(Founder FM) #4 Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project SoulFam

anita wing lee

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Every week Graham Brown from Founder FM interviews inspiring and insight stories of entrepreneurs. Come and explore the world of startup founders, investors and bootstrap entrepreneurs.

Who is Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project SoulFam?

Entrepreneurs come in all forms. Some build businesses they can sell, others build them to create a lifestyle.

Anita Wing Lee is building her business around an active community of followers. With their support, she crowdfunded her books, events and travel around the world.

In the last 3 months, she’s stayed in 20 different homes in 4 different countries.

Live-streaming platform Periscope is core to her community. Anita broadcasts glimpses or her life and thoughts regularly to her followers. At the time of interview, she has over 17,000 followers with 6,000,000 likes on Periscope. During her travels Anita runs live meditation workshops and events across the US. Anita will be speaking at the world’s largest conference of live-streamers.

Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project Soul Fam

Unlike Youtube, Periscope is raw and un-edited. That means you have to think differently about how you’re going to use it to grow your community. Anita certainly thinks different. She was the girl that turned up at her business school classes in neon blue tights and Transformers t-shirts.

Key Quotes from the Show

  • I realized what gave me joy was when I came up with ideas that I knew would help my audience, my online audience, and then I just implemented them. Then I figured out afterwards how I could potentially fund my life from them.
  • A lot of entrepreneurs I’ve met hide behind their brand. It’s like, ‘Oh, no. I’m not here to be the face of that. I am building this brand, this business, the store front.’
  • People don’t follow brands, they follow people. Let’s face it, do we really care that much about Apple as a brand or is it like hearing Steve Jobs’ story more inspiring?
  • Other people are always coming up with solutions all around the world and once you start putting yourself out there you’re going to find these amazing collaborators like I have and then we’ll be able to create stuff together.

Download the Julian Hearn MP3 File

Listen to the Interview to Find Out…

Why traditional internet marketing models of conversions and sales funnels didn’t work with her and rather than follow the advice of the many, she did the opposite

  • Why she prefers the raw, unedited, real time video format over Youtube and other social media platforms
  • How she talks to her community to help crowdfund her travels
  • Why Periscope is an excellent tool for building relationships with your community and what kind of personality it suits best
  • Why being consistent and showing up is key to growing an audience
  • Why people follow people not brands and you should never forget that it’s the personal stories your customers will first connect with
  • Why being vulnerable in front of your customers might scare corporations, but it’s the right thing to do with growing a community
  • How meditation helps Anita stay focused and deal with challenges or fears on a daily basis
  • How she uses Patrion to raise monthly pledges from her community
  • Why sharing an authentic story is key to getting people to share your content
  • Why Anita wants to be more like Angelina Jolie, Oprah or Mother Teresa or Periscope rather than Arianna Huffington

Show Transcript

Graham Brown: “Hello and welcome. My name is Graham Brown. You’re going to enjoy our next guest. She’s an entrepreneur but she also describes herself as international broadcaster, humanitarian speaker, meditation guide, and founder of epic things in the world, welcome to the show, Anita Wing Lee.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Thanks, Graham for having me. Excited to be here.”

Graham Brown: “Fantastic. Where are you in the world today, Anita?”

Anita Wing Lee: “I’m in Miami right now for another 5 days.”

Graham Brown: “Five days and then you’re off in your travels again, right?”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah, to Atlanta and then to British Columbia in Canada, and then off to Europe for a couple of months.”

Graham Brown: “Right. You seem to be moving around a lot. You’ve done quite a bit of travelling in the last few years. What’s on the program? What’s going on?”

Crowdfunding, Travel and Periscope

Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project Soul Fam

Anita Wing Lee: “The way I’ve traveled has definitely more often change. The big thing that I’m doing this year is called Project SoulFam. I actually, I’d spent a couple of months building up an online business and a blog and a platform. Actually I spent a couple-, like a year and a half doing this. Then at a certain point I just realized I can make-, what if instead of just sitting at home and trying to make things work online in order to make money I did something tangible with my hands and feet. I actually sold some of my most prized possessions, auctioned off my books, and crowdfunded and packed my life up into one luggage and one backpack and one handbag.”

