Ayonnah the Travelling Kidpreneur | Meet the Insta

It was a pretty normal day at the UNUM haus, when our phone buzzed. It was an Instagram DM notification. We went to respond to @yayastars and found out she has been an entrepreneur since she was 8 years old!!! We were like, whatttttt?! This girl is an absolute rockstar! Oh, did we mention she is an aspiring aeronautical engineer, plays the violin, and is a basketball player! 

We'll stop talking now and let the Q&A with Ayonnah, the CEO and Founder of YayaStars (a review site by kids for kids) take it from here 🤗

When did you start writing?

I started writing when I was 8-years-old. I took this little journal with me everywhere! Whether it was a restaurant, hotel, or even a cruise

What are your top 5 favorite places you visited and why?

My favorite 5 places I have visited are San Diego, Puerto Rico, Panama, South Africa, and London. I loved South Africa and London for very similar reasons. They both had so much history that I never knew about because I live in the US. So I felt that these places grounded me and taught me important history that I know I would never learn in a classroom at my school. Panama, San Diego, and Puerto Rico were all paradises! Beautiful and unique structures, beaches, and the display of the different cultures. My family is actually from Panama so I am so excited to go back soon! The common denominator of why all 5 of these places are my favorite is the spectacular food! 

When did you realize you wanted to be your own boss?

I realized I wanted to become my own boss when I just started to see how many kids were entrepreneurs. I knew that I could do that too, and my mom was a big factor in supporting my entrepreneurial dreams

What kid review has impacted you the most?

The post that has impacted me the most was this post from a girl in Japan. She has wrote 6 posts on my website and all of them were about these spectacular events or trips that she takes in Japan. Her reviews have impacted me positively because it was such a milestone for my website that someone across the world is blogging about one of my dream places to visit! 

If you could say one thing to all the kids out there - what would it be?

If there was 1 thing I could say to every kid is that travel is the best education- it can even be in your own backyard! Travelling includes exploring, discovering and finding new things, and you don’t have to go across the world to do that- I think that is the best part about travel. 

How has Instagram helped YaYaStars?

Instagram has helped YaYaStars a lot! It has helped reach more attention and inspiration for YaYaStars. Also, there are so many amazing bloggers whose blogs are based on Instagram so it is cool to see their amazing camera angles, pictures, and all of the beautiful and unique themes/ branding people use. 
 

You want to be an aeronautical engineer?! Tell us more about that :)

Aeronautics has been such an important part of my life. This scientific field is the reason why I can travel the world, it is the reason why international rescues can happen. I want to contribute to this field so I can help improve it. In addition, the Air and Space Museum (in Washington D.C.) was the place to really spark my interests in airplanes.

How did you come up with your slogan, “Peace and travel” ? It’s really catchy!

When I came up with “Peace and Travel” I knew that I wanted to encourage more kids to travel, and I always to promote world peace! 
 

If you could travel anywhere right now, where would it be? You can also bring a plus 1, who would it be and why?

If I could travel anywhere in the world it would be Santorini, Greece. Greece has always been one of my favorite places because of its buildings and mythology! My plus one would have to be my mom. She has the best ideas for pictures and I think I would literally be lost without her. We may always have misadventures on our trips, but she is the one to make all of our trips so fun and memorable! Lastly, sometimes we enjoy planning the trip as much as going. :)

How do you fit in school, running a company, and making sure you don’t skip out on your chores ;)

To stay on top of my business, homework, and chores I rely on my planner! Every single day I write in every homework assignment (and there are a lot of those), task, or personal note that I know I need to remember. If anyone does as many activities as I do, using a planner is the way to go.

Where are all your kidpreneur writers from?

yayastars.com

yayastars.com

 

A lot of the writers on my websites vary from either my friends or kids who found out about me in the news. I am still very grateful for my article in Time for Kids magazine because so many kids across the world started posting on my website and sending me emails! 

What do you think are the three most important lessons you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?

Never give up, things may not go your way all the time but they will eventually work out in the end!

Keep it simple, I always over complicate things so it is necessary to take a step back and approach the task in a simpler manner. 

Never compare yourself to others! Everyone has their own journey and life is only what you make it. 

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is sweet potato ravioli, especially with garlic butter on top! It is my favorite dish because it is turning a classic pasta into something vegetarian and contemporary!  I have recently became vegetarian and Evol never fails with their delicious meals!

Where do you want to go to college?

My top 3 colleges are the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) – for their aeronautics program, UConn – for basketball and collaboration program with AIAA (American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics), and Stanford – once again, with their amazing aeronautics program.

Have you been able to pick up a few languages from all the places you’ve travelled?

The language I have picked up the most is Spanish because I have visited Spanish speaking countries the most! 

Do your friends ask you to bring them home gifts every time you travel? We would!!

My friends know how often I travel and they do expect gifts! The best gifts I gave were from South Africa. They were tiny paper weights made in the shape of animals I saw on a safari!

What is your go to camera when you travel?

My iPhone 6s all the way is my go to camera (#teamapple). But, when I have an awesome vision for a picture I use my DSLR Canon Rebel T6. 

HOW IN THE WORLD DO YOU HAVE TIME TO PLAY BASKETBALL AND PLAY THE VIOLIN - what are your parents feeding you lol

I have this planner called Day Designer and it is probably the only reason why I can juggle all my activities. Also, I think I might get all of my energy from Gatorade (lol)! By the way I also run track, play the ukulele, piano, and the double bass! :)

What did your parents say when you wanted to start YaYaStars?

When I first started YaYaStars my parents were so helpful and they have always wanted me to be a kid CEO from early on. 

Did you code and build the website yourself?

For my website I used WordPress with a template. My dad is a web designer and taught me how to customize my site with code. Also, I took initiative and started an account on Codeacademy and I love each exercise and learning so many more languages (of code)! My mom is a graphic artist and has taught me how to make my own graphics. 

What do you want to say to all women out there?

 

To all women out there (including teenage girls) you can be anything you want! The best part about following your dreams is that you get to live your dream! There is no limit on what any women can do and there is no industry that women can’t work i

What tips can you give anyone looking to start their own business?

For anyone starting their own business the best tips I believe people should follow are being persistent, follow through on one central topic, and read a lot of other inspirational success stories to spark ideas of your own!

Do you have a favorite book or website you like to draw inspiration from?

I read so many Young Entrepreneur and Business Insider articles so whenever I am stuck there is a story waiting for me that motivates me.

What’s the next move for YaYaStars?

The next steps for YaYaStars is to recreate my website because I want my blog to grow up along with me. So I am really excited with changing up my website. Also, I am in the process of writing my first book so look out for that!

Who is your biggest role model and why?

Instagram: @yarashahidi

Instagram: @yarashahidi

 

Yara Shahidi is my #1 inspiration. She is not that much older than me so I can connect with her on so many levels! The way she inspires me the most is with her style. Her clothes are unique and amazing and her political voice matches that. Yara is a true activist and her voice does stand out from others. Also, she is my favorite character on the hit show Blackish.

Welp.....we have literally no doubt in our mind that we'll be seeing her on the front cover of every magazine soon. Just don't forget about us when you're flying spaceships to Mars with Elon Musk 😭 😭 😭 😭  

Seriously!! Thank you so much for sharing your story and inspiring us and so many other young kidpreneurs 🙌