student Guide to Hobart College turned a 50% profit on $3,000 in revenues.

In 1986, after graduation, Leopold kept the company alive by hiring someone to handle subsequent editions while he got his M.B.A. in finance and strategic planning at the Kellogg Graduate School of Management. During the next two years, while he worked for a Cleveland company, he continued to nurture Campus Concepts on the side, transplanting the Hobart model to other colleges and universities and hiring their students to write copy and peddle ads. Sales had expanded to $75,000 by the end of 1987. Rapid growth brought cash-flow crunches, of course, and in classic bootstrapping style Leopold pulled out his credit cards. "It wasn't unusual for me to go from bank to bank and literally get $10,000 in cash," he says. "If it weren't for credit cards, I wouldn't be in business."

By 1990 revenues had reached $250,000, and Leopold scouted around for a low-cost headquarters location. Mindful of ambience, he selected Baltimore. "It's got a nice airport and good sailing," he says. "And a kid can live decently here on $30,000." These days the company publishes its freebie unofficial student guides for 70 colleges in 35 cities, with a total circulation of one million. It boasts 4,000 advertisers overall -- from local pizza joints to the likes of Sony, Gillette, IBM, and Colgate. "It shows," he says, "what you can do with $48 when you work hard." -- Jay Finegan

* * *

Corporate Cost Cutters
Combined Resource Technology (CRT) · Founded: 1986 Start-up capital: -$14 million 1994 revenues: $2 million

Fourteen million dollars in the hole. Such was Darwyn Williams's sorry situation in 1986, when he and partner Chris Moran, a former builder, launched Combined Resource Technology. Williams's real estate development company in Baton Rouge had been "body-slammed," he says, when an oil- and gas-price crash rocked the Louisiana economy. He was stuck with an overleveraged shopping center and apartment buildings plunging in value while he owed some $14 million to banks. "It was pretty damn serious," Williams recalls. "We were without jobs or ways to make money. And we had families."

The real estate collapse contained the seeds of their salvation. "Some properties weren't worth half what they'd been worth six months earlier," Williams explains. "But the tax assessors hadn't dropped their valuations, as required." The partners' plan: peruse tax rolls, identify overassessed properties, contact the owners, and get the taxes reduced. Their fee: half the first five years' savings. Their initial client was a printer, for whom they saved $7,000. And instead of cash they accepted $3,500 worth of brochures, letterhead stationery, and business cards -- an adroit marketing move.

"We looked quite professional on paper," says Williams, "but our office was a tiny room in a farm-equipment warehouse owned by my partner's father. It looked like a little bookie joint." They called it "Suite 100" and answered the phone, "Executive offices."

"We spent every waking moment pursuing clients, signing them up, getting the work done and the bills out, and following up to get paid as quickly as we could," Williams says. "From time to time we hired clerical help to type contracts and invoices. We'd get cash advances on our credit cards to pay them -- that was our 'bridge financing' for five months. But when we took a $200 advance, we knew we had a matching receivable or we would not have done it. We wanted no part of debt. We held our breath all year," he recalls. "By the end of 1986 we had grossed $100,000, so we were able to draw out living expenses."

Since then CRT has grown to 14 employees and has expanded its cost-reduction services beyond taxes, to utilities, waste disposal, freight, leases, and so on. Williams is thankful he started humbly. "Bootstrapping," he opines, "teaches you solid business principles that benefit a successful company more than any other training. We made sure our customers were pleased, because we depended on them for our next meal." -- J. F.

* * *

(Re)Model Start-Up
BOWA Builders · Founded: 1987 · Start-up capital: $5,000 1994 revenues: $1.7 million 1995 projected revenues: $3.2 million

As classmates at the University of Virginia, Joshua Baker and Larry Weinberg pledged one day to start a company together. After graduation, Baker joined Exxon Chemical as a chemist, and Weinberg, a certified public accountant, signed on with Arthur Andersen. But two years later, in mid-1987 -- true to their word -- they teamed up in Arlington, Va., scraped together $5,000, and plunged into the home-remodeling business.

