Becoming a successful entrepreneur starts with your gifts and skills, but your passion needs to be in the mix somewhere.
Otherwise, what will you look forward to every day? What will be the basis of your “why”?
Before Lee Whetstone launched Leading with Lee Magazine, she went on a journey of discovery that led to shining a light on others and, in her words, “giving a voice to the voiceless”.
She also found out what her purpose was by helping those who needed her gifts.
In this episode, we’ll learn more about the media and publishing and Lee’s process as a Purpose Coach. Get ready to hear about:
- Top things you should know about starting a digital or print magazine.
- How to discover and monetize your purpose.
- How to be featured in Leading with Lee Magazine.
- How using a team and automation can help you free up time in your schedule.
Connect with Lee:
(0s): Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. That’s a quote from Cicely Tyson and the challenges that today’s guest faced helped her to find her purpose and also to help others do the same. Lee Whetstone of Leading with Lee Magazine will tell you herself that she didn’t always intend to be a magazine editor in chief, but she always knew that she wanted it to be an entrepreneur and the leader. And she wanted to make a positive impact on the world.
0 (30s): She’s doing just that with her magazine and also with her coaching program that helps others to monetize their purpose. She said that after struggling to find her own purpose, others reaching out to her led her to actually discover that. And now she’s helping other entrepreneurs to do the same. So keep listening for more.
0 (1m 2s): Welcome back for another episode of Dreamer’s Den Podcast. If you’re joining us again, if you’re a repeat listener then thank you so much for coming back. If you’re here for the first time, then thank you for joining us and listening today. I am your host, Danielle Towner and I help entrepreneurs build their brand awareness and their online presence through content marketing, website design, and digital products. And today I’m so excited to have a guest coming on with us during our content marketing series because she’s actually into the publishing and media industry.
0 (1m 34s): Lee Whetstone of Leading with Lee Magazine, she’s the editor in chief of her own magazine. And she also helps other entrepreneur. She helps them with their brand strategy and helps entrepreneurs and working professionals to discover and to monetize their purpose, and I think that is so awesome. I also think that the magazine in the media industry is awesome. I’m excited to learn the ins and outs of what’s behind that. Without further ado, here is Lee Whetstone. Thank you for joining us.
(2m 8s): Yay. I’m so happy to be here. Danielle (2m 12s):
I am excited to have you on. The first thing that I would want to talk about is your entrepreneurs story. How and why did you become an entrepreneur?
(2m 23s): At the beginning, entrepreneurship wasn’t in my mind. But I always knew that if I was to work for someone else, that I would try to climb that corporate ladder and be the CEO, the president or something. I always didn’t see myself at the bottom, whether it was working for someone or not.
0 (2m 43s): I actually started to get into entrepreneurship. Actually, my father’s started teaching me about entrepreneurship over the years also. Once I started looking into that and just being in the corporate world and retail for so long, I decided that I just wanted to do my own thing.
2 (3m 1s): And not just to “oh, I’m going to be entrepreneur because everybody else want to do it.” No, I actually felt that it was in my heart to just create something of my own, to create opportunities for people that are in the underserved communities. I’m from Brooklyn, New York so I’ve seen the good and the bad. When I decided to create Leading with Lee Magazine, I wanted to create something where people from underserved neighborhoods had access to resources, had access to learn how to build their own business, how to develop self awareness and to look at these success stories that we feature in our magazine as motivation.
2 (3m 37s): So that’s why I wanted it to be an entrepreneur and to make an impact.
(3m 41s): That’s a good start knowing that from the beginning that it was about you because you knew you have a bigger purpose growing inside of you, but it was about serving your community and helping other people and lifting them up. So that’s great that you recognize that from an early stage.
(3m 60s): Yeah, I did. I don’t know. I just felt like even if working for someone is cool because everyone has to start with somewhere. But I felt like even at the bottom of the chain, you’re not making an impact if you’re in an organization. I feel like if I was up there, you get your voice heard, people who value your opinion better. Like you said, I recognize that from a long time ago, like “hey, if I’m up here and it’s in this organization I can make a better impact rather than being down here”. But it all just switched over to
2 (4m 34s): “Okay. How about making my own thing?”
(4m 39s): Well it’s turned out well for you so far, and it’s led to Leading with Lee Magazine. How did that entrepreneurial journey transition into launching Leading with Lee Magazine?