“I’ve since downsized so I no longer have the handbag, I just have 2 things. Since December 29, 2015 I’ve stayed in a hun-, not a hundred, I haven’t gone there yet. I’ve stayed in 20 different homes, beds, air mattresses, couches like couch surfing, living in the homes of my online community especially my Periscope community. I’ve been to 4 countries since the year began, doing a lot of humanitarian work, and really revolutionizing the way, hopefully, revolutionizing the way that people think about how they can make a living doing what they love.”

Graham Brown: “Right. That last part’s really interesting. Let’s just retrace a little bit because there’s a lot of interesting things that you mentioned: Periscope, crowdfunding. We’ll talk a bit more about those in a minute. Let’s understand for the listeners what it is that you do. You’ve built a brand around yourself which is Anita Winge Lee, and you have the website which prove it, the details in the show notes. You have all these projects that you’re involved in, the humanitarian projects, the meditation projects, and so on, and you crowdfunds your activities. Tell us a little bit about that. Give us an example so people can understand what crowdfunding is.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah. I’ll just say the reason why, I had really committed to wanting to build an online business, online marketing. If anyone is familiar, if anyone is familiar with it, it’s online courses, it’s coaching, it’s masterminds, it’s sales funnels, it’s lead pages, it’s all these things that you can do to build an online audience and then “monetize” them. I realized that that model is constantly trying to do internet launches, launch another product, launch another product. That felt really icky to me. It’s just as like, ahh, I don’t like the idea of trying to build an audience so that I can sell to them and get that 3% conversion and make enough in order to do, to live the life that I wanted. I thought, I undid that from my psyche and I started from scratch.”

“I realized what gave me joy was when I came up with ideas that I knew would help my audience, my online audience, and then I just implemented them. Then I figured out afterwards how I could potentially fund my life from them. It’s been a couple of months that I’ve been doing this now and I’ll give a really concrete example of the thought process that I go through that allows all of these to happen. Because it’s actually quite a miracle advice. Someone told me that you could do this, I would be like, “No, you can’t,” like that doesn’t make any sense but I’m living it and doing it. In January I’ve been invited to speak at the second Periscope Summit which is the world’s largest gathering of livestreamers in the world.”

“For anyone who’s not yet familiar with Periscope it’s a livestreaming mobile app owned by Twitter. It was app of the year in 2015, it’s the fastest growing livestreaming platform. It’s really powerful because when you, you can livestream it’s like having a Facetime or Skype call with someone on your phone but you can also type them in chat and communicate with them. It’s raw, unedited, in real time. I love it because it’s a place where you really get a feel for someone and whether you like them or not. There’s no glitz and glam, it’s just them.”

Building a Community via LiveStreaming

Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project Soul Fam

“Yup, exactly. I built a community on Periscope there of … At the time it was smaller, maybe 6- or 7,000 but I was … I was invited to speak at the summit for my work doing, leading meditations on Periscope and I was in Toronto at the time and I needed to get to San Francisco. I could’ve bought a flight from Toronto to San Francisco but I started to realize that … I was talking to people about my life and there were things going on with my family and it was, it seemed it was time to leave home and change environments. I set off out into the world the way I’d always wanted to instead of sitting at home trying to plug away on my marketing. I’ve been talking to my audience very openly actually about life issues I was having with some of my family members and how it was really serving me. People were like, “Anita, if you ever need a place to stay you can come to my place in New York.” “You can come and hang out with me in Ohio or Chicago.””

