Before having children, I’d managed editorial and content for some great magazine and website brands, but that often involved long hours and a lot of pressure, so, after I became a mum, I went freelance as a journalist and editor for a number of years.
I found that, after a while, I started to think about getting involved with something I could really own and grow my skill set with. It was one of those cases of Facebook spookily reading my mind, because the next thing I knew, I was seeing adverts for a Families magazine franchise in Cardiff! I was immediately intrigued.
There hadn’t been a Families Magazine in Cardiff, or even in Wales, before, so I was taking on a new launch edition and I’m not going to say it wasn’t scary.
Though I had tons of editorial and production experience, my roles hadn’t involved selling and I certainly hadn’t set up a distribution network for a magazine, or really been involved in the logistical side of a publishing business. Would anyone want to advertise in it? Would anyone want to read it? How was I going to manage the workload around two very young children and a house move? Head Office were always on hand to answer questions and guide me through any bumps in the road (thankfully there weren’t that many!) and I’ve also become part of a very active community of Families Editors, who are always on hand to chat through issues and ideas—one of them generally has the answer to any question.
The advert bookings started coming in and schools and nurseries were happy to become distributors and supply their parents with copies of the magazine when it launched. Families has a long history and I had lots of other editions I could share to give clients and distributors a flavour of what they could expect from my magazine.
I’d like to say that getting my first batch of magazines delivered was the best moment in the journey so far—and having 16,000 magazines land on my front porch was certainly a memorable moment! But actually the highlight that stands out for me was getting an email from a major, long-running theatre and entertainment company in the city centre, saying how much they loved the issue and wanting to know how they could book advertising in issue two and take a stand of magazines for their auditorium. Since then there have been numerous emails from people offering great feedback and support, and wanting to get involved - which are fantastic to receive.
Running a Families Magazine is a hugely varied role. I’m not just the editor, but the researcher, the writer, the proof reader, the accounts department, manager of sales, design, print and logistics. There’s never a dull moment, but, crucially, all that can be done from home and in a way that works with family life.
Being highly organised is a must, and taking a methodical approach to all the things that need to get done means that I free up some time to get creative and think about new ideas for future issues, which I love.
We’ve finished our first issue 90% ahead of our ‘strong’ targets, and we increased our revenue on issue two by a further 27%. Building a strategy for continual growth adds a really fun and competitive element to the role.
Helen Cook runs her Families Magazine in West Kent.
Jayne Keep and Caryl Hall run two magazines, Families® Manchester and Families® Cheshire.
Rebecca Carr publishes magazines in Hampshire West, Hampshire North and East Kent.
Families has been the perfect fit for me! Being able to run my own business in a supportive community of other franchisees has finally allowed me the work-life balance I'd craved since my children were born. It really is the perfect job - and actually, it doesn't feel like a job because I enjoy it so much!
My publications are going from strength to strength and my turnover has grown almost 30% in a year!Rebecca Carr, Hampshire West, Hampshire North, East Kent
Training and support has been fantastic. You don’t just become a franchisee, you become part of a community with so much advice, help and answers to all questions you could possibly have. Constantly we are updated with training and support, to keep the business model current and fresh! I have had so much fun taking over my magazine and making it my own!
Make a profit from first issue!
A “family-feel” network
Superior start up package including over 200 sales hours from a media professional