This is an interview with, young entrepreneur now 22 Jess Ratcliffe, she is the founder of www.gaboomswap.com. She is from the UK, and is a passionate gamer! She has also had the opportunity since starting her business to attend several gaming events such as EuroGamer, let that be a lesson to you! Business is not always boring! Actually, no Euro-Gamer is very boring, you would’nt want to go. (Build a business based on your passions and you will have fun and do well!!).
Oliver: What made you want to create a game swapping website? Was it a spur of the moment or something you have always wanted to do?
Jess: I first had the idea to create a website where gamers could swap their video games with each other when I was 15 and I used to swap my video games with my friends and neighbours. I went on to start GaBoom in 2010 when I was 19 and in my first year at University so the idea had been with me for a long time!
Oliver: Is GaBoom the only website you have created/worked on? Would you consider making any more websites?
Jess: GaBoom is my first start-up and I hope to be a part of many more in the future.
Oliver: For how long have you been running http://gaboomswap.com? And how much time/effort have you put into it?
Jess: I have been running GaBoom for 2 years now. I left University after my first year to focus on GaBoom full-time so a lot of time and effort has gone into it.
Oliver: How does your website work?
GaBoom is a peer-to-peer video game swapping website. We’re a place where gamers can swap their video games directly with one another.
Members simply add the video games that they want to their Wish List and the video games they’ve got to their Swap List. GaBoom then automatically matches them with the people that they can swap with. When both members have agreed a swap, they post their games to each other and leave detailed feedback on how the swap went. Members use boom points to trade their games, these can be bought for £1 or gained from referring 2 people to the website.
Oliver: I understand that you were studying business management at university, do you feel it is still important to gain an education even if you can make money from your own business?
That’s correct – I studied Business Management at Royal Holloway, University of London but left after my first year to focus on GaBoom. I have always thought education is important but it doesn’t necessarily have to come from University. I have learnt so many lessons since I started GaBoom that I know I couldn’t have learnt from University. There are some things that you can only learn by doing and I believe that running a business is one of those.
Oliver:What have you learnt from your experience in building your own web-business?
The biggest lesson that I have learnt is to always trust your gut instinct. This may seem like a simple lesson but it is one worth noting. It’s very easy to get caught up in someone else’s plans or ideas for your business but if your gut tells you ‘this isn’t right’, listen to it and try to resolve the situation as soon as possible.
Oliver:How do you feel about digital downloads? Do you think this will affect your site?
I think that digital downloads will definitely affect the gaming industry but I am confident that there are a large number of console gamers out there who will stick with console games.
Oliver: What challenges have you come across in having your own business?
I have come across many challenges as I’m sure all founders do. Starting your own business will always bring about challenges but that is what makes it exciting. I think it’s very important to look at challenges as learning experiences. Overcoming a challenge gives you the opportunity to learn something new and that lesson will stay with you forever.
Oliver: How do you feel about being mentioned in magazines and on business sites?
I don’t mind it at all. I hope that my story and experiences may help to inspire the next generation of entrepreneurs in some way.
Oliver:What advice would you give to any young person that wanted to start their own website but did not know where to start.
I would recommend learning to code. There are so many great resources out there that can help you, such as http://www.codecademy.com and http://learnpythonthehardway.org. I would also recommend building a team – find people that share your vision and work together to make it happen.
Make sure you head over to Gaboom and take a look!! www.gaboomswap.com. (We don’t like paying for new games, we don’t like ebays sellers fees. (I don’t anyway) So go take a look!! )