Business

Rejection came; so did success

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The gig: Founder and chief marketing officer of Angie's List, a home improvement directory that combines business listings with consumer reviews.

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."

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