(4m 54s): Just to be clear guys, I did not say, “oh let me quit my job and start, Leading with Lee Magazine. I was still working, so I don’t want that to be misconstrued. But I did start. I said, “you know what? While I’m still working, I might as well start my own thing.” Have that healthy balance because if I felt undervalued and I didn’t feel worthy in my position. So I felt like that gives me a chance to do something that I really like while I was still working.
2 (5m 25s): So I created Leading with Lee Magazine I actually was on a board of a 501(c)(3) three nonprofit organization that one of my friends from college created. And I was on the board for four years. I guess, right before left I was telling her that I wanted to create something where I can show people in the neighborhood that there are people that look like them that are making it out. And that are being successful. I also want to provide resources and I was thinking about a book. But I was like, “okay, a book might be too boring”. Let’s go with magazines. So was like, “alright, that’s cool”.
2 (6m 4s): She was like, “how about you name it Leading with Lee?” And I was like, “Oh my goodness. Yes!” Not that I’m leading followers. Danielle (-): That light bulb, like …
(6m 10s): Yes! And it’s like, it’s not like I’m leading followers. I’m actually just leading. I’m leading. So I have other leaders Leading with Lee and so I was like “that is so perfect”. I was like, yeah we’ll make it into a magazine. And from there, we didn’t go to print automatically. We just did online. So for the first two and a half years, we were doing online interviews, phone interviews, Q and A’s on the websites.
2 (6m 60s): We are doing a whole bunch of digital until 2017 where we started going in print quarterly. So we do both now. It’s been a journey. Connecting with a lot of people. I had to go to a lot of events, connect with a lot of people. And let me tell you, I’m an introvert and I’ve shy all my life. And I was like, “what, I gotta talk to people about my magazine, look at my launch, and go from there? I gotta make connections.
(-): Stranger danger.
2 (7m 7s): Yes. So I was like, “Oh man, I’d have to – And one year we had a youth event at one of these community centers in Brownsville, Brooklyn. I had to go like talk to the manager, the director of the community. It was just a lot of stepping out of my comfort zone. That plays a huge part. I stepped out of my comfort zone a lot in order to get where I am. Scared and all, I just had to do it because if not then who was going to rise as hard like me?
0 (7m 37s): That’s your baby. Nobody is going to take care of your baby like you. Believe it or not, I’m an introverted. That’s so funny that we’re doing this and talking right now. That’s a part of the growth. Coming out of that shell or at least to a certain extent how to get things done and accomplished and to help other people reach their missions too. So I totally get it.
2 (8m 4s): Yes. I figured out that the purpose was bigger than me, so I had to just put my own fears aside and get it going. I remember I actually interviewed a few people that I went to high school with because I was like, “Oh my goodness everyone is just doing their own thing”. One of the girls was like, “Lee I remember in high school you used to just ];say hi and matter of fact, you didn’t even say hi. You just waved. To see you doing all of this, this is great.
2 (8m 34s): This is good.” I was like, “Thank you very much.” That whole thing going up in college trying to read a report in front of the class, I just – that wasn’t me, man. That wasn’t me, but I had to get up. I had to get out of that and put a face behind brand.
(9m 4s): Right, right, exactly. What else have you learned about the media and publishing industry since becoming editor in chief of your own magazine?
(9m 6s): Oh my goodness. So much. And like I said at the beginning, I just turned it into a magazine because I thought it would be entertaining because a lot of people place positive with boring. So I just wanted to make an impact. You can be positive and be lit. Don’t worry. I wanted to make an impact. And I was like “alright, let’s do it in the form of a magazine”. Not knowing I had to really learn about the magazine industry first. I just wanted to just go off and just create my mission and my vision in the form of a magazine.
2 (9m 41s): But it was so much bigger than that because I had to do my research on magazines. I had to figure out how they operate, what’s the business, what you need as a founder and editor in chief of a magazine, what type of team you need behind you. It was just a lot of research. I did some research and for the first two and a half years, we were all digital. So I just learned that you have to create great content. And this is also going from my beliefs also. Great content, truthful content, current content.
2 (10m 11s): People don’t really like old content, so you have to stay up to date, definitely. Headlines are a huge deal. Content is always going to be queen, king. However you want to say it, but headlines will get them to read the content. You also have to watch out because media plays a huge role in his world. So however you word things can alter the perception of the readers. I came into business to make an impact, so we don’t really do a lot of gossip things.
2 (10m 49s): We focus on entrepreneurs. There’s a lot of gossip blocks out there. Don’t worry. No shade or anything. I just feel like if you’re going into the magazine world just go in with an impact because media is a huge part of this world and people look for it. A great headline is also great. Your visuals have to be on point. No blurriness, no unprofessional photos. It just looks bad. And I’m telling you that from experience guys. I had to learn this doesn’t look good.
