Starting a Business

Starting a Magazine

Starting a magazine? The allure of owning a magazine is irresistible to many would-be entrepreneurs, but it's tough to make it in the competitive world of publishing. We offer some tips for starting a magazine that will put you on the path to publishing success.

Magazine publishing offers entrepreneurs the opportunity to combine their love of business with a little creative flair.

But the allure of magazine publishing is dampened by the minefield of risks and pitfalls for which the industry is notorious. Is it even possible for a budding small business owner to make it in publishing?

One of the reasons magazines are such an appealing option is because a good magazine is just so darn attractive. Glossy covers and photo spreads catch the eye and create a product any business owner would be proud to produce.

Even in the internet age, demand for magazines remains steady with as much as 84% of adults confessing to magazine readership. But the biggest draw for magazine publishing may be profitability. A successful magazine can expect annual profits ranging anywhere from 10% - 30%.

So why don't more people publish magazines? Simply because the failure rate of magazines is astronomical and publishing more than one issue isn't half as simple as it seems. In fact, among the magazines that fail, 70% never make it to a second issue. But if you have the itch to publish, there are some things you can do to increase your odds of success.

Identify Your Market

There are a lot of different types of magazines out there. Some are for general readership - anybody can pick them up and find something interesting to read. Others cater to a specific subculture involved with a hobby, a sport, or a lifestyle. Some, called trade magazines, even cater to a specific industry. From the outset, you need to identify who your readers will be and begin to explore the kinds of things that would interest them in a magazine.

Identify an Income Stream

There are several different ways to make money in magazine publishing. Some magazines offer subscriptions in which readers pay to receive the publication on a weekly, monthly, or bi-monthly basis. The other primary source of income comes from advertising.

But to nail down enough ads to pay for publication, you need to be able to prove you have a significant readership. And to gain a significant readership, you need to produce a quality magazine that is well-funded through income from ads. You see where the problems lies . . . It's a Catch 22 many new publishers have trouble overcoming.

Get Help in Starting Your Magazine

No matter how much time you think you can dedicate to your magazine, there is no way you are going to be able to publish it yourself. There is just too much that needs to be done to create a quality publication on a consistent basis. At a minimum, you will need to recruit 2 or 3 helpers to assist you with things like layout, content, and marketing.

Plan Ahead

Since most magazines never get past their first issue, your odds of survival increase with every issue that makes it to press. Create a business plan that makes provisions for publishing at least 3 or 4 issues before reassessing the long-term viability of the venture.

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Conversation Board

We greatly appreciate any advice you can provide on this topic. Please contribute your insights on this topic so others can benefit.

  • jones posted on 11/17/2009
    Starting a magazine is a mammoth task. Could make it a bit simpler next time I start a magazine, but thanks all the same for trying to make it sound easy.
  • lucia otsetswe posted on 8/4/2010
    lucia otsetswe
    well, starting a magazine needs passion, passion is the way forward cos its challenging.u dont have that passion u give up trust me! thanx for making everything sound so a.b.c.

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