Catapult Ideas Blog

Sharing stories of young entrepreneurs, what it takes to run a successful startup, and more.
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What it’s really like at Catapult – San Francisco Edition

Day at Google

Being an Entrepreneur is fun. Being a young entrepreneur at Catapult, is the bee’s knee’s.

We get a lot of questions about what Catapult is really like, when you are there. And we usually answer with all the incredible skills and tools you will learn all adapted from the best startups and most innovative businesses. And we always talk about how much fun we have. But instead of just tell you, today we’ve decided to show you.

Here are the moments in between, where the entrepreneurial journey is happening in the real world. Some of our favorite candid shots from San Francisco.

If you want to apply to Catapult  – you can access the application here

What Catapult is Really Like – in 31 Pictures

what catapult is really like with advisors

Introductions to the teams business advisors at Google

what catapult is really like hanging out with friends

During break at the startup space 5-Stars in downtown San Francisco

Matt Doka, the founder of 5-Stars, a loyalty program startup that raised $50 million this year – leading a master class

Surav presenting results from their teams design sprint with customers the night before

what catapult is really like hanging out with people who found companies

Special Speaker Premal Shah who is the founder of Kiva, he was SO inspiring, look him up

Team with their advisors

3 business advisors who are each assigned to work with 1 team for the whole session in San Francisco

Lace Up team at the fountain, love that California sun!

catapult incuabor at google

We hope no one took any of the props

A business advisor, who is also the founder of a video game company, with the Mirka Team (who were building a video game, good match huh?)

Teams working away

Customer research and prototyping happening at Fisherman’s Wharf near the Golden Gate Bridge in downtown San Francisco

Some of our entrepreneurs fly in from other countries, and are a little tired on the ride from SFO airport to downtown

Classic Google Day, SUNNY!

Teams had a large chunk of open work time while we were at Google

Nap time

Ashvin playing chess, against himself

The Roar team taking a breather from product-market-fit testing

Charlie loved Google, and his tie matched!

Getting a sweet master class from a Googler (that’s what they call people who work at Google)

Founders from the 1517 fund, a fund that has $20 million dollars to invest in only young entrepreneurs, giving a master class on funding and setting up office hours to meet with each team individually

We start each morning with Scrum, a Standing meeting, this one is at Microsoft HQ in San Francisco

Alumni from years past spitting wisdom at the current cohort, thanks Ishan and Rags!

Kiva Founder Premal Shah taking a group shot

You know what these are…GOOGLE BIKES

Get back to work

Chirps are Chips made from Crickets, no joke

And these are the two women that founded Chirps, excellent master class on what it takes to have a food product in the startup world – mmm crickets

We spent a day using the Microsoft HQ as home base, awesome resources and business advisors, and we played some xbox

Eating lunch with the Founder of Kiva. Not everyday you get to have lunch with someone who’s company literally changed the world

Late night customer research (and mini donuts)

The Lace Up team with their advisors

10 Habits of Great Ideators

Catapult Alumni - ultimate ideators

10 Habits of Great Ideators

Creativity is a Skill that Can be Learned

It’s a commonly held belief that some folks are born with an innate ability to be creative, and others aren’t. Actually, everyone can have great ideas with the right environment, prompts, and habits. Creativity isn’t about creative people, it’s about creative acts.

Everyone has good ideas

Each of us has come up with at least one good idea in the past. Maybe you figured out ways to make a process faster, a product better, a service cheaper. Yet even in the face of that proof, we often dismiss our own abilities to be creative. The first step to being more creative is acknowledging that it’s a skill, not a talent.

Everyone can get better at solving problems

Ideation is a skill. And like any skill, it takes dedicated, conscious practice to improve. What spurs you to have your best ideas? Whatever it is, do it more often. When can you practice More? Make it happen. What other techniques can you employ? Brainstorming is not the only kind of ideation. As you work to enhance your creativity skills, you’ll be amazed at how many great ideas you have.

You are better at ideating than an adult

Seriously, you are inherently better at ideation than adults, but you lose this as you get older so you need to practice, that’s what the following steps are for. While you are naturally better at ideation, you also have a tendency to overlook existing solutions that you could augment, tweak, and mash together creatively to build a new solution. Don’t always try to reinvent the wheel.

