“Just knowing that something I, a teenager, made could affect anyone really makes me feel like I did something good.”
Ye! is a platform for entrepreneurs aged 16 to 30. But some people just don’t wait to be 16 to get started! Danielle Gafni from the United States is one such person, and she took some time to answer a few of our questions and share her story.
Aged 11, Danielle wanted to go shopping with the money she’d received for doing chores. When she realized that she had already spent that money and couldn’t remember how, Danielle decided to create “a kind of bank for kids” to avoid having that problem again.
With some help from her parents, she created Bankaroo. Bankaroo is a virtual bank, which helps young people across the world manage their money and learn about the savings. Whether you’re on your mobile phone, laptop or tablet, Bankaroo helps you keep track of your expenses and save money for the future!
Being 11 (now 14) meant that balancing school and business became a major challenge at first. “Maintaining a website and a community requires constant attention, and the seemingly infinite assignments given to me by my teachers didn’t exactly give me the time to work on the site.”
But hey, entrepreneurship is all about overcoming challenges, right? “In order to get over this, I developed a schedule, focusing heavily on schoolwork during the week, when it counted, and diverting to business during the weekend. This specific routine obviously wouldn’t apply to every single person out there, but developing a system definitely helped me have the time to work on Bankaroo.”
While this implies a lot of work and organization, the returns are more than worth it. Danielle now receives emails from parents thanking her for helping their children learn the value of money and how to save for the future. “Just knowing that something I, a teenager, made could affect anyone really makes me feel like I did something good.”
And while Danielle says she didn’t create a business plan initially (“Bankaroo started as a non-profit, good karma project”), she did have the plan of bootstrapping to get the project started. And now? “Now Bankaroo makes enough money to pay for its own hosting and operations”, thanks to the “tens of thousands of members from more than 70 countries around the globe”. So yes: doing something good AND making money out of it is possible.
A final piece of advice from Danielle? “The most important part of starting a business is believing in the product; if you don’t fully support what you’re creating, what’s the point of creating it in the first place?”
Danielle’s Ye! profile: http://yecommunity.com/en/community/danielle-gafni
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