GaBoom is an innovative online video game auction and selling site that allows gamers to barter directly with other gamers. Jessica Ratcliffe, founder of GaBoom, tells what it’s like running this fast-growing company.

Q: Did you always want to be an entrepreneur?

A: I can remember always wanting to start and run my own business and I have always been inspired by individuals (particularly Sir Richard Branson) who have been there and done it. When I then had the idea for GaBoom, I knew it was an idea I wanted to turn into reality and pursue to the end.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for GaBoom?

A: I first had the idea for GaBoom when I was 15 years old, when I used to swap my video games with my friends and neighbours and one day thought “what if you could do this on a larger scale?” The idea to create a website where gamers could swap their video games with one another was then born, but unfortunately I couldn’t quite get the website off the ground using my pocket money. On starting University when I was 19, I was able to raise investment to turn my idea into reality and we now have GaBoom!

Q: What are three frustrations/problems you experienced when setting up GaBoom and how did you solve them?

A: It’s difficult to pinpoint three frustrations/problems I experienced when setting up GaBoom. One thing that I have found tricky is finding the right people to help me take GaBoom forward and by that I don’t mean that the people haven’t necessarily been right but that it can be hard to find them in the first place. To solve this problem, I firstly looked to my network and if I couldn’t find individuals through that, I looked to expanding my network by attending events and getting involved with networks in my area. The right people are out there you just have to be patient and search for them.

Q: What are the best and worst things about being an entrepreneur?

A: One of the best things is seeing something that was once an idea in your head becoming a reality and real business. I love the freedom that comes with working on your own business and the excitement that comes with not knowing what the future brings :-)

I can’t think of anything that’s bad about being an entrepreneur…just yet anyway!

Q: What three pieces of advice would you give to entrepreneurs currently starting a business?

A: My first piece of advice would be to trust your gut instinct at all times. You will know deep down when it is right or wrong to do something and trust me, you don’t want to go against your gut instinct to then wish you hadn’t. My second piece of advice would be to step out of your comfort zone every now and then, as you’ll never truly know what you’re able to achieve until you try new things. My third piece of advice would be to aim high and believe in the goals you set yourself and your business as the sky is the limit!

Q: What’s next for GaBoom?

A: I have exciting plans for GaBoom’s future, some of which involve expanding internationally and adding some awesome features to the website :-).

Q: If you could repeat the entrepreneurial process, how would you do things differently?

A: I would have trusted my gut instinct from the get go. When I was starting out it was hard not to believe everything that I was told by individuals that appeared to have more experience in business than myself and this can lead you down paths you don’t really want to be taking. So, if I could start again I would have trusted my gut feel from the start. But, I also believe that this process is a great learning experience and I am pleased that I have had to experience some difficult times in order to learn from them as I move forward – I’ll know to avoid them in future now that’s for sure!

Q: What is the single most important thing you should do to become successful in business?

A: In my opinion, the key to becoming successful in business is having passion. It’s your passion, drive and love for what you do that will keep you going even when times get tough.

Q: What are your thoughts on striking the right home/work life balance?

A: That’s a toughie…I believe it’s vital to keep in touch with your social life because time with your friends can be a welcome break as well as give you the opportunity to bounce ideas off others. Striking the right home/work life balance ultimately depends on the person and the business at hand but you’ll know when it’s right.

Q: When does an idea become a business?

A: I believe an idea becomes a business when you know you’ll be turning your idea into a business and have taken the first step in doing so, whether that’s incorporating your company, buying a domain name or writing a business plan – they are all pieces of the puzzle that you will soon be putting together to make your idea a business.