Education: Bachelor's in economics, DePauw University; master's, Harvard Business School.
First job: Sold popcorn and hot dogs at the Fort Wayne Children's Zoo in Indiana at age 16. Salary: $4 an hour.
Got the idea: When her friend Bill Oesterle had trouble finding a contractor for his home, the pair figured there should be a better way for consumers to share information. They went on to found Angie's List together.
First steps: Started Angie's List in 1995 right out of college. Answered phones and went door to door in Columbus, Ohio, to market the business and sign up members.
On the path: Angie's List, based in Indianapolis, expands into new markets every year; today it has more than 600,000 members in 124 cities. In 1998, Hicks enrolled in business school. A year later, Angie's List added a website to its call-in business.
Number of times she wanted to quit: "Every time someone shut the door in my face."
First big purchase: A pair of $300 Joan & David shoes.
Daydream job: Stay-at-home mom to her three children, ages 4, 21 months and 7 months. "Little kids, they just know so much and watching them is so fun. You learn a ton."
Strangest request: People often ask whether Angie's List could provide consumer ratings on dating services. "We just haven't done it yet. We're always adding new categories, so I can't say that it would be out of the question."
Do you have an idea for
How I Made It, an occasional
feature about successful
If so, please send it to email@example.com.