These days, it’s relatively easy to start your own magazine – as long as you’re willing to put in the work. It’s going to take many hours of effort to plan your topic, lay out your pages, collaborate with contributors, and edit the final pieces. But once you have these things in place, printing a magazine is both inexpensive and straightforward.
The question is, why would you go through the trouble? What’s the value in starting a magazine of your own?
Types of Magazines to Start
First, we have to examine the broad categories of magazines worth starting on your own.
- Informative magazines. Informative magazines are all about educating people and spreading messages. You might teach people about a new skill, inform them of upcoming events, or collect stories to keep people up-to-date.
- Community magazines. Community magazines are more focused on establishing and bringing together a community of like-minded individuals. Some community magazines focus on the local community, informing and collecting the people of a given city together; for example, they may cover new businesses and local events. Other community magazines try to bring together people who like the same hobby, share the same ideology, or are bonded in other ways.
- Persuasive magazines. Still other magazines are designed to be persuasive tools. Their primary goal is recruiting new people to a political or ideological cause.
And of course, most magazines attempt to blend these ideas together. For example, most magazines about hobbies (like cooking, gardening, or woodworking) have both an informative element and a community element.
So what are the benefits of starting your own magazine?
- Spreading a message. First, you’ll get the opportunity to spread a message – whatever that message happens to be. Maybe you have some bold political ideas and you want to get as many people as possible reading them. Maybe you’re super passionate about a specific hobby and you want to get more people involved. Maybe you’ve earned a wealth of knowledge on a given topic over the years and you just want to share it. Whatever the case, you’ll get the opportunity.
- Building a community. Printing and distributing a magazine is also useful for building a community. You’ll inspire countless people to join together under the same umbrella, exchanging ideas and getting to know each other. Depending on your goals, you could use this to bond with your neighbors, collaborate with like-minded individuals, or just flesh out your professional network.
- Earning money. Don’t forget – if your magazine has a wide enough distribution, it could be a great way to make money. You can also make money in several different ways simultaneously. For example, you could charge your readers a subscription fee while also subsidizing the cost of printing with advertising. If you scale your operation, you could turn this into a full-time job.
- Becoming a leader. Some people start a magazine because they like the idea of being a leader. They feel rewarded when they establish a vision for others to follow. They like to help people below them learn and grow. They also like having the final say when it comes to important decisions. Whatever your motivation is, if you’re the chief editor of your own magazine, you’ll feel good about it.
- Gaining experience. Starting a magazine is also a great way to gain experience – and get experience in multiple different categories of skills. For starters, you’ll get practice writing articles and editing content, which you can leverage if you want to become a full-time writer. You’ll also get experience meeting new people, hosting interviews, and working with publishers and distributors. And of course, you’ll get experience in whatever subject your magazine is about; for example, if you start a gardening magazine, you’ll have a great excuse to spend more time gardening.
- Having a backup plan. Are you worried about the security of your job? Starting a magazine now could give you a perfect backup plan. If your mainstream career falters, you’ll have an onramp to start making money in an alternative way. The further along you are when this happens, the better – so it pays to start a magazine now.
- Establishing a platform. Finally, starting your own magazine (and growing it from scratch) can eventually give you a platform. With a big enough list of subscribers and readers, you can eventually use your magazine for whatever your future needs are. You can spread an important message. You can connect with new people. Maybe you can change the world.
Starting a magazine isn’t the right move for everyone, but it can be a powerful hobby and a powerful tool for communication. Thanks to the abundance of online resources available to you in the modern digital world, you can get started even with minimal resources and experience.