17-year-old Girl & Her Million-Dollar Website

I recall reading about Ashley Qualls a few years back. I remember being overcome with inspiration and admiration for her ability to recognize a need and do something about it.

Girl Power – WhateverLife.com – No rich relatives? No professional mentors? No problem. Ashley Qualls, 17, has built a million-dollar web site. She’s LOL all the way to the bank. ;-)

"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.

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."

Of all the inspirational stories of finding success in the world of online business, Ashley’s story is one of the few that resonated with me.

So what exactly are her keys to success?

While I do recommend you read the article entirely, the take-away items I found are:

 

MICRO-NICHE – Ashley didn’t just offer Myspace layouts, she offered them to teenage girls.

KNOWLEDGE – Ashley found a subject matter she knew a lot about. Everything she offered was targeting girls just like her and her friends. It was easy to figure out what was hot and what was not.

PASSION – As you read the entire article you will see just how her life and her passion for layouts merge.

DETERMINATION – Nothing gets in her way!

DEDICATION – Even at 17, Ashley was committed to working hard. Of course hard work comes easy when it’s something you’re passionate about.

As my eyes popped open at 2:30 this morning, they unleashed the gears of my imagination. My thoughts raced around my time working online and from home. I’ve thought about the levels of success I’ve experienced and the pitfalls I’ve endured. The one single element that separated the two was PASSION!

When I was at the height of my success and raking in as much as $8,000 a month, I was doing so with such ease.

It certainly wasn’t backed with an abundance of technical web knowledge – in fact, my first website looked like a cut-n-paste project thrown together by a blindfolded kindergarten class.

No, my success was built on passion. A passion to help people. A passion to make a difference in the world.

In those days I spent so little time focusing on making my website look good and more time on providing valuable information, providing support and developing valuable relationships.

The last few years I’ve fallen under the spell that has left me focusing more on the making money aspect and it’s all but proven to me that is not the best course of action. My desire to write has been crippled and it’s almost as if I’ve become some sort of internet introvert by not interacting and socializing more in the subjects I am most passionate about. And by passion, I don’t necessarily mean I’m an expert – one subject matter I actually knew very little about but was eager to learn. As I was learning, I was sharing my lessons – I thought if I was interested in learning and having so much difficulty finding the ‘real’ and ‘valuable’ information – others were likely having the same difficulties – so I shared honest and educational information.

So where exactly does this leave me? Well, it leaves me thinking I’m NEED to get back to what I love. This ‘work at home’ blog has always been a ‘service’ I provide in hopes of preventing people from making the mistake of investing in a scam and helping others uncover their own passion. Believe me, making money websites is NOT where the money is at! At least not for me.

I will continue to provide information as it comes available and when I feel it is of value to you – however, the days of me stressing over posting or not posting everyday or multiple times per week are over.

If you have something of value you’d like to add to this site, I’d love to offer up the space to do just that. I’m not worried about page rank. I’ve never really written for Google before, always for my readers. SO my dears, if you have an existing post on your site and you’d like to guest post it here – you are very welcome. Just make sure you include an author bio at the end of your post. If this is something you’d be interested in doing once a week or more, let me know – I’m happy to provide you your own user account.

And for what it’s worth – duplicate content is NOT an issue when a link to the original post is provided. I’ve done a great deal of research on syndication lately and will be providing details very soon on my findings and just how you can use syndication without stressing over a Google slap. Just trust me for now – it’s okay to share posts on different sites. Really!

In fact here’s a snip of what Google has to say:

 

Syndicate carefully: If you syndicate your content on other sites, Google will always show the version we think is most appropriate for users in each given search, which may or may not be the version you’d prefer. However, it is helpful to ensure that each site on which your content is syndicated includes a link back to your original article. You can also ask those who use your syndicated material to use the noindex meta tag to prevent search engines from indexing their version of the content.

Before I go, I encourage you to look deep inside and ask yourself what are you passionate about? What do you love to talk about? What is it that makes your face light up and your eyes sparkle? Think about it! Blog about it and there my friend YOU will find your pot of gold.

xoxox

Gayla

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2 Responses to “17-year-old Girl & Her Million-Dollar Website”

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  1. What am I passionate about? Well, knowledge. Finding joy. I like doing these things – and then sharing what I learn with others. I think that’s why there’s such a special place in my heart for blogging.

