How do I launch a magazine?

This week a reader asked, “How do I launch a magazine?”  I have watched countless people with good hearts and intentions launch magazines, using borrowed family and friends’ money, only to lose it all and fade from view six months later.

There are three legs to any successful magazine.

  1. Ad Sales.  This is the biggie – look at O magazine.  It’s 80% ads.
  2. Newstand Sales.  Yes it’s challenging to get into the big racks at Barnes & Noble but without this, you will not likely survive.
  3. Subscription Sales.  If you think you can just sell ads and then give your magazine away you have reduced yourself to only one of these three legs.  With the rising cost of ink, paper and postage you have a very questionable business plan. 

I know there is a lot of appeal to having a great magazine on parenting, marriage, gourmet food or Cocker Spaniels.  But don’t let your emotions get ahead of creating a good business plan.

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2 Responses to “How do I launch a magazine?”

  1. Jay Peroni, CFP Says:

    This is so true. Traditional magazine sales are down significantly as more and more of the content is moving toward the net. Newspapers are also seeing declining sales and moving more content online.

    As a leader in the field of faith-based investing, I am personally moving toward a subscription based content site to provide advice, recommendations, and timely articles you cannot find elsewhere. A magazine would make my information stale by the time the reader received it. This advice that you’ve give is dead on!

    In my upcoming book, The Faith-Based Investor I share a story about Matt Bell, author of Money, Purpose, Joy. He had a great idea of taking inheritence money and starting a Golf/Travel magazine. The shortened version: He spent thousands of dollars traveling and playing golf yet made no money with his magazine.

    Jay Peroni, CFP
    Author of The Faith-Based Millionaire
    & The Faith-Based Investor

  2. Jay Peroni, CFP Says:

    I second Dan’s advice! Had a few clients who have thrown a ton of money into these and had zero luck. Ten years ago, it was much easier to get good locations. Now-a-days, it’s tough to get prime location without paying prime dollars which squeezes your profit margin. Plus any business that requires $15K to $20K start up requires more homework. Figure your break even: how many gum balls would you have to sell? Also find a business you are passionate about!

    Jay Peroni, CFP
    Author of the Faith-Based Millionaire

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