Want more tips to become a young entrepreneur? be sure to check out our Essential Guide

5 Step GuideHigh School Entrepreneurship

10 Habits of Great Ideators

Consistently coming up with great startup ideas isn’t luck. With the right practices, environments, and habits, we can all get better at generating ideas.

  1. Start with a Need – it was Ben Franklin who said that ‘Necessity is the mother of invention.’ A principle he applied throughout his life to a host of innovations that are impressive for their breadth and variety, as well as their ingenuity.
  2. Create a supportive environment – The iconoclastic designer Yoshiro Nakamatsu has created an extremely personalized, sophisticated environment to stimulate and nurture his creativity, including sensory deprivation tanks and special stereo goggles that project patterns intended to put him into his creative sweet spot.
  3. Gather different Voices – People who are similar often think the same way and come up with the same ideas. Since we are looking for variety, get lots of different people involved. Keep group size under 6 people
  4. Feed your head – Charles Darwin was astute not only in his observations, but also in his own process of learning and relating to the world around him. For him, travel involved seeing diverse data and making connections
  5. how to come up with a great startup idea like disney width=

    Disney is famous for it’s continual creativity from movies to theme parks

  6. Ask stupid questions – Albert Einstein had a knack for asking very good questions that were deceptively simple and childlike. His question, ‘what would it be like to ride a beam of light?’ Led to his Theory of Relativity
  7. Encourage wild ideas – Walt Disney pushed his creative staff to over-the-top designs for Disneyworld installations and movie plots. He continually challenged his team to come up with new ideas, to amuse and amaze him; according to several accounts he demanded independent and daring thinking outright.
  8. Keep an idea log – Leonardo d Vinci’s notebooks are the manifestations of an extraordinarily creative, inquisitive mind. A single page, for example, taking off from his interest in curves, shows an exercise in the geometry of curves, a drawing of curly hair, grasses curing around an arum lily, sketches of trees, curve some clouds, rippling waves, of water, a printing horse, and the design of a screw press. We recommend this Idea Log
  9. tips for teen entrepreneurs

    Page from Da Vinci’s Idea Log

  10. Go for quantity – Pablo Picasso said, “the fact that I paint such a large number of studies is simply part of my manner of working. I do a hundred studies in a few days, whereas another painter might spend a hundred days on a single painting. By carrying on, I will open windows. I will go behind the canvas, and perhaps something will be brought out”
  11. Use the buddy system – Having a partner to bounce ideas back and forth off of is key, you will noticing things in each others ideas and build off them.
  12. Make bad ideas better – Thomas Edison’s motto was, “there is a better way. Find it!” In his description of how he invented the kinescope, he said, “all I have done is to perfect what has been attempted before, but did not succeed.”

Want more tips for teen entrepreneurs?

This post is an excerpt from our Essential Guide to High School Entrepreneurship, Step 2: How to come up with a great startup idea. We recommend reading the whole guide!

Young Social Entrepreneur: Drones for Humanity Founder Feature

Mohammed Nasir, a young social entrepreneur and Founder of Drones for Humanity

Drones for Humanity Young Social Entrepreneur Founder Mohammed Nasir Demo Day Pitch

Mohammed Nasir at Demo Day

Today we are excited to feature a young social entrepreneur: Mohammed Nasir, the Founder of Drones for Humanity which participated in our Spring 2016 Chicago cohort.

“Drones for Humanity is a social enterprise aimed at using a system of heavy-lifting and rapidly-deployable drones to deliver humanitarian aid, ultimately saving many lives that would otherwise be lost by the conventional disaster response system.”

Since this Spring, Drones for Humanity has continued to thrive and Mohammed has begun his freshman year at MIT. It recently won a $15,000 grant from MIT Sandbox, has gained additional team members, and is developing its 5th prototype. We’re thrilled to be highlighting both their recent wins & challenges in the past year.

Drones for Humanity

Struck by the fact that the majority of casualties occur after a natural disaster rather than during the event, Mohammed sought to develop a heavy-lifting drone which could act quickly to survey a disaster area, find survivors, and provide aid.

