Friday, February 10, 2012

Start-up Journal: A Few Things We've Done Right.

We're in production with issue five and things are lining up quite nicely. We have some really strong content and financially, we are hitting our goals.

This is all a huge relief, as in the past around this time (three weeks before going to press), I've been freaking out. Here's why I'm feeling good now:

• We established a partnership with the School of Rock. They're building a magazine that will run in the inside eight pages of JUMP. This is such a smart partnership - they have a similar mission (music is awesome) and their content is in line with ours (all local and all music). They pay us a modest sum for the space. We get content. They get distribution and a wider audience.

We've done other partnerships in the previous issues but the synergy has never quite lined up. I think we finally found a balance where both parties mutually benefit.

• Because of what we've done in the previous issues, people want to be in the mag. They want to work with us. The spring issue features a cover package with Chiddy Bang. These guys are about to blow up in a HUGE way. Their PR people, who also represent Jill Scott, reached out to us after they saw the Jill cover in November.

• In every issue, different people step up and do awesome, massive amounts of work. Rick Kauffman photographed everything in the winter 2011/2012 issue and because of his work, that issue popped. Colin Kerrigan shot both cover stories for the upcoming issue, and he wrote the Chiddy bang story.

• I still blow at selling ads but my humble approach seems to be working on folks. Rather than sell people on the notion that advertising with us will help their business explode, I explain our mission. We want musicians to stay or come to Philly, and then thrive here. We want Philly to be known as a music town (rather than a place rife with violence and corruption). Our pro-Philly, "support local music" agenda resonates with people.

• I've been meeting with musicians and music industry folks who have all spoken kindly about the magazine. They read it, and then they keep it around.

In addition to all of this, we'll begin streamlining the production process with the summer issue. We would have worked the better process into this issue but I've been dealing with a world of crap (sick puppy, sprained ankle, root canal, etc).

We've developed a sustainable product and it didn't break the bank. There are many other journalism start-ups in the region that are burning through obscene amounts of money (while producing little or nothing) and several that have folded recently. JUMP reaches an engaged audience and covers topics that get scant coverage elsewhere. Our business model has us building upon these successes.

Here are our next goals:

1. Begin paying staff for content creation in 2012. This is doable if we get a few more advertisers (basically need to sell four more pages per issue).
2. Bump to six times per year in 2013. This is only doable if Governor Tom Corbett has his way with the state budget and my job disappears. That's very possible. We could also do six issues per year if I seriously neglected my dog, girlfriend, job and friends. That's not likely to happen though.

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