President, Scribendi.com, an online editing and proofreading company
2011 revenue: $1–$2 million, more than doubling in the past three years
Employees: 19 full-time, 192 part-time, in 60 countries
Why we love her: Because she started out in a basement and now her reach is global.
As a newspaper editor, Chandra Clarke was frustrated by the poorly written press releases that came across her desk. “Ugh,the bad spelling, horrible grammar — and sometimes they didn’t even make sense!”she says. Marrying the need for editing services and her love of technology(“I’m a computer geek.”), she developed the first version of Scribendi.com in her basement in 1997. Through on line marketing and advertising, awareness and demand grew steadily. “We’ve built substantial following on both Face book and Twitter because we got in early and figured it out.” Today the company has clients and remote editors across the globe and reviews more than 2.3 million words per week.
When the volume of requests grew to the point that Chandra couldn’t do it all herself, she knew she had to hire support staff — and move out of her basement. “I remember the feeling of moving into actual offices with my name on the door. I kept having ‘Movin’ On Up,’ the theme from The Jeffersons,running in my head.”
“We provide services 24hours a day. A sleepy student in Scotlandcan upload a term paper to our site at 3a.m. A wide awake editor in Australia willtake the job and have the work proofreadand returned before the student rolls outof bed in the morning.”