Thursday, February 21, 2013

How Catherine Cook has become Young Successful Online Entrepreneur

Only at the age of 15, an idea to create an internet based yearbook clicked in the mind of Catherine Cook. With the help of her elder brother Geoff and along with her other elder brother Dave, Catherine built a new website called MyYearbook in 2005 which has now reached out to millions of people worldwide.

This is not only interesting but also amazing to know how she managed to attract such a huge number of members of her website in a short span of time.


Starting Up with MyYearbook

While Catherine was 15 years old and her brother Dave was just 16, they were going through high school year books and were thinking about signing to other’s yearbook. With this thought they came up with an idea of creating an online electronic yearbook by using technology to communicate with their other classmates.

To help out in the process of creating a new website Catherina’s elder brother Geoff, who is a Graduate from Harvard and also a web entrepreneur lend $250,000 to start with the business. Thus getting the financial help as also his expertise, Catherina and her brother Dave started the new website named MyYearbook.com. Being new to high school and with the desire to know their friends better, Catherine and Dave founded a new way out.

Initial Success of MyYearbook

Initially the website was only viewed and enjoyed by high school kids in New Jersey. But a few months later after a merger with a quiz site called Zenhex.com, MyYearbook witnessed a tremendous growth over 44% in the months of November & December 2005. Catherine and her brother were looking for investors but it was difficult to find someone who would let the creative control in the hands of these young founders.

In the year 2006 Catherine and Dave got the financial support of $4.1 million from the U.S. Venture Partners and First Round Capital, which ranked MyYearbook as one of the top sites for youngsters aged between 12 to 17 by Nielsen NetRankings.

Present Status of MyYearbook 

After getting into the partnership with Arkadium, Flash based games were added to the website. Again Meebo instant messaging and Chatter in 2009 and an iPhone/iPod Touch together with the Android application being designed to bring Chatter to mobile devices have made the website even more popular.

Today 80 employees are working hard to make MyYearbook more famous by introducing newer games and features. At present it is ranked in the top 25 most trafficked website in United States earning 20 million dollars yearly.

Specially built for high school students, the website has more than 5 million members with the growing number of 20,000 members in each day. And most of the users today are taking part in website development.

Users use the website for free and the main source of revenue is from advertising sales. Though Catherine never discloses the exact income but her website earns a seven figure income.

Secret behind the Success

The secret behind this success is by widgetizing all the content of the site and also by meeting the various demands of the users. Catherine’s contribution towards developing the website is immense. She desires to make MyYearbook such a place where people with similar interest and age find themselves as also they could find a life partner.

Whenever a new feature is made it is immediately posted to other sites like Facebook, MySpace, Xanga etc. to make people aware of MyYearbook. These features are the users’ ideas and thus by listening to users’ MyYearbook has reached the pick of success.

What Catherine Believes

Being a 20 year old junior at Georgetown University in Washington, DC and studying marketing operations, information management and psychology, Catherine takes out time for MyYearbook, the headquarter of which is in Pennsylvania.

In order to make a social networking site Catherine believes to stay true to any one group. She thinks besides giving your users, friends, offer something more interesting to the users. For example her own website is specially designed for teenagers while Linkendine on the other hand is another site very helpful to professionals. As per Catherine, the guidance of a suitable mentor is very essential for being a successful entrepreneur as she has got every professional help from her elder brother Geoff, without him she thinks it would have become tougher.

Though at times it becomes difficult to give time for her site after managing studies and other responsibilities but somehow she manages as she never gives up easily. In order to become a successful entrepreneur she thinks taking professional advice from others and utilizing them for your betterment is very important.

Future Plans of Catherine

Catherine always wanted to be a successful entrepreneur like her elder brother Geoff, who first started his own company while in college and now a successful business person. After completing her graduation she plans to expand MyYearbook and also interested to so something more. But she will never give up on being an entrepreneur as it’s like her dreams come true.

She doesn’t spend much upon herself and whatever money she earns she spends on textbooks and on her website.

Being such a confident person at a young age, Catherine Cook truly motivates others to do something on their own.



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