Angie Hicks builds Angie's List from Indianapolis home base

Indianapolis-based company boasts 1,300 employees

INDIANAPOLIS - Angie Hicks calls Indianapolis home. Her family is here. Her business is here. However, her name is absolutely everywhere.

That's because Angie Hicks is the "Angie" in Angie’s List.

Hicks founded the company in 1995 with a partner who now serves as CEO. To date, Angie's role is chief marketing officer, a role she admits she wasn't ready to play.

"Naturally, I'm an analytical person. I love to do spreadsheets and things like that. So, I also had to learn to be the marketing person and the PR person," she told Beth Vaughn in an interview earlier this month.

That role was placed on her lap once the company, first named "Columbus Neighbors," was rebranded as Angie's List.  

"If you think back, 1995 was pre-Internet days," Hicks said.

In 1995, the company started with a magazine and call-in service about the service providers rated as the "best in town." However, when the Internet came on the scene, everything changed.

To put it in perspective, Hicks said it took her company 16 years to collect a million household customers. It's taken just 16 months to double that number.

Right now, 90 percent of those who depend on Angie's List find the Internet to be the easiest way to get the information they need. However, a monthly magazine and an accessible call-in center are always available.

"Angie's List doesn't necessarily cover every single company in town. We're looking for the companies that consumers have rated well and that can service the members," Hicks said.

Angie's List offers 550 categories of service reviews in 200 different markets. About 1,300 employees, mainly based at a business park just east of downtown Indianapolis, work the phones and sell advertising for the site.

However, if a company receives less than an "A" or "B" rating from customers who review on Angie's List, the company has the right to pull ads. That's not a comfortable situation for businesses who find themselves on the struggling ratings-wise, but Hicks said it is part of upholding an Angie's List promise.

Angie’s List aims to be a place where consumers, both current and potential, can find the strongest-rated health care providers, plumbers or even exterminators.

Being the face of Angie's List has taken Hicks all over the country. She is in charge of national marketing.

In fact, a cartoon version of her face is on awards the company gives out. With all that responsibility, Hicks maintains focus on what's most important.

"Surround yourself with great people. That can sometimes be better than the idea," she said about finding success with Angie's List.

If it's 6 p.m., don't expect to see Hicks still in her Indianapolis office.

"If I'm not traveling, I'm at the dinner table," she said.

Being at the dinner table by 6 p.m. is a priority for Hicks. It's how she said she's able to manage a marriage, three elementary school-aged children and her position at Angie's List.

However, she knows better than to assume her recipe for success matches anyone else's.

"Sometimes we convince people that there is this ultimate superhuman that can have the perfect work- life balance. And I don't think it's a one size fits all. I think it's really important to you as the individual," she said.

Those beliefs are part of why Angie's List recently opened a day care on site and continues to offer wellness programs and a gym to its employees.

Hicks is a graduate of DePauw University. She told RTV6 that before launching what would become Angie's List after college, she worked as a server at Ryan’s Steak House and as an employee at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo.

Now that she's found professional success, she looks for opportunities to mentor other young goal-minded people.

Hicks said her message is always to seize opportunities as they become available and always keep your eyes open for the next one to come along.
 

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