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SMALL BUSINESS : Pain Proves to Be Her Gain in Video Sales Market : Entrepreneurship: A chance meeting with a back specialist boosted this Sherman Oaks resident's home-based operation.


Lebo still works at building up new business, working seven days a week. But looking back at her start, things don't seem as rough.

Fifteen years ago, she moved to Los Angeles from Northern California to become a songwriter. That didn't work as planned, and she held an assortment of marketing jobs in the music and publishing business.

Wanting to start her own business, in 1986 she attended USC's entrepreneurship program offered through a community outreach program to guide new business owners through their first steps.

"I went to evening classes for six weeks and the first few times I didn't even know what the words meant," Lebo said.

She kept taking on as many jobs as necessary to finance her business. She was still racing last December, working two days a week as a publicist for a publishing company.

Early in January, Lebo gave up her part-time jobs as sales of the back tapes continued to improve. A new offering is an audiotape on sinus infections, featuring her father, a retired ear, nose and throat doctor.

Jim Porter, part-time faculty member at USC and Lebo's mentor, thinks that Lebo is making progress. "She is in a position where if she made the right contact, landed the right product, she could catapult into a financially comfortable situation."

Lebo is still going to USC night school, learning how to set up a five-year business plan. For most small businesses, however, the first five years are the toughest to survive. And Lebo has already gotten past that.

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