Weinberg had spent his summers in construction work, and a third partner had tools and a truck. "He was with us for only three months," Baker says, "but he helped get us started." They hired a few employees immediately and quickly learned the nuts and bolts of the trade.

With no money for stylish living, the partners shared a room in Baker's parents' house, and Baker tooled around in a beat-up Firebird with 200,000 miles on the odometer. "It was a wreck," he says. "I'd park it where clients wouldn't see it."

A small, run-down office in Arlington served as headquarters -- to be a player, Baker believed, BOWA Builders needed a business address. "Clients have never had to come in, but the ones who have are impressed that they're not paying for high overhead." His policy on office furniture was, and remains, clear -- never pay for it. "My chair must be 40 years old," Baker says, "and my desk I got for free."

The partners took a professional approach to job costing and accounting. Their first big purchase was a personal computer -- not what you'd expect for an undercapitalized start-up, but it set a classy tone that mattered in Washington's upscale suburbs. "While the competition was doing handwritten proposals, we gave customers something nice in print, on letterhead, in a folder with our logo on it," Baker says. As for marketing, they devised low-cost methods to promote their service. A direct-mail piece targeted a neighborhood of nearly identical houses. "One of our architects designed a flier that showed an image of a house that -- just coincidentally -- looked like those houses," Baker relates. "You opened it up, and it showed the house renovated."

The partners also assembled media kits. "Larry's girlfriend worked for a marketing firm and told us about reporters' expectations," Baker recalls. "So we sat down at the computer and composed materials that generated a fair bit of local press."

By 1991 Baker felt sanguine enough about business prospects to junk the Firebird, and he now drives a new Honda. "I thought about something fancier, like a Range Rover, but that wouldn't be in keeping with the company's spirit," he says. "We still try to be lean and mean." -- J. F.

* * *

Leveraging: a Contact Sport
Logo Athletic · Founded: 1968 · Start-up capital: $250 1994 revenues: $230 million

It's probably fair to say that Tom Shine owes his company to Bart Starr, the great Green Bay Packers quarterback of yesteryear. Shine was an assistant football coach at Indiana University, where Starr taught a clinic for high school coaches. "Bart was wearing a blue golf shirt with the Packers' helmet embroidered on it," Shine recalls. "It looked sharp, so I decided to put an IU helmet on shirts and sell them to our team."

Shine had $250 and a credit card with a $1,000 limit. But he didn't need much. He collected cash from the coaches and players, and only then, money in hand, did he order the shirts. "We were making pocket change," he recalls.

But the business grew, and before long Shine had a partner, Bob Russell, a medical student who had captained IU's Rose Bowl team. He chipped in $200, and they named the company Lord Russell. "Bob had bought a house for $14,000, and he rented out rooms to med students to pay the mortgage," Shine explains. "The entire company was located in one room in the basement. I had a desk, an answering machine, and a PO box -- we sounded legitimate. But the house was a real pit. To light the stove, you'd turn on the gas and throw in a match, then stand back and watch that baby explode from all the grease."

Much of the partners' cash went for gasoline. They packed a car with samples and hit the road, visiting coaches at big-time football programs. In frantic forays, they visited three colleges a day. "It might be breakfast at the University of Tennessee, lunch at Georgia, dinner at Alabama," Shine says.

To get a coach like Bear Bryant at Alabama to promote the business, Shine and Russell would contract to pay him $1 for each "Crimson Tide" shirt they sold. The coach provided the season-ticket mailing lists, and, Shine says, "in our mailings, we'd have a picture of the coach and local alums wearing our garments. Everything was geared to get the cash in first. Then we'd order the products from the manufacturer and mail them out." And to promote the line, Lord Russell ran its ads -- featuring Bart Starr, who never charged for his endorsement -- for free in Sports Illustrated whenever that magazine failed to sell all its pages.

Sales hit $86,000 in the first year. By 1971 Lord Russell had a dozen college-football powers in its fold, but Shine, worried that the company was open to competition on the college front, set his sights on a marketing license from the National Football League.

