Stephanie Burns is the founder of Chic CEO and Clever Hub. After winning some money on the game show, Wheel of Fortune, she used her winnings to create an online resource that any female entrepreneur could use to get a business started. Read our interview with the lovely Stephanie below…
What motivated and inspired you to start your own business?
In 2008, the recession hit pretty hard and all of my dear girlfriends were losing their jobs. At the time, I was in grad school getting my MBA. Panicked, they all came to me asking how to start a business so they could try and make ends meet. I had no idea what to tell them. Getting your MBA does not teach you how to start a business. You are just learning business strategies. So I tried to find a resource for them that they could use – and came up short. I decided that my brilliant and savvy friends needed a place they could turn to in order to get their questions answered and that’s how I came up with the idea for Chic CEO. I ended up making it my final project for my MBA as well. Once grad school was over, I got laid off myself. I quickly took the business plan off the shelf and got to work.
Tell us about your business.
Chic CEO is an online resource for female entrepreneurs. It provides the ground level information anyone needs to get a business started. From how to get your EIN to how to write a press release, it’s all there and it’s all FREE. Clever Hub is an automation software that will pretty much run your business for you. We use it to run the whole of Chic CEO and manage our 100k subscribers. It’s a CRM, Email Marketing Platform that can also build landing pages, autoresponders, text message campaigns, surveys, project management and more.
Are you currently running any promos/contests/giveaways that you would like our readers to know about?
The 3 Day Chic Start on Chic CEO is a great place for anyone to get started. It’s 3 days of homework delivered right to your inbox.
- Top 10 Best Websites for Female Entrepreneurs by Forbes
- Top 50 Best Websites for Entrepreneurs by Inc
Where is your business based?
That’s the best part about being an online business! We are virtual – my husband and I have moved 3 times in the last 2 years, even spending a few months in Bali. So there is no physical “home-base”.
What were the first few steps you took to get your business up and running?
Talking to the people I was trying to serve. I created Chic CEO to help my friends. I knew they wanted it, but I had no idea how many people needed it. From there, I started researching the questions they had.
What has been the most effective way of raising awareness of your business and getting new customers?
Press. Do your best to get media attention.
What have been your biggest challenges so far?
When we started, we had zero budget for marketing or anything else. It was definitely a challenge, but we got VERY creative and quite scrappy. I’m really thankful for that!
How did you overcome these challenges?
By not taking no for an answer and asking for things we needed even if it was unreasonable or crazy. You’d be surprised how often you get a “yes.”
How do you keep motivated through difficult times?
I’ve been described on more than one occasion as being tenacious. I think that my tenacity is what keeps me going.
How do you distinguish yourself from your competitors?
We aren’t claiming to be experts or provide you with a magic bullet. Chic CEO is just a knowledge portal – anyone can do what we did. It’s simply research packaged up nicely.
What is the best advice you have received recently?
“If you want something different, DO something different.” I’ve heard this a million times and then finally it stuck. It really is true. Stop complaining/whining and take some action.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs?
Sales is the backbone of your business. Don’t believe the people who say “Follow your passion and the money will come.” That is the worst motto an entrepreneur can adopt. Don’t believe it. “Make some sales and the money will come.” If you aren’t comfortable with selling, you won’t be comfortable being an entrepreneur. Invest in learning how to sell.
What is your favorite business tool or resource?
Clever Hub! It’s hands down the best tool I’ve ever used – it does everything for me all in one place.
What social media outlets do you use? List them below.
Instagram @ChicCEO, @CleverHub
Twitter @ChicCEO, @StephanieABurns
Facebook Group www.facebook.com/groups/164689153720951
Website www.chic-ceo.com and www.clever-hub.com
What is a good article or book you have read recently?
“Better Than Before” by Gretchen Rubin.
What are you currently learning about for your business or looking for help with?
I am working on persuasive copy writing. I usually just write like I talk, and never hard sell. So I’m trying to work on getting better at selling via copy – without feeling like I’m hard-pitching.
What are your goals for the next few months and how are you striving to achieve them?
My goals are to get other entrepreneurs using Clever Hub to help them run their businesses. When you automate as much as possible, everything runs smoother and easier – leaving you more time to create content, coach clients, serve customers, etc. It’s an amazing tool and we couldn’t have grown Chic CEO without it.