Stine Bustillo was always interested in marketing, and landed her first high-level sales job on what was practically a fluke. She cultivated over a decade of experience, and realized on a trip to Paris that she wasn’t headed on the life path she wanted.
Now, through her membership, she helps predominantly female entrepreneurs in Norway build their social media, create content that actually converts, and use the newest digital marketing strategies to grow their businesses.
Today, Stine joins the podcast to tell the story of her journey from the corporate world, the podcast that inspired her launch, and how she created a thriving membership business in just a matter of hours.
- How Stine knocked her first sales job out of the park despite a lack of qualifications or formal training.
- Why pregnancy led Stine to take the plunge and pursue a career in social media.
- How listening to a single podcast episode inspired her to launch her membership by simply reaching out to her mailing list.
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“I don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. I just need to surround myself with amazing people.” – Abraham Lincoln
“Launch imperfectly, we’ll perfect it later. Let’s just get it out there and learn and teach and talk and get your message out.” – Stine Bustillo
“It’s when you’re uncomfortable that you actually grow a little bit.” – Stine Bustillo
- Stine Bustillo on Instagram
- Marketing Your Business Podcast Episode 171: A Super Simple Launch Strategy With Shockingly Good Results
TranscriptRead The Transcript
Shelli Varela: Stine Bustillo, welcome to the It’s a TRIBE Thing Podcast. This is going to be a jam-packed episode. How are you, my buddy?
Stine Bustillo: I am very good. I’m very excited.
Shelli Varela: You have energy that if you could bottle it that you could save a country and make a bajillion dollars. You are incredible. Our pre-chat is wild. If you would so be kind, would you tell us who you are and who you serve?
Stine Bustillo: Okay. So, I help Norwegian mostly female entrepreneurs build their social media and I create content that actually converts and the newest digital marketing strategies but for Norwegian entrepreneurs. I’m born and raised in Norway and I live in Spain.
Shelli Varela: That’s incredible. Your backstory is chockfull of lessons that are going to be so valuable, so meaningful for everybody listening. So, if you’re out there listening at this particular moment, I want you to buckle up your seat belts because we’ve got some really special stuff for you. Will you please take us back to who you were before you had a membership site before you were doing what you were doing even before you had that? Like, take us right back to the beginning of the story and how you got into corporate sales in the first place.
Stine Bustillo: Okay. So, I was 18, always been interested in marketing but what I thought marketing was like I want to be a TV personality or something like that. So, I was like I’m going to study that in college. So, I applied for the bachelor’s, I dropped out once, and then I did it again. The next year, I dropped out again, and then sort of figured out that’s probably not going to work. That’s not my place. It’s not my thing. I can’t do it. So, I got a job because I had to do something. So, I got a job in a call center but I hated it and I was also really bad at it and I was like I was the person I would hang up after just two rings, just so they wouldn’t pick up. Like, I would actually do that and be like, “Whew. I’m so glad they didn’t pick up,” and they’re like, “You got to let it ring a little bit,” and I was like, “Yeah but they’re busy,” because I didn’t want to talk to anyone. Yeah, that wasn’t what I wanted to do. So, that was my sort of first experience with sales, which kind of made me not like sales because it’s not. For me, that wasn’t fun and it wasn’t fun because I wasn’t good at it. So, I asked my manager, I told him, “I don’t think this is going to work.” He obviously agreed because I didn’t want to make any phone calls. And he let me leave on the day.
So, for about two months, I kind of lied to my mom and like, “No, no, I still have my job,” and she could feel something was up and I was like, “No, no, everything’s good,” and I was manically like just applying for everything out there, like everything, and going to every interview and just applying for stuff that I was not qualified to do at all. And one of those kind of panned out.
Shelli Varela: So, let’s do the thing that did pan out because this was sort of the admission point when you realized not only do you have this incredible spirit to just throw everything at the wall and try and say yes and put yourself out there for things that you’re seemingly at the beginning of the journey and qualified for but this sort of in the next chapter of your story.
