Cofounders: Vivian Jimenez, 32, chief operating officer; Lorraine Brennan O'Neil, 36, chief administrative officer; Karen Janson, 34, CEO

Company: 10 Minute Manicure, in Miami

Original business model: Build a chain of manicure kiosks in airports

Current business model: Establish one kiosk in an office building and use it to attract financing for expansion in airports and elsewhere

Original projections for 2000: $3.3 million in revenues; 10 to 15 employees

Actual 2000: No operations; no sales

Total capital raised from date of launch: None

"My personal transformation came almost at the start of our business, and it has only been reinforced," says chief operating officer Vivian Jimenez. "Very early on I went from not thinking about being an entrepreneur at all to thinking it's the only thing to be. Maybe I've discovered that I'm a little selfish and ambitious, which I never thought I was. I'm more comfortable with those notions about myself now. We don't know if this business will succeed, but somehow that seems irrelevant. I'm certain I can be independent careerwise. Before, I didn't have much career vision. I had risen through the ranks, but I could have been doing anything, anywhere. It was a job. Now I'm much more goal oriented.

"Lessons? Well, if there was one thing I could have said to the person I was a year ago, it would be this: get the money first.

"It's a myth that start-ups are always stressful. Sure, you're often overwhelmed, and it's a roller coaster. But it's all good. It's just a rush."

--Vivian Jimenez, chief operating officer of 10 Minute Manicure

"The lack of money crushed my two cofounders and me. We used to carry on as though a huge check were around the corner to pay for all our great work. Yet despite that, it's a myth that start-ups are always stressful. Sure, you're busy and often overwhelmed, and it's a roller coaster. But it's all good. I never feel distraught or overcome with stress -- it's just a rush. I'd do it again without a doubt.

"Any business you do for yourself is better than the best job for someone else. At least that's now true for me. I'm convinced I can choose what I want from life.

"Although, um, I would get the money first."

Updates on the other four businesses featured in the Start-Up Diaries:
Suspended Animation
Unsentimental Education
My So-Called Life
Confidence Man

Read the complete Start-Up Diaries series.


Part 1: Your Way

Part 2: Anatomy Update -- Big Plans

Part 3: The Start-Up Diaries -- Year One

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