Due to limitations in transporting aid, relief organizations are often forced to choose where to send resources. While traditional methods of aid are delivered via helicopter, they can cost up to $10 million, the equivalent of over 1,000 drones. HumanityOne is designed to carry over 100 times more pounds per power than a helicopter.  Beyond that, typical aid requires extensive logistics & supply chains including maintenance, pilots, and drivers, whereas the drone can be automated and rerouted during flight.

“We can’t change natural disasters, but we can change what happens afterwards.”

-Drones for Humanity, Demo Day Pitch

Along with other young social entrepreneurs (Free Agents Trevin Wisaksana, Shreya Chanda, Anwar Asante, and Gloria Yu), the Drones for Humanity team worked hard during the Incubator to go from an invention & prototype to a functioning social enterprise with market viability. In the final weekend at Catapult, the team focused on storytelling and creating a captivating pitch. Thanks to a successful pitch by Free Agent Anwar Asante, the Drones for Humanity team won the Overall Favorite Award, Social Impact Award, Most Innovative Award, a tie for Most Investable (FOMO) Award, and a $1,000 grant from our sponsor The Shah Family at Catapult’s 2016 Spring Chicago Demo Day (see video below).

Drones for Humanity Specs Young Social Entrepreneur

Developments & Prototypes

Catapult: Hi Mohammed! Since the end of the Spring 2016 Chicago cohort, Drones for Humanity has had some exciting developments as a social enterprise and for you personally as a young social entrepreneur. What have you and the team been up to?

Mohammed: Since Demo Day in April, we have been in talks with the Indonesian Disaster Management Authority to marshal our first field deployment, which is scheduled for this coming summer. We have also developed our fourth prototype over this past summer based on feedback and regulation changes. This prototype was exhibited at the EAA Airventure Airshow in Oshkosh, WI (Links to media coverage, demonstration flights, and pictures below). Upon coming to MIT, I had a plethora of opportunities for venture development, and was awarded a grant of $15k for developing the fifth prototype for deployment in Indonesia.

Catapult: Now that you are on your 5th prototype, what have you changed and what are you currently developing?

Mohammed: The fifth prototype employs a gas-electric hybrid propulsion system, essentially quadrupling its flight range. Additionally, we are incorporating an intelligent AI control system, which actively optimizes flight plans, automatically coordinates aid delivery efforts, all while generating a 3D model-map of the disaster zone and autonomously searching for survivors.

On Starting MIT This Year as a Freshman…

Catapult: It’s a pretty big change to enter college. How have you balanced Drones for Humanity with your new life at MIT?

Mohammed: It may seem daunting to balance college and a startup, but at the end of the day, it really depends on where you go. MIT is rather hospitable to startups, and offer numerous opportunities to take ventures forward. At the same time, I would recommend taking the time to delegate tasks effectively, as it will take a load off your back in the long run. Also, invest in automation; this may take numerous definitions, but I shouldn’t be doing anything that a machine can do just as well. Apart from the above, it’s all about scheduling and coordination.

Catapult: Many young entrepreneurs are wondering whether college is the right option for them. Why do you think it makes sense for you at this time?

Mohammed: That decision rests heavily on the college itself; does it provide resources for young entrepreneurs? In my case, MIT does exactly this; an ecosystem of mentors, entrepreneurs, and sources of funding is set up to help ventures grow. Additionally, the brand of the college stands out to many potential investors, and having the college’s support helps the company bootstrap on a very low budget. My new team members are students here at MIT, and I’ve found them simply through networking events and connections–college is ideal for this.

Drones for Humanity HumanityOne Young Social Entrepreneur

HumanityOne Drone

On Finding Funding…the Right Way

Catapult: You recently found some funding through MIT Sandbox – can you tell us a little bit more about the process & what you had to provide?

Mohammed: The process involved an application and a pitch to a funding board. The board included high-profile investment partners from firms such as Sequoia and Greylock. The pitch was relatively similar [to what we had to prepare for Catapult’s Demo Day], though we had to present specific financial breakdowns of our grant funding. Apart from that, it had a greater focus on track record. The breakdown of the grant was determined by a simple analysis of costs over the next few months, plus upgrade costs to the drone.

