In The Clear 68 | Digital PublishingBetsy Westhafer is the Founder and CEO of ActionMasters Network, Editor-in-Chief of Extreme Focus Magazine, a Faculty Member of CEO Space International, and an Extreme Focus Mental Performance Certified Coach. She is also the publisher of ThoughtMasters Magazine
through Rise Global Media.

In this episode, she talks about digital publishing and media and how going digital is different than the traditional publishing world, which she also has experience with. She goes into detail on what ThoughtMasters Magazine is about and who it’s for. She also shares some mistakes that she learned from the hard way when it comes to miscommunication.

Today, you’re all in for a treat as we are speaking with the CEO and founder of ActionMasters and Rise Global Media, Betsy Westhafer. Betsy is, by far, one of my favorite people. We connected at CEO Space, a couple of years back now. Her son ventured out into the entrepreneurial world. He’s also a veteran, which is one of the places where Betsy and I really connected. I’m super excited to have her here on the show today because of what she’s doing and the life she is changing with thought leaders around the globe. I just like to welcome her to the show. Betsy, thank you for joining us today.

Thank you so much. It’s great to be here, Justin. I appreciate it.

Betsy, can you share with our audience a little bit more about Rise Global Media and what you’re doing?

In The Clear 68 | Digital Publishing

Digital Publishing: We are producing publications that target very niche audiences that are underserved in the market.

Rise Global Media is a publishing company. We are producing various publications that we really want to target very niche audiences that are underserved in the market. There’s a lot of information out there. There’s certainly no lack of the number of hours you can spend surfing the internet looking for information. What we’re hoping to achieve is the ability for somebody to come to our publication and know that the content they’re going to get is what they need to know. It’s upfront. It’s edgy. They may not have even heard of anything that we put in there, but they can spend their time really gaining knowledge rather than surfing and spending time just trying to find some good stuff. Our first publication is ThoughtMasters Magazine. It’s geared toward the senior leader in a B2B service industry. That’s who we’re going after and just really want to provide them with really great content.

I love the fact that the magazine is digital. It makes browsing through the internet, reading the article, so much easier for the end user. I absolutely love that feature.

This platform really allows us to do some cool, creative things. We have animations in it. We have video. We have the ability for our advertisers to actually live stream through their ad, all kinds of really cool features.

The interactive piece is absolutely brilliant, something that the print industry is missing out on. I think that’s why we’re seeing a lot more magazines go to the digital versions as it just becomes a lot easier to scroll through and look for the information that you’re looking for specifically. That’s brilliant.

I have, years back, publishing experience in the print industry. Since you brought that up, it’s a lot easier as a publisher now. That’s for sure, because we don’t sweat like crazy when we go to the printer. We can update things as things change. It’s a completely different business now. One I’m much preferring over the old way.

I know you’ve been in the publishing industry for a while. You’ve got a slew of experience that you bring to Rise Global Media. Is there anything that you can think of in your business experience that you could go back and do over again? If so, what would that be?

You don’t get this many years under your belt without having a few regrets in business. I would say, and this is what I love about what you do, Justin, just getting into agreements with people that maybe didn’t have the right mindset for doing things the right way, not buttoning up agreements where I should have. I’ve learned a lot the hard way, put it that way. The Clear Directory gives me a way to really make sure that the people I’m doing business with are the kind of people I want to do business with. Hopefully, your audience will understand that what you do with the directory can help save a lot of heartache, a lot of money, a lot of kicking yourself later. There’s definitely been times where I wish I had what you guys offer a long time ago.

For our audience, you can actually go take a look at one of our articles that we’ve written for Betsy in her magazine. We’re super excited to contribute to that. Betsy, thank you for the opportunity to do such. Given your vast experience, you deal with people, publishing deals with people. ActionMasters deals with people. Is there anything that you can think of or was there a time that even if the due diligence was done, that there was a miscommunication that happened? If so, how did that miscommunication take place?

In The Clear 68 | Digital Publishing

Digital Publishing: Make sure that before you get started, you have everything buttoned up.

I have that story as well. It’s a miscommunication, but the problem is not documenting the communication at the time. A lot of agreements start out obviously as verbal agreements. Everybody’s excited and they trust each other. They have really good common people that they know, all the references and all that stuff. It’s the matter of actually getting that written contract or agreement drawn up and signed and all of that. People want to get started. I made the same mistake. I would get started. I trusted people. I’d be like, “We’ll get to that, but we really need to get going on this project. We’ve got timelines and blah, blah, blah.” The contract never gets drawn up and it comes time for payment. The two parties don’t remember the conversation exactly the same way. That’s the biggest lesson I have learned, is just to make sure that before you get started, you have everything buttoned up.

