Start Your Own Magazine

Healthy Circulation
Not every magazine aspires to or is even built to put out a million copies. The Audit Bureau of Circulations states that more than two-thirds of magazines have circulations under 500,000. For example, Jeffrey launched his magazine only in the Northwest with a circulation of 10,000.

For startups, Woodward recommends the regional approach because it's more cost-effective, and you are appealing to advertisers by delivering a niche audience--in Jeffrey's case, readers of color in the Northwest. Jeffrey, 36, has since increased circulation to 25,000.

Launching a magazine regionally doesn't preclude you from eventually distributing nationally. Gold launched MedicaLife regionally in Southern California with a circulation of 50,000 and plans to expand nationally this year with an estimated 2006 circulation of 100,000. She projects 2006 sales of nearly $200,000.

If you do plan to launch a magazine nationally, Husni recommends a minimum circulation of 100,000 to get the attention of national advertisers. "If you don't have 100,000, don't even think of it," says Husni. The ultimate goal, regardless of regional or national status, says Husni, is reaching 10 percent of your target population.

The Internet and Beyond
Any new magazine needs a website to offer media kits, drive subscriptions, generate ads and host content. Even though Chow needs more funding to get back on newsstands, Goldman recognized the importance of her website and has gotten investments to relaunch a new, more extensive version of the site next month.

Jeffrey has extended his brand and web presence by launching a job portal site in addition to his magazine's website . "I finally woke up to the potential of the internet," says Jeffrey.

Husni adds that new media hasn't replaced older media, but rather that the two are complementary. Research company Roper Public Affairs supports this, identifying magazines as having the most influence over how consumers get information and services on the internet. "You can't exist in just one medium anymore," says Husni. "You have to be on the internet, too."

Going to Print
After you've figured out all these elements, you can finally go to print. For most magazine entrepreneurs, funding will be the final sticking point. Should you wait until you have all the money you'll need, or launch with what you can get and hope for the best?

Goldman chose to go for it, launching Chow with $1 million and an understanding that future backing would be needed. "You have to jump in and hope the swimming pool fills up before you hit the bottom," says Goldman.

The water got pretty shallow for Goldman, but Jeffrey and Gold are still afloat. So are you ready to put on your swimsuit?

Read All About It
Publications to help you start a magazine

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This article was originally published in the June 2006 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mags to Riches.

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