[00:00:00] Leslie: Start posting. Talk about whatever is like, even on your mind at the time, that you think would be relevant to somebody. And it’s kind of how I feel for me in terms of doing videos for myself. I’ve done videos for other people pretty much my entire career. And so I’m like, I know enough like I should be doing that.
And who cares? Like, maybe two people will see it. Like, it doesn’t matter. I want to try it. I want to see how it goes. And so, whatever the platform is you want to express something. About an aspect of you because you feel like you want to do it, do it.
[00:0057] Jessy: Oh, hi you guys. It’s really good to be here. Thank you guys for tuning in. My name is Jessi Grossman and I am your host of the WHIM podcast. I also founded the community women in influencer marketing and I am very, very happy to be here with you guys today because I just finished recording this episode with our guest, Leslie Morgan, who I guess I first connected with on LinkedIn.
And, yes, we talk about LinkedIn, yes, we talk about parenthood, we talk about her experience growing a consultancy, and it’s just a really interesting conversation. We talked about affiliate marketing, we kind of went a little bit all over the place, but Not really, because that’s all of her experience. So, she has over 15 years of experience working with brands and digital influencers, celebrities, and networks across multiple digital platforms to scale businesses, grow revenue, and build brands.
She’s the GM and the founding partner of the Candidly, which is a wellness brand for women who sort of hate wellness brands. And we talk about that. It’s such a cool concept. Her highlight, reel of clients includes that she was the interim COO for Hankin Greens Complexly. She was an operations consultant for The Chosen.
She was the GM for Chad Wiley Clay and Vi Quaint’s Spy Ninja Networks. She was a consultant for Light Tricks. She’s been an advisor for VidCon. She is just a great person. So I have been looking forward to having this conversation, and she didn’t disappoint. So, I’m excited for you guys to listen to this episode, but before we dive into it, guys, this is the week of our Chicago event.
This is probably our very last event of 2023, which I, can’t believe that the summer’s over. And, ironically, the theme of all of these events is endless summer. It’s a lie, guys. I’ve been lying to you.
But I’ve just really been trying to, extend the summer as long as humanly possible. Anyways, this is the week of our Chicago event.
I’m so excited about it. Planning it has been really fun. And maybe because we’ve had really good sponsors for this event. So this event was sponsored by FCB Chicago and also by Flagship. shop. You’ll see the cool things that they’re doing. I don’t know. It’s going to be an awesome event.
We’ve been leaning so heavily into in-person events this year. I hope you’re not sick of hearing about it. I hope you’re excited to check them out because they’ve been really good. So I’m excited to be in Chicago this week for a few days. I love Chicago. I feel like it’s a cleaner New York. Nice people.
It’s a historic city, which I love. There’s a lot of like rich history there. I hope I’m going to be able to like enjoy this city and not just be solely focused on the event, so I will report back after the event has taken place, If you guys are interested in going and haven’t gotten your ticket yet, there might be a few left.
So head to IamWim. com slash events and you’ll see our Chicago meetup on there and I hope to see you. You guys, I hope you know this by now, I love meeting our podcast listeners in person because I feel like I’m like a little bit more personal with you guys. I don’t know. I want you to be personal with me too.
Like, let’s be friends. I want to get to know you guys as well. I feel like it’s like a different, it’s different on this podcast. So, anyway, I hope you come to our event in Chicago. And if you’re not able to, or you’re not in the city, you’re not traveling through, it’s too last minute, all the excuses, what I will do is I will drop in the show notes a link to our waitlist so that you can basically join the waitlist and Also, I’ll get to know like what city and state and stuff you’re in because it might inform where we have future meetups as well.
But if you’re in New York, if you’re in LA, we will be back there for sure. I’m looking into Atlanta, I’m looking into Miami, San Francisco, like these are other markets that I’m like, I want to host an event there. So anyway, in the show notes, you’ll find a link so that you can join our waitlist and also share where you’re based.
And that might help inform where our next events are. All right, guys, I’m going to keep this one short today. I’m excited for you to hear more about Leslie Morgan and all the topics I mentioned before. So thank you so much for tuning in and sticking around and we’ll be hearing from
It’s nice to have you joining us today. So first and foremost, welcome and like, how’s your summer going so far?
[00:06:13] Leslie: It’s been well and thank you so much for having me. I’m excited to talk to you. Been following, WIM for a long time and participated a lot across Facebook and Slack so excited to be on.
And summer’s been hectic, a lot of summer camps. I’m a six-and-a-half-year-old, so a lot of wrangling. I think a lot of parents go through the same kind of thing. As I’m going through this,
[00:06:38] Jessy: You are not alone at all whatsoever.
[00:06:41] Leslie: I know. So I feel for all the parents that are, juggling a million schedules.
This is how I feel about this summer. So that’s what it’s like, and like
[00:06:49] Jessy: I don’t know, maybe it’s a good place for us to start. Like, talk to us about being a professional, like a working mom, not a, like, I don’t know anybody who is a stay-at-home mom. Maybe it’s a product of where I live, maybe if I lived in a different location, there’d be more of them.
But like, I don’t know any of them. And so I. Relate to like the real-life struggle of balance and, wanting to give attention and all that stuff. So like, yeah, talk to us about what it’s like and, like the realities of it for you.
[00:07:23] Leslie: It’s a lot. I mean, it’s, it’s a lot of juggling.
It’s a lot of compromise. It’s a lot of, Being transparent with clients, so for me, I consult with both high-level creators, and brands and so it’s being cognizant of boundaries, I’m not always the greatest at it in full transparency, but, I am doing my best to be better and especially during life.
