Interview with Stephanie Burns — Founder of Chic CEO

Stephanie Burns, Founder of Chic CEOTell us a little bit about yourself and your entrepreneurial journey.

Chic CEO is an online platform for female entrepreneurs. We give women the how-to information, tools and community they need when getting a business started.

I first thought of the idea when I was in grad school in 2008 and all of my girlfriends were getting laid off from their jobs. They were all scrambling to pay their bills, so a lot of them turned to small side projects or businesses to make ends meet. So they were coming to me with a lot of questions on how to get a business started. I had no idea what to tell them, I was getting my MBA sure, but I was learning high-level concepts like global marketing, strategic management, etc. So I started looking around for a resource for them and couldn’t find anything I liked. So I wrote the business plan for the business as my final thesis. Then a year later, I got laid like they did and so I pulled the business plan off the shelf and got to work.

A few months later, I got cast to be a contestant on the Wheel of Fortune and I won $12,000! When that happened, I knew I had the money to get Chic CEO started.

Using the money, I was able to launch Chic CEO in December of 2010 and by June of 2011, we were named one of the Top 10 Entrepreneurial Websites for Women by Forbes and every year since.

What do you believe has contributed to your success?

Tenacity. I believe being tenacious about achieving your goals is the #1 contributor to doing just that.

How are you currently growing Chic CEO?

We utilize partnerships, social media, blogging opportunities and providing good content.

As an online publisher, how are monetizing your site?

We have a membership program called the Chic Elite Program (www.chicceoelite.com) and we sell advertising on our email newsletter and website.

What is your biggest source of traffic?

Our largest source of traffic is our blog on Forbes and social media.

What is the biggest mistake you see new entrepreneurs make?

Feeling like they can’t talk about their idea for fear someone will steal it. No one has time to steal your idea, so get out there, start talking about it and start asking for help.

What advice do you have for other women who want to start their own business?

To forget the notion that everything has to be perfect before you just get started. You must accept that within 90 days, EVERYTHING will be different, so trying to get everything perfect now is just a waste of time. It’s like planning for 3 months to lose weight instead of just getting to the gym and trying out all of the machines to see what works. Results will come faster in the latter.

On those “don’t feel like it days” — what motivates you to keep going?

I give myself a break. I used to push through, but now if I’m really feeling like I need a break, I let myself take one. I might go to a yoga class, take a walk, meet up with friends or simply lay on the couch. Recognize when you aren’t being effective, take a break, and then get back to work when you feel more productive.

How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?

With as much automation as I can! I use Podio for our internal team, Google calendars for my appointments, Chic Works for our marketing automation and Siri to catch all of the little reminders that pop in my head while driving or keeping me up in the middle of the night.

Connect with Stephanie Burns and Chic CEO …

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