2 (11m 22s): Don’t send me no selfies while you’re in the car. If you want to be featured, why are all these people are in the background. I had to learn a lot to just say professional photos, 300 DPI and better of the quality of image, especially if you’re going into print too. I had to learn that too. My first couple of issues was kind of bad, but we grew and we learned more. So we lit now. We lit now. The first couple of issues shows growth.
0 (12m 12s): So I would say that’s what I learned. I learned to do your research. I learned to just have quality and up to date content, visuals and media headlines. Headlines are key. You got to get people to click on that button and read, so headlines are a very important.
(12m 14s): It’s a lot of moving parts with that. The headline, that’s really similar in the digital world where I am. People will look at it and that’s their first impression. 0 (12m 28s): That’s wen they decide, “I’m going to look at this” or “I’m going to keep it moving”. Just from that headline. And like you said, with being responsible. You have a responsibility in the media industry and as an entrepreneur. You can hold somebody’s reputation in your hands. That can also fall back on the reputation of your company, so that’s a great point. Just being responsible and making sure that it’s accurate. What advice would you give someone if they’re wanting to break into the publishing industry or start their own magazine?
0 (13m 2s): What advice do you have for them? I would first say to get in there knowing what you want to bring to the table. To make an impact and to also give a voice to the voiceless. That’s a huge part of the media as well, rather than just presenting. You know what’s so crazy? We don’t really, we might get into it because we are expanding, but we really don’t produce on pop news like that. So we deal with community news and we give a voice to the voiceless where we are highlighting people, success stories, brand stories, and things of that nature.
0 (13m 42s): But I would say to just get in there, to try and make an impact, to give a voice to the voiceless because people want to be heard and people want to know what’s going on around the world. And I would say create quality content, make sure it’s truthful, create content with integrity, make sure its up to date, produce high quality photos and to just do your headline. And do the research. Just do your research. Look at other publications and issues, not to copy what to be inspired and to see how the game works. Because you don’t really have to reinvent the wheel in the magazine world.
0 (14m 14s): You can just put your own touch to it and then go from there. That’s how you can start. Do your research, produce quality content, give a voice to the voiceless, high quality images, headlines.
Danielle (14m 26s): I always say it’s nothing wrong with looking at someone else. Especially someone else who’s more experienced or they’ve been around for a long time. Looking at them for inspiration or just see the processes, so it was nothing wrong with that.
3 (14m 44s): Alright. I want to share a little secret with you guys. When I was first getting started with Dreamers Dan Podcast. I had to research
0 (14m 53s): To answer a lot of questions. Like how do I record an episode? How do I get my show into all the apps that people like to listen to? And of course, how do I make money for my podcast? The answer to every one of these questions is simple, Anchor. Anchor is a one stop shop for recording, hosting, and distributing your podcast. And the best thing of all is that it’s 100% free and ridiculously easy to use. And now Anchor can match you with great sponsors who want to advertise on your podcast.
0 (15m 25s): That means you can get paid to podcast right away. And one thing that I also liked the about it is that it kind of reduced the work flow so that you didn’t have to do a lot of the leg work. And I could focus on getting guests and started interviewing and recording immediately. So if you’ve always wanted us to start a podcast and make money doing it, go to anchor.fm/start to join me and a diverse community of podcasters already using Anchor.
0 (15m 58s): That’s anchor.fm/start. And I can’t wait to hear your podcast. Alright, a little side note. If you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you probably saw a story from me recently where I shared a photo of me completing my application for my absentee ballot. I’m staying home as much as possible and keeping me in mine safe. But I do understand that my vote and my voice matters, especially at critical times like these. Now if you share some of the same concerns that I do, just know that voting isn’t just going to the polls on election day anymore.
0 (16m 34s): Options like early voting, mail-in voting, and ballot drop boxes are available to more voters and are growing in popularity. How to Vote, a tool created by Democracy Works breaks down the options your state offers for casting a ballot, empowering you to decide when and where to vote. With the how to vote voter tool you can sign up for election reminders, see what’s on your ballot get step by step assistance requesting your mail ballot, explore your options for returning your voted mail ballot, check your voter registration status, find your polling site, and make sure you have the appropriate ID.
0 (17m 18s): Decide when and where you’ll vote this year at howto.vote. In addition to you being editor in chief of your own, magazine Leading with the Lee, you also have a coaching program where you help others become business owners by monetizing their purpose. So tell us more about that.