“Sometimes online people would just say that but you don’t really take them seriously. Because I’ve been sharing my story with my audience for quite a while and … Then the big question, actually the big question of my year, my life, everything is what would happen if we stopped worrying about our money and careers and we woke up everyday asking, “How can I serve?” The way I make my decisions to what projects or products that I put out into the world is how can I help serve my audience? How can I help them? What could I create that will benefit them in their lives and will genuinely help them based on what they’re telling me about their problems that they’re going through? I started to realize I could pay the $400 to go on this, to go from Toronto to San Francisco or what if I took a road trip from Toronto to New York and then across America. Actually all these places that people had offered to host me.”

“I did these free meditation workshops, donation-based meditation workshops, and fund raise money to help the refugees in Europe and in Syria and in that area. I had no idea if it would work. I thought if the road trip doesn’t work and I end up having to pay more out of pocket than I would to fly, so basically that’s $400 difference right? Maybe I’ll end up having to pay more, maybe it would be less, who knows? I took a chance and I sold my stuff, I crowdfunded, and then I did these donations-based meditation events in 5 cities across the country. We definitely raised more than $400 collectively. I think that entire road trip we raised $3,000, worse is if I had paid. This the difference, I would have paid, I would have lost $400 taking the flight and instead because I took a chance and I trusted my audience and I showed up and I just took this leap to ask my community to support me as I’m doing something good in the world we had a surplus of $3,000.”

Graham Brown: “Wow. Congratulations. You got your community, your followers, the people that follow you in Periscope and in the other platforms to crowdfund your project, your travels?”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah, essentially. That one that people could donate directly online if they just wanted to support me but actually we raised $3,000 but I probably received much more than that because people actually donated flights to me. They pe-, some people drove me, some people donated train tickets. I had 3 flight donated on that journey, 9 cities across America. This is the 15-day road trip. Not a road trip, I guess because we took planes, trains, and automobiles across America. Yeah, when I put it out there to be honest, this is what we want to do, this is how we’re going to change the world, and I need to get across the country somehow and I need this leg covered. I need to get from Atlanta to New Mexico, if someone want to help me. What should we do?”

Graham Brown: “Are you surprised by the generosity or the donations of people?”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah, completely blown away. I think even now I’m a bit more used to it. We just kind of successful Kickstarter for our book about my work with the refugees called The Soul of Humanity. Still, I’m still blown away. Someone donated … There’s one donor who donated the £15,000, which is over $2,000 which blows me away. I think it makes me really humble and it just makes me even more committed to doing this work because I don’t do it for me. I’ve proven that it doesn’t cost me very much to stay alive, I don’t have a lot of stuff. As long as I have a life, a connection, and a roof over my head I can help make a really big impact in the world. I think people see that and they trust that, and I’m genuine about it so it inspires them and they want to be a part of that. It still blows me away but it just makes me more committed to using my resources more wisely and really showing people. They’ve put their trust and their hard earned money to support the work that I put out into the world.”

Graham Brown: “How important is Periscope as a tool within that whole value, the whole community?”

Anita Wing Lee: “For me it’s 90% of the community building. I can definitely say that other people like I know of other creators, YouTubers, artists, musicians who have an audience who support them online in a similar capacity. For me, personally, Periscope was a thing that really launched it because I chose to be open about my story of my life, through this livestreaming platform. Some people have done it through blogs, and they’ve built that up overtime or YouTube channels building that up overtime, and then they get really good at editing videos. That was never me. You could say I was a little bit late to those games but with Periscope it’s still new enough. With Periscope I think it’s actually it’s going to be a year old a day, 3 days from today. That’s a 1 year anniversary so it still hasn’t quite hit that mass market point. If you’re listening to this now download the app. It’s- …”

Graham Brown: “Yeah, for sure.”

Anita Wing Lee: “… and just play around with it, get on it because it’s like having your own live YouTube channel. At the same time you … I play … The reason I call myself an international broadcaster because there is no definition yet for this. I’m not quite a journalist and I’m not quite a TV host but I’m a lot of those things and so much more because I’m also kind of like the girl next door who’s your best friend and we’ll stay up late, we can watch movies and talk about life. At the same time I have enough of a vision that I don’t just sit at home and talk about life and watch movies. I go into the world and I do these big things and it’s caught people’s attention.”