She gets home from, let’s say, school and I’m preparing dinner and we eat dinner together and it’s like, my phone’s off. It better be urgent, for that couple of-hour blog. There must be something on fire or something happening, right, where you’re gonna, you’re gonna send me a text or try and, connect with me.
And it’s a lot of just kind of like, truncating my day. And so in the mornings, it’s a lot of like prep work, after I send her to school. So like, it’s get up, get her ready, feed her, like all the things, get her off to school. Dad takes her to school. And then it’s a lot of prep and like early morning.
And then we kind of like phone calls and balance and all the things. And, I’m a co-founder and a media business as well called Candidly. And so it’s just like, Chunks of certain days devoted to client work, the brand that I’m building, with my co-founder and our team, and being a mom.
And so, it’s never easy and it’s a lot of balls in the air.
[00:08:55] Jessy: It’s a lot of balls in the air, for sure. And I appreciate, just being real about it. Like, it’s never easy. But we do it because we want to do it. And like, as women, we can fricking do anything we can. We’re like if anyone’s going to juggle all those balls and have them be sorted, like it’s going to be women.
I don’t know. I find that women are, generally speaking, really good multitaskers. If you’re fortunate enough to have a great partner, like, lean on them. If you’re fortunate enough to have family around, lean on them, and just be able to create and build systems for yourself, whether it’s a support system or what have you.
But like, I mean, it truly does take a village.
[00:09:36] Leslie: Yeah, I mean, I’m certainly very fortunate that my husband and I are true partners and we divvy up things like, household stuff and who’s going to cook and what days and all the things. We share a calendar so that we see what’s going on on any given day.
If I have an earlier meeting or if I have a, or he does or what have you. And so that’s critical. I mean, I think it takes a village, but I think our systems currently are, are such a village, at least in the U.S. where I don’t think there’s enough of that in place. I think families are more spread out than they ever were.
I don’t, I don’t have, a family that’s like super close, and the parents are much older. His parents are abroad, living in a different country. So it’s a lot of kind of like wrangling, but on the other hand, we try and bring in like babysitters and things like that when we can, and we’ve got a great supportive school community.
So like other parents are helpful. It’s tough. And I think we don’t necessarily do the best job. And I think, especially for women who are running their businesses and are entrepreneurial and are either freelancing or consulting, we make it very, very difficult to take time off. And because every time you don’t work, you don’t get paid.
Right. And so, and then it’s like medical care. And so I think there’s a lot of things that. You need to happen to do better. And certainly, when it comes to creators themselves, as they began to start families, like really thinking about what they need to do to set themselves up for success. And having kind of gone through it myself, it’s something that I try and instill in any of my clients that are kind of thinking about it and anticipating what that’s going to look like because I think.
They don’t realize the scope of what could happen. I mean, everything from, challenges in pregnancy, getting pregnant, to being pregnant, to challenges during the pregnancy, to what happens after. And it’s like, you just don’t know. And look, sometimes you’re really lucky and everything is slow sailing, and sometimes it’s not.
And so I think anticipating those things. As you’re preparing for that stage of your life is incredibly critical, and I don’t think anybody really who is looking to do this kind of work is thinking about those things until you’re in it.
[00:12:01] Jessy: And it’s also like, it’s a challenge in our industry in particular, I think, because I don’t know, a lot of people are doing work like at scale and, really just trying to keep your head above water and stay ahead of the, the deadlines and just like the work.
And so to do the complete opposite of that and the proposal being, to plan and to get ahead of it. And that just sounds. I’m sure to some people listening to this, like, impossible, like, how would I even do that? And I appreciate you saying, especially on this show, like, I want to amplify the message that more women than you think struggle to get pregnant.
I’m one of them. Like, more women than you think, like, have, saying, like, it takes a village. A lot of us don’t have a village. I’m one of those people, too. And I feel like I just want more women to be open about that. So if nothing more, you just have that in your mind as if that is a possibility of something that I might go through or that I might experience and that I can at least manage my expectations in approaching.
And I also understand, like building your own business or just being like. I’m a little obsessed with your work, I wrap my work so much up in my identity and like who I am and I enjoy it so much so it can be a real struggle. You want two things just as much, and they might conflict with each other.
Like, for me, like, absolutely wanting to be a mom. Like, I’m a stepmom right now. So, like, I have our daughter, like, half the time. So, it’s a more unique situation that, like, I have the other half of my time to, like, dedicate towards work. And I manage my time in a different way than maybe other parents do.
But now we want to have, a kid of our own. Just knowing that, like, I want that just as badly as I love and adore my career, I’m like, how do I approach that? Like, do you, did you feel like you went through that? Or are you still going through that? And how do you manage that?
[00:14:10] Leslie: I think anybody that’s a mom, even if you’re like a dog mom, right?
I mean, it doesn’t matter, right? I mean, that’s a lesson being a mom itself, like, to a child. But, anybody who is a mother, And has a child part-time, or full-time, I think is always going to be wrangling and figuring it out as you go. Gets easier when they’re older and it gets, it’s like, it’s not about easy, it’s just different and it just changes.
To me, the first thing I learned was like, expectations out the window. I had a very challenging pregnancy and ended up having preeclampsia and delivering a little bit early. The daughter was in the NICU, like. That was not expected, I was sick for like my first 25 weeks of pregnancy, literally every day, like could barely function and had to work a job and not tell my co-workers, and all of a sudden I was running to the bathroom constantly and, and so I think for me, like every expectation out the window, how I thought I was going to be as a mom.
