Other people’s opinions don’t matter. I would continuously seek validation from others to make sure I was making the right decision. When it comes right down to it, I realize that no one knows my business and mission as I do; therefore, I can ask for people’s opinions, but I do not have to follow them if I disagree. I didn’t tell anyone the names of my children before I had them because I didn’t want to hear opinions. I just named them and said peace out-you don’t get to have a say. I need to adapt that same thought to my business in some areas.
As a part of my series about the women in wellness, I had the pleasure of interviewing Leslie Lee.
Leslie Lee is a Mother, serial entrepreneur, trusted confidant, and Registered Nurse. Her life experiences have molded her into the entrepreneur and nurse that she is today. Professionally Leslie focuses on helping her patients find their unique beauty and then helps to enhance it. Leslie is a registered nurse with a specialty in aesthetics. She is an expert in all things Botox, the benefits, the misconceptions, and everything in between. She is the founder of Aesthetic Business Creator, a done for you medical-grade skincare subscription box.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Our readers would love to “get to know you” better. Can you share your “backstory” with us?
I grew up on a farm with cornfields and noisy pigs. I would get up early and pick sweet corn so that we could save money to go on vacation the next year. My dad has been an entrepreneur his whole life, so I grew up with the drive to pursue my passions. As a senior in high school, I found out I was pregnant, and at that time, I didn’t have big dreams. My mom was a stay at home mom, and I thought that might be cool. As fate would have it, though, I had to work hard to support my new baby. I graduated high school in May, Cosmetology school in July, and had a baby in September, all in one year. I didn’t have an option to fail. I had to make it work because it wasn’t only me anymore. I am so thankful for the gift of being a mom, but the best part of that gift was learning about myself and my passions and dreams. I was forced to figure them out. I have evolved over the last 20 years into something that I would not be without all the crazy trials in my life. I have been in the beauty and wellness industry for 20 years. My businesses have always been born and dreamt up from a place of pain and frustration. I saw a need in the aesthetic industry, and I have built a solution.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career? What were the main lessons or takeaways from that story?
I had a patient that asked me to see her daughter for lasers because she had a scar on her leg. I didn’t ask what the scar was; I just agreed to treat it. She was a teenage girl around the same age as my daughter at the time. I asked to see the scar, and she pointed to her leg. It looked like a chicken scratch on her, maybe from “cutting.” When I put the laser to her scar, the word ‘FAT’ was the chicken scratch. I knew that girls “cut” and had ways of self-harm. I knew that women of all ages struggle with insecurities, but this cut my heart. She said, “Someone told me to write that one myself.” My daughter had been struggling with bullying at the time, so it was so close to home. My biggest lesson was that no matter the age, we all are influenced by others; it starts with ourselves and surroundings, people may always have an opinion to share, but I do not have to listen to their words. I believe that we all have personal struggles, and even if you cannot see scars, they exist. No matter what someone looks like, what their Instagram portrays, most people feel insecure. This girl was thin and was beautiful, and her mom gave me the blessing of helping her “heal” a wound both physically and emotionally. From that day forward, I knew that I was meant to be a resource for others, helping them see their beauty or start or grow their business.
Can you share a story about the biggest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Oh, my goodness. I’m from the midwest and was not a part of the BIG entrepreneur world. My biggest mistake was being too trusting of people. It’s interesting because I have always heard no one cares more about your business than you, and I believe that is true. From social media to sales, I have learned that many people have no idea what they are doing, but they will charge you anyway, and it’s hard for me to teach people to have the same passion as me.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
When I was 20, I was a single mom. In my life, I had an influential person tell me out of anger, “You will never be anything or make something of yourself.” This pushed me to work hard to “be something.”
Even though I did not know what that “something” was, those words influenced my life.
My mom always harped on me to have my career and be who I wanted to be. She helped me with my kids as a single mom and allowed me to know that my kids were safe and cared for as I pursued my careers.
But the main person in my life who has pushed me more than any other person is my husband. Truly. We have had so many ups and downs and have not liked each other at times. When I look back, in all of our mess, he has been the one who has forced me to look at myself and grow the most. He has believed in me and always listened to me rant and complain, but he still loved me and supported me through each situation. I am a person who has ADD, and I am all over the place; he has helped me stay focused and finish things even when I want to give up.
Ok perfect. Now let’s jump to our main focus. When it comes to health and wellness, how is the work you are doing helping to make a bigger impact in the world?
I love this question. I believe that health and wellness is the whole being. I get to hear many struggles of what people are struggling with diet, exercise, acne, relational strain, etc. You name it; I have probably had a conversation about it. One big thing that I have learned in health and wellness is that you make the most significant impact on the soul. This is why I consider my experiences-gifts to other people. I use my hardest things in life to meet people at their darkest moments and love them there. I read books and listen to podcasts not only for myself but to be a resource for clients. If I can get a client to make one change in their life, I have just changed the whole course of their life and anyone they come in contact with. Think about one decision you made that has been passed onto your children or your friends. The most significant impact comes from true humility and real hardships being shared so others can learn. That is how we make not only a change but a lasting impact.
Can you share your top five “lifestyle tweaks” that you believe will help support people’s journey towards better wellbeing? Please give an example or story for each.