Catapult: That’s incredible to hear. What types of questions did the investment partners ask you as follow up?

Mohammed: Many of the questions to follow up was structured around the skillset needed to make this work, and the fact that we have four functioning prototypes already addressed that concern.

Photos by: @[400331290169235:0]

The drone being displayed at Demo Day

Catapult: Drones for Humanity tried to go the crowdfunding route and didn’t have as much success there as you originally hoped. What would you have done differently and recommend to others?

Mohammed: Taking the crowdfunding route is only for a specific group of ventures: those which sell consumer goods. Our company being a B2B-type business did not have much to give potential funders in return, and as such, the campaign was not as successful as we thought.

Catapult & Beyond

Catapult: What do you think was the biggest benefit you got out of Catapult?

Mohammed: I believe the most important thing Catapult provided me with is startup strategy. We now know the process of formulating an idea, building a business model around it, and launching it into a company. Additionally, the connections show up unexpectedly–I ran into Nick Bain, an alum of the first Catapult cohort at Harvard, because I was wearing a Catapult T-shirt on campus!

Catapult: Thank you, Mohammed! We are so excited to be following along on this incredible journey & can’t wait to hear more updates on Drones for Humanity in the future.

Watch Drones for Humanity’s Demo Day Pitch by Free Agent Anwar Asante:

Are you a young social entrepreneur?

5 steps to build a startup in high school

“Can I launch a startup even though I’m in high school?”

We get that question a lot. And it’s not that you, high school students, think you can’t start a business, heck you probably have an idea and maybe even a team, but how do you put it all together into a successful high school startup?

Well look no further, here are the 5 tried and true steps to getting your startup off the ground, as told by real high school entrepreneurs who all have their own startups.

1. FIX A REAL PROBLEM

The best entrepreneurs see problems and solve them. Mukund Venkatakrishnan from the 2015 Philadelphia cohort is a great example.

Mukund built a low-cost device that tests a person’s hearing with a series of beeps, and also programs itself to become a hearing aid customized for that person. It eliminates the need for an expensive doctor and can be used with even the cheapest set of headphones.

Mukund didn’t invent this device out of the blue, he set out to fix a real problem.

Advice for building a startup while in high school - this program changed my life

Mukund is 16 years old and is changing the world with his low cost hearing device

“A few years ago, I visited my grandfather in India, while there, I realized he had hearing loss. The process of getting him tested and fitted for a hearing aid was pretty terrible, it cost over $1500. The average yearly income in India is only $600, so that’s a problem. I began researching the problem of hearing loss, it affects a lot of people and most can do nothing about it, that’s where I came up with my idea.”

One of the biggest challenges young entrepreneurs face is falling in love with a certain solution or invention they’ve created. And when their solution doesn’t work as expected, instead of rethinking, they often stay with their initial solution and are blind to the evidence in front of them.

Entrepreneurs who are dead set on solving a problem don’t care about which solution they ultimately go with, and are open to experimenting and really building a solution that works for the end customer.

2. Build a Real Thing

To make your idea real, you have to build something. Joyce Hsieh didn’t sit around planning to launch a million dollar business, she started by building a single cellphone case. Here’s what Joyce had to say about Building a Real Thing:

“I started Wild Daisy when I was 13 in the summer of 2012. I was totally not about the idea of looking for a ‘real’ first job. Instead, I decided to be-dazzle and glue metal studs onto phone cases with clear nail polish. I was obsessed and made tons of cases for myself, I changed my phone case everyday to match my outfit. Eventually my friends started asking if they could buy some for themselves. I became an undercover bedazzled phone case dealer in my middle school.

How to start a Business in high school

Joyce’s Instagram feed, notice the 875 likes.

Soon I created a small Etsy shop to sell online and not just locally, then moved to my own custom website months later. Several years of bootstrapping and a long week of in-school-suspension later, I came up with the idea of a clothing line. I moved to sunny San Diego the summer before my freshman year and immediately got my own office and warehouse to serve as home for my brand new clothing line, along with shoes, swim, jewelry, and of course, phone cases. I wasn’t thinking about a career or college or anything, that summer changed my life because I found something I loved doing. It was meant to be more than just a side hobby, I wanted Wild Daisy to be big!”