Graham Brown: “Let’s talk about that because let’s talk about the numbers in Periscope. The last time I had a look you had, you can correct me on this, 17,000 followers and about 6 million likes, is that correct?”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah. It’s 15,000.”

Graham Brown: “I’m sorry. By the time this goes out it’s going to be more than 17,000.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yup. Yeah, yeah. Exactly 6 million plus hearts.”

Graham Brown: “Right, 6 million. That’s people that’s actually interacting with your content, right?”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah.”

Graham Brown: “Why would you not be attracted to something like YouTube because that seems like the obvious choice to build a community, right?”

Why Periscope works where Youtube doesn’t

Anita Wing Lee: “To be honest it’s just, I tried. I love video, I’m totally a visual person. One day I do want to get back into creating really high quality videos. The thing with Periscope is that if you want to broadcast to the entire world you literally, you press the broadcast button and then a red start broadcast button will come up and then you press start broadcast. You do that consistently and people will show up and you can meet people from all around the world. Whereas YouTube if someone’s actually tried to upload a YouTube video before you know that you need to upload it, put a title, put all these other stuff, get annotations, put in some SEO, put in some links, and a description.”

“Then that doesn’t even include your video. If you want a really high quality video it’s not just you talking to a camera. It’s, you need the lights, you need the camera, all that stuff. I actually love YouTube, it was just never my thing. Like I said I got on Periscope about 8 months ago. When it was new still, and it’s still new. Whereas YouTube has been around for a couple of years now. If I just, I guess it just wasn’t meant to be. If I’d gotten on YouTube when it was 4 months old and I run with it I’m pretty sure I would be like, “Yes, YouTube!” Yeah.”

Graham Brown: “Right. It seems to see your character as well because Periscope seems to be because it’s live, because it’s unedited it’s much more intimate and open and honest, isn’t it? That seems to sit on your character whereas YouTube you can professionally produce the whole thing. I wonder if maybe certain types of entrepreneurs are suit to certain types of mediums. Maybe some people aren’t comfortable with just turning the phone on and just talking straight to camera, right. Maybe some people are better with the whole thing produced but some people really thrive in the environment where they can relate to their audience in a one-on-one basis. I’m wondering if that really suits the way that you come across with your audience.”

The power of storytelling

Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project Soul Fam

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah, it does. I know some people will be like, “Oh, but maybe that’s not for me,” especially sometimes with entrepreneurs we think that … Well, from what I’ve … Entrepreneurs, a lot of entrepreneurs I’ve met there’s this section of entrepreneurs that hide behind their brand. It’s like, “Oh, no. I’m not here to be the face of that. I am building this brand, this business, the store front.” I understand that it’s not … It’s true, it’s not everyone’s calling to be the face of the brand and of the empire, whatever they feel called to build. I will say just from a personal experience it’s something to worth to try putting out there. I actually, I say often people don’t follow brands, they follow people. Let’s face it, do we really care that much about Apple as a brand or is it like hearing Steve Jobs’ story more inspiring? It’s Steve Jobs’ story, right?”

“It’s the same thing with Microsoft. Does anyone ever talk about the history of Microsoft’s growth? No. If anything, they’re interested in how Bill Gates got started. I personally, part of the reason … I wasn’t always, I will say this, I wasn’t always this open with my life and my story online. When I started out I was like, “What am I supposed to blog about?” I don’t want to talk about … I don’t want to get in trouble for blogging about certain things. I’m definitely, all of those fears are gone now because I’ve seen the power of just being vulnerable and being yourself. Because the truth is that your customers, your audience, they’re humans first. When you come to them just as consumers and try to figure out what’s the marketing psychology behind them? How can we push their buttons so they’ll buy?”

