How to Start a Journal Business: The Ultimate Guide For Beginners
Have you dreamed of publishing your own journal all your life? Do you want to write about your favorite hobbies (skateboarding? shopping? stars and celebrities?) or tell the world about important scientific issues? Either way, this article will help you get started publishing your journal.
In the United States, a successful journal that is published once a month must bring in at least $100,000 in profit. There are approximately 8,000 registered publications in the country. This is a huge amount, which is difficult to “digest” even for the “most reading” country in the world. True, the overwhelming majority of registered publications do not come out. The rest have either already gone bankrupt or are about to go bankrupt. This is clear evidence that it is not enough for a print publication to form a staff of journalists and photographers in order to maintain its viability; it also needs to be able to profitably sell the fruits of its creative work.
As you know, many people prefer to learn from their own mistakes, which is probably why several new magazines appear on the US market every year, hoping to take their place under the sun. Most of the newly minted are glossy monthly magazines, which today belong to the dynamically developing segment of the mass media.
In the overpopulated segment of business weeklies and any newspapers, all places have been occupied for a long time, but organizing a new monthly magazine is quite realistic, and with the right approach, the magazine can be profitable.
The timeliness factor cannot be disregarded. At one time, Cosmopolitan managed to become profitable from the third issue, largely because it was the first women’s glossy magazine in the USA. Today, even licensed editions have difficulties in launching.
How much does it cost to start a journal business?
It should be noted right away that you cannot expect to get a bank loan when opening your own journal. It is too risky business, so banks refuse to do business with it. You will have to attract either your own funds or partner funds. Some even take Michigan loans to cover various expenses. This option may be the only way out for most starters who have no credit, no proof of income, no collateral. These are typically short-term unsecured loans that are approved immediately. If approved, consumers can expect to get funds transferred into their bank accounts within 24 hours and spend them for any purpose.
We’ve outlined two common scenarios for “opening a journal” costs:
- The approximate minimum starting cost = $6,500
- The approximate maximum starting cost = $47,000
The expected startup expenses include:
- Rent: $0 – $2,000
- Utility Costs (office space): $0 – $150
- Office Supplies: $25 – $1,000
- WiFi: $10 – $100
- Payroll: $0 – $4,000
- Other Employee Expenses: $0 – $1,000
- Employee Reward Ideas: $0 – $500
- Technology Office Equipment: $500 – $5,000
- Website builder: $15 – $100
- Web Design: $200 – $6,000
- A Domain Name: $12 – $200
- Email hosting: $5 – $75
- Server Hosting: $0 – $50
- Website chat function: $0 – $75
- Small Business Insurance: $500 – $2,000
- Permit and License Fees: $50 – $700
- Trademarking: $0 – $700
- Lawyer Fees: $0 – $1,500
- A Patent: $5,000 – $15,000
- Set up business: LLC & Corporations: $50 – $500
- Design Programs & Software: $0 – $50
- Email marketing tool: $0 – $100
- IT Support: $150 – $2,000
- Accounting & Invoicing Software: $0 – $50
- Internal Communication Tool: $0 – $20
- Social Media Management Tools: $0 – $50
- Payroll Software: $0 – $200
- Online data storage: $0 – $299
- Business Cards: $0 – $50
- Direct Campaigns, Printing and Mailing: $0 – $300
- Affiliate Marketing Commission & Fees: $0 – $250
- Influencer Marketing: $0 – $750
- Press: $0 – $500
- Google Ads: $0 – $300
- Facebook & Instagram Ads: $0 – $350
- Credit Card Processing Fees: $0 – $300
- Time!: $0 – $500
A little less costs will be required to open a corporate publication. But in any case, starting a journal is an image project. And its success largely depends on the owner’s publishing experience and professional flair.
Market and target audience
Market analysis will help to determine the target audience. You need to understand how large your audience is, what other print media cover it, what else might interest it, and much more. Then it is worth assessing your financial capabilities. Do you have enough funds to reach this audience? Perhaps it is better to narrow it down or, on the contrary, expand it?
Like any other, the journal’s business plan provides for an analysis of the work of competitors. What are their advantages, mistakes, possible gaps, shortcomings that you can take advantage of in your work? Please note that the niche of entertainment publications is densely filled, has its own leaders who are clearly guided by the changing tastes of their readers. Therefore, the main stake should be placed on exclusive information that will be extremely important to readers.
Having orientated in the concept of the journal, you can move on to formal issues. It is necessary to register the publication as a mass medium.
The journal’s business plan should have a well-written marketing strategy. Be guided by the fact that at least the first two numbers will be signal and there may be no advertisers. At this stage, you can organize promotions, free mailing of issues. At the same time, it is necessary to look for suitable ways of distributing the journal, based on its target audience. For example, business topics will be in demand in business centers and enterprises; automotive magazine – in sales outlets, gas stations, specialized stores and services.
Part of the circulation will be sold to advertisers for free. Also, to win the audience, you must include participation in various specialized and thematic exhibitions in the journal’s business plan.
The marketing component is one of the most important aspects of the question of how to start your own journal. You have to pay for entering catalogs and points of sale – this is a separate type of business. In addition, the logistics costs must be taken into account. Nobody will come to you for your circulation. But this mainly applies to publications of an entertainment and educational nature. Highly specialized publications are usually distributed by subscription or direct mailing.
You can count on the payback of the publication only after six months; on for profit – in about a year. But this also largely depends on a successful marketing strategy.
The work on the creation of the journal is provided by the editor-in-chief, editors of headings, journalists, correspondents, photojournalists, proofreaders, layout designers. To distribute it, you will need advertising managers and agents, as well as a driver. If you are planning an online version of the journal, you will additionally need a site administrator and a content manager. An accountant can be outsourced.
Pay attention to the selection of journalists and correspondents. For your journal to be interesting and readable, it should not contain information copied from the Internet. All of them must do exclusive copyright texts. In addition, if the publication is specialized, they must understand a specific narrow topic. Accordingly, such specialists require decent payment for their services, which significantly increases the threshold for entering a business.
You also need to understand that the way the layout looks on a computer monitor screen may look completely different on print. Therefore, it should be done by an experienced layout designer and a competent designer who are guided in all the intricacies of creating printed products. In addition, the services of a good typography always cost more than $1,000. And it makes no sense to conclude a contract with a bad typography.