Stine Bustillo: Yeah. So, one of the largest global security companies in the world were looking for a key account manager in my hometown and I didn’t really know what a key account manager was but it sounded really fancy. And I knew that like people would be like, “Oh, that’s fancy,” and I was like, “I want to be a key account manager.” They were searching for an engineer with an engineering degree with sales experience. And I had neither of those like I could say I had sales experience at best without any references. Like they couldn’t call my boss from before because he’d be like, “She’s not going to – no.” So, I applied and I was brought in by a headhunter like as a wild card. He was like, “I’m going to present you but you’re not going to get the job.” And I got to the interview and they said the same thing like you’re not going to get the job. And then there was one thing I did because they asked me to – I didn’t have a lot of interview experience. So, the guy that was doing the headhunting, he told me like, “Okay. So, you’re going to come in. First, you’re going to do like a quick presentation of yourself and then they’re going to talk about the business and then we’re going to talk back and forth. But they’re going to talk about the company.”
I was like, “Okay, I’ll make a presentation.” So, I went online. I was like, how do I make a PowerPoint presentation? So, I made like this whole PowerPoint presentation of myself which was probably not at all what they were looking for and then I ended it. The last slide was, “My workforce is now for sale. Can you afford not to?” Or something like really cheeky. And I printed out the PowerPoint and like put it on the desk. So, I had like brought four copies and that’s how I did the presentation. And I think that they were just like, “That’s really weird. We’re probably not going to give you the job but we like you. So, let’s talk in a few years.” And then that went back and forth for about four months. They tried to hire other people but it didn’t work out. So, they came back to me after I think it was four or five months and were like, “We’re going to give you a shot but you’re not going to make it.” And I was like, “No, that’s perfect. Like I’ll do it. You can pay me less. There’s no problem like just let me do it.” And they’re like, “Okay, we’re going to let you do it. But you’re probably not going to make it but we’re going to let you try. Maybe you can move somewhere else in the business because we like you as a person.”
I was like, “Okay. I’m a key account manager. Let’s do this, like, what do we sell?” And it was like high-end technology for like banks, presence, like corporate offices. So, I have to learn all this stuff, right? Like learning camera technology or access control or stuff I had no clue about like I cannot even like reset my router at home. That’s my level of technology knowledge. But I did pretty well because I have energy and like you said, I have a lot of energy and I really like learning genuinely.
Shelli Varela: Let me just pause you for one quick second because I just want to ask you this because I know a lot of people are going to be thinking this. What was going through your mind when you’re like, “That’s a heck yes. I’m in. I’m all in,” and you don’t know anything about it. So, for those people listening, there are some people who will be thinking like, you know, there might be something they want to do and gleaning some sort of hope from you right now because they maybe feel they’re not qualified. So, what was going through your mind at the time when you’re like, “Yes, I’m a heck yes and I also have no idea what I’m doing.”
Stine Bustillo: Yeah. Okay. So, what I knew about this business is that it’s a very specialized business. So, even if you have an engineering degree or sales degree or marketing degree, you kind of have to learn the business from the inside out anyway. And I figured that I can do that as much as the next person. Maybe I have to put in a little bit extra effort but I really had the drive and the motivation to really for it to work out. And everything even if you have an engineering degree, it’s going to be this, you have to start at sort of the same level. Maybe you’re going to understand some things a little bit faster but there are things that I’m going to understand faster because I see it differently so maybe I will approach sales differently or approach the offers differently. There’s always going to be something good with having a different way in. And as long as I made friends with everyone, I made a good team, I didn’t have to know all the things and I didn’t have to pretend to know all the things. Because as long as I was open, I could just bring my tech guy to a meeting and be like, “He is so good at this. Let me have him explain it to you.” So, as long as you don’t try – I didn’t try to be anything I wasn’t. I was very open about what I knew and what I didn’t know. And, yeah, I think that’s sort of a good starting point.
Shelli Varela: But you make a great point and we were talking about this earlier, there are those people that follow the path that other people have laid out and there’s nothing wrong with that. And sometimes it looks like formal education or a corporate job where it’s very structured and it’s like do A, B, C, and D will happen. So, there are those people that follow the path that’s been laid out, and then there are other people that create the path. And so, what advice would you give people who right now are listening to you and thinking like, “Wow, here’s a person who completely walked into this situation, seemingly unqualified, and just hit it out of the park?”