Right, what, what my child was going to be like, like all the things. And so I think for me, any advice I give is just like, all you can do is your best. And even if you can’t, that’s okay too, because sometimes like you can’t do your best. Sometimes you’re going to be like, sometimes dinner gets burnt and your kid is crying because she skinned her knee and your dog just threw up.
You do what you can. And I think there is a perception. This idea of, like, we can have everything and all of it and there’s balancing and there is no balance. There’s, like, sometimes you’re gonna, like, have half the balls, like, on the floor. Sometimes all of them. Sometimes you drop all of them and you’re like, today I’m done.
Like today kind of sucked and it was tough and then you wake up tomorrow and it’s a better day or it’s not and, like, that’s okay. And so, there is no perfect, wonderful, shiny solution. And even if you have. With all the support in the world and all the money in the world, there are still going to be challenges probably.
So I think from my perspective, I will continue to kind of move through as best as I can and I learn as I go. And I think so much, so many of us are in. I think society the internet and social media portray things as a perfect picture. It’s not. And, I think we need to be much more real and vulnerable and open and honest about the struggles we’re going through.
And I think it’s, anybody that’s going through it, it’s also our responsibility to share that with, other women and, and particularly, I think, again, kind of coming back to like the creator entrepreneur space. You will have the highest highs and the lowest lows, and that’s just part of it.
And that’s okay. If you want to do this in your life, your heart is set, like, I’m gonna never say, like, don’t go for it. I’m always gonna be like, go for it. But just know that when you’re trying to juggle, like, three different camps and, Developmental challenges or whatever is happening in the moment with your family while also trying to like do the best job you can for your clients, etc.
It’s tough. And it’s okay to be tough. And that’s just part of
[00:17:34] Jessy: it. I think what I found at least that like makes that better, I guess, for lack of a better word, is just like enjoying the journey more so than liking the destination. Because I understand where you’re coming from when you’re like, the internet especially paints this picture, this perfect picture of like, Here’s me with my cute b, and here’s me with my adorable baby on vacation when they’re like two months old and they’re like, wait, you took your child for on a vacation at two?
How? And like, there are very few people that highlight the journey itself and the realities of it. And like, A, I think like, don’t do it for anyone else anyway, like I swear, like there are so many people, whether you’re an influencer or not, you just want to like share online the highlight reel of your life.
But I, just want people to like and enjoy the journey. I was talking to my best friend who like just had her first kid. And she was like, she was finding the opposite. She was like, my feeds are inundated with women who are just like, almost like shitting on parenthood. She’s like, do you enjoy being a parent?
It’s almost cool to be like, oh, my kid’s being a nightmare today. Like, my kid, like this, that, and I’m sort of complaining about like, how hard it is. And I was like, Yeah, I freaking think my seven-year-old is hilarious and, and
like, I love learning through
her and like, there are so many things that are pleasurable about it, but I think what’s helped me is just like enjoying the lessons, like enjoying the process of figuring it out.
Especially as a first-time parent and somebody who came into her life when she was three years old, I didn’t have nine months to prepare for what it would be like, and like maybe that was a good thing. I don’t know. I wish for all of us, I guess, that we could just enjoy the journey a bit more because what you said, in particular, resonated with me, which is like, You might have these expectations of, like, who your kid is in particular, and they’re probably not going to be who you think they’re going to be.
They’re going to like, and different things, be a different human, and, like, that alone is going to change everything for you, you know what I mean? Yeah,
[00:19:59] Leslie: Totally. I mean, your kid is their human, and they might take after certain things of you, or your partner, or somebody that you’re like, who, who is this?
And that’s okay. I mean, I think that was the biggest lesson for me is like, She is her person and she is spunky and outgoing and like knows everybody, which is not me. I’m very much the opposite. I’m like, well, how does everybody know who you are? This is crazy. How much are you doing? Like what? And then there’s certain things that, you recognize in yourself.
Right, which is also part of those learnings. And so, that’s a really interesting point in terms of, now that you just said in terms of this negativity that’s coming from Sunline. From a parenting standpoint, that’s accurate now that I’m kind of, like, thinking about it. I don’t typically follow, those online that are a little bit more curated, based on just my background of lifestyle and working with those kinds of content creators.
Like, I kind of gear. Yeah, veer more in that direction, but that’s very fascinating to me because yeah, I feel like it’s very one-sided. I feel like it’s very black and white on either side.
[00:21:10] Jessy: It’s like polarized like it’s one extreme or the other. Exactly.
[00:21:13] Leslie: Completely. And there’s zero gray happening online.
And like, there’s always space in between. The one side and the other side. And I think, it’s very easy to forget that. And look, I think that is just how we are set up right now with everything. Unfortunately, everything feels very black-or-white extreme on either side, which is unfortunate because there are a lot of those in between.
And to your point, it is about moving through that journey. And I think that goes for like, when you’re building business. Right? Whoever you are, when you’re building something, like I said before, there’s the highs, there’s the lows, but there’s a lot of in between and there’s a lot of kind of growth and learning that you develop.
I mean, I’ve been doing this particular piece of my entrepreneurial journey for probably going on five years.
[00:22:06] Jessy: And tell us more about what you’re doing now. Like, tell us about this company because I want everyone to hear about it. I want to learn more about it. So yeah, tell us what you guys do.
[00:22:15] Leslie: So with the Candidly specifically, this one’s probably Jan 19, myself and my co-founder.
