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That Was Then

In its January 2000 issue, Inc. began following five fledgling businesses for twelve months. The chief operating officer and cofounder of one, 10 Minute Manicure, reveals her lessons and insights.

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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Last updated: Jan 1, 2001

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