Stine Bustillo: I think a lot of humility. I think there needs to be humility and I think a lot of it has to do with not pretending that you’re something you’re not. So, if you’re open about what you know and what you don’t know, people are not going to sort of try to trip you up or you’re not going to end up looking bad because you’ve been open the whole way about what you’re good at and what you’re not good at and what you’re interested in getting better at. And that makes people also a lot more prone to help you. So, people would teach me and take me under their wing or bring me to a meeting or explain something to me. So, a little bit humility, a little bit of respect but also respecting yourself also, like know that you’re there for a reason. It kind of maybe it was accidentally but I’m still here and this is what I’m good at and this is what I need to get better at.
Shelli Varela: There’s two people that are pivotal in our history that kind of do or have done what you did. One of them was Abe Lincoln. He always said, “I don’t need to be the smartest person in the room. I just need to surround myself with amazing people.”
Stine Bustillo: Exactly.
Shelli Varela: The other set of people were actually the Wright brothers and most people don’t know this but there was another company or group of people that were trying to be the first to have flight. And the Wright brothers by no means were the most amazing but they were passionate and they got everybody excited about their vision. And it was more of a case of the people that were on board with them, they were on a team, and they had an aligned vision. They’re like, “I want to go where that person’s going because that person is honest, is humble, has humility, and has vision.”
Stine Bustillo: I think that it’s so important. And I see that with everyone that I choose to follow or managers that have been really good for me. That’s what they’ve been. And I think very early on, I accepted and also understood that so if I am the smartest person in the room, I’m probably in the wrong room because I’m not going to be able to grow anywhere. And as my career sort of took off and I got management positions, I got put in position, I was the head of installations for a whole country and I have no tech experience but I had the best project managers, I had the best installation guys, I had the best business controllers, I had the best people, and I know how to build the team and like you said, build a team, get people to see the vision, create the actual energy and the synergy within the team that you need. I don’t need to know the stuff that they know. And I always use this as an example. Also, when I talk to like even if I’m like secretly coaching my little sisters because I always have to like do a little bit, I tell them like probably like the CEO of the biggest engineering company in Norway. He’s probably not an engineer. Well, he’s not because I checked. He’s not an engineer. He’s a businessman. He does have a degree. He does have a business degree but he’s not an engineer but he has the best engineers and the best this and the best that.
Shelli Varela: So, how did you segue from that to doing your social media stuff? You’re selling online courses. How did that transition?
Stine Bustillo: Yeah. Because these are two different people. So, the career was going really well. I was in corporate for about 15 years. I got paid for a huge management training. It was an international management training. So, I got to work in London. I was in Paris. I was in New York for a little while. And I got to work like all over the world for a year, which was amazing. I think I was 27 at the time, no education, like this was beyond my dreams of what was possible. And I was in an amazing hotel in Paris. We got to work one-on-one with the CEO and the group and the financial director of the whole global business. And we were there for a week and I was in my hotel room. Afterwards, we had like the most expensive food, the most expensive wine, everyone’s fancy. And I sat back and I was like, “I’m here for a week,” and that for me is exciting, right? But if everything aligns, if I get every promotion, if I work effing hard, if I get every chance, if I knock everything out the park for the next 20 years, maybe I will be global CEO, maybe that would be the top. But that dude is there too for a week in Paris without his family, with no free time, still working 14 hours a day. And that’s not what I wanted. So, why was I working my butt off for something that in the end I didn’t really want?
And that was a little bit I felt ungrateful in that moment because I had everything that I was supposed to have, right? I had money and a boyfriend and a car and a career and everyone was like, “You’re doing so great. That’s so amazing.” But I wasn’t amazing like inside myself. I wasn’t really happy with it. Like I could get high on working a lot or going out and having a win or celebrating a new client. But at the end when you get back even though it’s a really fancy hotel in Paris, it still didn’t feel good.
Shelli Varela: That is an incredible degree of self-awareness. And I find a lot of people that have success that doesn’t feel like work are also the people that have self-awareness and follow their knowing. So, where did your knowing take you?
