As a part of our series called ‘Five Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Became A CEO’ we had the pleasure of interviewing Lillee Jean.
Lillee Jean is a digital artist who is well known for her beauty, skincare and lifestyle content she features on her YouTube, website, and Instagram channels. She is also known as an accomplished writer, producer, director, actress, model, young entrepreneur, and blogger. She likes to keep her content relevant to world concerns, as well as making it fun for her fans. She currently has a live web series she created, called “Lillee Jean TALKS! Live” that is IMDB accredited, and features well known actors, singers, as well as innovators in the entertainment industry. Currently she is filming Season 2, and likes to “invite” her fans to take part in her shows. Her scheduled show times can be viewed on her media website.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?
I am born and bred in New York City, and have been a beauty enthusiast for as long as I can remember. Even when I was little I used to play with stop-motion videos and would post them to online blogs, that exist even to this day. I really decided to get involved with makeup, after I watched some of the OG Beauty Gurus on YouTube. I was fascinated with the blending techniques and the pure artistry involved with what they created. I really got hooked once I started going to the Mac Store to buy products. They all were so knowledgeable about shades, and colors, it just drew me in as a budding artist.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you began leading your company?
I have been blessed with meeting so many amazing people in my time on the internet. I think one of the “oh my God moments” to me, was finding out my girlfriend, McKenzie Westmore was the great-granddaughter of one of my idols, George Westmore of the Westmore Family, who are basically Hollywood royalty in the movie studio business.
Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
Truly almost all the things when you start in any business are filled with bloopers! One of the best times or the worst times I had was when I first decided to build a home studio to film my videos. I didn’t realize how heavy the paper and stand could be, and in the middle of filming it would start collapsing and falling on me. I finally learned how to properly stretch the paper out, so I could change backgrounds.
None of us are able to 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?
I am blessed to have my fans. My fans have been the backbone for me in surviving at all odds against so many people trying to make it in the business.
As you know, the United States is currently facing a very important self-reckoning about race, diversity, equality and inclusion. This may be obvious to you, but it will be helpful to spell this out. Can you articulate to our readers a few reasons why it is so important for a business or organization to have a diverse executive team?
Well, this theoretically should never have been an issue. For some reason, people see color, and religion, instead of respecting that a person is a person. I have come up against this many times in my life, with anti-semitism against my own religion, and it is quite distressing. All we can do is strive every day to do better, and not be that person that judges others. I pray that with awareness will come more diversity in all industries.
As a business leader, can you please share a few steps we must take to truly create an inclusive, representative, and equitable society? Kindly share a story or example for each.
In my opinion, until we each learn to look at each other just as human beings, there is no easy fix or answer to this. What I can say is, for me, I don’t look at a person’s color or their religion. Anyone who is positive and wants to work with me, I embrace. I hope that in time others will learn this lesson too.
Ok, thank you for that. Let’s now jump to the primary focus of our interview. Most of our readers — in fact, most people — think they have a pretty good idea of what a CEO or executive does. But in just a few words can you explain what an executive does that is different from the responsibilities of the other leaders?
A CEO is a jack of all trades. We work for nobody but ourselves, and because of that, we are more driven to be more thorough in the jobs we do. I never would ask anyone to do something I won’t do myself, down to any menial task. There are no “not important jobs” in my opinion.
What are the “myths” that you would like to dispel about being a CEO or executive. Can you explain what you mean?
Most people think that being a CEO makes you wealthy, makes you lazy, makes you untouchable. None of these, at least for me are true. I work very hard to make anything I own, and I work probably 18 hours in a day to get where I want to be. Most of the time, vacation is out of the question, because quite frankly even on vacation I am working.
What is the most striking difference between your actual job and how you thought the job would be?
In the beginning, I thought I would just be living a fairy tale, putting on makeup in my “happy place” and just putting my content on the internet. I didn’t realize until I got myself invested in this industry, how hard it would, and how many hours I would work to get myself where I want to be.
Do you think everyone is cut out to be an executive? In your opinion, which specific traits increase the likelihood that a person will be a successful executive and what type of person should avoid aspiring to be an executive? Can you explain what you mean?
That is a hard question to answer. I believe that there are people who are born natural leaders, people who can work by themselves and don’t need supervision. To be a successful executive you have to dedicate yourself to the mission, which is to work hard and bring good content, in whatever form that is going to take, to your audience or in some cases consumers.
What advice would you give to other business leaders to help create a fantastic work culture? Can you share a story or an example?
I would say you need to be patient for the success that will come to you. I would say you need to diversify and ensure that all people have an opportunity to work at levels with you, and nobody is better than anyone else.
How have you used your success to make the world a better place?
I try to bring my positivity to my content and I try to ensure that my view in life shows that to my fans. I refuse to let anything get in my way of being successful. You can only be successful if you drive the ship. I am known, by all my fans, to always be there for them and listen to what is on their minds.
Fantastic. Here is the primary question of our interview. What are your “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me Before I Started” and why? (Please share a story or example for each.)
- Nobody has all the answers, time always will provide you with what you need, so patience is key.
- If someone offers you advice, at least hear them out, perhaps the advice might be useful.
- Don’t worry about being likable, put your heart and soul into bringing the best version of you to your fans.
- There will always be someone out there who wants to put you down, just because they feel bad about themselves, don’t let that divert you from your dreams.
- Always stick to your goals, don’t let anything divert you from the real challenge, which is ensuring that your company and yourself continue to thrive.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good for the greatest number of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger.
Be kinder to each other. Love one another. Hate has no place in my world.
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
It is one that I don’t know if anyone has ever said, but in my mind, I always tell myself that “there are no shortcuts in the world, only delays along the way if you take the path of least resistance.”
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them
I would love to sit with Kamala Harris, the first woman Vice President. She is amazing, and such a strong woman, I am in awe of all the things she has accomplished.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCGQF-GZ2oWfgb1NN3QtJJlA (Lillee Jean)
Digital Art: https://www.deviantart.com/lilleejean