The Washington Independent
The Washington Independent

Zero Sales To 6 Figures: Tinley Entrepreneur Says 'Never Give Up'

Zero Sales To 6 Figures: Tinley Entrepreneur Says 'Never Give Up'

Malik Kurdi wanted to be his own boss. Determined to bring a better life to his family, Kurdi launched Exemplary Marketing​ in 2015.

Madihah Walls
Sep 24, 2021

Malik Kurdi wanted to be his own boss. Determined to bring a better life to his family, Kurdi launched Exemplary Marketing​ in 2015.

"My first two years, I had zero sales. I was driving Uber, then one day, I finally got a large sale, and said 'OK, this is legit,'" Kurdi said. (Malik Kurdi)

TINLEY PARK, IL — When now-24-year-old Malik Kurdi, of Tinley Park, graduated from high school, he knew college wasn't for him. After completing a two-year software development program, he took a leap of faith, starting his own marketing agency.

Kurdi, who previously worked with family, always wanted to own a business growing up. He said the 9-5 life "wasn't for him," and in 2015, decided to launch his company, Exemplary Marketing. The Chicago-based company specializes in social media marketing, application design, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, chatbots and blockchain.

"When I started my company, I was working at my father's restaurant, and I was tired of working for people, I wasn't getting paid enough, and I wasn't living the life I wanted to live," Kurdi said. "I decided to become an entrepreneur. I didn't want to go to school, and I knew I was smart, and I knew how to run a business."

Kurdi expanded his business further when he decided to add more app development, among other features. The entrepreneur has recently been interviewed by DotCom Magazine, a news platform providing interviews with newsmakers, thought leaders and entrepreneurs. Kurdi said he earned the "entrepreneur of the year" title in the past, and wants to encourage other young adults to chase their dreams, adding that the success didn't happen overnight.

"My first two years, I had zero sales. I was driving Uber, then one day, I finally got a large sale, and said 'OK, this is legit,'" Kurdi said. "I just kept working hard at it, and investing a lot of money in my website, using the money I was making from Uber. The business then grew, one deal to another — then the deals turned into six figures. It just kept going up from there, and my hard work was paying off."

The company is made up of 75 employees across the country. Kurdi said there are currently 95 different projects under way at the agency, and that the company has received even more inquires following the DotCom Magazine feature. The Tinley Park native said during the time when his business wasn't making a profit, his family was one of his biggest motivations.

"I have two little sisters, my mom and dad. I always see my dad working hard, so wanting to give them everything is what kept motivating me," Kurdi said. "I love giving. I don't want my sisters or mom to ever feel like they have to work. Now I can provide and take care of them."

After not knowing where this risky leap of faith would take him, Kurdi wants younger business developers to never give up on their dreams.

"Like I said, I literally didn't have any sales for two years, and now the business generates well over 6 figures a year. I have a billboard on I-294, and have plenty of interviews and client testimonials," Kurdi said. "I want other people to succeed, like I love spreading the love. You just have to work hard, and believe in yourself."

Learn more about Exemplary Marketing on its website.

Madihah Walls | Madihah Walls is an author who specializes in carriages, corsets, and smartwatches. Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Booklist have all given her books starred reviews. Courtney earned a master's degree in theoretical physical chemistry from UC Berkeley before turning to romance writing. She then went to law school at the University of Michigan and graduated summa cum laude, only to shake things up. After that, she did a few clerkships. She used to be a law professor. She is now a full-time writer.


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