“Personally that just never resonated with me but because I come out to people with like, “Yeah, I’m human, too. These are the things I struggle with. Sometimes it’s not even me talking about the projects that I work on. Sometimes it’s my late night, it will be a late night broadcast talking about how I haven’t talked to my old best friends in a long time because I travel so much. These are things that people can relate to. All I can say is it’s worth a shot because you’ve got to recognize that everyone else is a human and it’s actually a good practice because it keeps me … Now when I invite and meet people that in the past I might have been a bit starstruck with I’m so used to just … I’m so used to navigating that ground now between people might look up to me and be like, “Oh, how does Anita do all of these?” I know because I’m actually open with my story.”

“I don’t try to pretend I’m perfect. I know that anyone, any … It makes it so clear to me now that anyone else, even if they pretend they’re perfect like they’re still going through stuff. It makes it easier for me to relate with people and makes it easier for people to relate with me. Ultimately, this is actually why my life and one of my projects is called Project Soul Fam, this idea that we are all … I say often that I don’t have followers, I only have family. That’s just not just something I say, this is something I really live. I live in the homes of my Periscope following. They are my family, yeah.”

Graham Brown: “You have to put yourself out there. You have to do it … I think the word that you use is really interesting, vulnerable. Because that, in a way, it goes against some of the conventional wisdom that we get taught in business school. It goes against what people understand when they learn to become a business person. They become an entrepreneur, they build a business, they create these walls around themselves. They sit in the big corner office with the high back chair. They didn’t do an MBA to go out and talk to customers. That’s the kind of thing that we learn in the business community about building this big [brands 00:19:16]. You seem to be going in the opposite direction which makes you a maverick in that world so I’m sort of curious to know how people … Obviously your audience are very, sorry, your family, are very supportive of you but … You have people in your network who went to business school. You went to business school. What do they think about what you’re doing when you talk about this kind of work?”

Anita Wing Lee: “That’s a very interesting question. I would like to know the answer to that, too. I haven’t quite come full circle to the point where I’m covered in my business school’s magazine. Because I actually … I went to a really traditional ritzy business school in Canada and I am a total maverick. Even then I was the girl who showed up to … I showed up to class with neon blue tights and transformers t-shirts and all the girls are in there you know, fancy Aritzia and Zara outfits. I think I started to realize in this journey I did a lot of travelling actually when I was in business school. I got really involved in social entrepreneurship and social enterprise, and this idea of business as a force for good in the world instead of just for the profit line, for the bottom line. It really inspired me.”

“As I’ve been on this journey I’ve met so many other social entrepreneurs, people who believe in using businesses as a force for good that I know that I’m not alone in this and I know that there are people who are working in this, on this border, this border between … This new way of funding artists and funding amazing projects instead of just sitting in jobs or the traditional way. I know that there’s other people like me out there. The more that I do this I come out more publicly with this work the more that I’m able to find these people and collaborate with them. Like the people who started co-working spaces, the people who are like Bitcoin, who are into Bitcoin and new forms of funding and finances. It’s fun because now I get to be on the cutting edge of this stuff instead of sitting back like, “Oh, no. This is the way it is. These are the rules I’ve got to play with.””

“Instead I really believe now, one of the things I actually daily challenge myself with the next projects that I work on and things that I build instead of just being like, “Okay, this is what people do for marketing campaigns so let’s follow their blueprint.” I really challenge myself to think, “Okay. If I knew I had all the money and all the funding in the world and all the resources what would be the way that I could get this project out into the world so that it could reach the most people?””

