I got started on my journey as an entrepreneur when my parents bought my first computer as a Christmas gift when I was 12. I grew up in a rural town in the backwoods of South Carolina where very few young, Black girls at the time had access to the internet in their house, let alone a computer. Back when AOL Internet was hot, dial-up was the norm, and just a few years before Facebook was created. My fascination with the internet was my escape from my father who was an alcoholic and my mother who pretended it was normal. I soon created my own little reality through cyberspace by connecting with people from all over the world. A few of them I’m still in communication with to this day.
Through my online community of friends, I noticed a lot of them were building websites (also called fan sites) of their favorite celebrities. Amazed, I reached out to one of my friends in Poland and asked her how did she do it. Keep in mind, I was 13 and I believe she was 14. She told me I had to learn HTML and CSS and sent me a few links to get started (this was also before YouTube, so no video tutorials). One of them was Lissa Explains It All, a popular website that was started by a kid and created for kids who wanted to learn web coding. After studying and mastering my new skill, within three months I launched my first website.
At 19, the summer before my Sophomore year in college, I launched my first business as a web designer. Truth be told, I was a broke college student trying to hustle my way through school so I could afford road trips and new clothes. I also understood the importance of having work experience, which was necessary to land a job. Within six months of graduating with a Bachelor Degree in Graphic Design, I landed my first job as a graphic and web designer.
Because of my humble beginnings and being curious about technology as a kid, it brought me to where I am today. Check out the web designs I made of Kelly Rowland and Beyonce back in the day when I was between the ages 12-16.
I’m glad I had the good sense to screenshot this as a kid, even with my 1998 Dell Desktop :).