A good idea is the conception of a dream- this week’s dreamer came along with the right idea at the right time. At the age of 14 Ashley Qualls was creating custom web designs for her friends my space layouts and posting them online. By 2005, her traffic had exploded and she needed her own server. She signed up with Google ad sense to make money so she could own her own dedicated server. This allowed her to continue to post the designs free to people but to receive money from advertisers afflicted with Google AdSense. She called the website “whatever life” meaning you can have” whatever life” you want. Her first pay check of any kind was $2,790.00.
A short three years later according to Google Analytics, “Whatever Life” 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 Cosmo Girl Magazines combined! Although Web-site rankings vary with the methodology, Quant cast, 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.
And one more, which Ashley can’t quite believe herself: “I’m ahead of Oprah!” (Oprah.com: No. 469.) Sure, Ashley is a long way from having Oprah’s clout, but she is establishing a platform of her own. “I have this audience of so many people, I can say anything I want to,” she says. “I can say, “Check out this movie or this artist.’ It’s, like, a rush. I never thought I’d be an influencer.”
At the age of 17, Ashley is very much an internet professional. In less than two years since whatever life took off, she has dropped out of high school (taking classes on line) 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 $1000,000-she responded “whatever, I don’t even have my licenses yet,” she says.
Now her life is centered on working in the basement of the two-story, four-bedroom house that she bought last September for $250,000. It’s located in a fenced-off subdivision in the community of Southgate, a couple of blocks removed from Dix Highway, a thoroughfare dotted with body shops and convenience stores. She lives with her mother; her 8-year-old sister, Shelby; three cats; two turtles; a Rottweiler; a hamster; and a fish.
Earlier this year, she created an online magazine, Cell-phone wallpaper, a new source of revenue at 99 cents to $1.99 a download, is in the works.
So if you ever find yourself tossing around an idea just remember Ashley’s story and don’t short change yourself thinking” this is just a silly idea.” Ideas are seeds, and everything that’s ever been achieved or created started off an idea.
So pull out those thinking caps and that scrap of paper you’ve been jotting ideas and doodles on someone out there needs the very idea you’ve been dreaming up.
Stay encouraged my friends because, “You can and you will be all that you dream to be”.