When I was pregnant, I was a bit much. As if hormones and pregnancy were not enough. I had my first baby at 18. I remember my mom saying, “if you don’t gain it, you don’t have to lose it.” I did not want stretch marks- so vain, but that was in my mind. I worked out every day, and I did separate cardio every day. I was healthy before I got pregnant, and I had always had a “workout” routine of some sort. When I was pregnant, I told myself, “I can do anything for nine months. I had a specific regimen I followed with all of them. I lifted weights in the morning along with 30 min of cardio, and at night I went for a walk outside. I would eat dinner and nothing else for the rest of the night. I am a night eater- a terrible one at that. I love sweets, chips, and popcorn, so while pregnant, I had a strict regimen because I knew that I could do it if I focused. I allowed myself to eat WHATEVER I wanted. I didn’t overdo it, and I chose to eat sweets before dinner.
Try not to look at it as a diet- try framing it as a choice to be a certain way or a new lifestyle. I started eating Gluten Free 9 years ago when my daughter was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism at 11. I believe in all different types of healing and medicine. Along with traditional medicine, we also sought out recommendations from a natural path doctor, and he recommended trying gluten-free. I realized that I was always tired and usually had brain fog, so I decided to try it with her. We have a gluten-free lifestyle because I realized I feel much better when I don’t have it. Since I have looked at it as a choice that I have made, I feel like l am in control, and I value my own decisions.
We get to choose our exercise, start with things you love to get into a routine, then add something that you may not want to do but will help you. As I have aged, I find myself not as motivated to do long workouts. So I do 10 min videos on youtube, that gets me started, and then I try to do cardio.
I try to journal daily. I have had a lot of difficult things come at me this past year-yes WE all have. My baby brother died by suicide in May, and I have had a rough time with it. I chose a journal about specific memories with him or things that I am struggling with at that moment. It helps me get it out on paper, which is very soothing for me.
You get to be the example for someone else, be that. I am an example to my children. I want them to have a healthy way to see things in life. I try to be positive and help them through situations. My daughter was a constant complainer. I made this rule that she had to give one compliment a day to someone. I took the challenge on myself as well. It is incredible to see her now have a second nature to find the good in things instead of the bad.
You are always only one step in front of a person you are supposed to help. I hate this one. But in health, wellness, and life, I have realized that I can be in what I think is the tail end of my issue and still feel like I need to get my crap together when God decides to bring someone along that is in the same place mentally that I was just in. It is very frustrating yet amazing to see that none of our experiences are lost if we choose to use them to help others.
If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of wellness to the most amount of people, what would that be?
“I am you.” In the beauty industry, I see every one of my clients as if I was them. I am you. If we could find ourselves in others, the amount of acceptance and love would increase. I feel the best when I am entirely accepted and known. I want people to see me honestly, but I cannot expect others to see me if I do not allow myself to be seen. When I think “I am you,” it breaks down barriers for me to fully step into who I am. There is so much wellness and love brought to the world just by allowing ourselves just to be.
What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why?
- Other people’s opinions don’t matter. I would continuously seek validation from others to make sure I was making the right decision. When it comes right down to it, I realize that no one knows my business and mission as I do; therefore, I can ask for people’s opinions, but I do not have to follow them if I disagree. I didn’t tell anyone the names of my children before I had them because I didn’t want to hear opinions. I just named them and said peace out-you don’t get to have a say. I need to adapt that same thought to my business in some areas.
- Hire out the things you hate. In the beginning, I tried to do everything. AND let’s be real; I was not good at many of those things. I have saved so much of my precious time by finding people who are experts in certain areas to do things I am not good at, so I can spend more time doing something I enjoy and am an expert in.
- You will want to quit, and sometimes every day. There have been times in my business that I wonder if it is worth all the time and money I have put in. Still, I remember that it is not about me, and I have this dream in my heart, and even though I want to quit, I know I must continue.
- You teach people your boundaries. I have read the book Boundaries 4 times in a matter of four months. I didn’t grow up with an understanding of boundaries, so I have had to learn and teach myself and others how to treat me and what I expect of them. I tend to be a people pleaser, so I often fail, but I am learning and getting better every day.
- That being an overachiever and ‘overfunctioner’ are two different things. I am an overachiever. I love challenges, and I love to execute and get things done. What I have realized in business and life is that I tend to over function. Which then allows others around me to under function or, in my words, “do nothing.” I over function out of fear, and I want to “people please” and make sure things get done. When the things others promised don’t get done, I tend to do them, so I don’t look bad. Maybe I am the only one in the world who does this, but this has been something I wish I would have known when I first started. If I ‘over- function,’ it allows others to under function, and that is not good for anyone.
Sustainability, veganism, mental health, and environmental changes are big topics at the moment. Which one of these causes is dearest to you, and why?
Mental health. I just lost my brother to a long battle with mental health in May. I have seen many people struggle with it over the years, and I think it’s such an under talked about and underserved area. Some people with mental health issues struggle to find the right meds and to feel “normal.” I watched as my brother faded away with self-destructive habits that eventually lead to his death by suicide. I think about all the negative thoughts that can run through my mind daily, but the battle in his mind never ended. We can walk away from abusive relationships, unhealthy eating and change our surroundings, but we cannot get away from the battle inside our minds. When you have someone close to you who struggles with mental health, it’s emotionally exhausting and mentally draining, and it was hard for me to deal with the illness without judgment. I have now changed my thoughts on mental health and disease. We talk about mental health as something to be ashamed of because we have to take medication to make us feel familiar, but not one person ever made any kind of comment when I say my daughter has to take Synthroid for life. I never blink an eye when someone takes insulin to survive, yet there was a time when I felt judgment towards antidepressants. I hope that someday people will not feel bad for their mental health issues and be validated whenever they seek help. I hope that their cries for help are recognized and acknowledged with love and grace.
What is the best way our readers can follow you on social media?
Thank you for these fantastic insights!