Old school business was about writing out a +50 page business plan. But startups have debunked that theory, it’s faster to just go out, with a single product and see if it works. We promise that it won’t be wildly successfu in the beginning, but the feedback you get, helps you build the next version of your product or service. At the Catapult Incubator, we send you out into the city on your first weekend to talk to real customers and show them your prototype.

3. Get One Real Customer

There is a famous saying by Peter Thiel, a well known entrepreneur and venture capitalist, “zero to one”, which is in reference to when you startup goes from having zero customers, to getting its first customer. Because once you find one customer, you are onto something.

Consider the story of HS Mxers, a company that puts on extravagant dance parties for high schoolers:

How to find a team for your startup idea

HS Mixers Co-Founders Raags and Ishan

“Long before we had figured out all the details, we got a few ‘ambassadors’ students at local high schools, and asked them to pre-sell tickets to our first event. Within a few weeks, the ambassadors came back to us and they were all asking for more tickets, because they had sold out. We sold 400 tickets in like 2 weeks without doing much, we knew we were on to something, even before we knew what something really was.”

You don’t have to make it perfect on your first try. Often times your early customers will tell you what other features or services they would like to have, and they can help you shape your products into something even better.

HS Mxers has expanded up the west coast and is even throwing an events in NYC with the help of other entrepreneurs from the Catapult Network.

4. Create a Real Crowdfunding campaign

Young entrepreneurs come to catapult and think they need funding in the millions of dollars. You actually need less to get started, way less. In fact most of our teams launch with less than $5,000 in seed funding. Take Drones 4 Humanity a team from our Spring 2016 cohort

Founder Mohammed built a heavy lifting drone that could deliver more than 100 lbs of supplies to people immediately after a natural disaster. One of Mohammed’s teammates, was able to introduce the team to the Disaster Response Authority in Indonesia who was so interested in the drones that they invited the team down to Indonesia for a demonstration of the technology.

A Founder speaking with Advisors

Mohammed speaking with Advisors

The team needed $15,000 to build 2 drones and fly the team to Indonesia for the test. We suggested they turn to crowdfunding.

Crowdfunding is a way to market your startup and gather early seed funding from the community. You make a profile of your venture with basic information, a video, and other relevant details, and then friends and family can support your cause as well as other people online who find about what you are doing.

They launched a crowdfunding campaign on IndieGogo while they simultaneously presented their venture at different events to really get the media buzzing. In the end they were able to fund the trip to Indonesia and are in talks with companies about ordering an initial set of drones.

As a young entrepreneur, crowdfunding can be really successful because the community wants to support You and your idea.

5. Tell a Real Story

If you’ve done the last 4 steps, this part takes care of itself. Teams always ask us for advice on pitching, and we say, tell your story. It’s compelling that a young entrepreneur is launching a business when many adults are humbled by that experience. Pitching and storytelling isn’t about gimmicks. It’s about telling what really happened, the ups and downs, and showing how through it all, you persevered, and are here, pitching your startup.

That couldn’t have been more true with Katie, the founder of Kidstales. Here’s the story she tells:

“When I was little she was an excellent figure skater, but after an accident left me unable to skate I grew depressed. Until one day, my mom signed me up for a creative writing class. I found an opportunity to share all my feelings and thoughts. What if more people could have this chance to share through creative writing? So I created Kidstales, a weeklong program to teach young people to write creatively and at the end of the week, we put their stories on Amazon so they become published authors.”

Katie is the founder of a high school startup

Katie talking with investors at Demo Day

Kids tales is now in 9 cities around the US and 3 countries thanks to Katie’s ability to tell a real story about the beginning and continued success of Kidstales.

There you have it, the 5 steps to getting your startup off the ground. Even though you may be in high school, like all the people highlighted above, you have a clear set of steps you can take to success.

If you are interested in getting professional support from experts in this area, consider applying to Catapult Ideas high school incubator as a founder, if you have an idea, or as a free agent if you want to learn about startups by joining a founder’s team.

How to get into Catapult’s high school startup incubator

“How do I get into Catapult’s high school startup incubator?”

