Alright ladies, welcome to this very special episode of The joyful scaling Podcast. Today you’re going to hear from a woman who is a unique combination of smart, savvy and super fun. You’ve got to check out her website, but I’m getting ahead of myself. welcome Stephanie burns. I discovered her through her Forbes women’s articles. She is prolific as a contributor there. But that is only one snippet of her extraordinariness. Stephanie is the founder of the wild agency. It’s an amplification and visibility agency focused on building the legacy and personal brands of company founder. So I so relate to this. This is so good. She has a background in brand building media buying strategy and entrepreneurship. And she has wide experience with an eclectic portfolio of industries with an MBA in marketing. She’s a contributor, as I said to Forbes women, as well as entrepreneur and today, and she’s been featured in crazy notable press outlets like a Fast Company, Wall Street Journal, Fox Business and New York Times just to name a few. And here’s a fun fact about Stephanie. After being a contestant on The Wheel of Fortune, she used her winnings to launch her previous company chic CEO, which is an online resource for over 100,000 female entrepreneurs. You know, Stephanie’s my kind of girl. Welcome to the show. Thank you yours. Okay.
It was a great intro.
Oh, my goodness, you know, there’s so much I want to ask you, I could spend hours with you. But I know we only have about 30 minutes. But your website, Stephanie hyphen burns, calm is so super engaging. It is so fun. And one quote in particular that I so related to, you quoted your mom when she said, I don’t understand what you do. Since so many of our listeners here are entrepreneurs. That is just I had to mention that that is just so good.
Yeah, I think pretty much everybody that I’ve ever talked to who’s a female entrepreneur, their parents don’t get it. They don’t understand what we do. So I don’t even know if she still knows. I literally, I think it was six months ago, she asked me she goes you write on the today’s show. And I was like, Mom, well, I write on the Today Show websites, like, you know, one of their channels. But yes, where have you been? She one of my friends told me it’s an O.
Reminds me of Seinfeld. Remember that old show when his mom and dad would always want to give him money? Oh, yeah, there’s no way you could be making enough money as a comedian. You know, they just anyway. Well, listen, one of the things I also wanted to really chat about and dedicate this episode two is something you call unreasonable requests. It’s a skill that you mentioned, allowed you to do some crazy things. Let’s talk about that. Like, just if you can give us some background on where it came up.
Sure. an unreasonable requests is my most favorite thing to talk about in the whole wide world. It is something that was born out of necessity. And so what it is at its at its core is asking for big things. And getting a yes, too often, we go about our day thinking, you know, I could never ask for this thing, or ask this person for their help on whatever this is. Because obviously, they’re gonna say no. And when you get to a point where your backs against the wall, and you do have to ask for something there is it can be very scary. But sometimes there’s a moment where people say yes, and that’s where I was. That’s what where this came from. And once I started to practice it a little bit more, and I can go into how it came about. But I finally figured out I’m getting yeses way more than getting nose. And that was super exciting. And how it came about was my business partner, my previous business partner, Jody and I, when she was very new. We I used my wheel of fortune winnings, right to build a website if she CEO, that was all the money I had had, because I had just gotten laid off from my job. And this was 2009 ish, right? 2009. And everybody was getting laid off. And so that’s why I created Sheik CEO, everybody had come to me and said, you know, how do you start a business? How do you get a business started? And I kept saying, I don’t know, why are you asking me this? And he said, Well, you’re getting your MBA, aren’t you learning how to start a business? And he said, Well, no, I’m learning how to run a business. That’s what an MBA teaches you. They don’t teach you what paperwork to fill out and what you know, legal entity you should be or how to say for your taxes. So that’s how I came up with the idea of Sheik CEO. I thought, well, there’s got to be a checklist somewhere. This isn’t rocket science. People start businesses every day. Well, there is no checklist there really is not. And so that’s how chic CEO came about. Back then, there wasn’t, you know, the Squarespace is in the mixes of the world and the weeklies, and all these website editors for me to just go and create my own website, I had to pay 10 grand to somebody to create this huge website that I had dreamed up. So we had no money to market ourselves to do anything, you know, crazy. And so Jody and I started going to networking events, and we were networking our little hearts out. And we were going to probably four or five events a week, breakfast events, luncheons, cocktail hours, just simply trying to get the word out. And we had this massive vase in our office filled with business cards, 1000s of them. And we were getting pretty burnt out, and we were getting really tired. And we finally realized, you know, we should probably do something here where people are coming to us. And we decided that we were going to have our own networking events. And then people women could come to us and we could save our energy and our, our liver from all the wine, you know. And so, our very first event, we thought, okay, it has to be chic, right? This is chic CEO. So Jodi called up the W Hotel in downtown San Diego, and said, We want to host an event at your venue on, you know, this date or around this date. We want to bring about 100 women there. You know, can you host us? And the, you know, event manager was like, Yeah, well, here’s our food and beverage minimum, as you do. And God said, Yeah, we we can’t pay that we’re not gonna pay that money. But we will bring 100 women to your venue on a Wednesday night. And we’re gonna invite the press, and you know, it’s going to be this big event. Can you give everybody a cocktail and some appetizers? And they were like, oh, yeah, sure.
