Game show win helps launch Point Loma woman’s dream career
by Mariko Lamb
Jan 03, 2013 | 2044 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Stephanie Burns of Point Loma used her winnings from her appearance on “Wheel of Fortune” to start her own business, Chic CEO.
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Burns now has tools to help other women do the same

Starting a business can be a daunting task for any woman with a great idea.

Local entrepreneur and co-founder of Chic CEO, Stephanie Burns, discovered this early on while she was still in graduate school.

“I realized there are so many women out there that have great ideas — and they’re super smart — but they just don’t have the time to go to business school,” said Burns.

“A lot of my girlfriends at the time were starting side businesses. We were all in our late 20s and early 30s, and we all started having the same questions,” she said.

She discovered that many of those burgeoning questions could not be answered by one, all-encompassing, easy-to-use source.

“I started noticing women couldn’t find the information they needed and nobody was really serving them, so I thought, ‘I want to create a business website that’s fun, savvy and very smart, but also appeals to women my age,’” she said.

From that point on, Burns made it her goal to ensure that no other woman felt lost when it came to potentially making one of the best decisions of her life.

After getting laid off from her job — while still in the whirlwind of developing her new business — Burns had auditioned for the popular game show “Wheel of Fortune” with her younger brother.

The brother-sister duo was asked to appear on the show in February 2010 during Family Week, winning about $12,000. Using her portion of the winnings, Burns seeded Chic CEO’s website and design campaign, launching her business into the stratosphere of web-based advisory businesses.

“There are a lot of great resources out there that provide information, but there’s not really one place that speaks to women like we do,” she said. “We provide everything women need to get started in business.”

The first step?

“Just get started,” she said. “We don’t all have to know all the answers to get started. We’ll figure it out along the way. Your business is always changing just like you are. You can’t make it perfect from the start.”

Burns makes it her goal to provide a little fundamental assistance, with the aim of allowing any woman to get started on any range of businesses from wedding planning to tax preparation and everything in between.

Chic CEO gets down to the basics by providing step-by-step information, downloadable templates, a “3-Day Chic Start,” and myriad other easy-to-use resources for women entrepreneurs to kick-start their business.

“There is a fundamental ABC, 123 to starting a business that for some reason is really hard to find on the Internet, and we just think that’s ridiculous. Our goal is just to provide value for women to start their own business,” Burns said.

“We honestly believe that no woman should ever feel stupid in starting their own business. They should have all the information they need to be successful,” she said.

Once that business is finally realized, Chic CEO won’t leave its clients high and dry. It also provides a support network of entrepreneurial women who have started or are in the process of starting their own businesses with monthly networking mixers in conjunction with 6 Degrees San Diego.

“Those mixers are really important for women to make connections and trade ideas in a really relaxing, non-intimidating environment,” Burns said.

Chic CEO hosted its biggest mixer of the year this summer to share business ideas, garner advice from other women and have a good time over complimentary drinks and appetizers with like-minded professionals.

“I got laid off twice, and working for somebody else — having my livelihood in someone else’s hands — scares me a lot more than being an entrepreneur,” said Burns, urging women to take that first, intimidating step.

“I think a lot of women are finding that the answer to this is taking their opportunity in their own hands and get started with what they really want to be working on,” she said. “Even though it’s a little scary, I sure am happier.”

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