As a high school startup incubator, we do things a little differently. We don’t use the same old boring metrics for a “good application” (*cough* transcript & laundry-list of extracurriculars*cough*). Instead, we look for applicants who have the potential to become incredible entrepreneurs and problem solvers. We look for individuals who want to immerse themselves in an entrepreneurial experience to develop the tools and mindset to solve big problems now and in the future. We look for people we want to develop and invest in to be the future game-changers, changemakers, and business disruptors.

Today we’re pulling back the veil on what it takes to get into Catapult’s startup incubators. We’re passing along our advice so you can submit a knock-out application.

Catapult young entrepreneurs example venture team

The ‘Let’s Talk College’ Team at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, Summer 2016

BE AUTHENTIC + CAPTIVATE US

After a long day of reviewing applications, we’re often begging for some form of entertainment! Captivating us with your application will be a welcome gift, but most importantly, be you! Don’t try to be someone you are not, and take the time to think about “why” you really want to experience Catapult (friendly advice – it should not just be to look good on your college application).

Share your curiosity and passion

The best part of entrepreneurship is that you can apply it across all fields – that means everything from robotics to ballet dancing to reducing food waste. You don’t need to have an extensive background in business to want to join or launch a startup! What we want is for that curiosity & passion to come through in an authentic way.

Flex your creativity with your short story

Your short story can literally be about anything, so don’t limit yourself. Write something that would interest any audience, show a different side of you, or keep us on the edge of our seat.

Avoid these video mistakes at all costs

  • Repeat the exact same information from your Short Essay questions
  • Read a script off of the computer (guaranteed way to kill your enthusiasm)
  • Submitting a sideways or upside down video
  • Reusing a video from another event or application – we can tell!
  • Show us you have what it takes to make it in the real-world

    Treat your Skype interview as an opportunity to pitch yourself. First impressions are formed quickly. This means being on time, working out your technical difficulties in advance, and looking presentable all go a long way.

    WANT TO BE A FOUNDER?

    Successful venture applications typically display well-thought out answers to the following:

  • Clearly identifies the problem that the venture idea is solving
  • Provides an example of a developed or active prototype (needs to be more than an idea)
  • Displays efforts made to gain traction
  • Coherently explains how the Venture Idea is differentiated from competitors
  • And again, don’t have the Venture Video just repeat the same information in the written Venture Information section! We want to know more.

    WANT TO BE A FREE AGENT?

    Show us you are a good team player:

  • Let your application illustrate important characteristics like flexibility, hard work, and good communication
  • Help us understand what you want for the future – how do you want to use this Catapult experience?
  • MOST IMPORTANTLY…

    Let your personality come through!

    We don’t want a cohort full of robots. We want unique individuals with unique passions who want to solve unique problems.

    Ready to join our high school incubator?

    Apply To Catapult

    How to start a business in high school: all you need is $20

    How to start a business in high school: all you need is $20

    Advice from Joyce Hsieh on how she built her $2 million dollar company Wild Daisy with 200k followers while spending $0 on marketing. Did we mention she is 17?

    “If you would have told me 3 years ago that my own clothing brand would be sold to people across the entire globe and worn by famous celebrities, or that I would have hundreds of thousands of people following me online, I would have thought you were crazy.”
    How to start a Business in high school

    Joyce’s Instagram feed, notice the 875 likes.

     


    Catapult (C): Hi Joyce, I’m so glad you’re finished with finals and AP tests and were able to chat. You have a great origin story that I imagine a lot of other young entrepreneurs can relate to. How’d it all start?

    Joyce Hsieh (JH): I started Wild Daisy when I was 13 in the summer of 2012. I was totally not about the idea of looking for a ‘real’ first job. Instead, I decided to be-dazzle and glue metal studs onto phone cases with clear nail polish. I was obsessed and made tons of cases for myself, I changed my phone case everyday to match my outfit (OMG). Eventually my friends started asking if they could buy some for themselves. I became an undercover bedazzled phone case dealer in my middle school.

    Catapult (C): You took your passion for fashion and turned it into a business?

