Ashley Qualls - owner of WhateverLife.com
Better known as AshBo
on her MySpace profile
, Ashley Qualls
is the owner of the website Whateverlife.com
. Her success has been featured in Fast Company
. She’s just 17 and has already achieved a lot of financial success with her website. It just goes to show that anyone
with enough passion and know-how, at the right place and the right time can do it.
Fast Company Article:
Late last year, Ian Moray stumbled across a cotton-candy-pink Web site called Whateverlife.com.
As manager of media development at the online marketing company ValueClick Media,
he was searching for under-the-radar destinations for notoriously fickle teenagers. Beyond MySpace and Facebook, countless
sites come and go in the teen universe, like soon forgotten pop songs. But Whateverlife stood out. It was more authentic somehow.
It featured a steady supply of designs for MySpace pages and attracted a few hundred-thousand girls a day. "Clever design,
a growing base--that's a no-brainer for us," Moray says.
He approached Ashley Qualls, Whateverlife's founder, about incorporating ads from ValueClick's 450 or so clients and sharing
the revenue. At first, she declined. Then a few weeks later she changed her mind. He was in Los Angeles and she was in Detroit,
so they arranged everything by phone and email. They still have yet to meet in person.
When did Moray, who's 40, learn that his new business partner was 17 years old?
"When our director of marketing told me why Fast Company was calling," says Moray, now ValueClick's director
of media development. "I assumed she was a seasoned Internet professional. She knows so much about what her site does, more
than people three times her age."
It's like that famous New Yorker cartoon. A dog typing away at a computer tells his canine buddy, "On the Internet,
nobody knows you're a dog."
At 17 going on 37 (at least), Ashley is very much an Internet professional. In the less than two years since Whateverlife
took off, she has dropped out of high school, bought a house, helped launch artists such as Lily Allen, and rejected offers
to buy her young company. Although Ashley was flattered to be offered $1.5 million and a car of her choice--as long as the
price tag wasn't more than $100,000--she responded, in effect, Whatever. :) "I don't even have my license yet," she says.
Ashley is evidence of the meritocracy on the Internet that allows even companies run by neophyte entrepreneurs to compete,
regardless of funding, location, size, or experience--and she's a reminder that ingenuity is ageless. She has taken in more
than $1 million, thanks to a now-familiar Web-friendly business model. Her MySpace page layouts are available for the bargain
price of...nothing. They're free for the taking. Her only significant source of revenue so far is advertising.
According to Google Analytics, Whateverlife attracts more than 7 million individuals and 60 million page views a month.
That's a larger audience than the circulations of Seventeen, Teen Vogue, and CosmoGirl! magazines
combined. Although Web-site rankings vary with the methodology, Quantcast, a popular source among advertisers, ranked Whateverlife.com
a staggering No. 349 in mid-July out of more than 20 million sites. Among the sites in its rearview mirror: Britannica.com,
AmericanIdol.com, FDA .gov, and CBS.com.
Hock. (n.d.). AshBo and WhateverLife - the power of social networking. Retrieved March 16, 2008, from Money Making
Blogs Web site: http://moneymakingblogs.com/blog/2007/ashbo-and-whateverlife-the-power-of-social-networking/
Salter, Chuck. (2007). Girl power. Retrieved March 16, 2008, from Fast Company Web site: http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/118/girl-power.html
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Corey Ward-owner of MyBannerMaker.com
A few days ago I pulled together information to add up roughly how much I earned last year so I could start planning
out my write-offs. The number I came up with was a bit lower than I thought it would be, and at the same time, it was absolutely
astonishing. It's one thing to project earnings for the year, but it's another thing entirely to look back and see what you
I've thought long and hard about whether or not I should disclose the actual number. On the one side
of the argument, publishing it has the potential to seem cocky and might make people think I'm making good off of them. Flipping
the argument around, though, and I can see how helpful and sobering knowing the cold hard numbers can be. Since I've got an
innate desire to help people learn (that is after-all, what this post is all about) I've decided to share it, despite the
fact that it might not be best for me.
Last year, revenue generated from my website was approximately $140,000.
While that number pales in comparison to the earnings of lots of other websites, it's also an astonishing amount of money
when viewed relatively to the average income of a middle-class household, let alone the average 20-year-old high school dropout.
In fact, the average last I saw it for the yearly income of a person holding a masters degree was $99,300. That means at
only 19 (my birthday wasn't until November) I managed to out-earn the average person holding a masters degree,
something that typically takes 8-12 years to complete!