Needing financial backing for such a big move, he and Russell recruited five local investors and renamed the company Logo 7. "Nobody invested a lot -- our entire capitalization was $60,000," Shine says. "But based on our partners' guarantees, we got a line of credit for $300,000." Shine knew Tex Schram, president of the Dallas Cowboys, who leaned on NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle to grant a license to Logo 7. The rest, as they say, is history.

Indianapolis-based Logo Athletic, as the company is now called, is the second-largest licensee of the NFL, marketing a full line of jackets, sweatshirts, hats, shorts, and the like. Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman is the company spokesman, and such telegenic quarterbacks as Steve Young, Drew Bledsoe, and Dan Marino are under contract to wear the "authentic merchandise" on the sidelines. -- J. F.

* * *

Do-It-Yourself Factories
Buschman Corp. · Founded: 1978 · Start-up capital: $500 1994 revenues: $2.7 million

You gotta hand it to Tom Buschman, who exemplifies bootstrapping in its raw and pure form -- opportunity seized and exploited with old-fashioned elbow grease. Buschman spied his chance in 1978 while working as a maintenance electrician at Avery International, a paper-manufacturing plant in Cleveland. The company was experiencing a 50% failure rate for metering rods, critical components of the paper-coating system. Buschman said he could make better rods, and Avery promised to buy them.

Buschman had little money, but he was clever with machinery. Keeping his regular job -- and using $500 in overtime pay -- he scrounged in junkyards for materials to construct a little factory in his basement. "There's a feeling you need tons of money and bank financing and all kinds of crapola to start a business," he says. "I traded hard work for capital. If I needed a tow motor, I'd find something at a junkyard, change the engine and transmission, and rebuild it. I had the time. What I didn't have was the money. Later, you have the money but not the time."

Within a few months he was selling Avery rods with a mere 2% failure rate. To augment his business with Avery, he advertised in trade journals. Buschman had precious few customers when he quit his Avery job to go full-time on his venture, but he and his family lived frugally. "I drove an old black-and-white police cruiser," he says. "It had glue in the shape of a sheriff's badge on the doors, where the stickers had been. People called it 'Car 54.' I used to go to business meetings in a coat and tie and park way down the street -- that's how embarrassing it was."

While Buschman labored in the basement, his wife handled the books.

When space got tight, they moved to a ramshackle house on a commercial lot. "We were still bootstrapping," he recalls. "I redid the house myself and put up the factory building pretty much alone." The company had outgrown two more locations by 1992, when Buschman purchased a huge old warehouse in Cleveland. "We've got 14 acres under one roof now," he says. "We won't have to move for a while. And we've set up a new company by leasing out most of the place to other businesses."

With 20 employees, quality products, and customers throughout North America, Buschman is still in no hurry to change his frugal ways. The comical Car 54 is gone, but he's still burned about a software installer who charged him $412 for one day's work. He's never had a bank loan -- and he still builds his machinery in-house. -- J. F.

* * *

Low-End High Tech
MC2 Microsystems · Founded: 1988 · Start-up capital: $200 · 1994 revenues: $3.2 million · 1995 projected revenues: $7 million

Paul Lewis knows unchecked overhead can signal ruin. As chief executive of MC2 Microsystems, a computer-networking company, he has seen clients with the spare-no-expense attitude. "I'd have some hotshot CEO wanting to buy the biggest and best computer system," says Lewis. "I'd know the guy will be out of business in six months."

No mere observer of the start-up process, Lewis launched his own company with $200 while in college.He operated from his dorm for two years before relocating to a space sandwiched between a sewage-treatment plant and a nuclear-dump site. Hardly chic, but, Lewis argues, "the rent was cheap." He assembled a motley assortment of garage-sale office accoutrements, but at first he managed with no furniture at all. "When I interviewed my first receptionist," recalls Lewis, "she sat on a cardboard box. I stood." And he chose his used phone system for its hold music. Though the office phones rang only four or five times a day, Lewis insisted that his receptionist answer and put every caller on hold to hear the music. "Would I answer the phone if I'm the CEO?" he reasoned. Nevertheless, he had no title on his business cards, so he could claim to be the CEO, the vice-president of sales, or the service guy. "I was whoever they wanted me to be," he says.

