Bill: Success Came from Taking Risks

04/16/2004 at 01:00 AM EDT

After Donald Trump hired "The Apprentice" winner Bill Rancic on Thursday night, cast members and those associated with the show descended upon the Trump Tower for a blowout party, as hundreds of screaming fans outside greeted their arrivals, PEOPLE reports.

Inside, members of Bill's family members stood around him proudly, watching him bask in the camera flashes. "Isn't he just gorgeous?" said Bill's mother, while his sister, Karen Soener, told PEOPLE: "We are beyond excited. We're still in a daze. He deserves it. The closer it got, the more he wanted it."

Even his rival, Kwame Jackson found it hard to disagree, saying (with some qualification): "Bill is solid, (but) I think he is an entrepreneurial maverick ... a square peg for a round hole. And I think he is a great entrepreneur. He's someone who will raise the bar for the company, but at the same time, he may not fit into a corporate culture because he's always been a pure entrepreneur."

As for his own plans, Kwame, who was praised to the skies by Trump on the show, said: "I'm going to be focused on making money."

Focus is key, as Bill noted when asked why he thought he got hired for the $250,000-a-year job. His real secret? "My ability to convert risk into success," he said. "Along the way, I took some major risks. However, I was successful with them."

He showed that strength all along, he said, recalling "the rickshaw episode. It was out-of-the-box thinking and a major gamble for me, and I know if it didn't work I was heading home. I took a calculated risk ... and sure enough, it put me on the map."

More importantly, whom is Bill dating? "I'm single, and I'm dating. ... Don't believe everything you read."

As for the rest of Thursday's finale, Nick and Amy confirmed they are no longer dating and are "just friends," and nerdy-but-aggressive former contestant Sam offered Trump $250,000 in cash if he would hire him.

Talking about the stunt afterwards, Trump said: "I'll think about it! That's not such a dumb offer. Sam walked up with $250,000 in cash and said, 'If you hire me I'll pay you.' There are those who would say that's a very brilliant move. I like Sam, I always have liked Sam. He's a character, and I like characters."

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