Lee (17m 42s): It didn’t come out the bag like, “Oh, I’m going to start something else.” Over the years when I’m doing leading with Lee and working in a corporate world. And then it’s so crazy because I take my experiences from the corporate world and entrepreneurship and that’s how to do business. And that’s what I learned from both being an entrepreneur and being in the corporate world. So over the years, I noticed that a lot of people would come to me for advice. How do you do this? How do you do that? Whether its being in the corporate world or for Leading with
Lee. 2 (18m 14s): So I was giving advice and helping people and connecting them to other people that I knew. And they were partnering with people from the magazine, from me just hooking people up and making connections. And I was like, wait a minute, I should turn it into a whole new business right here because I enjoyed doing it. I enjoyed putting people on and that’s so crazy because that’s what Leading with Lee does. So I was like, I can help people grow and I know people that was already making money in a business. But they didn’t have the business development aspect behind it.
2 (18m 47s): They were hustling making money, but I was helping them turn it into an official business. They would ask me and I was like, “I like this”. And I also specifically named myself as a Purpose Coach because my purpose journey was an experience. It was definitely an experience. I had to find myself. I was looking for validation and happiness from everyone and everything else. Being on a job like “they don’t value me. What’s going on here?”
2 (19m 17s): Being all emotional. And I was just like, “what’s are going on?” I had to find myself. What makes me really happy? What makes me sad? What makes me excited? What makes me angry? I really had to sit back and then I really had to just be like, ” alright, let me focus on a quality. What life am I imagining for myself? I want to be here. I want to be there. This makes me happy. Being around these people make me happy. Doing this makes me happy.” So I had to focus on those things and started changing my circle. I started changing my thinking and I started changing my habits.
2 (19m 50s): And then I just started focusing on the things that bring joy to my life, and that includes helping people develop their business, speaking to people, motivating them. I have so many testimonials and so many people telling me that they feel inspired after speaking to me. And it’s crazy because I don’t tell them what to do. I just speak from my own experience. And they’ll be like, “wow, this is very inspiring.” And then you know, it goes on. So I was like, “alright, let me just focus on helping people build their brands from a purpose perspective.” I want people to be happy, just like me.
2 (20m 22s): I don’t want them to just be good at something working somewhere and their not really happy. I want them to be happy doing what they are doing so that’s why it’s purpose coaching. Because I want you to build a brand that has purpose and that’s fulfilling. I’m not going to stay it’s going to be easy, but it will be worth it and fulfilling happiness. The second part is I also do put in brand and media because I noticed that a lot of people, they lack the professional photos for trying to featured. They lack the media headline, they lack the press kit. So I do help and Leading with Lee has expanded on a given coaching advice to people that wanted to be feature in the magazine.
2 (20m 60s): So they don’t have to be just featured. We actually helped you build up your brand. Build up your brand story, your brand message, build up your press kit, build up your marketing media headlines. We specifically give each person their own headline so that they can use it for other publications, which worked out because they have been featured in other publications after working with us. It’s all the same goal. To help people, but we we’re just doing it in two formats and two forms.
Danielle (21m 29s): Two different avenues, two different streams under the same umbrella. So that’s cool. It seems like to me that your mission or what you started with leading other people to their purpose. That helped you to laser in and identify your own.
Lee (21m 48s): Yes it did. Yes it did. You hit it right on the head. Yes it did. Because I’m like, “what am I here for.” When I was in school, in college, I majored in business. I minored in psychology, but I actually think it should have been the other way around. But it worked out. I love psychology. But also, even before the purpose coaching and the magazine, I always would say maybe I’ll become a psychologist. Let people come in and vent to me and make them feel good and motivate them.
2 (22m 19s): So I always wanted that avenue of motivating people because it actually made me feel good. I was motivating people when I felt down. It actually made me feel good. It was times when I was down and then I would come motivate somebody either through a text or a DM. Or if we’re talking and they’d say, “wow, it was really good.” Because sometimes it reminds me that other people are going through probably worst things. Not to not value in my own, but it was just like, “alright, I’m a motivating people when I’m feeling down.” It actually made me feel good because I’m a nurturer.
2 (22m 51s): I’m the oldest of seven sisters and three brothers. I’m a care – I’m a nurturer. I like caring, I have my own little four year old girl. So I’m always caring for people. It’s a gift and a curse because some people take advantage, but I never let it go away because of that.
0 (23m 17s): I think it all takes care of itself. It’s cool that like just you being your authentic self, people find inspiration in that. You are operating these different components of your business and like you just mentioned, you have a four year old daughter. So you’re also being a mom. I can tell you from experience, I have a toddler. That’s just like, that’s a business in itself. That’s a job. What’s your strategy? How do you manage it all? How do you get it all done? Do you have a team behind you?