  2. Marcia says:

    Inspirational? This makes me want to kill myself when I see people less than half my age, in a flash of luck, succeeding. Bitterness? Jealousy? You bet!

    I had quite the head start on Ashley when it came to graphics design and website building (self taught just like her), yet I have not made any money from it, much less millions. I have put ALOT of work into what I did, but it has not translated into dollars no matter how hard I tried and worked. I cant stand success stories like these. Honestly, I WISH I could pump my fist in the air, and say something like “Yeah! Good for you Ashley!”, but I cant. If my life was any good, if I was content, if I had a decent amount of money in the bank, if I had a good roof over my head, if I had a good satisfying life, I could. But I cant.

    When you’re a failure in life, when no matter how long and hard you work, how hard you try, you’re still living in poverty, you’re still living a lousy life, when you’re a COMPLETE AND TOTAL LOSER, its hard, very hard, to read success stories like Ashley’s and not have thoughts of putting a gun in my mouth and pulling the trigger.

    Damn it, I had quite a few years head start ahead of Ashley (more than half her young lifetime), and out of the blue she starts her own website, and just a scant few months later begins collecting checks worth thousands of dollars month after month. As I understand it, she now earns more money in one month than I have in the past ten years (and probably will in the next ten).

    Where was I a few years back when Ashley got started at 14? I was working in an office building as a janitor, scrubbing toilets and urinals (among other equally disgusting and degrading janitorial duties), for not much above minimum wage. Where am I now? I lost that job, and am on food stamps. All the while, I tried (God knows I’ve TRIED!) to make just a few bucks at the very least over the internet, but it all came to nothing.

    When I think of all the hours, all the months, all the years, of hard, back breaking, sweaty, dirty, disgusting labor I’ve done over the years just to keep my head above water financially while at the same exact time some little teenaged girl somewhere in this country is earning more money in one week than I will see in two years (and buying herself a 4 bedroom HOUSE too), just by sitting in the comfort of her own home while working on her computer at her leisure, well it just makes me want to bang my head up against a wall and cry.

    DONT get me wrong. I dont think that Ashley shouldnt have her success. Its just that I wish that kind of success would come to ME just once in my life. Just ONCE.

    Have you ever seen the Mel Brooks 1968 comedy movie “The Producers” starring Zero Mostel and Gene Wilder? In that movie Mostel is a once successful Broadway Producer (Max), now a complete failure who romances little old ladies in order to trick them into investing their money in his failing plays. Gene Wilder is his accountant (Leo Bloom) who finds that Max raised more money, two thousand dollars, than it actually cost to produce his latest failure of a play. This amuses Leo who points out that under certain circumstances someone could make more money with a flop than a hit. The problem is that its completely illegal. (Raise a million dollars to produce a play, that in reality only costs around 60 thousand dollars to produce. Make sure that the play is a flop. It closes on opening night, making the investors think that since it was a one night flop, there are no profits to go around, and they lost their investment. The Producer keeps the remainder of the money in his pocket, 940 thousand dollars) Naturally, needing someone to juggle the books for him, Max tries to enlist Leo in this scheme. But at first Leo, being an honest man, is hesitant. So it takes a while for Max to convince Leo to be his partner. Max is talking to Leo:

    Leo: But if we’re caught, we’ll go to prison.
    Max: You dont think you’re in prison now? Living in a gray little room, going to a gray little job, leading a gray little life?
    Leo: You know what? You’re right. I’m a nothing. I spend my life counting other people’s money. People I’m smarter than. Better than! Where’s my share? Where’s Leo Bloom’s share? I want…I want everything I’ve ever seen in the movies!

    Now, I don’t claim to be smarter than or better than Ashley, but considering all the years of hard work I’ve put into graphics and website design, (among many other internet enterprises), and having nothing, not a cent, to show for it, I feel exactly like Leo when he cries out: “WHERE’S MY SHARE???? WHERE’S LEO BLOOM’S SHARE????”

    I sure would like to know the answer to that question.

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