After my husband and I moved back to the UK from Australia with our 3 year old daughter, we soon started reading Families. It became my “go-to” guide for everything “for families” in the local area. I was amazed by its breadth of local information about events, activities, classes and clubs for families and children, as well as the intelligent, helpful parenting articles.
One year, when I saw in the magazine that it was for sale, I immediately knew this was a challenge I couldn’t pass up. A 20 year career on the business side of television meant that I had the skills to develop the magazine by growing the distribution, increasing the revenue and embracing online and social media opportunities it offers. I could see it being the start of my own mini publishing empire! With 40 national editions, the scope was there to establish a viable business model with one magazine and then replicate it by buying another Families franchise.
Families Upon Thames had been established for 12 years, but Frances, the owner, was ready to move on. The magazine was extremely well-known and respected locally and I got great feedback about it from all the parents I spoke to. After 20 years in the public service, I knew I was done with corporations and bureaucracy. I wanted independence, to be in charge of my own destiny and to work flexibly from home so that I could honour the priorities and values of being a parent. My husband was also ready for a career change and we agreed to take on the business together.
After several months of preparation, excitement, and a few sleepless nights, I got to hold the first issue, with a photo of our daughter on the front cover, in my hand. Nothing compared to that feeling!
Magazine publishing is fast-moving, so it’s necessary to be highly focussed and organised, self-motivated and self-disciplined. It’s all about setting goals and meeting them. But there is lots of support. I couldn’t be more impressed by the on-going range of training opportunities offered by my franchisor, which keep me up to speed with sales and marketing techniques and publishing trends. Whilst I relish the chance to work for myself without the constant distractions and politics of a work place, I know that my fellow franchisees, who have proved warm and genuinely helpful, are there whenever I need them and can be contacted via in-house “chat” opportunities for advice and support. After two years as an Editor, I have doubled the revenue of Families Upon Thames, I work around my family and from my own home. I can be entrepreneurial and I can be creative. And I have something solid to show for it every two months. It’s the best job I’ve ever had!
Linda Stone, editor of Families Upon Thames