The earliest ‘entrepreneurial’ memory I have is when I was about 16 years old. I had been playing The Sims for a while and had gotten into the habit of downloading custom clothes, furniture, characters, etc.
One day I had this realisation:
I think I can make these myself, instead of downloading them …
So I started experimenting and made some wallpaper (easy peasy: pick a pattern and add a trim). Then I moved into more difficult things like outfits and faces. At the time, they were quite spectacular, but when I look back now they seem really crappy of course :-)
I decided they were too good to keep to myself, so I created a website for them: SimSation was born.
When I went back into my archives to write this post, I found this ‘update’ on the old website talking about partners I worked with. I have no recollection of this so I’m not sure wether I actually managed to get collaborations going or if I was faking it, but either way: kudos to 16-year old me!
That was the earliest time I can remember where I ‘built’ something that wasn’t just for me. I wanted to create things and share them. I built a community around it (as small as it may have been) and people enjoyed what I created. Definitely my first entrepreneurial steps.
SimSation was all about sharing what I created with the world. And I had no intention of making money with it. That idea came a few years later though …
Do you remember the million dollar homepage? It’s a website that was started by a student who wanted to raise money for university. He created a website that hosted an image of 1000 x 1000 pixels and sold every individual pixel for $1. That makes … yes … for one million dollar.
I was 18 or 19 at the time and just remember something clicking in my brain:
You can make money that way? And it actually works?
Before this, I had not fully realised that you could have an idea and make money with it. And that maybe I could do the same! My father had a different view on this though. He thought it was a fluke and no one could get rich off the internet … Just for reference: Facebook launched to the public in 2006. That’s one year after the million dollar homepage so the ‘internet-boom’ was not really a thing yet in my little village.
Obviously I did what any well-behaved daughter would do: I tried to prove him wrong! And I’m not even kidding … the tagline of the idea I had invented was ‘Help me prove my father’s wrong’.
What was this idea you ask? Allow my 18-year old self to explain it to you:
Hah, it seems so ridiculous when I read that now (but also kinda genius).
I of course had no idea about how to launch an internet business (let alone the legal aspects of setting up a lottery). I had no connection to any corporates to sponsor the site and no clue of how to reach potential visitors. I don’t recall how long I tried to get it off the ground, but I’m sad to say that I didn’t get rich off the internet. No Golden Egg for me ;-)
Since then I’ve had a new idea pretty much every month. Some successful, some not so successful … But I’ve never stopped being an entrepreneur and trying to create things I wanted to share with the world. And I think that’s what entrepreneurship is about: creating things, putting them out there in the world and not giving up …
ps: I really enjoyed writing this post and going through my archives to figure out what I did when I was younger. Gave me a new understanding of who I am … so I recommend everyone to keep some kind of archive of things from your past.