Jess Ratcliffe is young and ambitious and is the genius behind the successful video games swapping website GaBoom! She had a vision for her business at the age of just 10, when she used to swap video games with neighbors and friends. Since then, Jess has worked non-stop in making her vision a reality.
Soon to be celebrating its first birthday GaBoom.co.uk has been running since July 2010. GaBoom attracts a range of ages with the most active members being aged 10-30 years old who can join online for free. Members simply list the video games that they want and the games that they have and GaBoom will match them together to make a swap or sale. Jess has ensured that GaBoom has two secure postage options through which members can send their games to one another.
There is a never-ending list of games for the most popular consoles with the members on GaBoom, the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360.
“I personally have an Xbox 360 and love it!” Jess said, who admits to swapping games on GaBoom too, which saves her money!
Jess’ aim is to provide gamers with a place where they can swap their video games as quickly and efficiently as possible and become the number one video game swapping website in the UK.
Her inspiration came from individuals such as Sir Richard Branson and now she is incredibly inspired by GaBoom’s potential and what the future holds.
Jess went to University to study Business Management but left after her first year, as she didn’t feel that it was taking her on the path she wanted to go! She the decided to work on GaBoom full-time and said that she believes she has learnt so much more during that time than she would have done had she continued with her degree.
When it came to raising investment for GaBoom Jess was very fortunate. Luckily she had people around her who were already interested in investing so she wrote a business plan and met with them several times to talk about where the business was going and what it needed.
For anyone hoping to start his or her own business Jess has a little advice: “Just go for it! It’s such a great learning experience and the fact that you have the power to turn your idea into reality is fantastic. I would also say trust your gut instinct at all times.”
Since launching the website, Jess has found new skills such as public speaking, understanding how to start and run a limited company. She has also learnt how to write a business plan and forecast the future and how to negotiate effectively. “I would definitely recommend starting your own business, as you will learn so much in the process.”
One thing that Jess has found tricky is finding the right people to help her take GaBoom forward. It was hard to find people that were right for what she is looking for. To solve this problem she used networking skills and expanded this through attending and getting involved in events. She believes that the right people are out there you just have to be patient and search for them.
GaBoom is spiraling to success more and more every day and Jess could not be happier with its results. She is proud of what she achieved especially when she appeared on the BBC’s Dragons Den.
“It was such a great and surreal experience that I won’t forget any time soon,” she said.
Jess loves the freedom that she has with the business and at the moment she can’t wait to get stuck in on building a team and planning the future of GaBoom.
“I have some exciting plans for GaBoom’s future, some of which involve expanding internationally and adding some awesome features to the website.”
Interview by Melissa Lewars