Entrepreneurial Advice: Going Against the Flow


HollyHowardDear Holly,

I recently started a quarterly magazine geared toward women. It’s on its ninth issue and readership has been steadily increasing, which is great. I still can’t fully support myself on it yet, but I’m definitely getting closer to that goal.

I know people keep saying that print is dying, and it’s all about the online buzz, but I feel compelled to put my energy and effort into the print model. I just feel like that’s where I’m supposed to focus. I do have a website to accompany the magazine, but I’m not investing a lot of my time into it.

Am I totally crazy for starting a business in a “dying” industry, and should I be listening to everyone who tells me to ditch the print and just go digital?


Proud to Be in Print

Dear Print,

It’s impressive that you followed your gut and launched this magazine when everyone was advising you otherwise. It’s important to understand the environment into which you’re starting a business, but environment isn’t the only indicator of success.

Yes, print may be “dying” in the sense that there isn’t as much of a demand for it as there used to be, but that doesn’t mean that there is no demand at all. Here’s when knowing your target market inside and out really pays off. It could be that your market really values print media over digital. And, if that market is large enough, you may be able to cover your expenses and also make a profit. Never assume things are black or white in business. If your product fills a need for a specific market, you’ll always succeed.

Additionally, the best businesses are purpose based, and that purpose is determined by you. So, understand why it is that you felt so strongly about starting a print magazine and use that to strengthen your strategy as you grow. It could be that the purpose of the digital model is just to support the print issue like you said, and not to be the main feature. I promise that if you understand the purpose that your print magazine serves, you’ll be successful at connecting to an audience that needs it.

It’s great that you are seeking the advice of others and thoroughly understanding what you’re getting into. However, at the end of the day, the most successful entrepreneurs step back from the input and go with their gut. So while a majority of folks may be telling you that your industry is dead, they may not know that you have a deeper understanding and purpose behind your product. Most entrepreneurs fail to follow through because they don’t trust their instincts. They are swayed by what others say without really doing the leg work themselves.
Stay focused on what you believe, and do the necessary research that will support your direction.

Good luck!


Want valuable insights into how to grow your business? Email Holly to set up a time to talk at hhoward@askhollyhow.com.com or to ask a question for the next Ask Holly How.

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