Anik Singal, 25
College Park, Md.
When Anik Singal was a pre-med student, he decided medicine wasn't for him—much to the chagrin of his parents. Instead, Singal wanted to try his hand at business. Determined to support his business venture on his own, he searched the Web for ways to make money and found a forum where he says he was thrilled to learn that people were "making six figures from their basements." He learned all he could. Soon he was doing consulting, with the plan to self-finance his own online venture. In January 2005, he launched Affiliate Classroom, a training site, charging fees starting at $30 a month to people who want to become affiliate marketers and one-time fees of up to $5,000 to companies that use affiliates.
Blaming the affiliate marketing industry's negative reputation on "misperceptions and a few bad apples," Singal says his business has been profitable since its first year, with revenues increasing 100% year over year. In 2007, he opened offices in Mumbai and Hyderabad and had around $1.5 million in revenue. Today, Singal, who ended up graduating with a degree in finance from the University of Maryland at College Park, says the business has 10 staffers and 15 contractors. He expects $2.5 million to $2.8 million in revenues in 2008.