Perhaps the best day for former em-ployees comes when they can finally answer to the moniker "entrepreneur." But the second-best has to be when they answer to "industry expert."
Brad Aronson, founder of i-frontier Corp., heard those sweet words early on when a client suggested he write an article for an Internet-marketing newsletter. This led to an invitation to speak at a conference, where Aronson signed his first two large clients. Aronson, 28, now leads 30 employees in creating Internet advertising for lucrative clients like The Discovery Channel, 1-800-FLOWERS and SmithKline Beecham, and has co-authored a book, Advertising on the Internet (John Wiley & Sons).
"I learned it all myself. I bought every book [and] subscribed to every magazine," says Aronson who started his company in 1996 with only a computer in his bedroom. "There weren't [many] people doing Internet advertising [then]. By actually getting my hands dirty and doing the work, we became the experts."
In the brief off-time he has, Aronson volunteers with A Better Chance, a group home where students from inner cities can live while at-tending good public schools. "It's easy to spend the time I'm not working thinking about the business," says Aronson, who, as a host parent with his wife, Mia, spends time with students on an individual basis. "Volunteering reminds me there are issues more important than the decisions that come with owning a business."
I-frontier made $8 million last year, and Aronson, who expects to top $20 million this year, has no plans of slowing down. "We're considered one of the top Internet ad agencies," he says, "and I want to make sure we stay on top."