Lydia Jones, from Widnes, Cheshire, says she had "no big plan" when she dropped out of school at 15, part-way through her GCSEs.
Looking at her grades before then, she says she "wasn't particularly good on paper".
"When I was younger, when they would put the results on the board I would want to hide at the back of the class or go to the toilet," she says.
Before long, Lydia says she hit a "brick wall", feeling so unhappy that she could barely get out of bed to go to school.
She says it was her sister who encouraged the family to help her turn her hand to things she was passionate about from home instead.
So Lydia taught herself to code online, and developed her own social media platform dedicated to what she enjoyed - fitness and working out.
She learned to market her business by sending branded merchandise to people for them to post pictures of online.
Using those tricks she learned from the tech world, 24-year-old Lydia now runs Housemates, an online platform designed to help university students find housing, from offices in the UK, Ireland, Australia and soon Canada.
Lydia says the key is to "find what makes you tick".
"It's OK to be different," she says.
"Just keep on digging until you find that thing that keeps you up at night."