To be honest, I've known we were going to sell from the day we got funding, because that was our promise to investors. They gave up the use of that money over seven years, and the end result had to be that we would sell. I was either going to have to buy them out, which I couldn't afford, or sell. I would go to conferences, year after year, and talk up the company, and look around for natural fits to see who might buy us eventually. I knew we didn't want to sell for under a particular dollar amount.
Now, [after the sale] I intended to carry on and do exactly what I've been doing for at least two years. I'm expected to run mediabistro.com and grow it as fast as I can and keep earning those dollars for these new owners. If they like me and I still like working with them, I get to continue growing my baby with the resources and funding of a giant corporation. And I'm envisioning that we buy up companies similar to mediabistro.com and then incorporate them under our brand umbrella.
I learned a lot of lessons along the way. Get everything in writing, that's the most important thing. I don't care if it's a casual deal you're doing with your colleague, friend or relative, put it down because there are always misunderstandings later. Don't undercapitalize. Make sure you have more than you think you need in the bank. Don't be shy about asking experts for free advice. Lawyers, accountants, all kinds of experts will give you free advice if you just ask them. Take people to lunch, get to know people, get out there, shake hands, talk to other entrepreneurs. A mistake I made was to promise stock to a consultant or two early on before I understood the value of stock. They ended up with a valuable amount of stock, and they didn't earn it.
Remember, don't think that other people know more than you do. A big mistake women make is that they psych themselves out and think they need an MBA to launch a company or a really airtight business plan. Just fake it till you make it. I've seen so many successful entrepreneurs who winged it and did a really great job because they winged it, not because they went to Harvard B-school. They just turned on a dime, acted on instinct and took risks, and that's some of what I learned along the way.