HGTV Show Self Made Mansion Premieres with CEO Shama Hyder of Zen Media



By: Shama Hyder

What a way to start the new year, huh? 😬

(Yes, that IS Clinton Kelly of What Not to Wear Fame to my left, and my very dashing husband, Patrick Barnhill to my right…yes, I am 5’2 on a GOOD day surrounded by VERY tall men. Ok, more on all that in a second.) 

One of the things that I take a certain amount of pride in is that I believe in walking the talk.

That whole bit about the cobbler’s kids not having shoes…yeah, that doesn’t work in the digital age. The cobbler’s kids better be instagram models for having the best kicks if the cobbler expects any credibility. 

There is almost nothing I recommend to you that I don’t practice myself or haven’t spent years testing out.

When I tell you that nothing beats earned media when it comes to credibility or increasing marketshare, I 💯 believe that. 

“Since 95% of the people are imitators and only 5% initiators, people are persuaded more by the actions of others than by any proof we can offer.” – Robert B. Cialdini (AKA The Godfather of Persuasion) 

Ok…so back to the HGTV bit.

Last year, Patrick and I were approached to be part of a show that was about entrepreneurs buying their dream home.

Our instinct was to say no.

I’ll always be real with you. My husband is a private person. He enjoys flying WW2 planes in VR (hot nerd alert), making music, and running his very successful eCommerce business (Specialist ID). He doesn’t care much for the limelight. 

And, while I can talk to you about business and marketing and technology ad nauseam, I too don’t really share my private life. (Frankly, because I don’t think that’s what you are here for so aside from some SUPER CUTE baby pics of my son on my Instagram, you won’t find me sharing much about my personal life.) 

However, the producers explained that the show wasn’t about simply finding a dream home. The “Mansion” was secondary to “Self Made.” It was a chance to inspire others using the power of storytelling. Drat, they were good! 

The idea of sharing how two broke kids, one a punk rocker from Oregon raised by a single mother and the other an immigrant with blue collar parents, had worked hard to design a life they could be proud of was…well, tempting. 

Patrick reminded me that I often say “It’s much harder to be what you can’t see.” What if some little girl out there watches this story and realizes that she TOO can be an entrepreneur? 

I also realized that I would be a complete hypocrite to turn down such massive visibility when I tell clients everyday to say YES to the many opportunities that we bring their way. 

✔️ Say yes to that podcast.

✔️ Say yes to that reporter who wants to interview you.

✔️ Definitely say yes to the network that has 1.3 million live viewers. 

This is earned media at its finest. 

So, we said yes. 

Let me know if you want to watch it with me? You can hit reply. I haven’t seen it yet. 🙈

I will be live tweeting with all of you on Friday – January 8th and 8 pm ET/7 pm CT. Follow @Shama. #SelfMadeMansions. 

I’ll also keep you posted on the results from being in the media trenches. And, I’ll share with you exactly how we choose to amplify it. I can’t help but see everything as a potential case study – professional hazard. 🤣 

Always Rooting for You,


P.S. – It’s true what they say. The bigger the star, the nicer they are, and Clinton Kelly as the host was no exception. I watched so many episodes of What Not to Wear back in the day so it was a real treat getting to be on camera with him. 


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