Entrepreneur.com 2/12/08 Entrepreneur.com
What Motivates You? by Erika Kotite

Is it money? Revenge? The thrill of competition? These 4 successful entrepreneurs reveal why they do what they do.

Motivation: Helping Build Better Lives As a struggling mom with a high school education, 34-year-old Karen Hoxmeier had always been a bargain hunter by necessity. After teaching herself how to use a computer, Hoxmeier quickly became an avid online shopper and discovered she had an amazing knack for uncovering obscure discounts and little-known coupons that saved her hundreds of dollars. Two months later, she built her own website, and MyBargainBuddy.com was born. The Murrieta, California, business generated well over $3 million in sales as an affiliate marketing site last year.

My motivation has always been about money, but not in the way you would think. Most people think entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by making money--for me, the twist on the story is that I derive my business power from knowing that I am helping people save money. My mom was very young when she had children and soon found herself on her own. She didn't have a lot of education and had to work at whatever she could to feed us. Early on I was determined that I would give my kids a better life.

I hear what I need to hear to know that I am reaching my goals. I get notes from people all the time who use my site and tell me it's changed their lives. For many it has meant the difference between being able to give their kids new toys from a store [or from] a charity box from the local church. If I'm having a rough time or get tired, I just sit and read the e-mails that I get daily. It's a great ongoing motivator.

Everyone has their moments of worry and doubt. Mine came when I discovered that the hosting site I was using wasn't compatible with how I wanted to build my site. So after having just learned to use a computer, I realized I would have to learn HTML and all the other elements involved with building my own website. I read lots of books and basically taught myself what I needed in about three months. But it was hard and scary. The way I got through it was to keep giving myself short-term goals--goals that were easily achievable in a short period of time. Every time I reached them, I was that much closer to building a better life--not only for myself and my kids, but for my customers, too.