Wow, I’m gonna try that does not compute. You know, like, we were shorting out. And we were like, what, and that night we had, you know, I don’t know how many people ended up coming 80 or 100, or something like that. They paid 20 bucks apiece, and we kept all of it. All of the women that showed up all the press, those people ended up buying a second drink or staying for dinner in their restaurant. You know, it was a great exchange, it was a great value exchange for the both of us. And we ended up running these events all over San Diego, for the next like three years, every single month. It different venues. And we marketed for them. We brought people there on a slow night, we ended up extending out these these events into LA to Portland to New York. And so that was our first really big, unreasonable request. And Jody admitted at the time she thought her her boyfriend who’s now her husband, he ran a networking events company. And so when she told him what she did, he was like, How in the world? Yeah. Crazy. She She literally looked at him and said, but I thought that’s how you did it. I thought that’s how you did it. And he was like, no, no, that is not how I did I do I will now. Ah, she asked because she thought that’s how it was done. And we got to Yes. And so that really taught us a big lesson. And so it turned into Jody and I would start asking for crazy big stuff, as a way to get the things we needed in our business. But also as a way to make ourselves giggle. You know, we was very entertaining. It’s entertaining now just telling you the story. You know, and so it really turned into a big part of our culture at shake CEO. It was it was not about getting things for free. But it was about a really sound value exchange to move our goals forward and to move another person’s goals forward. And so that’s, you know, that’s the whole concept of unreasonable requests and just asking for something big. offering something big in return, and then getting very surprised when you get to guess.
Yes, you know, I have to say me reaching out to you felt like an unreasonable request. Oh, embolden to do that? Because and now you might remember the email I’m like, Okay, I’m making an unreasonable request. I want you on my show. I don’t know you don’t know. We just met but and you were so gracious that it’s just so awesome. Well, let’s let’s break down this unreasonable request skill, so that we can all learn how to do this because this is good. Gotta have guts. And there’s other stuff to go along with it. So what’s the first thing you mentioned? Inventory, your value. Tell us about that?
Yeah. So the first thing you have to do is just really inventory, your value, your skill sets, what you have to offer, a lot of people come into thinking about unreasonable requests, as these are the these are the things that I need, right? These are the assets that I want to make for myself or my business or move my thing forward. That is so backwards. I know it’s counterintuitive to think of it not is that way. But you have to start with your value in what you can offer first, because if you don’t, you will not be able to spot opportunities as they pop up. And that is the magic of unreasonable requests. If you can’t quickly say, I can offer this valuable thing to you, in exchange for this valuable thing that you have. You, there’s gonna be so much that you miss, it’s like having blinders on. So the first thing that I always say to do is, is inventory your value. Do you have a truck that sits in your driveway? You know, three or four days out of the week? Can somebody borrow that truck for the weekend and make a little money off of it? Do you have office space in your, in your building that isn’t being used? Do you have a network of 100,000 female entrepreneurs? Like we had? You know, can you whip up a website in a night? Can you write copy? Can you can you write a little jingle for podcast episodes kid? What do you have that you can? You can that is a value that you can offer up just inventorying all of those things is going to set you up for success more than taking an inventory of what you need. Yeah, that makes sense. Yes,
I love this for so many in so many ways, not the least of which is, in my experience working only with women. And I’m sure you’ll you found this too. We tend to underestimate the value of ourselves. And you know, I don’t know even for me, it’s somehow I can look at somebody else. And I’m getting better at this. But it seems that we can look at somebody else and in picking out all of their awesomeness is easy. But somehow looking at us, you know, the first thing that pops up is all our flaws. You know, all the all the shortcomings. Have you found that to be true? Oh, yeah,
absolutely. And you know, as a complete aside of this, you know how hard it is to write your own bio. I mean, isn’t that so tough is I remember, like, sitting there with God. We had our desks smashed up together so that we just stared at each other’s faces all day, which is so fun. And I remember at one point, we’re trying to read our bios for something. And I was like, I can’t, I can’t. I was like, how about I write yours and you write mine. And I write down all your awesome stuff. And you write down all mine. And it worked out perfectly. Because that you’re so right. It’s so hard to see our awesomeness. And so I mean, even have somebody else, it down for you. So you know it, you know, so hard.
