590
12 min 4 sec

Former Teacher Becomes Children’s Magazine Publisher

A teacher begins working part-time as a personal chef at children’s baking parties, then starts a magazine about healthy food. The project now brings in around $5,000/month in recurring income.
Blog Education Family Food Writing

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What It's About

Food magazines that gets kids in the kitchen!

Business Model
Blog
Skills Required
Content Writing & Communication
Complexity
Medium
Profit Potential
Medium

Words of Wisdom

It may seem counterintuitive, but if you’re a small publisher, you don’t want your magazines on newsstands. It is a bloodbath! You have to sell your issues at a deep discount (up to 60%) and if they aren’t sold by a certain date they’re destroyed. Magazines are like milk, they have expiration dates. So, when people ask about getting a new title on newsstands, don't let your ego tempt you into thinking it is a good thing. It's an outdated game designed for indies to lose. Instead, find your tribe. offer value and niche down, way down.

Fun Fact

If you can believe it, Jill is a notoriously picky eater. She came to find out as an adult that she's what is called a "supertaster" (see if you're a supertaster too over on Scientific American!) and is way more sensitive to mouth-feel and smell than most people. But, being in touch with that fear of new things is what Jill thinks makes her highly qualified to be a source of information about food for kids—especially kids who are growing up like she did eating from boxes, cans, bottles, and jars.

Notes from Chris

Episode 590
Jill Colella grew up in a working class, meat-and-potatoes family. The food on offer at the dinner table was fairly standard stuff and more often than not included processed or junk foods. Knowing that you might be surprised to know that Jill ended up with a successful side hustle in the food publishing industry. In fact, it’s quite possible that she’s the most non-foodie food publisher out there.

Jill’s side hustle is a magazine designed to teach kids about nutritious food. Food isn’t her number one priority, the well-being of children is. Education on nutritious and healthy food is a path toward improving that. But, before I tell you more about the side hustle let’s take a quick look at Jill's background and how she got to where she is today.

Jill's first job in her early teens was working at a local grocery store. She hadn’t been exposed to many different foods before that. In fact, she didn’t even know olive oil and artichokes existed! Being around such variety sparked her initial interest in food.

And this interest in food continued through adulthood! Always one to try new things, Jill decided to take a course on how to become a personal chef. She couldn’t imagine herself cooking for the high-end DC types where she lived, so instead, she decided to use her new knowledge another way. She began offering cooking at birthday parties for young children. It was a lucrative gig, sometimes resulting in earning over $700 in a single weekend! She launched a website to complement the business and built a bit of following through word of mouth.

Most importantly, she loved teaching kids the benefits of nutritious food and how to make it!

Around 2011, the rise in childhood obesity was becoming a big topic of conversation, and a handful of journalists came across her website, Teach Kids to Cook, while researching for their pieces. They contacted her and she was featured in a few stories! At this point, it occurred to Jill that perhaps she'd be able to help a larger number of children if she started producing more written content.

She modified her existing children’s party website and began to produce more magazine-style content. Once it looked like the online destination of a true publisher, she created a magazine mockup of her first issue of Ingredient Magazine. It was time to try and sell this thing!

Her first publication was a huge success! Jill ended up created a second magazine and now generates an average of $5,000 per month in sales while still working her full-time job doing PR. She plans to keep working on new issues, and maybe launch a third magazine. But the beauty of most of her content is that it’s evergreen. As a big fan of repurposing, she would like to make a series of books and dedicate them to children and food.

Her goal is to be the Mr. Rogers of food, an ambitious goal, but don’t bet against her. It’s a beautiful day in this former teacher and now magazine publisher’s neighborhood!


MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:

  • Teach Kids to Cook: Learn more about the magazines that Jill is putting out over on her website
SEE ALSO:

Inspiration is good; inspiration combined with action is better. Now get back to work!

Yours in the revolution,

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Resources

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Quote of the Day
"Too often, reading materials for children actually address parents, not children. Kids often get talked at and marketed to, and I think it's important to try and invite them into a conversation as important human beings."
—Jill Colella #SideHustleSchool

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To infinity and beyond,

Chris Guillebeau