Stine Bustillo: Yeah. So, I went home and I talked to my husband a little bit about it or my soon-to-be husband. We sort of just blew it off and we continued in the same thing and then I got pregnant, which was not planned but was a complete blessing. Because when I got pregnant, that was when I was put at – there needs to be some sort of necessity to make a tough decision and it is a very tough decision to leave a very high paying good job that everybody else thinks is amazing, and you can’t really find anything wrong with it. But when I got pregnant, the necessity kicked in and I was like, “This is not what I want when I’m a mom.” I don’t want to be not making dinner because I’m working overtime or I do not want to rush them through the car when it’s still dark outside and it’s raining because I have to be in the office before 7:30 for the early meeting. That’s not the type of mom I want to be. And I’m not saying I want to do like live on a farm or whatever, which I also do but it was too far away from what I wanted. I wanted time and quality and I knew that I was not going to be that type of mom and I rather have less money for more quality.
So, I got pregnant. I got very sick in my pregnancy. So, I got sick from week five. I was on bed rest from week five and that really took a toll on my confidence also because I went from being on top of the world, everyone needed me, to being at home on the couch and having my husband come home and have to help me go to the bathroom or make food for me because I couldn’t literally move for eight months. And in this period, I talked to him a lot about it. And in the beginning, he was like, “You’re pregnant and crazy. Let’s not make any rash decisions right now.” And I was like, “No, I really want to make this rash decision. I really think we should quit our job and move to Spain and start a real estate business.” And his follow-up was a little bit, “We don’t know anything about real estate.” And I was like, “No.” And I told him like, “But I don’t have any idea what I’m doing today either so we’ll probably figure it out.” Obviously, we did some research. We did some research but not a lot. And we have amazing maternity leave in Norway so we have one year of paid leave so I knew that I have one year of pay that we could live off of and living in Spain is a lot cheaper than living in Norway.
So, he agreed. I went into maternity leave. He quit. So, it was actually him taking the bigger risks than I because I would still have my job after a year. And then when Kaya was born, my first daughter, who’s now three, we went and got her passport photo down when she was five days old and we flew to Spain when she was 14 days old. I was living in like the airport hotel the day before because my husband was packing everything out of our apartment because literally, we left everything. We brought all our furniture. We left our apartment, everything, sold everything, and moved. So, yeah, I was a new mom and I was like, “This is going to be easy.” It’s not.
Shelli Varela: Such a crazy ride. Honestly, you said something you’re like, “Well, I don’t know but we’ll probably figure it out.” Like so many gems were just for the average person would be just an absolute act of bravery. But for you and just watching how you do and how you be in the world is nothing short of inspiring. So, you have this real estate business, and then how does that take you to where you were walking the dog recently, listening to Stu McLaren’s Marketing Your Business Podcast?
Stine Bustillo: Yes. So, I had a baby and then I had another baby. And in this, I basically had to work at home so I got into social media, I got into a little bit of digital marketing, started selling a little bit of digital courses and other online products but I’ve never done a membership. Always been a big fan of Stu. Me and my husband, we split our time. So, every other day, I walked the dog in the morning and he takes the kids and then we alternate every day. So, this was my time to walk the dog, which is we say we get to walk the dog because then we don’t have to do the lunches and the things which is a lot more stressful. And that’s my hour to listen to an audiobook or a podcast and I would listen to Stu’s episode about the Founding Member Launch. So, this is at 7:00 in the morning and it was a quick episode and I was like, “Yeah, I can do that.” It was 17 minutes this Episode 171, I think, The Founding Member Launch. He goes through it like really quickly like this, this, this, this, this. So, I walked my dog up to where we turn around. And then I was like, “Wait a minute.” So, I put on the same podcast episode and listened to it once again on my way back but I had to stop all the time because I was taking notes on my phone. I was like, “Wait, pause. I need to write this down.”
I came home, we got the kids to daycare, and I asked my husband, I asked him, “Could you please listen to this episode because I think this is something I have to do, I want to do.” And he was like, “Yeah.” He’s going to listen to it. And then I nagged him for a couple of hours. He was like, “I have stuff to do.” And I was like, “No, please. It’s 17 minutes. Just listen to it.” By noon, he had listened to it and he came into my office because we both work from home. So, he came into my office, he’s like, “I think you really have to do it. You really have to do it. Just do it.” At two o’clock that same day, so two hours after he had listened to it, and sort of, “Yeah, you’re not insane or you are a little bit insane but let’s do it, I support you,” I sent out the first email to my list and sort of teased about it that I’m going to do something really cool. I’m going to tell you all about it tomorrow but I just want to tell you a little backstory. And I just sort of told them a little backstory of how I see that what’s missing for my people is the follow-up, like the difference in my clients who have amazing success and those who have moderate success is definitely in the follow-up and the continuous learning and feedback and connection and network. And it just clicked for me. That’s where it’s at. Like, that’s how I help.
