Meet Leslie Crawford – An amazing full-time Entrepreneur from Baltimore, MD! Leslie is not only a super dope Entrepreneur, but she wears many hats of entrepreneurship such as an Author, Speaker, and the Creator of the campaign – “I Choose Me.”
Leslie is an Urban Fiction Author, whose books are geared towards women. Although she never had the desire to write a book, Leslie considers herself a big reader that loves reading Urban Fiction books. One day she asked herself if she could write a book, and while on vacation she began writing. Though it took about two years to finish her book, Leslie says that’s how she came about writing her very first book – which made her fall in love with writing.
“I wanted to be a different Urban Fiction Author. I didn’t want to talk about the killing, drugs dealing etc. I wanted to talk about the issues we as women go through in life. I wanted to entertain but teach a lesson. At the end the reader can say – I know that woman or that woman is me. Not to be ashamed about it but to get help. My goal is to open their eyes to what they’re suffering from. When a woman reads my book, my goal is for her to take a look in the mirror and ask herself if she is that woman in the book. From my readers – I have been told even if the woman in the book was not her, she can still relate because they know someone like her. I had a reader email me and say my book “But He Loves Me” helped her walk away from a verbal and mental abusive marriage. That meant everything to me.”
To date, Leslie has written the following books:
1. Forbidden Fruit
2. Forbidden Fruit 2: The Aftertaste.
A book series about a teenager that grew up in a wealthy household but always had the desire to live the life of what she saw on reality TV. Her parents only desire was to shower their daughter with gifts, vacations, etc. they soon learned money can’t raise your kids.
3. Coach Mom (co-authored with her son)
A children’s book about a kid that was angry because his mom coached his soccer team one year. He attempted to sabotage the team because he wanted his mom to quit, he didn’t believe women should coach a sport like soccer. He soon learned about team work, friendship, and respect.
4. But He Loves Me.
A story about a successful woman that had everything, money, good career, good friends and family but she was lacking one thing; self-esteem. Not knowing or believing she would ever lack self-esteem because she covered it up with materialistic things, she meets a man that changes her life. From physical, mental, emotional, financial, verbal, and sexual abuse; he revealed to her that even women with it all lack something they tend to hide because they’re ashamed.
“When my book was first printed, I received the copy in the mail and I cried. I was excited because writing was not my career choice. I went to school for Business and didn’t start writing until I turned 27.”
For her first book, Leslie encountered the problem of getting published, as she was turned down from various publishing companies. Although she didn’t know too much about self-publishing. Leslie says that she decided to turn to self-publishing, due to someone mentioning it to her. Outside of her publishing challenges, she also encountered writers block – which is why she states she needs to be in the right mental space to write books. Leslie tells us that each book took its own time for completion and publishing. Publishing for “But He Loves Me” took six months, while the others took over a year. For Leslie, it really depends on what she else she has going on. Currently, Leslie is working on a book that she has been working on for nine months – which she has hasn’t been able to finish due to the state of mental space needed to do so.
“I have to be in a certain mood in order to finish it. I never rush the process because I want it to be great when it’s done.”
To make sure that others aren’t struggling with issues of publishing, Leslie has her own company called “Exposed Books Publishing and “When Children Write,” which focuses on coaching children how to write and publish their own books! (NICCEE!)
“When Children Write” will also be creating a virtual book club and more in 2019 to encourage more children to read and write. To learn more please visit www.whenchildrenwrite.com.
Exposed Books Publishing is her coaching and consulting company where she help women go through the process of publishing their own book and create a lucrative income. Since she was looked down on for leaving her 9-5 as a single mom to be self-employed, Leslie started helping other moms live out their dream of building a career with writing.
Not only is Leslie a phenomenal Author – she is a Public Speaker and Creator of the campaign – “I Choose Me.” – which is about empowering and helping women realize their worth. Although it wasn’t her passion, public speaking for Leslie was natural for her, as she knew she had something to say and wanted to share it – with young women especially. Leslie received her first big break as a Public Speaker with the encouragement of her Business Coach. Her Business Coach encouraged her to start going live on social media and make declarations to God. Leslie says that she started her declarations and going live, and from one live posting on her Facebook – a student at John Hopkins University asked her to come and speak at their Feminist group.