How did I do it? Am I some type of chid genius? Did
I get into some amazing program? Were my parents just millionaires? Was I given some substantial sum of money to invest at
age 18 by wealthy grandparents? Did I have some business tycoon holding my hand every step of the way? The answer to all of
those questions is irrefutably 'No'. So how then, did I do it? Well actually, it was all sort of an accident.
October of 2005 I was playing around writing some code to create images for my Myspace profile without using Photoshop. I
showed a few friends that requested various features, and I researched how I could do it and then worked my ass off to add
them in. By the 1st of November the little project had turned into something that was decent enough to be released to the
public. I paid $90 for a year of hosting, stuck some ads on the website, and posted a bulletin to my 80-100 friends on Myspace.
A week later I had over 1,000 people visiting the website every day! By the end of the month I had earned more than
enough money to pay for the hosting and grab dinner at a nice restaurant.
In reality, it cost me only $90 to start
a business that generated $140,000 in revenue last year (costs have, of course, risen substantially since then though). Admittedly,
I had some knowledge that most people don't possess: I know how to do computer programming. Before you start using that as
an excuse, though, I learned every single tiny bit of it for free on the Internet. While you don't have to know how
to program computers, as long as you have a bit of knowledge about something in particular you are good to go.
here, there was a single factor that made the whole thing work. If this one particular pin wasn't in place it never could
have happened. That factor was the simple fact that I did it. It wouldn't have mattered if I planned the whole thing
out to a T if I hadn't actually done it. That's the problem with most people, and why it's still so easy to earn a great living:
most people lack the conviction to stare failure in the face and go for it, despite the fact that it's so ridiculously simple.
They would rather fail themselves by never even trying!
People often cite money as an excuse to not being able
to start a business. Hell, my parents do it all the time, despite the fact that they already own a successful business (though
I received no assistance from them in starting my own). In some cases, money is a limiting factor. If you want to open a company
that manufactures cell phones that blow the iPhone away, well, money might be a concern. That is where investors come in though.
I'd love to give you more information here, but I'm not too familiar with how angel investors work. The majority of service
oriented businesses, though, don't require more than $1,000 to start up. If you have the conviction to actually get the business
started, though, that shouldn't be a concern.
Bottom line, you, whoever you are, possess the ability to start a
business and make more money than these pathetic average incomes.
If you still don't believe me, let me tell you
a story. It's not mine to tell, but I'll point you toward it when I'm done. I'll probably butcher it, but the basics are down
pat so it's okay. It's a true story, by the way.
There was a guy that tried to apply at a university as a janitor.
He couldn't read or write though, and the dean felt bad about not being able to hire him, so he gave him a box of cigars to
go sell on the sidewalk. He took the box out there and started selling them for $1 a piece. Within no time he sold all of
that box of cigars and thought to go to the nearest cigar shop and bought another box and went back out there. He did this
every single day for 2-3 years. One day he asked the owner of the cigar shop if he wanted to sell the shop to him,
and the owner said sure, for one million dollars. The man asked where he could come up with that sort of money, and the owner
told him to go to the bank. Sure enough, he did. He sat down with a loan officer and explained that he couldn't read or write,
and that he wanted to buy the shop for $1M. The loan officer looked at him in disbelief, and pulled up his account. She was
shocked. He had over a half-million dollars in his account!
The guy can't read or write, and probably had limited
counting skills, but he was motivated enough to go out there everyday and do what he needed to. He didn't have a business
plan, accountants, or any sort of marketing strategy. He just went out there and saw that people would buy cigars for $1 a
piece from him, so that's what he sold them.
That's a story from The Best Damn Sales Book Ever by Warren Greshes.
I strongly recommend you read it. No, this is not paid for by him or anything else like that. It's a book I read about a year
ago and find myself quoting and using in my life almost daily.
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Dani Johnson - owner and president of two multi-million dollar companies
Dani Johnson is a sought after speaker, trainer and spirit-driven success coach
who went from living out of her car with $2.03 to her name, to becoming a millionaire by the age of 23. Through her dynamic
training seminars, Dani has helped numerous people achieve financial growth, emotional restoration and spiritual transformation
in every area of their lives. Her passion is helping people break through barriers that stop them from experiencing true freedom
emotionally, mentally, spiritually and financially. Drawing upon life-lessons learned from personal trials and tribulations,
Dani coaches her clients using candid examples, unique advice and compelling stories from her past. In her straight-from-
the-heart style, Dani reveals what led her to answer a calling to boldly demonstrate the power of God’s promises in
Dani Johnson’s reputation as a gifted speaker, trainer, mentor, and spirit-driven
success coach is spreading throughout the business community. Her training seminars are likewise reaching out to a growing
number of people seeking financial growth, emotional restoration, and spiritual transformation. Drawing upon life-lessons
learned from personal trials and tribulations, Dani coaches her clients using candid examples, unique advice, and compelling
stories about her past. She openly teaches how she was seduced into a worldly culture of misguided practices, hollow
beliefs, materialism, false success and empty promises. In her straight-from- the-heart style, Dani reveals to her listeners
what brought her back to truths she encountered in her childhood Bible studies and what led her to answer a calling to boldly
demonstrate the power of God’s promises in today’s marketplace.
