Deborah Lee
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Glossy Magazine Publisher – from Decision to Launch in Just Four Months?

Ever feel that you have an impossible dream because you simply don’t have the experience you believe you need? Here is a fabulous guest post from Hilary Steel of ‘Kent Women In Business’ magazine to disprove that notion … 

If you really want to achieve something, I am a firm believer that you will. There is no point starting out in a half-hearted manner, it takes passion and commitment to see an idea through to fruition. As Editor of the Kent Women in Business Magazine I am often asked about my own publishing background. When I tell people that my first position working for a magazine was as Editor of this one, their faces tend to drop. It doesn’t seem real that you can launch a magazine, get it in to retail outlets across the county and have a healthy list of people who subscribe annually without any formal training…

You don’t need any specific qualifications to start your own business, you need to start with an idea and work towards making it happen. Anyone who is an entrepreneur will tell you this. So there is nothing different about me branching out in to unknown territory and deciding that I would edit a 72 page glossy magazine that I would launch just four months after announcing its conception. The same business principles would apply.

I like to think that I embark on each project with the same childlike enthusiasm I had when playing make-believe as a child. It’s this fearless sense of freedom that pulls me through when things get a little rocky.

The ‘formula’ we used when setting up the magazine is very much based around the formula we use in everything we do both personally and in business. I love to start a project with the end in mind, then I easily know when I have achieved it, and that in turn means celebrations!

The fact that I don’t come from a publishing background allowed me Women In Business Magazinewithout any tarnished pre-conceptions of what it would or should be like. I rose to the challenge and it’s definitely one of my proudest achievements. So how did I make it happen? Firstly, there was no way I could have done this on my own, I didn’t possess all the knowledge and know how that goes in to printing a magazine. Sue Smith, my long suffering business partner has skills that complement mine and together we are a highly productive team yet without the input from a number of other key people, the venture would never have got off the ground. Surrounding yourself with the right sort of people is a business lesson I learned early on in my career and it is as valuable a piece of advice then as it is now.

Within 72 hours of announcing publically that the magazine would launch in just four months’ time we had engaged the designer, the printer, registered the publication with the British Library and been sent out our ISSN (magazine identification) unique number. In my head, it was now real and it was going to happen.

My brain didn’t stop churning over ideas, creating possibilities for content and crunching away at the practicalities of making this happen. I am fortunate enough to have a very inspiring and business practical mentor, Bev James, who was on hand to help me organise these eclectic thoughts in to some sort of structured plan. Her ability to guide me through an idea without letting myself become side-tracked proved paramount to the success of the magazine.

Social Media played and still plays a big part of our marketing strategy. Our open engagement with the business community, not only in Kent, but all over the UK has given us some amazingly print worthy content. As we strive to maintain the magazine as a content driven publication finding possible stories that come directly from the readership has dramatically increased both the subscription levels and the retail outlet sales. As a business product, it definitely fills a niche, one that provides people with the kind of content, motivation and innovation they are craving.

The growth of the magazine is thanks to the awareness I and my team have about what is going on around us. We each understand where our talents lie and strive to improve and enhance them as we grow. We believe that new skills can be developed and as each new edition hits the press we look at ways of making the next one, the best one YET!

It just goes to show, if you have a dream, you really should go for it!

Hilary SteelHilary Steel

Leave a Comment:

Terry Miles says

We love you story. There is nothing you can’t do if you marry immense energy and creativity with the intelligence to listen to a real mentor: a mentor that guides to you to achievement instead of wearing you down with discouraging barriers. Go for it and don’t stop Hilary.


    debsylee says

    I completely agree, Heather. There are too many people out there with too many reasons why it can’t be done … This is a great of example of how it CAN be done, with determination and hard work 🙂

TrayC says

Didn’t it happen over the night then?

really enjoyed that, my afternoon break time for a cuppa and a read, I honestly believe I can do anything, and I have to find a way to overcome the obstacles, because that’s all they are – just little learning speed bumps along the way, that we embrace with each little learning bump we get better and better – best wishes The Guru!! aka KJ xx

Orla Clarke says

Just loved reading your story Hilary, you really are a truly inspiring lady. I’m sure there is much more to come from you…. I most certainly will be watching this space….

lots of love Orla xx

Stephanie Roper says

Energy, skills and a whole load of confidence. Just superb to see how easy it can be to jump start a project, build from nothing and create such an awesome read!

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