Teen website entrepreneur Ashley Power
interview by Douglas Eby
was to keep pressing forward."
A complex creative project like a website can be challenging at any age. As a high school student, Ashley Power says she often heard "No" when she first started developing her site for teens, Goosehead.com, named after her unfortunate encounter with a plaster garden figure.
"A lot of people told me that I couldn't do it, that I was too young, and didn't know what I was talking about; to come back when I was older," she recalls. "That was hard. The most important thing for me was to keep pressing forward, knowing in my heart and in my mind what I wanted to do, and that I was doing something well.
"I had to keep going until I found people who would tell me 'Yes.' That's the most important thing."
She thinks, regardless of your age, "if you have a dream, if you have an idea, then you should go for it. Especially in this day and age. The internet is an amazing way to develop your creativity, and a way for teens to get out there."
Part of the mission of her site, which she wants to develop into a large scale teen entertainment network, is to provide a forum for other teens' work.
"If people have writing samples, or music, or graphic design samples, I encourage them to send me anything they have, so maybe I can give them a chance at something they love to do. I understand at my age, how tough that is to do."
Her site attracted large numbers of visitors almost from the start, and has since evolved into a commercial business venture and a staff of about thirty. She first used the FrontPage program to write web pages, and is now using Adobe GoLive.
Developing a website was "pretty much" her own idea, Power says. "Looking around, I didn't find many sites that were for teens, but I did find a lot of sites made by teens, for their friends, or for an actor or actress they liked, so I knew it was possible for people my age to do that sort of thing. That kind of encouraged me to start my own website."
One of the features Ashley has created for the site is a streaming media series called "Whatever." She had cast a friend to play a teen role: Natalie Dreyfuss, whose uncle, actor Richard Dreyfuss, saw the show and "thought it was really good," Power exclaims.
"He thought what I was doing was great, and he had all these wonderful ideas for content and shows. I knew I really wanted him as part of my company." He has since become a creative partner in the site.
Power explains the series "Whatever" is a comedy, "basically about teen life. It's about growing up, and what goes along with that, with friends and parents, school. We kind of handle all the topics that a normal person would go through. I think it's really real; a lot of people can sit there and watch it, and relate to it, and know exactly what we're talking about."
Referring to the standard kind of TV for teens, Power thinks, "There's a lot of shows that we watch, because that's the only thing that's on. There's not a whole lot that I feel I can relate to, just because being a teenager, everything in my life changes so quickly. Our language and vocabulary changes so quickly. I'll watch TV and I'll go, 'We don't say that. What are you talking about?'"
She feels the project engages her creatively "every day." And gives her a way to pursue many talents, as well as helping others.
A statement on her site expresses her enthusiasm for being a teen: "We have a voice, we can make a difference in anything, because there are so many of us. Together, we can change things. From helping those of us that are abused, hungry or just plain alone. To launching campaigns for new artists, (music, film, painting, fashion, etc...) We can do it!"
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book: Goosehead Guide to Life by Ashley Power
Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. Talented Teenagers: The Roots of Success and FailureFrances Karnes, Ph.D. Girls and Young Women Entrepreneurs : True Stories About Starting and Running a Business Plus How You Can Do It Yourself
related Talent Development Resources pages:
achievement / personal development programs
achievement, growth, prosperity resources
The Inner Entrepreneur
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