I was working with her, her business. I was helping her with some partnerships. She runs a very successful wellness company. And we were like, like there’s nothing online speaking to us. We’re in our, we’re in our forties. Everything is either very high-end or goop-ish, nothing wrong with that.
That’s one way to look at it. There’s like, Well in good, like there’s all of these sites out there that aren’t speaking to relationships, like what’s happening in the, what about things like for me from a product standpoint, like, I’m not into makeup, but like do appreciate skincare, but like.
I’m very skeptical yet I’m curious, she’s very curious, not as skeptical. Like where’s the content for us? So decided to create something and we started Candidly and this was around, we officially launched two weeks before the world shut down with the pandemic. It was February 27, 2020, and the world shut down We pivoted everything and started to kind of, rebuild what we had planned for months and months and months.
We have an incredible team of women, that we’ve been able to grow this thing into. So for me, it was important as well as my co-founder, Dana, to create something that we haven’t seen. And so we take a very real, raw, honest approach to everything from, again, relationships, health, wellness, all the things, Our tagline is, the Candidly is a wellness site for women who sort of hate wellness.
And I think we’ve taken this world wellness and kind of spun it into something that’s, not necessarily realistic or again, it’s been kind of like hyper-curated into something that just isn’t the real-life version of how we want to spend our lives. I’m somebody that, like, struggles with, like, working out, and struggles with, like, motivation to do those kinds of things, and, like, taking, like, small steps to create an action of some kind is critical.
It’s, like, I love clones. I’m like, how do I fit this into my body? Like, just, again, very pragmatic, ways and solution-oriented ways to look at things. And so that’s one part of, of what I do and kind of, I look at kind of the business and help on the business side and everything from Boring stuff like the accounting and the invoices and our brand partnerships and our sponsors and our affiliate marketing and all those things.
And then have an incredible team of women, doing creative. Audie Metcalf is brilliant and, she runs our creative and our editorial. And so built this thing from nothing to now, 100, 000 on Instagram, 20 percent engagement rate, about 350, 000 interviews a month, et cetera. So proud of the work that the team has done.
To build it. And then the other side of that is my consultancy. And so I’m working with high-level creators. And brand creators, I do everything from, interim COO. So operationally looking at their business structure, they’re hiring, their P and L, and then processes and ensuring that we can instill some processes into the organization to make it efficient and profitable.
And then business development and strategy, and then content, ideation, IP formats, syndication, and development. So there are three buckets that I work across with creators. And on the brand side, working with brands to develop partnerships that will succeed. What are your KPIs? Let’s bring somebody in who’s going to connect the dots and ladder up to success for your brand, and sometimes with brands, I’ll peek behind on the operation front if necessary as well because I have that skill set on the creator side.
So I have a great group of clients that I’ve been very privileged to work with. And sometimes those clients are a few months and sometimes it’s years depending on the scope and need of those creators and those businesses.
[00:26:42] Jessy: So I have so many follow-up questions. So where do I start? So. I think a lot of our audience is very intrigued, if not having started their consultancy freelance.
They are, a lot of people unfortunately are getting like let go from their nice cushy jobs at really big companies usually lately, due to no fault of their own, but a lot of them are like, God, I’ve always wanted to just like have my consultancy anyway. But like, I know a lot of them.
They can be wicked talented. They can, just be so primed to be successful as their entity. But I know a lot of people struggle with how to get my first client or even the first handful of clients. Given that, I don’t know, if it could be hard, to do that. So do you have any advice on, somebody sort of in that beginning stage, or it’s just been quiet, who’s just looking to acquire their first few clients?
[00:27:49] Leslie: So I had been kind of doing this on and off since 2005. And so, I kind of fell into it. Thanks. Both times when I started my journey in this, the first time was more on the production side. So I was a producer for 15 years or so in my career. And so learned a lot through that journey. And so learned a lot in terms of like setting myself up and how to do that.
I mean, to be very transparent in terms of getting clients, it was a lot of knocking on doors. I mean, when I started in 2005, there was no LinkedIn. There was barely, I didn’t even think I was using Facebook or like on Facebook, right? And so, it’s a very different proposition. I mean, I started, by going to production, like facilities, like they’re used, there’s, I think they still exist, like different buildings.
And just like knocking on doors and being like, Hey, I’m doing this. I’m, I’m a producer. Like, do you need help with line producing? Do you need help with production coordinating? Do you, and like. That was kind of what started, I think now, number one, like tap into your existing network.
So the second iteration of what happened to me, I was in Denver. I was working for a company. I was there for six months. I grew the company significantly and then they laid me off. And so it was like October, like the end of October 2018. My husband and I had just bought a house. We needed two incomes. I was in Denver.
I knew nobody. I was like, what I do doesn’t exist here. I mean, there are pockets of it, but not really. And I was like, crap, what do I do? And just started calling my network of people and was like, this is my situation. And it was like, call after call. And even when I think about my journey starting in LA, right, like I didn’t know anybody here.
I drove cross country with stuff in my car. And there was one person I knew and she gave me a number and I called that person and that person gave me a number and I called that person. And so it’s like. If you have an existing network, first and foremost, tap into that network, right? Talk to them and say, Hey, here’s, here’s what I’m looking to do.
Who do you think I could offer those services to? Is it you? Is it somebody that you know? Right? And like, you just move that ball forward, right? And you just start there by kind of tapping into the people, you know? And so for me, the second iteration of this in October of 18, I had consulted with, a company and I was like, here’s my situation and they’re like, this is amazing timing.
