Sesselja Vilhjalmsdottir is the CEO and Founder of Tagplay, maker of The Startup Kids documentary, Kinwins iPhone app and Heilaspuni board game. She is an Icelander, an entrepreneur and an economist.
Q: What does entrepreneurship mean to you, and what underlying characteristics do you see in successful entrepreneurs?
SV: Entrepreneurship for me means change. It means that entrepreneurs can take a concept, product or a service and change it to the better and with that change the world. Entrepreneurs are the people who have an unexplainable passion to fix that problem and can face the risk involved. From making The Startup Kids documentary and interviewing dozens of entrepreneurs, I learned that the one characteristic successful entrepreneurs have in common is grit and determination to see things through. They also seem to have a talent in getting themselves to the right place at the right time.
Q: What are you most proud of in your professional career? If you could do something over in your life, what would it be?
SV: In my professional career, I'm proudest of going my own way and making my own opportunities. I've been able to live off of my creativity, meeting interesting people everyday and learn something new. You can't put a price tag on that. To name certain projects, I'm most proud of making The Startup Kids documentary and inspiring people all over the world to become entrepreneurs. I'm also very proud of my newest startup Tagplay.co that makes it easier for businesses to update their websites just using social media.
Not everything has gone perfectly according to plan but I think everything you do and the obstacles you face mold you to be the person you become. In the beginning of my career, I took jobs in banking because they were sought after. I studied economics because I thought it was practical at that time. I didn't really do what interested me the most. That was a mistake, but it taught me a valuable lesson in following my heart.
Q: Tell us about an instance where you had to go against the flow to realize your goal.
SV: When I changed how I thought about my life, I quit banking and did the things I really wanted to do. It felt a lot better. I not only felt liberated but I was also getting better results since I actually enjoyed what I was doing. Since then, I guess I've been going against the flow.
Q: How did you move from banking into making Tagplay?
SV: There were many stops on the way! Icelandic banking crisis, founding a successful board game company, documentary, iPhone app company in the social media space and a lot of traveling! I saw businesses problems while first hand struggling with complicated tools. I watched closely how businesses behave on social media and built from that a tool that lets them keep their website updated . Businesses can post content on their favorite platform on the fly and Tagplay automatically shares it to their website.
Q: LinkedIn style - If you were to give advice to your 22-year-old self, what would it be?
SV: Listen to your gut and make your own path. Take risks. Don't follow the rules. Travel and connect with people. Try different activities and jobs. Learn what you're good at, and go for it full force! Just be sure to, every now and then, stop and watch your surroundings, and see if this is where you were planning to be at. Don't stress, everything will be OK!