Angie Hicks: Should You Join a Startup? It May be Well Worth it

February 27 - Sarah Ashlock

FIRST THOUGHT: Fixer-upper

If you’ve ever lived in an apartment, you know how maddening it can be to get the maintenance peeps over to fix something. I realize now that apartment living just prepares you for home ownership, where something goes wrong at least once a month, and where finding, scheduling, fixing is a full-time job in and of itself. It’s in those moments that you realize your reliance on everyday luxuries and those who have the virtuoso know-how to fix such things.

Ahem, can you tell I’m on day five of a fridge that doesn’t work? I feel like I’m doing one Top Chef pantry quickfire challenge after another. Thank you to every person out there who knows the difference between a condenser and a clogged coil. I cheers you with my glass of lukewarm tap water.


Many women are the ones in charge of household maintenance. It’s not as simple as it looks to either find the solution yourself or find someone who will figure it out for you. If you’re the former, mad props to you, girlfriend. Women are known for getting stuff done. Some data that backs up that statement: 13 percent of woman-owned companies have been in business for more than two decades.That’s a lot of problem solving, y’all.

WOMAN TO WATCH: Angie Hicks, Co-founder at Angie's List

Have you ever come across one of those businesses that has a person’s name in the title, only to find out there’s no actual Jason or Julie? Today’s biz isn’t that. Angie’s List was started in 1995 by a real-life Angie—Angie Hicks. If you’ve been one of the fortunate women who haven’t had a single home repair, maybe you don’t know about Angie’s List. For the rest of us, the site is our go-to destination.

To say Angie Hicks was a pioneer is an understatement. Back in the mid-90s, the Internet generated search results in the form of files, like you’d see in your downloads folder. Your cursor was still mostly an hourglass, and images looked about as clear as 20/40 vision. The means for finding repairmen and women were still the trusty, massive Yellow Pages that the mail carrier plopped on your doorstep.

Angie came up with the idea of an online platform to connect companies and customers after an internship led to a job offer at an accounting firm. During those early days, Angie wanted to get the word out about her idea but did not have a single employee, so she would sell subscriptions to Angie’s List by going door to door. Her company has since evolved and flourished; in fact, it’s now worth half a billion dollars.

Aside from simply having a fantastic business idea, Angie’s growth didn’t come by chance. Instead of accepting her first offer at one of the “Big Five” accounting firms, Angie accepted a position that led to and influenced the launch of her site, in which she curated lists of reputable blue-collar individuals in Columbus, Ohio. Much of Angie’s journey has to do with her mentor—and now business partner—who saw what Angie could become, from meek to managerial.

When 22-year-old Angie was debating about joining her mentor’s startup, her grandfather offered some perspective. He explained that there’s no difference between looking for a job at 22 or 23; that, sure, you don’t want to make a mistake, but sometimes, you have to just go for it. In Angie’s case, taking a risk proved to be well worth it.


Let’s finish with a quote by our Woman to Watch, Angie Hicks:

"Anyone can have a big idea, but if you can't get past the falling-in-love phase and ride it through the hard part, you'll end up giving up."

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