You might expect a computer-networking company to have the latest technological doodads, but doodads eat cash. Accordingly, Lewis's own network was "a joke," but workable and cheap: whenever MC2 installed a new computer system, Lewis carted away the client's old system -- for a fee -- to his office. He took a similarly lampreylike approach to keeping his technical staff up to speed. Lewis either wheedled loaners from manufacturers or had the new equipment delivered to his office, where he and his staff held in-house training sessions before its installation at the client's office.

Lewis pressed clients for money up front: half or a third as a deposit. But large companies demurred, he says. "There was no calling them to push a check through and no getting money up front." Because of this "bit of a hiccup" in cash flow, "we needed a little shot in the arm." That shot came in the form of support contracts on the networks Lewis installed. Monthly billing kept cash flow consistent and made contract renewal easy, says Lewis. "We'd just bill the next month." -- Christopher Caggiano

* * *

Assume the Position
Metro Services Group Inc. · Founded: 1987 · Start-up capital: $900 · 1994 revenues: $6.4 million 1995 projected revenues: $7.5 million

Creating a company from nothing isn't so hard, according to Jeremy Barbera. He says it's really just a question of positioning. "If you don't position your company as successful, no one on the receiving end is going to assume it is."

Barbera started his direct-marketing company, Metro Services Group, with just $900 in personal savings. Though he worked at his living-room table, "the best thing I ever did," he says, was to rent a Madison Avenue address for $200 a month through a business incubator. Barbera knew that the clients he wanted, large financial-services firms, "needed to at least think that we were a 'we.' "

From the start, Barbera aimed for major-league clientele. But how do you get the attention of American Express? "You have to be a little arrogant and say that you're capable of doing something that someone else isn't," he says. "Otherwise, there's no reason for them to take a chance." His company, Barbera explained, had skills American Express lacked. "I said, 'We'll get you more new clients than your staff can. We'll deliver a client to you next week. And if you don't believe me, you can pay us on contingency.' " Barbera made good on his cheeky promise. Right on schedule, he handed over the New York City Ballet, which American Express had courted fruitlessly for 15 years. American Express put Metro Services on retainer, unknowingly becoming its first client.

Barbera played elaborate charades to maintain Metro's bigger-than-we-really-are facade. On a typical day, he would phone a client to discuss a proposal, pledging that when his secretary finished typing it, he'd have it delivered -- before 5 p.m. Hanging up, he'd rush to his word processor and type. Document done, he'd change into sweats and sneakers, climb onto his bike, and deliver the proposal. "I was CEO at 2 p.m., secretary at 3:30 p.m., and messenger at 4:30 p.m."

Barbera says he lived in fear -- well merited, as it turned out -- of discovery. As bike messenger he had befriended a client's security guard. When Barbera subsequently appeared downtown to meet with that client (this time in CEO mode), he encountered the guard. She buzzed upstairs and announced, "Metro's messenger is down here, and he claims he has a meeting with you." Thinking quickly, Barbera responded to his customer's confusion, "Oh, my brother used to work for me delivering packages when he was down on his luck." Barbera sustained this multirole juggling for two years.

He leveraged the names of heavy-hitter clients to get extended payment terms from suppliers -- even before he had clients. As he scouted for data-management companies, he told them that he'd really love to throw a little sole-source business their way, but a client like, say, American Express needed longer payment terms. "I said, 'If you can't, we understand. We'll just find someone hungrier who can.' " Most he approached -- 19 out of 20 -- complied. Why? "I asked, as opposed to just taking it," he says. Barbera negotiated terms as long as eight months from many vendors, and, he says, "some even gave me a year."

Perhaps the key to successful bootstrapping isn't so much what you're doing as it is what other people think you're doing. "It all depends on the light you portray yourself in," says Barbera. -- C.C.

* * *

Fleet Delivery
Kitty Hawk Group Inc. · Founded: 1978 · Start-up capital: $0 · 1994 revenues: $108 million

How do you start a $100-million company with no cash? Well, you don't start a $100-million company: like your older brother's hand-me-down dress pants, a $100-million company is something you grow into.