Hard, you could blow your own mind when you read what somebody else wrote.
My mind this morning just started this morning. I was like, I’m done. Yeah. So
it’s like below me look at what I could do. Well, this whole thing, this whole idea of asking for big, audacious things, and getting a yes is totally in alignment with my like life mission in my work with my clients, which is pursue the impossible, like, like, whatever may seem impossible now. And you may look at somebody else who’s made the seven figures or somebody else who’s like you has gotten a gig on a major media outlet, you might say, that’s not possible for me. Well, ladies, you know, if you’re not taking notes, you better start because this is exactly where it begins, where you look at the impossible, you identify what that impossible thing is that you really would love to have, and then you start believing you can have it and you know, Stephanie has given you the step by step to get it right.
Right and, and you will be so surprised at the frequency of the yeses that come your way and the doors that open. If you actually go for it. You actually ask for it. You know, and I say this all the time. If you don’t ask for it. It’s a 100% know, if you do ask for it. You cut down the statistics of a yes or no by 50%. Hmm. Your notes. It wasn’t 100%. Now it’s a 50%. I mean, those are great odds. Yeah. So, I mean, asking for it is, is, you’re so surprised. I’m continually surprised.
Okay, so now we inventory our value and our skill set and what it is we have to offer. The next step is getting verbally uncomfortable. Tell us about that.
Yeah. So when you want to start asking for bigger things, and right unroot first of all, unreasonable means something different to all of us, just like probably for you, you find impossible means something different for all of us. You know, it’s possible for me to, you know, ask for a discount, you know, or it’s unreasonable for me to ask for a discount that might be unreasonable for you, that might not be unreasonable for me, right? That’s, it’s not. But once we start to stretch ourselves, what becomes impossible shifts and changes, what becomes unreasonable shifts and changes. So as we move through what we feel is unreasonable, we have to be able to ask for things, even if they’re little verbally and not through text, not through email, you know, not through mail, it has to, you have to physically feel it coming out of your mouth. And it doesn’t have to be anything crazy. But it just has to be something of practice. So for instance, this is something that I do practice on the regular. I love to tell other women when they look amazing. And I will run after you in an airport to tell you that you look amazing in that color. Or you know, you have twinkly eyes, and they’re just so great. You know, I mean, even something like that, is is a little verbally uncomfortable, right? Because we don’t normally go about our day telling strangers, but they look great. Um, but it’s a great way for me to like, pull something out and feel it come out of my mouth. Um, again, asking for a discount or, or any asking for the table by the window, you know, asking for your food to be sent back, if it’s not how you like it. I mean, how many times have you eaten something that was just so like, you are cold or not even what you ordered. And we’re so afraid to tell somebody else that they made a mistake that we don’t, that we just endure it when we don’t have to, like really that that server doesn’t care, they’ll take it back, and they will never think about it again. Right? So we have to take those moments of opportunities to really practice feeling, things come out of our mouth. And that’s what I mean by getting verbally uncomfortable. So even if you just post a few of those little things out throughout your day or your week, will really make a big difference. And when it does come time for you to be in a situation where it’s not honestly high stakes, but could be a really cool opportunity for you. You’ve had the practice of saying something a little uncomfortable, and it coming out of your mouth, and you can take advantage of that opportunity right then in there.
Yeah, I’m all about creating opportunities. And like you said, identifying opportunities and jumping on them. And it’s kind of like Mel Robbins, where if you see the opportunity, if you get past counting to five backwards and you didn’t do it, you’re probably going to be excuses and you’re not going to do it. So this is so good. So every little thing, every little time that we that we get uncomfortable in what we’re saying, I think it’s going to help us to be bolder and bolder. So this is so good. All right, the next step, next thing we have to think about is that outcomes are just data. Tell us about that?