Like, I need your help. I don’t know how long I’m going to need it. Why don’t we start with a three-month contract? And it was like my saving grace. I was like, I’m going to have to like tap into like my 401k and it was like, she was my first client coming into something. And then I just built from there and just, stayed connected to people.
And I think, look, I think, I don’t know if it’s just because of who I am as a human, like I stay connected with people for a long time, and I’ve had many kinds of. Journeys in my career. I started in traditional media. I started in TV and film people that I was working with at that time have since gone on to be very different places in their careers and some have decided to become therapists and are no longer in that industry.
Some people have won Academy Awards. I’ve still connected to all of them, right? And, through the process, even if it’s just like, hey, and it’s not for me wanting anything from somebody, it’s I genuinely liked them and wanted to stay connected, right? And like, even if it’s just like, hey, happy birthday, or hey, I saw you, posted about this thing, congratulations.
Funnily enough, some of the people that I was connected to who have been incredibly successful in TV and film, have gone on and one of my clients who is a celebrity and I help her with content strategy, has a podcast, the producer that won the Academy Award and that’s now doing documentaries, she was on her podcast.
And I was like, Oh my God, this is so incredible. I reached out and was like, I had to say, I listened to the podcast in advance of it coming out, blah, blah, blah. And, and we were able to kind of reconnect from that thing, but I had already stayed in touch with her. Throughout that time. Do you know what I mean?
And so first and foremost, I think it’s always important if you like somebody and you, can connect to them, stay connected because you just never know. And, and vice versa, right? It’s if somebody needs my help or somebody needs something from me, I’m always the first to be like, yes, how can I help you?
What can I do? How can I connect you to X, Y, and Z person? So I think for somebody coming into this, Tap into your existing network and just ask the question, and, and also understand what you’re going to provide as like your business, right? I think to try and get down in a few sentences what you can provide for somebody and understand your value and your worth.
in whatever that is. And I’m not the best person to advise honing that because my hand’s in like 70 different pies. I’ve always been that way, I think. When I was working in a big corporate production company, I had the privilege of having my hand in multiple pieces of that business and growing a business inside the business.
And so that’s just always who I’ve been. I had a friend from college visit recently and remembered that like in college, I was the kid that like had the radio show and I was like, Bringing performing arts to campus. And I was an RA and I’m like, I don’t know when I had time to do more like schoolwork because I had my hand in like 17 different activities.
I’ve always been that person. So if you’re that person, be that person. If you’re somebody that’s like, I do this and I do it well, do that, do it well and just know what you want to provide and just start knocking on doors. I mean, I think that’s for me. That’s the advice I can give because that’s how I did it. I don’t know any other way.
[00:36:37] Jessy: Yeah. No, I appreciate that I relate to a lot of what you said too. And I think a nice takeaway is like, just be who you are, and lean into that. What you said resonated with me, which is like, I’ve also always had my hand in a million different things, but When I was like in college, I very vividly remember someone who I respected, A professor told me, You need to focus more.
You’re doing way too many things. You’re spreading yourself too thin. And you’re just going to be like. What is it? A jack of all trades, a master of none, and I still respect the heck out of her today, I know she’s coming from a good place, but contrary to that idea, I attribute a lot of my success to the way that my brain is just naturally wired, which is like, I was diagnosed ADHD at the age of like 35, and I think that has maybe a lot to do with that.
I’ve always sort of been a little like scattered quote unquote, but like, I can also, like, I don’t know, I’ve heard people say, like, things like ADHD, things like other things that necessarily, that seems like, seem like disorders, like, they’re like, that’s my superpower, like, that has been the key to my success.
When I ask you on this show, like, what would you tell people, it’s like, well, this is actually what I would tell people simply because it has worked for me. But you can’t, like, try to do that if that’s not your natural way, like, if that’s not your style. So I appreciate the transparency of that, and I guess, like, I want to encourage people that if you are that way, and if anyone’s telling you not to be that way, like, Don’t listen to them, just figure out a way that it can serve you, you don’t want it to complicate things or to, make anything negative in any way, but like as long as it serves you, my God, keep doing it, keep doing it.
I’d love to also, like in the spirit of connecting with people and networking, I’d love to talk about. Your presence on LinkedIn. A lot of people who listen to the show know that I’m like such a LinkedIn nerd. I love being on there. I think it’s like absolutely the place to be. Everyone talks way too much about Instagram and YouTube and of course, like it’s our job, so we have to, but I also love talking about LinkedIn, so I’m curious as somebody who seems to prioritize connecting with people and staying in touch and growing your business, maybe perhaps through LinkedIn and other means.
Is there a particular strategy for you and just like how has being on there helped you?
[00:39:12] Leslie: Yeah, that’s a great question. Well, first and foremost, I think for me, I don’t know if there’s necessarily a specific strategy and to be quiet, and maybe this is a strategy in itself, is like I’m pretty, again, honest and open.
I get there’s this whole thing about like, keep your posts like this and make sure they’re short. Make sure you put lots of visuals and do a video and do. And I’m like, I’m just gonna do what I want. And that’s not probably the best advice, but that’s what I do. And so, I tend to be very wordy, that’s just who I am.
When I write, I remember having to like, really learn throughout my career to edit myself. My emails were like, back in the day, were like, out of control. Like, I was like, paragraph, like, I just, I had to learn to do that. And sometimes I don’t do that, really, as well, on LinkedIn. I think I tend to do more, bulky paragraphs.
