Whatever, Life

“Whatever, Mom,” is the common expression I hear in retort to the consistent vanilla reasoning I provide when explaining why my 16 yr old boy cannot seem to land a job.  He strongly believes in the idea that after 15 interviews, and another opportunity lost to an out-of-work college graduate, he’ll never find a job.

“Maybe you have to look at something right in front of you,” I offered, pointing to the computer screen in front of which he was planted.  This time in response to “whatever”, I quickly replied, “Not Whatever, Joe.  Whatever Life.”

The look of confusion still hadn’t left his face when I returned with the September 2007 issue of Fast Company Magazine.  I set it in front of him, prompting him to read the article about Ashley Qualls, the 17 year old millionaire from MI.  The article detailing a 9-yr-old’s love for the internet struck a chord with me when I first read it some years back.  I thought it might be a source of inspiration for my kids one day.

It was her love of graphic design, and her tenacity to teach herself some HTML coding to spice up her MySpace page that got the ball rolling for Ashley Qualls.  This is not to mention the $8.00 she borrowed from her mother to pay for the website domain when she was 14.  The website was initially intended to be her own personal space to display her new graphics and designs.  However, her friends soon asked her to design layouts for their pages, and it grew from there.

She gained such a following from simply “giving girls what they wanted,” as she puts it, that she was able to make the advertisers to begin to line up for space on her site.  With 2 to 3 Million page views a day, she was getting more traffic than Oprah!  In addition, celebrities like Britney Spears were requesting her design services.   Aside from MySpace layouts and tutorials and teaching others to learn how to design their own layouts, she expanded to Twitter and Mobile layouts as well.

Today her linked-in profile lists her new businesses such as WhateverLife clothing line, another apparel line business coming soon, Coka and Just Ashbo, her graphic design company.  Oh, plus the little bachelor’s degree she’s pursuing in Metaphysics!  Go Ashbo!  We can’t wait to see what’s next.


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