Abused as a Child
Dani’s achievements are
even more remarkable when considering the experiences she endured in her early years. In addition to being raised by
parents who were addicted to drugs, Dani’s childhood was scarred by the emotional turmoil that comes from being assaulted
verbally, physically, and sexually, by a stepfather with an extremely violent temper. As a teen, the seeds of God’s
word were planted at an early age through her Bible studies. She accepted Jesus Christ as her Lord and refuge.
This foundation would see her through the difficult times in years to come.
Driven from the Church
At 17, Dani became pregnant
by a deacon’s son, had the baby out of wedlock and gave her baby up for adoption. At this very emotional time
in her life when she sought forgiveness, reconciliation, and healing, she found herself severely judged and condemned by fellow
Christians at her church. As a result, Dani promised herself that if that sort of condemnation was what it meant to
be called ‘God’s People’, she wanted nothing to do with Him or the church. So she walked away from
God and anything to do with the church (or Christians) and sought acceptance in the world of new-age beliefs and eastern mysticism.
The Beginning of Success
As she began to experience
success as a young entrepreneur, Dani vigorously sought personal fulfillment through the pursuit of material possessions and
other worldly goals. At 21, while she was enjoying an enviable reputation as one of the top sales leaders in her company,
she met a man, quickly married him, then moved to Hawaii. Soon afterwards Dani realized her new spouse was a con man
who took all of her money and abandoned her with a huge credit card debt. Dani lost her job and was soon evicted from
Homeless and Alone
With only $2.03 to her name,
Dani was at an ultimate low point in her life: homeless, living out of her car, depressed and contemplating suicide.
It was then that she felt a stirring from God to press on, to rise up and do something with her life.
Humble Start, Rapid Rise
Dani relates, “I
started my new business from the back of my car. I had nothing - no phone, no business cards, brochures, no receipts,
not even any product. All I had was a burning desire to succeed and I didn’t want to be homeless anymore.”
Using meager resources she started marketing products for a health company from a phone booth and in a short period of time,
became the top sales producer for that company.
Seminar Training Begins
As Dani’s business
grew, so did her reputation as a marketing professional. Soon people offered to pay for her to teach them what she knew.
So Dani started a training company, spending one weekend each month teaching others her business skills. Attendance
at Dani’s training seminars expanded rapidly as more and more people were getting tangible results by applying the skills
and techniques Dani taught them. She then decided to contract a nutrition laboratory to custom manufacture products
under a private label and start her own health and nutrition marketing company.
Millionaire at 23
Homeless and broke, within two
years Dani became the owner and president of two multi-million dollar companies. She accomplished all this by the age
of 23. With her life turned around and through a series of divine events, Dani rededicated her life to Christ.
A New Life, Love, Faith, and Future
In her training
seminars, Dani speaks candidly about her childhood of violence and abuse and shares how the power of forgiveness set her free
from spiritual depression and emotional bondage. She also shares about her personal experiences with the church, living
a homeless lifestyle and how God is faithful to His promises, even if you are not aware of His presence. She was also
able to embrace truth and the life promised in the Bible. Today, Dani Johnson lives in Northern California with her husband
Hans and four children. She reunited with the daughter she gave up for adoption and has two beautiful granddaughters
and a son-in-law in the military. Dani teaches and coaches with a passionate desire to see her clients become transformed
in their spiritual, family, and professional lives. Her clients become warriors in the marketplace, demonstrating God’s
glory in places where the church cannot reach.
Miracles in the Marketplace
While Dani’s training
seminars and coaching sessions equip her clients to achieve success in the business world, hundreds of testimonials pour in
each month from the same people who are being healed, their families restored, and thousands of success-seekers are turning
to the Bible. Those confirmations compel Dani to help as many people as possible become free from debt and glorify God by
becoming exceptionally successful in the marketplace. Judging by the steady stream of client success stories, Dani’s
influence on the marketplace is bearing spiritual and financial fruit all over the country. Dani’s
personal success story is a demonstration of emotional healing, restored hope, financial success and abundant grace, manifested
over and over again in her life and the lives of those she touches.