Tom Christopher started what would eventually become the Kitty Hawk Group in 1978. And he had no cash whatsoever. Well, he admits he might have had $150 in his checking account. And he certainly made good use of his pickup truck. His one-quarter ownership of a Cessna 310 airplane came in handy, too. But all that is as good as nothing when you're talking about starting an air-charter management service and air-cargo airline.

Christopher had identified the need for same-day delivery while employed as a salesperson at a large transportation company. A customer needed a rush delivery from Nashville to Arlington, Tex., but the transportation company didn't provide same-day service. So, Christopher volunteered, for the price of a tank of gas, to make the delivery in his own plane. When his supervisor decided that same-day service was a business with no future, Christopher offered the service himself on the side. After four months he saw enough demand to justify his breaking off on his own.

The business began as Christopher Charters, a freight forwarder. Christopher dropped customers' packages at another transportation company, which performed the actual deliveries. Not one for fancy financial maneuvers, he grew the business on a transaction-by-transaction basis. "It's really been a cash-flow operation from the beginning," he says. "Each piece of freight generated enough money to get the next piece of freight." The first external capital, a $125,000 loan against accounts receivable, came in 1983. Volume grew steadily, and Christopher chartered planes to meet demand.

In 1985 he purchased Kitty Hawk Airways, an air-charter company, which he combined with Christopher Charters to form the Kitty Hawk Group. Instead of cash, Christopher gave each of the two owners 10% of the stock of the new venture. By September 1988 Christopher had amassed $150,000, enough to secure a bank loan to purchase $1 million worth of his own aircraft.

Of course, there was no reason for his customers to know that Christopher had been transforming Kitty Hawk from a freight forwarder into a full-fledged airfreight carrier. Understanding that customers appreciate even the appearance of substance, he'd frequently touted his "fleet of aircraft," which amounted to his fraction of the Cessna. But he had access to hundreds of planes he could charter, so he figured there was no need to get specific.

By the summer of 1988, Christopher had moved his operation to the primary regional airport, Dallas/Fort Worth. "People assumed we were bigger than we were because of our location," he says. Long before the actual move, he had rented a post-office box at that prestigious address, hoping that potential customers would be impressed. Evidently, they were. With no external capital until the company's fifth year in business, Christopher's early days as a simple freight forwarder funded Kitty Hawk's evolution into a $108-million airfreight airline with its own fleet of 21 planes. -- C. C.

* * *

Cheap Suite
Value Added Distribution (VAD) Inc. · Founded: 1985 · Start-up capital: $100 · 1994 revenues: $11 million

Many bootstrappers find themselves apologizing for the poverty of their office furnishings. Not Kevin E. Kelly. He's had to explain the plushness of his Gaithersburg, Md., computer-subsystems distributorship. "My vendors thought I was spending too much money," he says. "I had to show them everything was used."

Kelly founded Value Added Distribution in 1985 with $100 in personal savings, which he spent on letterhead and on setting up phone service. He ran the company out of his home "until it took over" and the tractor-trailers thundering down the street threatened neighborhood tranquillity. For two years he drew just enough money from the business to buy food and keep the house. With an eye to the future, he bought used furniture at auctions and from companies that were going out of business, for as little as 10¢ on the dollar. When the office furniture filling up the garage "drove my wife crazy," he says, he finally, in 1988, moved the company into a 1,500-square-foot office. And he had six matching desks ready for use. That same year, Kelly got the company's first significant cash infusion, a $30,000 bank loan, with which he bought inventory. He continued his frugal furnishing, buying and storing a growing backlog of office furnishings to maintain VAD's image as it grew. And grew. -- Robina A. Gangemi

* * *

Caterer to the Stars
Tomkats · Founded: 1986 · Start-up capital: $2,000 · 1994 revenues: $4.5 million

Without enough money to open a restaurant, Thomas Morales combined his meager cash with a large portion of inspiration. In 1986 he started a catering business. The $2,000 borrowed from family funded a mailing that yielded Tomkats' first three catering jobs. The next year, when the crew of the film Twist of Fate came to town, Morales was ready to offer his catering services. Twisting facts, he assured the producer that he was equipped with a mobile kitchen, and he won the job. He swallowed hard, pressed for a $10,000 deposit, and, money in hand, flew off to Phoenix, where he put down $10,000 toward the purchase of a used mobile kitchen, on which he promptly painted "#3."

