10 Entrepreneurs Reveal What They Wanted to Be When They Grew Up
Start early, think big.
1. Merrill Stubbs
2. Kyle Hill
3. Ryan Holmes
4. Julia Hartz
5. Tim Chen
6. Daniella Yacobovsky
7. Gavin Armstrong
8. Oliver Kharraz
9. Matt Ehrlichman
10. Jennie Ripps
For many, the path to their job is winding, with a lot of stops, starts and detours along the way. For others, they saw what they wanted in their mind early on and always stayed on one track.
Related: 6 Tips for Goal-Setting That, Trust Me, They Don't Teach You in College
No matter where we are today or how we got there, all of us at one time has a childhood aspiration that probably informs some of what we do today.
Read on for what some of the most innovative founders wanted to be when they grew up.
Name: Merrill Stubbs
Childhood dream: I really wanted to be a performer. I did a lot of acting and singing as a kid and teenager. I think I was pretty convinced for a while that was my destiny. But I don't think I had the backbone for the rejection that comes with that path. Ultimately when I was deciding between a conservatory as opposed to a liberal arts college, that's when I made that decision: to keep singing as something for fun rather than my career.
Read more about Stubbs: The Life-Changing Book That Helps This Entrepreneur Think Big
Name: Kyle Hill
Childhood dream: I think every young boy wants to be an athlete at some point in their life, and I grew up admiring Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen. But my father is a professor, and he put in my head pretty early that the likelihood of being a professional athlete wasn't very high. I think he got me understanding that there were so many things to do in the world.
I always liked drawing, and I think being an architect is the idea I held onto the longest. One of the most exciting things I did as a kid was build a treehouse in the backyard. My dad just gave me free rein to do whatever I wanted with it. For me, building the treehouse was the most exciting part of having a treehouse, or even playing in it. That lends itself a lot to my personality now -- I love building things.
Read more about Hill: What This Founder Does to Stay Completely Focused
Name: Ryan Holmes
Childhood dream: I wanted to be a video game developer, but after high school, I decided to do the practical thing and study business in university. That turned out to be a mistake. I dropped out and opened a series of businesses, including a pizza joint, before finally getting back to what I originally loved, in a way, with Hootsuite.
Read more about Holmes: How Following His Heart Led This Entrepreneur to Start a Multi-Billion Dollar Company
Name: Julia Hartz
Childhood dream: I wanted to work in television, and I did! I studied broadcast journalism at Pepperdine University. After a short career in television with MTV and later on at FX Network, I found my true calling in Eventbrite.
Read more about Hartz: The Day This Eventbrite Co-Founder Learned When to Speak Up
Name: Tim Chen
Childhood dream: I grew up in Houston near NASA, and I thought I wanted to be an aerospace engineer because huge flying objects seemed really cool at the time.
Read more about Chen: Nerdwallet's Founder Shares the Worst Advice He Ever Got
Name: Daniella Yacobovsky
Childhood dream: I wanted to be a singer for a very long time. I used to beg my father to take me on Star Search. Ultimately, I did not go to Star Search, but I did do a lot of singing and art classes. I always loved tapping into my creative side, even though in school I ended up pursuing math and finance and that ended up being my initial post-college path.
Read more about Yacobovsky: This Co-Founder of BaubleBar's Secret for Inspiration? Always 'Keep Your Eyes Peeled.'
Name: Gavin Armstrong
Company: Lucky Iron Fish
Childhood dream: When I was little, I did want to be an entrepreneur. My uncle started his own company when I was in elementary school, and I always admired him for that. His company sold plumbing and washroom equipment. I went into work with him all the time; I swept the floors for nothing just to be in the office, loved the atmosphere and felt proud by association.
Name: Oliver Kharraz
Childhood dream: A doctor. My father was a doctor, his father, and his father before that. It was really passed down in my family. In a lot of ways the underlying value for this was that I’ve always been taught that talent breeds responsibility, and so being a doctor was a very direct way to live up to that responsibility.
Read more about Kharraz: This Founder Says to Succeed You Need to Question Everything
Name: Matt Ehrlichman
Childhood dream: I wanted to be a pro-basketball player, and then realized I wasn’t going to be nearly as athletic enough. Luckily, for me, I got on the entrepreneur track very early. I started my first company at 14; I was selling sand dollars on the street.
Read more about Ehrlichman: How This Founder Uses His Competitiveness to Succeed in Business
Name: Jennie Ripps
Company: Owl’s Brew
Childhood dream: I always wanted to make things and what that meant changed. I wanted to make bracelets and then I wanted to make lemonade. So I always wanted to be a maker but there was no profession that I was drawn towards. I was just more excited by the idea of trying to build and make things and that shifted with age.
Read more about Ripps: The One Thing This Entrepreneur Does Each Day to Stay Productive