Angie Hicks: The One Thing a Startup Entrepreneur Should Never Do

Last Updated Apr 7, 2011 7:28 PM EDT

Angie Hicks is the founder of Angie's List, a website that collects consumer reviews in more than 500 service categories -- everything from doctors to contractors. More than 1.5 million consumers across the U.S. rely on those reviews because Hicks refused to let her idea land in what she calls "the idea scrap heap."


"I get questions all the time from people who have great ideas about a new business and wonder how to launch it. Even more important than the "Great Idea," is the ability to not give up when you hit roadblocks. Whether you really have found the next great big idea or not, you're going to get rejected. You're going to have people hang up on you or turn their backs when you ask for help to launch it. There are some great ideas sitting on the scrap heap today that withered because the person who came up with them just couldn't see them through. Angie's List easily could have been one of those.

I shed a lot of tears when I first started my business in Columbus. I was a shy, 22-year-old in a new town working with just $50,000 to start a business from scratch. I forced myself to knock on doors, introduce myself to people and ask them for advice about who they'd hired, who was good, who was bad, and if they'd pay for a trustworthy service that would help make their lives as homeowners easier.

In those first twelve months, I learned what I was made of, as well as what it takes to succeed. I knew I had a reliable solution to a real problem, and if I could just keep at it, I knew I'd find customers. After that first year, we had 1,000 customers and a reason to keep going in Columbus. Soon after that, we raised some more money, borrowed some, and bought the Indianapolis service that had inspired us in the first place. We've since grown into a nationwide presence in more than 200 cities and more than 1.5 million members."

Check out last week's Startup Tip of the Week:
  • Donna Fenn

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