Career Event interview

Even though Danny Mekić is only 23 years old, he’s one of the big boys in the Dutch internet industry. In 2009 he was declared ‘most successful young entrepreneur of the year’, and this week he’s a speaker at the Career Event.

“It’s difficult for me to talk about myself”, Danny Mekić admits. “But workshops like this make me happy”, he continues, referring to the event.  “I get to spend 45 minutes telling about entrepreneurship and careers, and that might be a tremendous help to people. Following your passion mostly takes guts, and this event can give you that.”

It’s been clear from an early age that Mekić would find gratification in helping others. At the age of 10 he took up volunteer work at Stichting Impuls, an organisation that creates events to motivate children. “Many young people have trouble finding their passion, and aren’t sufficiently stimulated at school. Impuls did all sorts of things with those kids: from floral design to computer lessons. I thought that was wonderful. My situation at home was difficult, with a hard-working father and a mother who was unfit for work, and found this to be just the distraction I needed.”

It wasn’t very long before Mekić started to turn his attention to the computer. At the age of 12, he wrote to internet service provider Het Net. He started as a volunteer, but he was already a rising star.

“At some point, when I was fourteen, I could solve some problems quicker than their technicians could. And then they asked me if they could hire me.” He laughs and says: “That was a revelation. I did what I liked to do, and it turned out I could make money with it. And it wasn’t just five guilders an hour or anything, it was about amounts of money that were astronomic to me as a 14 year old.”

That turned out to be the prelude to his own company. With it, he offers web hosting services and consultancy to various companies. “As a consultant, I’m often faced with worries about the future. A while ago I had to help a company that had lost a lot of customers in a short time. It later turned out that an online application of theirs wasn’t working properly and didn’t give error messages. Customers left, but nobody asked them why. We organised a brainstorming session with customers who had left. And it worked: customers returned. And to know your help contributed to that — there’s almost nothing more fun than that.”

Mekić was lucky enough to discover at a young age how he could make money doing things he liked. But to others that’s more difficult, he notices. “I didn’t realise I was being an entrepreneur until my first invoice. Before that I wasn’t concerned with money, I didn’t spend anything anyway. I lived with my parents, I had a bicycle, my parents paid for school and took care of food. Then suddenly a client asked for an invoice, I didn’t even know what that looked like. Other people have much more trouble with that. They know very well what they like, but not how to make money with it. I like helping people with that. I really like organising workshops and seminars, and giving lectures and guest lectures. What could be more wonderful than energising others?”

This interview has been published in Sp!ts.

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