Interviews with Entrepreneurs

Stephanie Burns, Founder & CEO of Chic CEO

What prompted you to start your business?
I started Chic CEO out of frustration. I was getting my MBA while working full time and wished there were a place for me to get the ground level business information I needed without the MBA. I knew there were other women out there that didn’t have time to go to business school that needed business knowledge. So I created it.

Scenario: you meet a business exec who is looking to fund a cause that already has had enormous positive implications for the community locally and abroad. He wishes to offer $25,000 to a cause that is innovative in its thinking. He has 10 minutes available to speak with you.  What do you share with him about your work?
I would want him (or her!!) to know that the information we share on Chic CEO isn’t blue sky. It’s concrete, easy-to-understand and easy-to-implement. If it’s not implementable, it’s not on Chic CEO. We offer all of our information for free so that any woman can get the starting information she needs to be in business. It’s written in a fun, sassy way and our readers really respond to that.

For most successful entrepreneurs, there is no typical day so give us a sample of your schedule from start to finish.
I wake up around 5:30 or 6am usually and I lay in bed and read. I love to read business books, but I try and take this time to read things that are fun and interesting – mostly fiction. I get up around 8am watch the news as I get ready and get to the office around 9am. I work until around 4:30 or 5pm and head home. If I don’t have a networking event that evening, I make myself dinner and continue working until around 10pm when I go to bed. Along the way I fit in my puppy and yoga. ;)

What are your “can’t live without” apps on your desktop/cell phone?

What are your tricks for time management?
Power Hour – Take an hour everyday to shut down your email program, silence your phone (and hide it in your purse!) and work on an important project.

Best advice received when you started your career?
Everything doesn’t have to be perfect to get started. Just start.

Given the current economic climate, how has your strategy for building awareness of your work changed for the short-term and long-term?
We are fortunate that because of the economy, more women are looking to start businesses, so we haven’t had to change our strategy due to the economy. Women are seeking out the kind of information we provide.

What’s been your proudest achievement as such an immensely accomplished Entrepreneur?
Being named in the Top 10 Entrepreneurial Site for Women in 2011 by FORBES.

What are some of the ways that you achieve balance in your life?
I spend time with my girlfriends as often as I can. Laughing is my favorite thing to do and I have some really funny friends!

Your top 3 book recommendations for our readers (and why?)

If you had an exceptional month and earned double of your average month, what (if anything) would you spend it on?
More advertising for Chic CEO!

What are some of your most rewarding charitable involvements and why?
Chic CEO holds monthly events where we sponsor a charity. In addition, we set aside some money for our Chic Seed Fund where we will give the money to a local entrepreneur who needs some startup capital. I think they are all rewarding.

Who has been the most influential person to you as you’ve advanced in your career?
An old friend of mine’s father was a very successful business owner. He had a way of breaking down very complex business principles into simplistic terms. He made it seem so easy and I have always admired his savvy.

What’s your advice to someone interested in entrepreneurship?
We all have doubts when we are getting started. Be sure to have a support group that you can turn to when you hit these moments of doubt. You must recognize when you are in these low states and turn to people who share your vision, know your value and can remind you why you are doing what you are doing.

STEPHANIE BURN’S BIO
Stephanie Burns, a mid-westerner at heart, is the founder and co-owner of Chic CEO. With a background in brand building, media buying and entrepreneurship, Burns has wide experience with an eclectic portfolio of industries. While pursuing her MBA, Stephanie decided to launch a web resource any woman could use and understand without obtaining her business degree. As CEO, her vision for Chic CEO is to become a nationally recognized brand and reliable resource for female entrepreneurs. Originally from Nebraska, Stephanie has been in San Diego for 10 years, enjoys being active and spending time with loved ones.

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