Want some entrepreneurial inspiration? Point your browser to Shatterbox, an online community that profiles young professionals and entrepreneurs through short videos. The company was founded by Amanda Holt, a 25-year-old New Yorker who graduated college in 2007 and had some uninspiring jobs. Then she decided to interview people on camera about their dreams -- an effort that became Shatterbox. The site feels a bit unformed, without a clear business model -- yet. But who cares: the video content is enormously compelling and the site was just profiled in the New York Times.
The videos on the site, featuring mostly people in their 20s and 30s, are instructional for anyone thinking of starting a business; in college and wondering what to do next; or in a dead-end job:
Catchafire: Former investment banker and microfinance executive Rachael Chong launched this online marketplace that connects professionals who want to volunteer their skills to non-profits and social enterprises that need them. (Most noteworthy is the founder's crystal clear, 15-second explanation of the business.) The venture charges $200 to organizations to access its system and find potential volunteers. As of the time of the video, Catchafire had more than 400 organizations and 2000 volunteers.
- Stylecaster Media Groupis a "women's lifestyle media platform" for 18-34 year-olds, founded by Dave Goldberg, who says very convincingly, "In 12 months we will be one of the most talked about media companies in the world." The inspiration for the company came from a simple fact. Women ask themselves two questions before they go out in the morning -- what's the weather, and what should I wear? Goldberg also saw that women are faced with "massive segmentation" for their fashion interests, going to different places for content, community and purchase. Stylecaster puts it all together. Like a truly paranoid entrepreneur (redundant terms) he says the gratification of being an entrepreneur is different from what one may anticipate. "You know that the second you win, it's gone in an instant and you have to go replicate it and do it better. It definitely pushes you every day to wake up and say, you know what, man, I have an opportunity."
- The For a Day Foundation: Launched by Jenna Edwards, a former Mississippi beauty pageant winner, this non-profit provides child cancer patients with quality of life services, including hospital visits to bring gifts. The foundation now has over 25 local chapters nationwide.
- Thrillist. Ben Lerer started Thrillist with his college friend Adam Rich when Adam was trying to figure out where to take a date. They realized there was no resource for reviews of good places to hang out. So they went bar-hopping and started writing reviews. Thrillist now has over 1 million subscribers. In the video, Ben described entrepreneurship as a "thankless process for a really long time." But now, he's "feeling good slash working a lot." (See the profile we published on Thrillist a while back.)
- Marie Forleo : Who could resist a website called Rich, Happy & Hot? Marie, a former ad sales rep for Gourmet magazine, became a life coach and created programs to teach women entrepreneurs how to grow their business and their lives. Her most important line in the video: "You have to have a personal brand and representation of yourself online." Resumes alone won't cut it anymore. Her mission is to see "how many women's lives can I change."