W100 ranking #89
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 Clarkewas frustrated by the poorly written pressreleases that came across her desk. “Ugh,the bad spelling, horrible grammar — andsometimes they didn’t even make sense!”she says. Marrying the need for editingservices and her love of technology(“I’m a computer geek.”), she developedthe first version of Scribendi.com in herbasement in 1997. Through onlinemarketing and advertising, awarenessand demand grew steadily. “We’ve builta substantial following on both Facebookand Twitter because we got in early andfigured it out.” Today the companyhas clients and remote editors acrossthe globe and reviews more than2.3 million words per week.
When the volume ofrequests grew to the point that Chandracouldn’t do it all herself, she knew shehad to hire support staff — and move outof her basement. “I remember the feelingof moving into actual offices with myname 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.”
Words of advice
“Don’t bet therent on your business. If you do, you’rein a position of weakness and have toaccept work that isn’t in your game plan.”
Being anentrepreneur has allowed Chandra, whois expecting baby number four, to havea flexible lifestyle, which includes homeschoolingher kids with her husband andbusiness partner, Terry Johnson. “Wedo split shifts — he’ll go to the office earlyin the morning and do his thing until 1or 2 p.m. while I’m home doing lessons,and then we’ll swap.”