Successful businesses look calm from the outside.
Behind the scenes, it's often a different story. Their creation can be protracted and plagued with turmoil, and involving irregular meals, office spaces in bad neighborhoods and a pervasive fear that it could all fall apart at any moment.
CNBC.com spoke with entrepreneurs who lived this reality and started businesses from threadbare beginnings. Today you would never know how much they struggled to bring their companies to life, but as they'll tell you themselves, it was a lot harder than it looks.
Read ahead to find out just how hard it was.
—By CNBC's Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 4 Feb. 2014
Tuesday nights have more bite with back-to-back episodes of "Shark Tank" on CNBC.