(MoneyWatch) Chris Mirabile started computer programming before junior high school and landed his first job as a web developer at age 15 (the client had no idea he was too young to officially work!). When the NYU Stern School of Business grad and his friends couldn't find anything to do on a Saturday night, they turned to the internet, and came up with Hotlist.com. Hotlist uses geotagging to show users where other members of their social network are and what they're doing, either locally or around the world.
Rebecca Jarvis: What were you doing before you started your company?
Chris Mirabile: I was working in private equity when a friend, and now co-founder, Gianni Martire and I decided to write a business plan and enter it into NYU Stern's Business Plan Competition. We won first place in the competition, so of course we immediately quit our jobs to focus on building the company. Unfortunately, we were on the brink of the Great Recession, and funding dried up, so we independently consulted with technology companies and hedge funds until 2010, when we raised our seed round of financing.
RJ: How long did it take to turn your idea into a business?
CM: Considering that we had the idea in 2006 and won the NYU Stern Business Plan Competition in 2007, but couldn't raise adequate funds until 2010 -- it took us a while! A lot of developments took place within the relevant industries (social media, mobile phones, etc.) during that time, which put us in a better position than we would have been in if we had started earlier, so it ended up being a blessing in disguise.
RJ: What's your number one piece of advice to entrepreneurs?
CM: It takes more time, resources and grey hairs than you'd expect to reach your goals for your business, but perseverance always pays off!
RJ: If you could ask one person for advice, who would it be and what would you ask?
CM: Tough to single out one person. During this process, we have met some amazing individuals who have invested in Hotlist or helped guide us, or both.
RJ: Are you hiring? How do you get hired by a start-up?
CM: Yes we are! You get hired by a startup by showing that you think like an entrepreneur yourself -- an out-of-the-box thinker; a passion for creating; a need to have a significant impact; and a true commitment to the company's positive, life-changing vision.