    Joyce Hsieh (JH):That’s right, sort of by accident. Soon I created a small Etsy shop to sell online and not just locally, then moved to my own custom website months later. Several years of bootstrapping and a long week of in-school-suspension later, I came up with the idea of a clothing line. I moved to sunny San Diego the summer before my freshman year and immediately got my own office and warehouse to serve as home for my brand new clothing line, along with shoes, swim, jewelry, and of course, phone cases. I wasn’t thinking about a career or college or anything, that summer changed my life because I found something I loved doing. It was meant to be more than just a side hobby, I wanted Wild Daisy to be big!

    Name: Joyce Hsieh
    Age: 17
    Home Town: San Diego, CA
    Company CEO and Founder of Wild Daisy, $2 Million in revenue
    Catapult Cohort: Silicon Valley 2015
    Free Time: What free time?
    Instagram: @wilddaisyforever

    C: And what’s going on with Wild Daisy today?

    JH: Today Wild Daisy is a lifestyle brand company, we sell all sorts of products that help people live the Wild Daisy life. We design clothes and other products for young people.

    Joyce shot this when she was 13 about how to start an online business. It has 145,337 views


    C: Where do you get your inspiration?

    JH: I always get asked where i get my inspiration from and I just answer with ‘Life’. That’s what Wild Daisy is – my life in designs. If there’s anything i’ve learned, it’s that you can’t quit just because you or someone else thinks you can’t do it. You’ll never know if you don’t try. Like, let’s be real… If you would have told me 3 years ago that my own clothing brand would be sold to people across the entire globe and worn by famous celebrities, or that I would have hundreds of thousands of people following me online, I would have thought you were crazy. It sound cliche, but I mean, how could I have known any of this was going to happen? It just proves that anything is possible.

    (See how 16 year old Mukund built a $50 device that will change the world)

    C: What were some of the challenges you faced early on with Wild Daisy?

    JH: How do i get people to buy my stuff? I mean I liked it, my friends liked it, the people on Etsy liked it, it’s just hard to get the word out. That’s when I realized I could use things like Youtube and Instagram to get people to come to Wild Daisy. To this day I haven’t spent any money on marketing.

    C: Wow, other companies would kill for that. Everything has worked out so far, but if you could go back and do 1 thing differently what would it be?

    JH: I’d tell myself to stop trying to ride a trend until it dies out, but instead find the new trend and get with the latest stuff asap. Don’t fall into the Aeropostale cycle, super popular for a while, then brand didn’t innovated and was deemed as the middle school brand. But for all I know Aeropostale might still be really popular with middle schoolers, so maybe that’s a bad example.

    C: I just checked, Aeropostale filed for bankruptcy in March after losing money for 13 consecutive quarters. You saw that coming. What 1 piece of advice do you have for other students thinking about entrepreneurship?

    See Wild Daisy’s Demo Day Pitch

    JH: go big or go home. follow ur dreams and don’t listen to people who don’t know you. Some people get so caught up in perfection and pleasing everyone. That will NEVER work for young people starting a business. Also learn time management. there is absolutely no room for procrastinating so get your stuff DONE.

    C: Can entrepreneurship be learned, or is it in your blood?

    JH: Blood. it can’t be learned. I mean I’ve learned some tactics and how to do certain aspects of entrepreneurship, but the drive and motivation and willingness to learn and fail and try new things. That’s in the blood

    C: What are your plans for the future?

    JH: We are just about to launch a cosmetics line this summer. I want to reach 100,000 subscribers on youtube, currently at 33,000, grow my personal brand on social media, work with more famous people. have fun!!!!

    How To Start a business when you are 13

    Joyce doing a photo shoot in her room for emoji pillows

    C: How can someone help you out?

    JH: Follow Wild Daisy on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube

    (Learn the stories and read the advice of other top young entrepreneurs)

    C: What resource would you recommend for other high schoolers interested in entrepreneurship?

    JH: Sophia Amoruso of nasty gal!!!!! also the internet.

    C: Thanks so much for your perspective, Joyce, it’s rare to meet someone so driven!

    JH: But seriously follow me on Instagram.

    Visit Wild Daisy, and follow Joyce on Instagram, Twitter, and Youtube

    Are you the next Joyce?

     

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