What It's About
Frustrated with superficial offerings, this woman takes content for women to the next level.
Words of Wisdom
To market, Ashley took key aspects, or demographics, from her audience and targeted these groups. She knew that she had a small audience and wanted to grow it quickly, so she jumped right into using paid posts to spread the word.
This is why it's so important to narrow down your target audience instead of promoting your side hustle to a more general audience.
Part of what makes Harness Magazine so unique is the fact that it features real stories from real women. She features a large number of readers and female movers and shakers that her readers can learn from. One of Ashley’s contributors cried when she saw her work has been published in Harness Magazine. This really gave Ashley the feeling she was doing worthwhile work!
Notes from Chris
Ashley Rector was frustrated with the media. Over the last few years she’d noticed a discouraging pattern. Every radio show, magazine or TV segment targeted at women was focused on the same issues; the latest hairstyles, celebrity gossip and fad diets. There was little of substance. Little that was honest. Little that showed a real glimpse of life—her life—as a modern woman. She didn’t care about Hollywood home-wreckers or hot new heels. And, as it turned out, neither did her other female friends. The more people Ashley spoke about this issue to the women she knew, both in her professional life as an attorney and her personal life, the more she got the same answers. They were looking for authentic stories which represented their lives as women in the 21st century. To try and find these stories, Ashley turned her attention online. She looked for little-known magazines which spoke about the issues she cared about, but couldn’t find anything reliable. The odd blog here and there, maybe an article or two, but none of them felt quite right. Ashley was disappointed by not defeated. If the magazine she wanted didn’t exist, why not create it herself? That way she could create and control the stories she published and ensure they spoke about the topics she cared about. So, Ashley set to work on creating the magazine. She called it Harness Magazine, which came from the mission statement she wrote, which was to “harness” the voices, ideas, and stories of real women around the world. Ashley decided the magazine would be split into two formats. The first would an online publication. Here she would share articles and ideas which were submitted from women around the world. These stories would help to build an audience and build an online brand around her mission. The second would be a print magazine. Here she would share what she refers to as the “pure essence” of the online version. It would be the best and most relevant stories from the women who wrote for her, with additional and bonus content women couldn’t find online. As the online presence of Harness began to grow, it attracted advertisers. It wasn’t long before she was earning at least $300-$500 a month from sponsored posts. The magazine makes money from these wholesale orders and advertising placement, as well as a subscription model Ashley has created on the Harness website. Issue 1 brought in just $400, but by the time issue II was ready for print, she’d scored a $5,000 wholesale order and other orders that added up to more than $21,000. Looking to the future, Ashley wants to continue to grow the print version of the magazine. She’s on a mission to harness the power of real women’s stories... and she wants to build it in a sustainable way.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
- Harness Magazine: If you find that you're looking for more than celebrity breakups and high heels, head on over to Ashley's website!
- MailChimp: The email marketing platform that Ashley used to connect with those who were interested in Harness Magazine
- Marketing Coordinator Realizes Lifelong Dream of Starting Own Magazine: A new mother starts a magazine about bravery and vulnerability
- 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
- School Administrator Creates Digital Magazine for Goaltenders: After discovering that his passion for goaltending has little to no online presence, a hockey fan decides to create his own resource blog
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When the rest of the world is still zigging, some companies know when it’s time to zag. Elizabeth Banks has teamed up with State Street Global Advisors to make a series of podcasts and films that uncover the bold moves mid-cap companies make to thrive and survive.
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