“The best time to start is now.” I had a college professor who always used that phrase to remind me and his other students that the best time to start a project or business was when you had the idea. I was 20 years old at the time, eager and determined to start something but not quite sure what sort of business or project to start. All my ideas including one of starting a print magazine never seemed realistic at the time. I was a broke college student, where was I supposed to find the funds to pay writers, photographers and a designer to help me create my magazine for example? How could I start now?
Frustrated after years spent not starting a project or business, I finally told myself that I would start something no matter how limited my funds were or how little direct experience I had in the field I chose to pursue. It was at this time that I finally understood what my professor was trying to tell me years before when I was in university, start now with what you have and do what you can. Yes, I could wait until I acquired experience or contacts in the world of publishing to launch a magazine, but by then it might be too late. It would be better to start now with what I know and grow the project in scope.
This is exactly the approach I used to start working towards a print magazine. Given my limited resources and lack of audience when I started, it was best to launch a site first and build a readership. Later on, I could launch a print magazine with the benefit of having a built a receptive audience along the way. I wasn’t really sure how I was going to do it, but I had faith that I would figure out it along the way.
Then something amazing happened. I somehow stumbled across Offscreen magazine’s blog written by its founder Kai Branch. I spent hours and days going through the blog’s archive and reading posts of how Kai managed to create such celebrated magazine all by himself. This was exactly the type of inspiration I needed. I came away from the experience with knowledge on how to overcome my lack of budget for photo shoots, writers, etc. More importantly, I know had proof that my goal of producing a quality print magazine with no prior experience and a limited budget wasn’t a fantasy. If Kai could do it with Offscreen, surely I could figure out a way to launch my own magazine.
Fast forward to now and I’m closer than ever to my goal of launching the print edition of Vault. With the help of the small team I’ve assembled, a “first draft “of the magazine has been printed and we’re close to making it available for purchase. None of this would have been possible if I had waited to launch when I was “ready.” When I first started working the print edition of Vault, I had no budget to print a magazine, zero experience in publishing, or media, no idea about the quality of photos needed for print and more. But I decided to start the project anyway with the limited knowledge I had. I now truly understood what it meant to “start now.”
Photo courtesy of Lighthouse Labs