Sometimes I’ll throw in emojis and red flags and stuff like that, but like, it’s just my writing style. And so I just do it. And I don’t care if like, not so many people are going to look at it or whatever. I just, do it because I want to put myself out there. And I want to. Connect with people and, and have them understand that like, here’s what I am seeing, here are some things that I think could be done better.
What do you think? Right? And cause that’s just who I am. And so that’s what I do. I think it’s been really interesting because I have gotten clients from posts. I’ve gotten clients. I’m on a platform called Intro, which, was important for me this year to prioritize time. And get people to pay me for my time.
I think a big thing that I think, especially when you start, right? You’re like, wow, I’m just going to like to have this call and I’m just going to like to connect with people. And I’m just. Everybody wants something from you in these 13-hour-long conversations and I’m like, I’m not going to just give that away for free.
So I started an intro page and I put it on my LinkedIn and it was like, I buy into the fact that like, if you want to tap into my brain. Because you want to show me a demo and you want to get my feedback on it, if you want to. Ask me about your business plan. If you want to say, Hey, I’m looking for these kinds of creators.
How do I get them? Right? Any of those things I’m like, you should pay me for that time. So I set that up. And so through LinkedIn, I was saying, Hey. You can buy time for me and I make it fairly affordable. I think, right, I do it less than my hourly on purpose, right? I give people, I can say, okay, even for like, an hour of my time, you’ll get an hour 15 of my time and you’ll get it for less than my hourly rate.
Right. And from there, I had, I’ve had some people kind of do intro calls and a couple of those have turned into like permanent clients that are like, doing monthly retainer for me. So all that to say, I mean, I’ve been bullish on LinkedIn for a long time. What I wasn’t bullish on until probably a year-ish or so was promoting myself.
I’ve always been really bad at that. I’ve also been really lucky that I’ve been able to do a lot from word of mouth. I haven’t needed to market myself in the five years I’ve had my business. And this past year I was like, but I want to go beyond my network. I want to go beyond, The people who are just kind of like forwarding me on to other people and being referral-based, it’s been great.
And, like, don’t get me wrong. I’ve had an incredible journey and I’ve been very fortunate, but I wanted to try other things and I wanted to, move in a different direction. And so to do that, I had to start building more of a following for myself and promoting myself, which I’m very bad at.
I don’t like to do that. I don’t like to talk about myself and what I do. I had to really, talk earlier about like hone what you do and hone your pitch. Like, I said, but I like doing so much. How do I do that? And I was like, Oh, These are my three buckets. This is what I can do. Boom, boom, boom.
Right? And so I’ve had to really, as an introvert and somebody that doesn’t like to talk about myself a lot and I’m a relatively shy person, I had to break that barrier and, like, start talking about myself and what I do. And, like, I’m proud of that. I mean, I’m proud of what I’ve been able to accomplish.
Over the last five years and built a significant, consultancy with like pretty decent revenue and helped others understand that process of what maybe I wasn’t the best at initially, like underpricing myself and not valuing myself appropriately and like getting to the place where like, Oh, this is what I should be charging hourly.
And this is what my agreements need to look like. And if somebody doesn’t pay me built into the contract, there’s a cure period. And, there’s, you have to owe me x more if you don’t pay me on time by my net 15 terms. Like all of those kinds of things, right? Like I’ve learned, I’m gone.
Because my first iteration of my business was Production services, right? And so it was just a very different way of being. It was like, I would charge for like my time on set and charge for post-production. And so wrapping my head around something different as I transitioned this over, five years ago, there were a lot of learnings.
And so, I think for me being on LinkedIn is a way to promote. Being on LinkedIn is a way to promote myself, and it’s a way to ensure that people get to know me and what I do, and so that’s just been a big part of the reason, and also sharing again, like, what has worked and what hasn’t, and being open about that.
So, everyone’s like, how often should I post? And you’ll see it, like, there’s some weeks I’ll post three times, sometimes I’ll post one or two times. I don’t necessarily, I’m not nailing it. I’m not, I am not nailing it in terms of my strategy on LinkedIn. I will tell you something that I do want to move into video.
I’ve prioritized that for Q4. And, with my production background, that’s something that I am interested in exploring for myself. I don’t know what that’s going to look like, but I know I want to try it and see where that’s going to live. Not sure yet, but I think it kind of goes to what I said earlier.
It’s like, just go for it. Just start posting, and talk about whatever is like. Even on your mind at the time that you think would be relevant to somebody or what have you, like, whatever it is, just start it. And it’s kind of how I feel for me in terms of doing videos for myself. I’ve done videos for other people pretty much my entire career.
And so I’m like, why not? I know enough, like, I should be doing that. And who cares? Like, maybe two people will see it. Like, it doesn’t matter. I want to try it. I want to see how it goes. And so… Whatever the platform is that you want to, express something about an aspect of you because you feel like you want to do it, do it, and just start it and you will learn what strategy works for you or what the best time and you know how to structure something as you go and for me it was just never about
[00:46:54] Jessy: That’s actually like such a dirty little secret Which is you’ll hear people on LinkedIn on Instagram on YouTube like literally on every single platform Be like the expert of that platform and they’ll be like you have to do this, this is the equation and I am the first person to say like That’s just simply not true because I’ve experienced something else.
Like so perfect example, everyone for the past year plus has been like, Oh my God, an Instagram, you have to post all reels all day. We post reels and they always flop. Absolutely, like every time our audience is just unique, every audience is unique and ours doesn’t resonate with reels. However, if we post a carousel, it outperforms reels every single time.