Shelli Varela: That’s incredible. So, seven hours from the time you hear a podcast, to send out an email saying, “Hey, guys. I have not a plan specifically in place. I don’t have anything built but here’s my vision.” And again, going back to what I was saying to you before like it’s so important to be able to cast a vision and share that vision. And when you are so aligned with something that’s true for you, you can’t help but feel that energy and even talking to you now it’s just so, so powerful for all of us. Because you don’t need to have all of the nuts and bolts in place. You just need to know what’s true for you, know what feels right for you, and pull the trigger and say yes. So, what was the final [crosstalk – 22:34] for you with that seven-hour start?
Stine Bustillo: Seven-hour start. So, I sent the email, I told them and I literally put it in bullet points in an email like this is my vision bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet, bullet. If you want in like send me an email back and say I’m in. So, I didn’t build a landing page for it. I literally had just a Stripe payment link that I sent them. So, no landing page, no ads, no webinar, no nothing. I went live on Instagram one time and answered questions about what the VIP alliance would be or what I thought it would be. I sent three emails and posted on social media once. No ads, no paid ads of any kind, and we just brought in 204 members in a little over three days. So, we closed that weekend. And I heard this episode on a Wednesday, I think, and then we closed that weekend. And we put a cap on 200 because I wanted it to be small but exclusive and intimate. And I can make intimate with 200. I can make it nice and cozy and welcoming and valuable for 200.
Shelli Varela: Incredible. This is like so many gems in this. Last question, if you were to give somebody advice who’s sitting on the fence with an idea and is trying to anticipate all of the things they need and getting everything perfect, what have you learned from just being a person who just grips it and rips it and pulls the band-aid off and essentially, in some ways knits your parachute in free flight? What have you learned that has been beneficial, that you think would help others?
Stine Bustillo: I learned one thing during corona because corona has been tough in Spain. We’re one of the worst countries in the world right now and have been since the start. Our daycare has been closed for six months so my kids have been home for six months full-time, two, and three years old. And one thing I did to sort of take care of myself was start therapy so online therapy just to have a healthy mind. And one thing I learned from her is maybe the most valuable thing I’ve learned in the last 10 years and has helped me in this decision that I did, what I thought was years that I was a procrastinator. I thought for years that’s what I was. And it turns out and I researched there’s more because I didn’t believe her the first time but I’m a perfectionist. And I need to learn and I preached to my people and my tribe and my community, “Launch imperfectly. We’ll perfect it later. Let’s just get it out there and learn and teach and talk and get your message out.” And I learned that like a closeted perfectionist. I thought I was a procrastinator. Turns out I’m a perfectionist. So, I’m a little bit challenging myself too to be aligned also with what I teach and live it and test it. And it’s when you’re uncomfortable that you actually grow a little bit.
Because we can go to the, I don’t know, I’ve read this today, we can go to the gym and lift very light weights and it’s going to be a lot easier, right? But we’re not going to get anywhere. We’re not going to build anything if we don’t lift a little bit heavy, uncomfortable weights.
Shelli Varela: Brilliant. This has been one of my favorite most insightful episodes just because just the inspiration and the spirit that you have and that you share with us and the lessons about just like say yes. There’s so many people out there sitting on such incredible gifts that are finding reasons to not yet say yes. So, my request and my encouragement to those people is to relisten to this episode and say yes. Thank you so, so, so much for your time. If people are looking for you online, where’s the best place they can find you?
Stine Bustillo: Definitely Instagram and go on there and send me a DM. My programs, for now, are in Norwegian but you can hear I speak fluent English. Send me a DM and reach out and say hello and let’s connect on Instagram @stinebustillo and that’s also my website.
Shelli Varela: Brilliant. Thank you so much. You’re just a little spitfire and I couldn’t love you more. Thank you so much.
Stine Bustillo: You’re going to make me cry. Thank you. It was a pleasure.
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