If you’re thinking about starting a company or business, you better get cracking. Every day, entrepreneurs across the U.S. are founding upstarts that could very well turn into the next Facebook, Zynga or Twitter.
Though Facebook, Microsoft and Apple were all founded by college dropouts, the newest business to make a splash in the business world was founded by someone a little younger than Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.
Maggie Huang may look like your average nine-year-old, but she’s also a budding young entrepreneur. The tween from Florence, Alabama aimed big when she started to think about how to make a little money and bypassed the normal routes taken by most 4th graders, like starting a lemonade stand or doing chores around the house.
Huang is the proud owner of SmartMaggie.com, an Internet start-up that has a very basic premise: If you have a question you want answered, post it and someone will respond. The service works like Facebook’s “questions” section, where users can ask questions that they’re having a hard time figuring out the answers to.
Unlike Facebook, however, Huang hopes to limit the amount of inane topics that plague the social network’s own attempt at such a service – “Will I get fat from eating croissants every day?” was a recent topic on Facebook’s Questions page. In an interview with ABC News, Huang said her website mostly caters to business-savvy users.
“It’s about business stuff and you can post problems on it,” Huang affirmed. “[Visitors] can ask about a general business problem, installing [Microsoft] Access questions and mathematics questions. Stuff like that.”
The inspiration from the site came from Huang’s budding interest in science and technology. “I just, like, make websites and web design [and] create databases and then they pay me,” she said nonchalantly. The 9-year-old is a math whiz, according to her father, Yingping Huang, a professor of computer information systems at the University of North Alabama,
“She amazed me,” he said when recalling how at the age of three his daughter figured out how to multiply 7 times 7 in her head. She is currently capable of performing some college-level math, he said proudly. He avers that his daughter has always been very driven and that SmartMaggie.com is an extension of her own entrepreneurial ambitions.
“As she works on small projects, she will get a better understanding of the technology and all the applications of the technology. Learning by doing, that’s the way to go,” he said.
For her part, Maggie said she found the beginning phases of starting a business very tedious. Now that her website is up and running, however, she said her friends and others think the “site is really cool and they’re shocked about me, that I can accomplish these things.”
What advice, then, does the young businesswoman have for fledgling entrepreneurs out there? “Making a business does take a lot of patience, because sometimes you don’t get the work and you have to wait until something happens.” Spoken like a true business veteran.