“I knew at that engagement my target audience was women ranging from 18-25. From hearing those women talk about their struggles at that event, I knew more women needed to hear from me.”
From that experience, she launched her “I Choose Me” college tour. Leslie speaks about women having self-love before trying to love someone else, and speaks to women ages 18-25, as she feels she is able to gain their attention at an early age. Since February of 2018, Leslie has spoken at three events so far, and has launched her college tour. She has opened her calendar for the remaining of 2018 and 2019, and is currently seeking more events to speak at for women. All though she has started her college tour, Leslie is seeking speaking engagements from organizations that cater to women empowerment.
“I Choose Me” is my motivational speaking topic, where I speak to young adult women about choosing themselves first before entering into a relationship. Knowing when to walk away from a toxic relationship and creating self-love before you seek love from others. I always felt like I wasn’t pretty as other women. I thought I always needed to be in a relationship to feel good about myself. For five years, I was with someone and during that time my insecurities came to life. My self-esteem was even lower, I dealt with depression, and stayed in a relationship just because I was afraid to be alone. After that relationship was over I continued to deal with the same issues. It wasn’t until 2017 that I begin to take a deeper look at my life. I stepped away from dating and started to see the root of my problem. It was me. I started seeking God more. It started with a selfie and when I posted it, I used the hashtag “I Choose Me.” From that point on I created this campaign to let women know, they don’t have to remain in a relationship just because. Choose yourself first and love you before you expect someone else to love you.”
So what is the inspiration behind her campaign? As a teenager, she dealt with self-esteem issues, and as an adult she continues to deal with those same issues. Leslie tells us that she has been very transparent on social media when speaking about issues she went through – as women relate more when you’re open and honest.
“My campaign was made to support women, as most of the time people aren’t transparent about real issues. They talk about self-esteem but they either never experienced it or they don’t tell their story. I couldn’t be afraid to tell my audience what happened to me. I was verbally, mentally, emotionally, and financially abused. These are the types of abuse no one really talks about. – I am open and honest.”
Leslie tells women to trust their instincts when they see the warning signs of a toxic relationship, and to know who you are before getting into a relationship.
“Don’t expect a man to love you if you don’t love yourself. My overall topic surrounds self-love and self-care. These topics were selected because I’ve been there. I have dealt with all of these items. There are some days when I still want to be in a relationship but I know opening my life to just anyone will not be beneficial to me.”
Ultimately, Leslie wants at least one woman to tell her that she helped her love herself more or that she helped her get out of that toxic relationship.
Interested in supporting Leslie’s campaign? Share and visit her new blog www.imchoosingme.com. You can do so by sharing her campaign to bring more awareness to this issue.
“A few years ago I said I wanted to start speaking, but I never had anything to talk about. I waited on God. I wish I would have known that I needed to put God in every part of my business. Once I started involving God in every part, things became better. After going through my previous relationship and discovering myself, I believe that’s when God released me to speak. God knew before I didn’t have anything to say. Despite going through five years of hurt, I knew I had to share my experience to help the next woman. I should have surrendered my business over to him a long time ago.”
If you’re interested in being an Author or Public Speaker, Leslie has the following advice,
“As an author, stick with what you know. Don’t try to write about something that you have no knowledge on. Be true to who you are. When it comes to public speaking you have to constantly practice. Don’t try to speak because you see everyone else doing it. You have to genuinely care about your topic. Your audience will be able to tell if you’re speaking just because or if you’re speaking because it’s your passion.”
If you’re interested in purchasing Leslie’s books, you can purchase them via Amazon, with autographed copies available via www.exposedbooks.com. Be sure to keep up with Leslie’s work, as she will be releasing her next book “What They Didn’t Know” in 2019!
Make sure you’re following Leslie via social media at:
Facebook: Leslie Crawford & Author Leslie Crawford.
Instagram: @Author_Leslie & @When_Children_Write.
Leslie has these final words for our readers:
“I believe everyone should live out their dream. Go after what you want, but make sure you’re passionate about it. Place God in every part of your life and/or business. As a woman – know who you are and your worth before expecting someone else to.”