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these start-ups with intensity. To the world at large, it seemed that these start-ups were the sum total of Internet businesses. In fact, they were not. While widely publicized entrepreneurs were raising money from venture capitalists and attempting to create multibillion-dollar businesses, a second group of entrepreneurs was happily laboring in obscurity. They were taking advantage of many of the new capabilities offered by the Internet, either to create new businesses or to expand their existing brick-and-mortar entities. Because they had no plans to take their businesses public, they were not interested in generating publicity to support the value of their stock offerings. From their perspective, the benefits of publicity were outweighed by the potential that it would lead to new competition. Moreover, the press was, with a few exceptions, only too happy to ignore them. After all, what could be newsworthy about the one-person entities?

I discovered the full extent of this underground “solo success economy” as I traveled across the country as a speaker, author, and entrepreneur. I would frequently meet people who had created hugely successful businesses. Nonetheless, they would talk to me about their businesses only if I swore a blood oath to keep their successes secret. The highly successful, anonymous friend (whose solo business income exceeds $1 million per year) mentioned in Chapter 2, “Principles for Success,” is one example. He does not see publicity as a tool to build his business. He has no plans for an IPO. As a consequence, one of his main goals is to stay beneath the radar of potential competitors. He believes that the only result of publicity of any kind would be to invite unwanted competitors into his business arena.

For every rule, there are exceptions; there are certainly many solo entrepreneurs who use publicity as a means of building their businesses. Nonetheless, most go-it-alone entrepreneurs have a far greater aversion to publicity than the typical business. In Why Smart Executives Fail and What

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GO IT ALONE! Copyright 2004 by Bruce Judson. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.