I first got started in the hobby when I was in high school overseas. Back then it was just about keeping fish, and I was able to turn it into a bit of cash: I saw a lot of business (restaurants, office receptions etc) with filthy tanks and offered my services as a cleaner/maintainer.
Fast forward to adulthood when I got back into it with a proverbial 10G. Thats when I started with live plants, mainly for the sake of the fish: I firmly believe in giving them as natural an environment as possible which of course includes live plants. While I wish I could channel the late Amano and actually come up with something attractive, my first priority is happy fish.