Yeah. So I get asked a lot. You know, the fear of rejection is what holds me back from asking for things that I want the fear of, you know, somebody saying no to me, or simply getting offended, if I ask is what really can, you know, I break out in cold sweat and my hands start to shake. And you know, I can’t send the email or whatnot. And my answer to that is to just remember that outcomes are just data. Right? There are literally a data point for you to figure out if your ask was packed full of value, or if it wasn’t, if I get a yes, on my unreasonable requests, I know that I came with an ask that was valuable for the other person. And if they said no, then It either means I didn’t put enough value into my ask. So okay, that’s a great data point. I can add more value and re ask if I feel comfortable, or you know, it may just not be something that they can physically do. Or maybe it’s out of their schedule or budget or restraints or whatever. And it does not mean that I’m a terrible person for asking. It does not mean that my character is flawed or anything of the sort. And that’s where we get hung up is like all these stories that we tell ourselves, all these emotions that pop up, when we ask for something big. It’s literally a data point. And when I remind myself that it’s a data point, it makes it much easier for me to look at my ask, objectively, you know, did I put enough value into this? Did I say, Hey, you have this very swanky Bay venue in downtown San Diego, I have hundreds of women that want to come there and the press, you know, can we work on something together that pushes both of our goals forward? You want exposure to these women who are incredible. I need a venue to host these women who are incredible. Can we can we find a middle ground here? And so that them saying yes was the data point for us? We brought enough value to our ask. They saw that. And we’re like, yeah, we want to participate in that. So just try to remember, it’s just data. It’s not personal. It doesn’t mean anything about you. Yeah,
that is so good. Okay, so now we have the step by step. So now we shouldn’t be afraid, ladies listening, or ladies watching on YouTube, whichever. Are you going to commit to two things, number one, identify at least one unreasonable request. And then once you’ve identified it commit to taking that step forward, and making that unreasonable requests. And by the way, I’d love to hear about it. So find me at Judy Weber, co wherever you’d like to hang out. I would like to ask a question, because I’m sure my listeners are going to be curious. How did you land these incredible opportunities? Was it an unreasonable request on your part? Or is it you know, you’ve networked so well, that people reached out to you, I would love to kind of hear how that happened.
Which opportunities? My I mean,
you know, with Forbes, and today, you have all these opportunities to be, you know, found regularly on major media outlets. So I’m just curious how that how that came about. Yeah. Yeah.
And I’ll tell you some of my favorite unreasonable requests. Yeah. Yes. So when, when cheap SEO is brand new, I, I relentlessly went after press. And essentially, that’s what I do. Now. That’s my business now is visibility strategy. And because from the beginning of starting shift CEO back in 2010, I relentlessly tried to get us awareness. Within six months of launching sheep CEO, we were named as one of the top 10 entrepreneurial websites for women by Forbes. And this was prior to me working, you know, writing for them or anything like that. And Jody and I had gone to South by Southwest down in Austin, to, I think we were speaking there, I can’t remember. But we went there. And all of a sudden, we saw the woman, the editor who wrote the piece, she was there. I ran to the coffee cart, grabbed a coffee, took it to her and handed her the coffee and said, Thank you so much for what you did for our business and awareness for us. I mean, I can’t even tell you how much that means to us. Here’s a coffee. I love you. Can I hug you like?
And it’s so much because that sounds like something I would do. We are so alike. I love it.
I was just like, oh my gosh, you know, you’d have no idea what you did for us. And so we just kind of kept in touch with her. After that. And ended up we had to go to New York for something. And we reached out to her again and said we’re going to be in New York, can we grab lunch with you? Or can we bring you a coffee or something? So we ended up going to lunch with her. And they had just started their contributor network. And she said, you know, would you both like to write for us? Okay, again, shorting out. Yes, yes, we would, you know, and so it’s, I mean, that’s a moment, I guess, where we’re being verbally uncomfortable, was working in my favor when I saw her and ran and grabbed a cup of coffee and just went up to her and said, thank you. Um, you know, some people might be like, oh, gosh, you can talk to her, you know, and get too nervous. But at that moment that I was not going to miss that opportunity. I had no idea what could come of that. No idea what could come of saying thank you introducing myself being visible to her. And it turned out that it led to me having my own, you know, contributor column, which I adore and cherish. That was like 2013, or something like that, that are 12 that we started writing for that. So that’s how you know that that came about. And then, you know, that lends itself to pitching yourself to other places, which is great. But I will have to tell you my favorite. One of my favorite unreasonable requests, was my honeymoon to Bali. I, my husband now, who was my fiancee at the time, I guess we were talking about, We eloped and we wanted to we didn’t want like a wedding or anything. We just want them to have a cool honeymoon. And he had asked me, I