So it’s like a little tiny micro example of like, don’t let all these experts and gurus like get in the way or prevent you from doing something. Because in fact, like the given. Is that you’re gonna try it out, you’re gonna do it yourself, and you’re gonna learn what is going to work for your audience and your account and just like you in general, like, cause if you’re not comfortable doing reels, then frickin don’t do reels, if you’re not com like do a podcast, or if you’re really comfortable with production, like explore YouTube, maybe it’ll be more fun for you, but like, whatever it is, just like, You’re going to be surprised, you’re going to learn things, and I just, yeah, I was talking to somebody yesterday who is a lawyer on the, like, in the creator economy, and she specializes in that, and, like, she was introduced to me by, like, two people in a week, and I was like, interesting, I really want to talk to this woman, and I actually didn’t realize before we spoke that she had, like, a YouTube account with, like, I think, like, more than half a million followers and tons of views, and I was like, That is good for you, first of all, but like, that is so interesting because there’s this like, really growing interest in like, what a lot of people refer to as like, this B to B influencer, which like, looks so different from what other, like, what we’re so used to seeing in the influencer space, but like, basically like, a lawyer talking about the creator economy, like, I’m like.
There’s that many people that want to hear that stuff because like, if you’re getting those kinds of numbers, like you’re appealing to the masses, like you’re not even just appealing to like this niche sort of community, which isn’t that niche, but you know what I mean. To your point, like, just start, like, do it, and it’s gonna, like, the, again, like, the process, like, just enjoy the process, you’re gonna learn new things, like, what works for everybody else will not necessarily work for you, it’s good to know about, to try that first, but like if it doesn’t work, And it doesn’t continue to work, like, don’t keep trying to do it because something else will probably uniquely work for you.
But, I, from one introvert to another, I appreciate the heck out of you saying, like, it could be uncomfortable to get on some of these platforms, but, like, A, it’s like sort of like a necessary evil, especially as somebody who’s like, in your case, like co-founding a company or like building something like it’s almost like people want that behind the scenes look of like, who is that person?
Like who is Leslie Morgan? Like what is she about? Like what does she think? Like what are her thoughts like on a more personal level? So I think people enjoy that sort of content. But also like. You sort of have to unapologetically promote what you’re doing, because if you believe in what you’re doing, like, Don’t do it in a silo.
Like people, you want customers, you want people to know about you, and like, nobody’s going to promote you unless you hire a PR person. And they’re probably going to say you need to be on social media, promoting yourself first as well. I think it’s great what you’re saying. I think one of the, like, last, I can’t believe we’re, like, running out of time because I’m, like, chatting your ear off, but one of the last things that I would love to make sure that we touch on is a little bit about affiliate marketing, which you just, like, briefly spoke about earlier, you mentioned earlier, and so I’m curious, like, your background in affiliate marketing and also like in all of your experience, how you think affiliate marketing can be most effective for marketers and influencer marketers
[00:51:26] Leslie: today?
Yeah. So I fell into it and I fell into it with the Candidly. So the first year and a half, it, there was no monetization, literally. I mean, we were fortunate. We had a runway. Of angel investment. We wanted to grow an audience. We wanted to grow a loyal audience, which we did. And so then we, and I was the first one to be like, all right, is this the right time?
Should we do it? I was a little hesitant and we did it. And so it was like learning as we, we went, right? I mean, we were using skim links, which is great on the editorial side. However, it’s a percent of a percent. Then started tapping into things like share sales intact. I’m going to throw a bunch of these names out there.
So just bear with me. And, again, we were just kind of learning as we went in terms of, Oh yeah, like Amazon doesn’t have the great commission, but we want to see leverage it because of like, This high low concept, but like maybe not prioritize it. All of these things we were, and so it wasn’t until about maybe was it last year even before that?
I think, yeah, it was like last year I was kind of exploring other platforms and I came across, and I’ll be very transparent, these guys ended up being a client. But they’re called shot my, and it intrigued me because of the low barrier of entry so I reached out. And we developed a relationship.
I, they ended up being a client for a couple of months and it was the first time I was like, wow, I was like creators. Right. And for me, especially like creators have been so like, I would say like negative kind of in terms of. At least the ones that I’ve worked with, right? It’s mostly lifestyle influencers.
It’s the OG ers that have been around a long time that struggle with how do I do this? How do I get links? How do I make this happen? And I was like, wait a second. I was like, regardless of the monetization factor, it was like if you can convert and you can see what you are converting and how you are converting it, that’s gold.
There have been so many times in my career where I worked with brands or collaborations where creators are doing products for other brands. We cannot get data. We cannot get the data. I mean, there was, I pushed so hard on this one deal. I remember where I was like, I was like, this benefits you because we’ll be able to change the marketing strategy if we understand what we’re selling and blah, blah, blah.
They were like, no, no, no, no. We got the bare minimum threshold of like, we understood if a particular SKU performed better or not, but we still didn’t get sales data or anything. And so. Without that information, how can then I upsell a client? How can I understand what was able to sell or not for them if we were going to do something like that again?
With affiliate marketing in creator businesses, if you can sell through something, and you’re looking at your conversion rates across each of your platforms. That is gold. So I cannot stress enough that it is critical. And so, I’m, again, I’m not bullish on Amazon. I think there are better ways to serve you from a monetization standpoint.
Those percentages oftentimes, at least from what I’m seeing, one to 5%. Sometimes there’s windows, right? Right now there’s a window of like, well, you can get up to 7 percent on these particular items, very specific. And you’re like. Really? But just in terms, if you just can do that and you just understand the kinds of things that you can move the needle on, that’s critical information for your business.