0 (23m 47s): Do you automate processes? Or do you do both?
Lee (23m 51s): At the beginning, I’m not gonna lie, I was not organized. I was a new mom. I couldn’t jump up and go to events like how I wanted to. I was tired a lot too. Staying up until two o’clock in the morning was not happening. I would go to sleep when she went to sleep. It was work. And I remember one of the first people that I interviewed for the first issue. I said, “how do you do it?” Because I didn’t have a child at the time and she had a few. And I was like, “how do you do it?” Her and her husband. She was like, “with duct tape and Jesus girl.”
2 (24m 54s): So that’s how I was doing for like the first year, but then I had to get down to the nitty gritty. I had to organize, so I did start automating things. I started automating some of the systems for Leading with Lee Magazine, some of the payments systems, some of the onboarding processing. I started to automate my scheduling and automate social media post. I found out about these great resources
Lee (25m 21s): and I was like, “alright so I can schedule a post. This is awesome.” So I started doing that. It’s a lot of trial and error with things, but I started doing that. Over the years, I also worked with a lot of freelance photographers, content writers, and everything. That helped me out a lot too. I recently hired an assistant. She helps me a lot with the back end stuff. And I think part of my team is my best friend, my brothers, because they babysit her. So they’re a part of the team.
Danielle (-): Whether they know it or not.
2 (25m 26s): They are part of the team. That’s what I had to do. I noticed a problem also with me always on the computer and always on the phone. And she started to notice as she got a little older. So now I don’t want her to be always knowing mommy – and she made a joke too “mommy, this is you” and she made a joke or did actually draw me with a cellphone in my hand? It was one of them. I don’t know what it was. But it hit me, like okay, I need to stop. So I actually started to just put the phone down, put the computer down throughout the days, just play with her.
2 (25m 57s): Take her out to Chuckie Cheese. This is all before COVID hit and everything. Take her out to Chuckie Cheese and the museums and everything of that nature to just have fun. Spending time with her, playing with her toys. I had to show that I’m present, not just there and just to be on a phone, but actually there paying attention to her. That’s what takes a lot too, but it happened because she’s happy.
Danielle (26m 30s): I’ve definitely been there. ‘m in that stage now with them becoming more aware. So he’s like, “what are you doing mommy?” I’m like, “I’m working.” He’s like, “I’m working too. Let me go get my blue laptop.” So he goes and gets my broken laptop and starts typing. I’m like, “okay, I need to look at my processes some more. So like you said, I can be here now and give that time and attention. You have to shift your mind.
0 (26m 60s): It’s a mind shift.
Lee (27m 2s): You have to turn work mode off and don’t be thinking about working when you’re with child too, and vice versa. I’m doing work and I’m thinking about the child.
Danielle (27m 19s): Those different compartments. You’ve given us so much today. So much to think about it and look forward to. And for those who may be interested in being featured in your magazine or interested in finding their purpose, getting coaching from you, how can they reach out to you to collaborate or to get help?
0 (27m 38s): Well, my email for the coaching is email@example.com. And then everyone could visit, for the magazine, leadingwithlee.com. And for my coaching, leewhetstone.com. And @lwlmagazine for IG. We are on Twitter and IG as@lwlmagazine. My coaching is @thepurposebuilder on IG. We can start from there. Join the mailing list, it’s free. Stay up to date, stay in the know. That’s how they can connect.
Danielle (28m 8s): Thank you so much. Thank you for coming on and sharing your expertise. Thank you so much for joining us.
Lee (28m 15s): Thank you so much for having me I’m excited about this because I’m always on the other side interviewing other people. So me just being on the other side – every time to interview me, I’m like, “Oh yeah, yeah, me too. Oh yeah. Okay.” So thank you for having me.
Danielle (28m 36s): Yeah. You have to get in the hot seat too. Well, thank you so much and for everybody listening,
0 (28m 39s): thank you for listening and let us know what you thought about this. You can do so by pressing the record button, if you’re listening from the Anchor platform. And if you’re listening from my website, just scroll down below this recording and go to the comments. Then you can ask your questions and you can place your comments there. And like Lee gave out of her information, if you want to reach out to her to collaborate or to get coaching service, please do so by contacting her. Thank you guys for listening.
0 (29m 10s): Come back next week for more. And as I always say, Dream Until your Dreams Come True.
1 (29m 16s): <music>