The good news is with Rise Global Media, my partner is a legal analyst. We are so buttoned up now. It’s awesome. I don’t really worry about that anymore because she makes sure that we do that exactly the right way. I’ve been a little too trusting in business in the past.

I think that’s just the nature of business owners. Trust but verifies what we always say. You bring up some really great points of having the agreements in place. You guys are definitely doing everything correct moving forward. Betsy, what would you like our audience know about Rise Global Media?

A couple of things. One, we’re always on the lookout for subject matter experts that want to share their content. Like you mentioned, I was so thrilled that you were gracious enough to supply us with some really great content. When you think about it, Justin, your article is about exactly what we’re talking about, about how consultants and other people that you might go into business with, if they overstate their qualifications or you don’t have things buttoned up, it can really cause big problems. We’re looking for people that want a platform where they can share their leading edge thinking. We need to really get a lot of eyeballs on our magazine. As a new publication, we want as many people as we can get to find out about it.

In terms of how it relates to the work that you do, I would want people to know that we are a very buttoned up organization. We are doing things the right way. We think we’re good to do business with. I would think that the other people who have done business with us would agree. I just want people to know that we are definitely a high-integrity organization, and nothing will ever change that.

It’s one of the reasons why you and I connected so well, is because of how you do business, always above board. What I love about that is that you’re not just throwing anybody and everybody in your magazine. You’re making sure that they are a good fit and so forth. From that perspective, the information that you have in your magazine got that extra level of quality to it. Speaking of which, who’s your ideal reader? Who should be reading your magazine?

We are really targeting our content toward the senior leader in a B2B service organization. Service providers, it’s a different way to sell and it’s a different way to present than if you have a tangible product that people can see and touch and smell and play with. It can be a little bit challenging when you’re selling something that people can’t see. We are really targeting that market of service providers. We’re also looking for people that are senior leaders in that group to read our content. As you mentioned, we’re trying to provide really high quality content and leading edge content. The content that we’re putting out there, we want to be actionable. We’re looking for decision-makers who can really take action on what they might see in the magazine.

There are basically one or more of four reactions we want our readers to have when they read our stuff. One of them is, “Oh wow. I’ve never even heard of that before.” Two is, “I’ve heard of that, but I never really fully understood it until now.” Three is, “That’s something we need to explore bringing back into our organization.” Four is, “That’s a thought leader I want to start following because I know I can learn a lot from them.” Those are the four things that are my litmus test when I’m putting out the content to make sure that that’s the kind of response we would get from our readers.

You hit that nail on the head with the service industry being a completely different way of doing businesses and selling your “product.” Being in the service industry ourselves, I can appreciate everything that you say about that and what you have to offer with Rise Global Media. The magazine is invaluable to people in the service industry for helping get their message across, sharing what they’re doing. With that, do you have advertising opportunities within the magazine?

In The Clear 68 | Digital Publishing

Digital Publishing: The way it works is an advertiser can have as many pages deep into the magazine as they need to tell their story.

We do. It’s really an exciting platform that we have. The way it works is an advertiser can have as many pages deep into the magazine as they need to tell their story. It’s so exciting, particularly coming from the print industry, where you get one page, you don’t know who’s been on it. You don’t know if it’s really generating what you want it to generate. Now, with this digital platform, the advertiser can have as many pages as they want. They can embed video. They can actually have the ability to collect payment through the ad. We can do the design work. We have a team of designers. I think they do incredible work. We have a pay-per-click model, so that you know that you’re only getting billed for the people that see your advertisement. Or we have a static billing model where every single time the magazine is opened, people will see your ad rather than it going into a queue like a traditional pay-per-click model. We have a lot of flexibility to work with our advertisers.

That’s absolutely ingenious. As far as understanding where your advertisement dollars goes, that is so unique and useful to the businesses that are advertising, because then you can actually see where and how that money was being used for advertisement. Where would somebody go to if they were interested in either subscribing or learning more about becoming an advertiser in the magazine? Where would you like to send them?

A couple of places. One, to get a free subscription. It’s free for now. That’s going to change. For right now, while we’re getting launched, it’s free. They can just text the word, one word, it’s not case sensitive. “ThoughtMasters” to 444-999. If they are interested in advertising, I’d love to have that conversation. They can just reach out to me at

In addition to finding Betsy on her email and the text message, you can take a look at her profile inside the Clear Business Directory to read more about her business history and her experiences. She does operate a transparent business. Betsy, we’re super excited to have you on the show today. Thank you so much for being here.

Thank you, Justin. This has been so much fun. I appreciate it.

Betsy, we will look forward to seeing you again at an upcoming event. Until next time, before you get involved with anybody, make sure that business is in the clear.


Learn more about Betsy Westhafer and Rise Global Media.