And so for us at the Candidly, right? Like those learnings started to happen. We understand that certain products are moving the needle and we are then able to go to brands and get higher affiliate rates, much higher. Maybe sometimes even like big flat rates, et cetera, on the creator side.
With products, again, I’m going to throw out Shopmyde because I just think it’s a great, easy product. Mostly though, in the beauty fashion category, mostly beauty. So if you’re a beauty influencer, right, like, highly recommend that. I know there are others too, like, LTK, etc. I like Shopmyde because of the ease and the back end.
You see very clearly. Number one, you can scrape the internet to get URLs, right? They already come as shortened, shortened URLs. So you don’t have to then convert it to a Bitly or whatever. And then you see, right, like exactly the earned revenue, which platforms you’re kind of able to, get that on, et cetera.
And so from my perspective, like. Beyond just the monetization, which I think can be critical for creators coming up and, certainly just in general to diversify, put that aside for a second and just try and look at it from understanding what is or is not converting for you. What does your audience want, right?
And then double down on that, right? Whether it’s, products, whether it’s the kind of content, whether it’s a particular topic that they’re, they’re interested in based on those links. Right? Like, and yes, obviously, when you’re doing content, you can see your engagement, your viewership, who’s sharing, et cetera.
I get that. But that conversion piece is so critical and a way for you to then look at how you can upsell. And how you can do more with that particular
[00:57:15] Jessy: thing. No, I love it. I ask because also, like, I know that, we’re in a weird economy, coupled with the fact that, like, people are just looking for, like, more and more ROI from the work that they’re doing with influencers, coupled with the fact that certain influencers are just like pricing themselves to like an astronomical in an astronomical way, and basically like people are just wondering how they can like to optimize their relationships more with creators and I think that it’s a good question.
To ask, which is like, how can I optimize this work more? I think it’ll just like better our industry and, it’ll provide even more credibility to what we’re doing because we want to see those results. We want to be able to prove ourselves. And I think that like this, like straight up, like strictly awareness play is like playing out, especially when it comes to, maybe smaller brands who want to get into influencer marketing, or who are just getting started and they’re like, okay, like.
I believe in influence marketing. I’m not a naysayer, but I don’t have the budget of a Walmart or Target or all these big brands that can drop thousands or hundreds of thousands of dollars on one influencer alone. So I just sort of wanted to pick your brain a little bit on affiliate marketing.
We’re actually having, a panel discussion on September 20th, so I’m not sure exactly when this episode’s going to air, but it’s all about affiliate marketing and I just want to have that conversation more because I’ve heard similarly that like, People are just having really good results with it. And affiliate marketing practices of today don’t necessarily look the same as if they did five years ago or even a couple of years ago.
So I just think there’s a really big opportunity there. So I appreciate you going there with me. So I was curious. Are there any, I always like to ask our guests this question as a women-focused organization, Are there any women in particular that you think our audience should be
[00:59:27] Leslie: following? Follow our brand candidly, we are all women running this.
I tend to lean into a lot of the creators that I kind of. Shepherded back in my earlier days in like mid-2000s. So, Chris LLM, who I literally took to one of her first New York fashion weeks and had her interview Coco Rocha, which was one of her first interviews, I have seen what she has created for herself.
As now a co-parent, she just recently went through a divorce, like, and being so unabashedly, like, honest in herself and really creating this incredible niche around, luxury coupled with relatable content around being now a single mom of two young girls. And so I’m just such a huge, like, proud Santa verse.
Having seen her as she started, I mean, I was there when she like started her YouTube channel and like with Michelle Phan and, just seeing her growth and what she’s been able to build for herself. So I follow her, and what she’s doing and, and just, couldn’t be more proud, of seeing that result.
And so even folks like Candy Johnson, who I was able to work really closely with and continue to mentor and talk to. And really kind of, it’s a lot of these women, again, that have kind of come up in this space. That I have seen really shine, obviously all my clients, mostly are women, Natalie Alzante and Loretta Pages, and others as well.
So yeah, I mean, for me, I think a lot of those folks, because like, I just, I want to support them and to continue to support them. And so anytime they’ve got like a drop or something, I’m like the first one like on the site, like, being like, yes. I’m going to buy this thing and Natalie just did a, her first drop for an online journal that she created.
And I like, I couldn’t be more proud of something that she’s been working towards for, for many years. Right. Cassie Ho, Blogilates is another one that. I worked with her on a project years ago and, she was designing her yoga mats and to see her in Target now and, with Potflex is just incredible and, she’s somebody that literally was about to like just quit everything.
And then was able to kind of turn it around. So those are the kind of the women that I’ve, I follow because they’ve been a part of my own journey and I want to support them and continue to support them as they continue to grow and develop and the journey that they’re, they’re
[01:02:13] Jessy: on. And for those of us listening who want to support you in your journey or just want to further connect or like, Oh, like something that you said today really resonated with them.
What’s the best way for our audience to get in touch? Probably
[01:02:27] Leslie: LinkedIn. If you look up Leslie Morgan, founder, and brand builder, that’s me. And then, again, please follow the Candidly. We’re on Instagram. Take a look at the site. But LinkedIn personally for me is really the best way, to
[01:02:42] Jessy: Connect with me.
Amazing. Thank you so much. This has been a really enjoyable conversation. It’s like been so nice chatting with you and I know our audience probably enjoyed it as well. So definitely reach out to Leslie, and definitely check out the Candidly. We will link everything below to make your life easier to find all of those things and we will see you guys next week.