Defining your own rules

Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project Soul Fam

Graham Brown: “I’m really fascinated by your story. I think you are in a very exciting space. It’s a very new space. There seems to be very few rules and it’s really an open book for people who want to come and write their own story. I think that adds up to a very attractive proposition for a lot of entrepreneurs who maybe haven’t even quite yet discovered that this is possible. I’m curious to know is that because there are no rules, because it’s a new space, rather than set path to follow, there must be a lot of challenges in what you do on a daily basis. Tell us a little bit about some of the challenges that you face, maybe something that you faced recently, particular challenges that you have doing what you do.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Yeah. I think honestly, the biggest challenge is the game that we play with ourselves in our heads. Because the thing when I have people come to me most and say, “Well, how do you pay for this or that?” It’s usually, people feel like they don’t have the time and money to do what I do. I’ve proven that actually if we make the choices we do have the time and the money. Anything that I personally struggle with this it all comes back to my head and how I feel about it. I’m a really big advocate of meditations and this is one of the big things that I livestream on Periscope. It’s a big part of how I started giving value and contributing to building-, contributing to my audience’s life by leading meditations for them on this app. The reason I do this is because meditation is this incredible tool that helps you understand that you are not your thoughts. You are the living, breathing, spirit soul, whatever you want to call it behind all of the thinking.”

“Even for me, sometimes I will have fears, too. Literally before this call I had to book a flight. Before I hadn’t booked it because someone had donated part of the leg but then I needed to get to from Atlanta to Vancouver next so I booked from Miami to the Atlanta because I was donated. Then I needed to get from Atlanta to BC somehow. I try not to spend the money that’s been donated to me, depending on … Because most of the money that’s been donated to me some of it goes, it’s actually it was meant for me, they put in my PayPal. Then a good chunk of it is for the humanitarian projects that I work on. I try not to use that for flights if I don’t have to because that way I can say to people, “Your donations went to that.” I was avoiding … I was like, “I didn’t bought this flight yet.” I was worrying about it for the last couple of days, I’m thinking about it.”

“This is where my meditation practice comes in because worrying about anything never leads anywhere positive. It’s more about how can we come up with a creative solutions. I’m a big proponent of trusting the process. Honestly, a lot … When I come up against big challenges instead of getting afraid or instead of getting overwhelmed I come back to my micromeditation practice of being present, like being here. Eckhart Tolle in his book The Power of Now talks about how all of your problems are always in the future or always in the past. They are never in the present moment. When I read that a couple of years ago it blew me away because I was like, “Oh, wait. It’s true.” All the problems that we think we have are-, they don’t exist. If you really, really focus on this present moment guess what? How much money you have actually doesn’t matter right this moment.”

“If someone’s angry at you you don’t have to let it bother you right this moment because that’s probably something in the past. Recognizing that has been a really powerful tool for me to create what I do and it probably contributes to the fact that I am a maverick and I’m creating my own rules because I don’t have the baggage that comes from being afraid of what most people are afraid of. I’m not trying to live up to anyone else’s expectations because I’ve cleared myself of the fear of what other people think.”

Graham Brown: “That’s an interesting point. Do you think a lot about the future or are you … I know you talked about living in the present. Most entrepreneurs have the habit of living in the future because they’ll never be happy until they make the first million or they’ve done 5 million in sales. How does it work with you? You seem to be very engaged in the present but do you have an understanding or any kind of idea about what this would be like next year? Does that concern you? Will you still be crowdfunding projects in 3, 4, 5 years time?”

Anita Wing Lee: “If you’d ask me a year ago I would’ve been one of those entrepreneurs that tried to make a business plan or try to map out my next three years to see what it would be like. Honestly, the last couple of months especially have completely blown it out of the water. I’d never would’ve thought I would be doing what I am doing now. It’s like my vision grows exponentially, not step-wise, like exponentially. To answer your question about how I was able to crowdfund in 3 or 5 years the way I am, well, actually Patreon didn’t exist 3 years. This other … For those who don’t know Patreon is like Kickstarter except his monthly projects not just a one time donation. It’s like … In the olden days when they have literally patrons for artists so you can … They are people who gets paid thousands of dollars a month by their audience for creating YouTube videos. That’s doesn’t even account like YouTube monetization, that’s just from their audience.”

