What It Does: Online marketing agency
Founder: Shama Kabani, 24
Web Site: www.clicktoclient.com
While completing her master's degree in organizational communication at the University of Texas at Austin, Shama Kabani wrote her thesis on why people use Twitter and other social networking sites. She became convinced businesses could use the tools to market their products and services. But when Kabani made that pitch as she applied for jobs at big management consulting firms such as McKinsey and Bain & Co. in 2006, she was rejected. "At that point, nobody really cared for social media knowhow. They were just thinking, 'This is a fad. Our clients don't really need it.' " Undeterred, Kabani, whose parents are both entrepreneurs, founded her own full-service online marketing firm in March 2008, to build Web sites, handle SEO, and create and manage social media campaigns. The six-employee business now takes on about 25 one-off projects a month and also acts as an online marketing department for six regular clients on a retainer basis. Fees range from a few hundred dollars for a newsletter design to $2,500 for a Web site project; monthly retainer fees start around $2,500. Kabani says Click To Client had about $120,000 in revenue in 2008, expects $280,000 for 2009, and is shooting for $1 million in 2010. Her first book, The Zen of Social Media Marketing, is due out in April.