don’t know, while we were dating before we were engaged, if you could go back and do something different, would you do something different? Or would you do and I said, I would love to go one of those computer coding boot camps and learn how to code. And so he found what he was like, Look at this, this happened this in Bali. I was like That is so cool. So ended up calling the guy who runs the boot camp. And he was telling me all about it. And it was it started like a week after we were planning on getting married. And I was asking him all these sorts of these questions. And so finally, when we got to talking, I thought to myself, you got to you got to figure something else out here. Like you got to figure out how you’re going to get your tush over there. Because this is cool. And so I asked him, I said, Do you have any women in the program? He’s like, Oh, no, he’s like, I don’t I can’t get any women in the program. It is so frustrating. I want more women. And I was like, Oh my gosh, I got like, 100,000 of them that I email every week. You know, like, and so I kind of seated that. And, you know, we just kept talking about this women aspect. And finally he came to me, and I knew we would it sounds terrible. But I he asked me but I had I had set it up that way. And he was like, what if we had, what if we did this, and I was like, That is a brilliant idea. And I’m like, watch what I’m doing right now this is gonna happen. And he did. He was like, what if you come to Bali, you know, always the tuition, I’ll get you a villa, you know, pay for your ticket, and you blog about it on shake CEO and you tell your ladies and I was like deal done deal. And so my husband, I got married, and we were on a plane to Bali. And it was a wonderful experience. And you know, but it was a very, it was a it was a valuable exchange. Right? He really, really wanted more exposure to women. I really, really wanted to learn Ruby on Rails. So you know, that was probably my biggest and, and most exciting one that that I’ve asked for. But if I didn’t if, if I didn’t have my skills, if I didn’t have my inventory of my value. In that moment, I couldn’t have pulled that up. If I was just thinking like, how can you know, I want this, I want this, I want this, I would never have been able to spot that opportunity. If I didn’t already have like, okay, what can I offer first? Here? What what what do I have otherwise, it would have just been an informational interview, and it would have been over. You don’t I mean, that’s why we have to know what you can give before we ever ask for what we can get.
So good. Oh, my goodness, that is just so good. Anything else in the way of unreasonable requests that have you have on your heart that we didn’t touch on? And can I just pause and say, My mind is blown. And all of a sudden these different ideas of opera and opportunities are coming to mind. And so Ah, ladies listening, we want to hear back? Both Stephanie and I want to hear back on these crazy unreasonable requests that you’re going to make and the results of those, but anything on your heart, Stephanie, that we haven’t yet covered on this?
You know, I think it’s just once you hear this concept, you can’t ever unhear it right? You were you will forever be stretched in an asking for something big and audacious and you can level up to it. But if if you can really think about how can I move somebody else’s goal forward with the thing that I have the value that I have? You can make some really exciting things happen for your life and for your business. isn’t just day to day business as usual, you know, I’ve had some really magical, crazy things happen in my life like being on who gets to fund their business from Wheel of Fortune winnings, you know, like before, who gets to go to Bali on their honeymoon and learn to computer code like, you know, so there’s so many magical moments that can happen if you’re willing to offer up the value that you have in exchange for somebody else’s value and move some mutual goals forward. And so really think about that. Think about the things that you need, you know, and once you see somebody that has it, it’s easy for you to say, oh, cool, well, what if we did this, and come up with these crazy ideas and just ask, and if they say, No, it’s just data. It’s just data. Oh, so you’re so surprised at the amount of yeses that you get through this? Really?
Thank you for that. so inspirational. Stephanie. Oh, my goodness. All right. So for the ladies, other than Forbes, women and all these other media outlets that I mentioned at the beginning, where is the best way for them to find you?
Yeah, my website, Stephanie. Dash burns, calm. You know, I just started this visibility agency. And I have, I have visibility strategy sessions, where you can book me for 90 minutes to just like, go through your strategy. How can you be visible? What do you want to be known for? They’re super impactful, super fun. And we really get down to, you know, kind of the legacy that you want to leave and how to get out there. And some of those ways are through unreasonable requests. Most of them are really, so you know, that’s, that’s how you can find me, head to my website. There. It is a fun,
fun website to consume. are amazing. So all right. Well, Stephanie, thank you for your time. And it’s just been a pleasure having you here.
Thanks so much for having me. That was fun.
Awesome. All right. Ladies, if you are listening on Apple, would you please take a moment right now and if you haven’t already done so leave a rating and a review. And always I want to hear your feedback. You can always go to Judy Weber co slash podcast and record a voice note your feedback, a question anything I would love to hear from you, and then listen for yourself on an upcoming episode. Once again, thanks for listening and we will see you next time.