“I have full faith that when the time comes like new platforms will be built … I mentioned bitcoin before and big brands are going to start paying more attention to ordinary people like me who have really engaged audiences. Again, sponsorship is something that I’m able to explore now more but I’m still very conscious of not “selling out” because I’ve always done things from a place of heart and from a place of service. Yeah, I still think about the future but for me with a sense of excitement and because I feel I’m on this incredible magic carpet ride of fulfilling my passion and living my purpose. So far it’s proven a way more epic than I had imagined so I feel that anything that I imagine now it’s going to be even ten times better 3 to 5 years from now.”

“In university nobody’s talking about like, “Oh, you can crowdfund an entire book,” they were generally like, “No, this is how the publishing industry works. This is how you write an essay.” Now that I’m out of that system and really thinking for myself I know that solutions … Other people are always coming up with solutions all around the world and once you start putting yourself out there you’re going to find these amazing collaborators like I have and then we’ll be able to create stuff together.”

Graham Brown: “Yeah, for sure. You really are going places. I think you’ve really grasp the nettle, so to speak, Anita. I think as well, I mean let’s put this into perspective. You’re a wise head on young shoulders. You’re 25 years old so I think for a lot of people that is coming through the system. We’ll look at your story and think, “Wow. How can I do what Anita’s doing? That really inspires me to do something.” For the rest of us, those who are in business, entrepreneurs who’ve established businesses we look at your story and think, “Wow, I need to up my game a little bit here.” When you see how old these technologies, crowdfunding, the Periscope livestreaming, when you talk about things that Patreon … You know, I’ve never heard of that until I spoke to you, these platforms coming together I start to think it takes somebody who has a different world view to see how these things can be used and put to use and create value for your audience and for your network, the people around you.”

“Because what often is the case is when you’ve been trained or you grow up in a certain era and you see how business is done you look at things through that paradigm, right? I see Kickstarter as a way to launch watches made in China to American consumers, that kind of thing. That’s the kind of my mindset even though I consider myself quite entrepreneurial or Periscope as something that people do when they’re sitting in their car driving along, rambling or complaining about traffic, right? That’s kind of how I don’t get it.”

Anita Wing Lee: “That, too. Yeah.”

Why authenticity wins when it comes to building your brand

Anita Wing Lee, Founder Project Soul Fam

Graham Brown: “That’s how I don’t get it, right? As an entrepreneur I see you using these things and actually this is how it could be done. This is possible. You’re 25 now and as you said in years to come things are just going to get more epic. I see people like you as really pushing the envelope on how these technologies will work. You’re going places. For people listening this is a story, this is a lady that you need to follow on not just Periscope, all the other platforms but you need to watch this story. Because how things have changed just in a couple of months compared to how things are going to change 6 months, a year from now well, you’re going places. We need to follow what’s going to happen next. Where I’m coming full circle here, can you give us an insight into where you see this going in the next year, how you see this coming together? What are the opportunities for entrepreneurs like myself, for listeners, for entrepreneurs like yourself? What should we be paying attention to?”

Anita Wing Lee: “I think a big thing is genuinely, authentically building a community around … I’ve done it around myself and my story but you can also do it around a brand. At the heart of what I do is I tell a really good story. I happen to be telling my story but I have a good friend as well. Actually the co-author of our book which was, that was just funded on Kickstarter, he has a Facebook page that just blew up … Like if I had a dream for a Facebook page or I wish my Facebook page will blow up like his. Within 30 days he’s got almost 5,000 likes. His post yesterday was shared a thousand times. We can’t even entirely figure out how or why. One of the things that both of us do well is we share a story. It goes back to what I’ve mentioned before, you really got to learn to see your audience, your “target market” as people that you’re here to serve. Do something because you want to genuinely help people, you know it’s genuinely going to help people.”

