Categorized | Shoestring Startup

Starting a food magazine with a prayer and pocket change

Food, glorious food. Over processed, rotten and poisonous? Everyone everywhere is starting to really ask themselves what are they eating, and if a non-fat, fake food world is truly what they want for their families.

Starting a food magazine with a prayer and pocket change. As a couple expecting our first child, we started to look for resources in the area of real food, and found one resource was particularly lacking. A digital magazine that could be read on computers and e-readers alike. Heather was disappointed in the lack of a periodical resource and approached Albert, “Do you think we could do this?” Between her background in business and entrepreneurship and Albert’s background in computer science, it was a match made in heaven. We were excited to find something Heather could do from home, at her own pace after the baby is born to contribute to the household income. So, with $300 in hand, a prayer on our lips and hope in our hearts we started the first digital Real Food magazine, simply called Real Food & Health.

The magazine focuses on a simpler time and traditional methods that have withstood the rigors of time. Going back to full fat foods, soaked and sprouted grains, nuts and seeds, homemade yogurt, and lacto-fermented foods to name a few. Each issue contains articles to teach and inform from experts in the field as well as delicious recipes anyone can make.

We have learned a lot on our journey to start this magazine and here are some of the most useful principals to keep in mind.

1) Don’t just have faith, have trust

Often people talk about having faith in a new startup or the path that you are on, but the truth is trust is more important. To start on a shoestring budget, we had to trust folks are not only willing to help, but that your idea is one that is sell-able and useful. Setting out we were afraid that with our small budget of $300 we wouldn’t even be able to get articles written by other people, let alone pay for any advertising.

2) Speak with others

Our biggest job was talking with people about the idea. We were constantly surprised by the number of people who volunteered to help us. It was through those amazing volunteers that our dream was able to materialize. Indeed almost all of the articles in our first issue of the magazine were donated by the authors. This summer we had a college intern who volunteered to layout the magazine and take photographs. Word of mouth is a powerful tool, talk to everyone about your idea and business. Don’t be afraid to ask them to tell others, if you don’t ask nothing happens.

3) SMART goals

Starting a food magazine with a prayer and pocket change. Every goal we looked at, we made sure was a smart goal: Simple, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-sensitive. By taking time to plan these out, we knew our deadlines and even had backups in case a goal was not met in a timely fashion. It also helped us pace ourselves, so we didn’t get burnt out or leave important things to the last minute. This is especially important in small startups. If your only person gets burnt out, but you still have a deadline to meet, you will be in a world of hurt. A little planning, prioritization and time management goes a long way.

4) Take your time

Humans are notoriously bad at timing. Most of our initial startup phase was waiting patiently and when we felt the push to move, moving quickly. In fact, all of our smart goals and preplanning fell within a two month period. We decided to pursue the magazine idea in June and by the end of July authors had their submissions in and Heather and our college intern were madly working away at arranging the magazine.

5) Know your audience

Starting a food magazine with a prayer and pocket change. We spent time looking at our audience and realized our best audience is the general audience. As such, we aimed Real Food and Health to be for the beginner foodie and the real food ninja. This meant each issue we needed content to satisfy both and in between. This is the hardest of the steps, but probably the most essential. If you don’t know your audience, you will never be able to reach them. Better yet, make sure you are part of the audience.

6) You best advertising is quality

We focus on producing a quality product as our best advertisers aren’t ads or websites, they are our readers telling their friends. In fact, we decided not to have any paid advertisements in the magazine for the time being. People have offered to write articles. They have sent emails. They are part of the family that makes up Real Food and Health magazine. We don’t mind sharing that with them, and as such, we grow.

7) Follow your values

It is easy in business to focus on sell, sell, sell; but the real thing to remember is your value. Why did you get started in the first place? What do you truly value in your life? Does your business follow those values? Does every choice you make fit within your value framework? Try to evaluate those every few months to make sure you are on track.

Using these techniques, we were able to pull together a magazine about Food, Glorious Food in three months with just $300. Real Food for our families, our communities and our health. We invite you to visit our website at http://www.realfoodandhealth.com , if you like what you see, please share the Real Food Revolution with others.

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