Laurel Touby is the founder of mediabistro.com, which serves up news, job listings, and classes to media pros. She sold her company for $23 million in 2007. We caught up with Laurel at SXSW Interactive.
Why did you start mediabistro?
It started as a salon I hosted for journalists in Manhattan’s East Village, back in the ‘90s. I was a writer, and my secret intent was to connect with editors. And find a boyfriend. Of course, I didn’t tell people that. Later, I realized that those parties were building a community—and that could become a business.
What was the hardest thing about becoming entrepreneur?
People loved seeing me as a hostess. No one thought I would start a business, no one thought I had any business skills. If I had believed that vision of myself, god knows where I’d be. Every day, it took all my energy to face all those skeptics. But there is a power in the way you see yourself—and it’s something you have to master. You have to master the ability to channel your power, to own it, even if you have to fake it in the beginning.