But Mobile Kitchen #3 didn't completely outfit him for the task. He used $300 Tomkats had earned over its first year to rent a U-Haul, tables, and chairs, and he relied on coolers to keep the food iced -- limiting current inventory to only one day's worth of food. Still, he had plenty of help -- his nine siblings and his mother all pitched in. "They ensured my success," claims a grateful Morales. Within a year he broke down and hired two employees, whom he paid a percentage of revenues so that, Morales explains, he "wouldn't have to carry them." Today, nine years after he started the company, his mother still keeps the books. She's 72 years old and doesn't use a computer, but she's the one who caught an incompetent accountant. "She sniffs out any fishiness," says Morales.

Tomkats now employs 34 full-time employees, who run the company's catering, restaurant, and concession operations in its newly renovated 12,000-square-foot headquarters. But bootstrapping is not dead at Tomkats. Morales himself, who until 1990 drew only enough money to keep his family clothed and fed, controls expenditures by paying employees a cut of profits on top of a base salary; barters for goods and services; and prepares Tomkats' advertising in-house to qualify for an agency's 15% discount on media buys. -- R. A. G.

* *

Piano Woman
Time Line Productions Inc. · Founded: 1989 · Start-up capital: $2,500 · 1994 revenues: $2 million

Pianist Lorie Line's day job at a construction company paid the bills, but her evening job, playing piano at Dayton's department store in Minneapolis, provided her with her first customers when she formed Time Line Productions, her own recording company.

During her first year as Dayton's pianist, Line collected the names of shoppers who had stopped to ask if she had made recordings. By 1989 her list of potential customers had grown to 500, and she decided "not to wait for a major label to pick me up. It never would have happened." Her husband, Tim, cashed in his 401(k) for $2,500, and Line made her way to San Francisco to work with pianist George Winston's engineer to record an album. After two work-filled days, she paid him $1,000 and returned home with a master tape. Another $1,000 went to a design firm to develop packaging for the first run of tapes and CDs. And when Line found a printer willing to wait 60 days for payment, she was able to make the most of her monthly Dayton's check.

By persuading Dayton's to let her sell her new album while she played its selections and by collecting $20 per hour for doing so, she dodged the industry's high start-up costs, effectively providing her own advertising and promotion. The first day was the test: she arranged the tapes and CDs on the piano, nervously sat down to play, "took a big breath," and found customers responding to her opening chords. She sold 40 copies the first day. "I remember it vividly," she says. "I started to play 'Terms of Endearment' because it was the first song on the album. Someone took a tape and had it rung up, and I thought, 'Yes!' "

Line remained at Dayton's until late 1993 and reports that in the early years of her company, nearly everything she made went back into her business. She claims she always drew enough money to get by, though she does admit that "it was practically nothing -- I was the last one paid," and that she relied on her husband's salary for life's necessities. Her stinginess with herself paid off in 1994, when Time Line Productions obtained a $200,000 bank loan earmarked to buy a 3,800-square-foot office building, pay the company's taxes, and hire a vice-president of sales and marketing (husband Tim).

Time Line Productions' albums are now carried in more than 15,000 gift and specialty stores nationwide, as well as in Musicland, Sam Goody, Best Buy, and, of course, Dayton's stores. And the company also handles all arrangements for Line's touring orchestra.

Does Line recommend the seat-of-the-pants sales tactics that worked so well in the early days of her business? Playing a piano, she cautions, can have its downside. At the end of one particularly pressing day, Line realized that 12 hours of piano playing was way too much -- she'd developed a painful bruise on her posterior. -- R. A. G.


DO YOU HAVE WHAT IT TAKES?

Find out if you have the skills -- or the stomach -- to be a bootstrapper. Take this quiz

1. How many hours a week are you willing to work?

* 0-40 (0 points) * 41-60 (1 point)

* 61-80 (3 points) * 80 plus (5 points)