“When you do it from that place and you’re compelled in your heart and your soul to make it as best you can and to give people the best experience because you genuinely want to help them. You don’t want to put crap out into the world. When you come from that place at first it’s true, like even me. There are people who are genuinely also making more money on Periscope than I make. They have fewer followers so they’re making more money. It’s like I do what I do in the way that I do it because it resonates with me. In return though, I’ve got a really loyal audience that comes back and people have donated 3, 4 times to me. Then they host me in their homes which that, in itself, is worth thousands, can be worth thousands of dollars because they’re feeding me if I have to pay for everything the way I’ve been couchsurfing around the world.”

“To me I don’t necessarily … I don’t care as much about how much money I make. What matters to me is like the impact I’m having on people’s lives. I know I can hear someone’s voice speaking like, “Yeah. Well, inspiration doesn’t always equal dollars.” It’s true, but we got to choose the kind of people that we want to be in this world. This is something I say often I want to be the Angelina Jolie and the Mother Theresa of Periscope. That’s the angle that I’m going for. Like the Oprah of Periscope, like a humanitarian, someone who’s doing good and raising a lot of awareness and exposure for good things in the world and stands for something positive. Versus being like for example like the Arianna Huffington of the world. It’s like you’re really savvy, business lady. Who is the other one? Sheryl Sandberg. This really savvy, business lady and like that’s great but did you really revolutionize the way people think?”

“That’s a choice we get to make. It’s okay. It’s not like one is right or wrong but personally I feel like if you want to be on the cutting edge of really changing the world just start with yourself, start with letting go of your own fears and sharing that story authentically. It’s true it’s going to be scary at first but when you take those leaps … People are humans at the end of the day. People will have your back, everyone has a soul family out in the entire global world that will back them and support them just like I have.”

Graham Brown: “Well, Anita it’s been fantastic talking to you. Your story is an inspiration. Straight after this so I’m going to get on Periscope, download it, and you will be my first follower for sure.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Awesome.”

Graham Brown: “We’ll start from small things. Keep doing what you’re doing because I think it’s a really important reality check what you’re saying, the story that you’re sharing is reality check for entrepreneurs. Often we get lost in our own little worlds, the business world. We forget many of the lessons that you shared with us today about people being human, about being vulnerable, and so on. It’s the fuzzy stuff that we don’t like to talk about but ultimately, that’s what people connect with, isn’t it? It’s the emotion in the stories that people really buy at the end of the day. I think that’s a useful lesson for us to draw us back, back into what really matters. I suppose, in a way, it makes us happier, more rounder as an entrepreneur.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Exactly.”

Graham Brown: “If we want to join you on your magic carpet ride where do we go? Where do we find that more about you?”

Anita Wing Lee: “I Periscope, I livestream everyday. My handle is @anitawinglee. I’m sure Graham will put it in the show notes. My handle’s the same everywhere, it’s just my name on Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat, Twitter. My personal website is anitawinglee.com, that’s where my main blog roll is. You can go back … One thing, I don’t know about you guys but I love to go back and read people’s old blogs and see where they came from. That’s all there. Then this year that I’m living and the thing that’s going to evolve into something so much bigger and greater one of the things …”

“I don’t think I properly answered this question actually but I want to fill stadiums. I want to fill stadiums with really innovative life-changing events and festivals that really uplift people and change the way people live. That’s one of my visions. That right now is the site called the projectsoulfam.com which is a great place to just connect and get plugged in. If you’re interested in helping and giving me a couch to surf … I’ve never said this on a podcast before.”

Graham Brown: “Go for it.”

Anita Wing Lee: “If this inspires you and you’re like, “Oh, my goodness. Is this chick actually doing this?” Check our projectsoulfam.com, see the ways that you can support this work. If you’re interested in bringing me to your city we can collaborate and make something epic together just fill out the contact form there and I’d be happy, I’d be happy to chat with you more.”

Graham Brown: “It’s been great having you on, Anita. I feel that, as I said, I need to up the game a little bit here, you know.”

Anita Wing Lee: “Thank you so much for having me”

Anita Wing Lee Interview Show Notes