Dani's Story. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2008,from
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Tory Johnson - Founder of Women For Hire
As you no doubt know, small businesses are the backbone of America and they're often owned and operated
by entrepreneurs and their families. Small businesses are the biggest source of new jobs in America, which means that entrepreneurs
are not just doing good for themselves but for our economy and our country, too.
Obviously, the Wal-Marts, Microsofts, and Disneys—all of which were started by pioneering entrepreneurs—reach
more of us today with their ad campaigns, products, and services. But for every corporate giant out there, there are millions
of women like myself who are just as passionate about their own businesses and just as anxious to make them prosper and grow.
Not everything or everyone can be found in giant shopping malls, in suburban corporate parks, or on Wall
Street. Travel this country, as I have in recent years, and you'll find that entrepreneurship is alive and well.
Being a small business owner is a career path that I heartily endorse, but first, let me tell you how
I got started.
In 1993, at 23 years old, I was working in a prominent PR position at NBC News. The future looked bright
until one day I was summoned to HR and abruptly fired. I was told that I had an hour to leave the building, but before doing
so, I insisted on talking to the newly-appointed president of the news division.
When I walked into his office, he leaned back in his chair, put his arms behind his head and smiled smugly.
Coldly he said, "It's a big world out there, Tory, and I suggest you go explore it."
That was some of the best advice I've ever been given.
Determined to move on, I soon landed a healthy six-figure salary as the Director of Communications at
Nickelodeon, which is owned by one of America's biggest corporations, Viacom. At this rate, my husband and I agreed, we would
be very comfortable in life.
But I was anything but comfortable in the corporate world. It wasn't exactly painful going to work each
day, but it just wasn't fulfilling.
I could make a long list for you about the things that I found unsatisfactory. But it boiled down to this:
I was working for the man when I dreamed of being the man—or in my case, the woman.
So after a lot of thought, I resigned and joined a small start-up outfit. Ralph Lauren's son had launched
a lifestyle magazine for twenty-somethings called Swing, and I was to be the marketing director. It
seemed like the perfect introduction to a scrappy, entrepreneurial environment.
Gone were the big expense account lunches and fancy hotels for business trips. Instead of messengering
packages throughout Manhattan, we'd deliver them by hand during our lunch hour. Even long distance calls—at just a few
cents a minute—were kept to a minimum.
None of that bothered me. In fact, I appreciated the challenge of being tight with a buck. I think it
forces all of us to learn to be more resourceful and creative.
But as I continued my work at the magazine, two things occurred to me.
First, instead of working for the man, I was now working for the man's son and helping him fulfill his
dream, not mine. And second, I realized that if he could do it, I could too.
I came up with an idea that eventually became a passion in my life, one that I hope illustrates how powerful
and freeing the idea of owning your own business can be, especially if you're willing to take a chance, to trust your instincts
and work your butt off.
My idea was to start a company that produced career fairs for women. Even though career fairs were a dime
a dozen, nothing existed specifically for women. And seeing as diversity in the corporate world is a growing priority, I thought
that if I could connect smart, savvy women with some of the best employers in America, I would have a win-win-win situation.
Companies would win. Women would win. And I would win.
I started with $5,000 and began operating out of my bedroom in my Upper West Side apartment with twin
babies in tow. I launched the first Women For Hire event in New York back in 1999. More than 1,000 women showed up, and I
knew we were on to something.
Using the profits from that first fair, I opened up an office and hired a small staff. We expanded to
three cities the next season and then to six a year later. There have been many ups and downs along the way—and I've
had to learn and adapt on the spot.
Now, six years later, Women For Hire produces 22 events a year in 11 markets. We're a multi-million dollar
venture with 1,500 corporate clients ranging from IBM to the FBI, and we connect with 50,000 professional women annually.
Going it on your own is not for everyone: there are millions of people who have no interest in running
their own shops. And that's good: we need smart, passionate, creative people doing the "real jobs." After all, that is the
main purpose of Women For Hire.
But if the idea of being accountable to only yourself intrigues you, and if you think you have the drive,
energy, passion, and confidence that it takes to launch your own business and grow your dream into something big, then you
and I have a lot in common.
The advice and information throughout this section should give you inspiration and direction on how to
get started on realizing your entrepreneurial dream.
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