Exactly one year ago, the first issue of Intrepid Magazine started hitting doormats around the UK. It has gone incredibly fast. From a crazy idea to a magazine that’s getting some traction, it’s been a whirlwind of a ride. Although I knew I was taking on something enormous, nothing could prepare me for the controlled chaos that is small enterprises…!
Six months ago, I did a review post here: Behind the Scenes of Intrepid Magazine. I feel like now’s a good time for another update on what’s going on in the back workings of the magazine.
Quick Review of 2018
To give you an idea of how far we’ve really come with Intrepid Magazine, here’s what’s happened so far:
- First print issue reaches subscribers
- Launched Intrepid Adventure Grant (crowdfunded)
- Started a website
- Upgraded to a better website
- Sarah and Cara join the Ed Team to do layout and sub editing respectively
- Georgina and Jean join Ed Team for social media and editorial assistance respectively
- Started the weekly Adventure Bulletin
- Launched a test team – allowing subscribers to do honest gear reviews and keep the kit they’re testing
- 6 Issues of the magazine have been printed in 2018
- Collaborated with WAEXPO for a Women in Adventure Heritage special edition
- Rosie joined Ed Team to spearhead the Intrepid Magazine blog
Now take a look at the 6 month review if you’re interested. The rest of this blog post is in the same format, for comparison.
The Great Things
As you can see from the highlight reel, there have been some really great achievements in the past year – even 6 months. Here are the things that I feel are great right now:
1. The Team and Community
Just like 6 months ago, let me sing the praises of the people surrounding this magazine. The Ed Team are always incredible. All of us have “proper” jobs and other things pulling at our time. Without their support Intrepid would probably still look the way it did on Issue 1.
Then there’s everyone else – the readers, the people who subscribe the Adventure Bulletin and contributors. Thank you to everyone who’s been enthusiastic and helpful in the past year. Every piece of positive feedback really helps to fuel us driving the magazine forwards. Constructive feedback really does help and knowing whether we’re going in the right direction cuts out uncertainty. Thanks.
2. Solutions from Last Time
There were lots of problems I flagged up 6 months ago. Okay, I should probably call them “challenges”, but at the time they felt like great big problems. Since then, we’ve streamlined the submission and editorial process. Although it’s probably still not perfect, it’s a lot better.
We moved to a monthly membership subscription, with discount codes and online copies of all magazine back issues available to all subscribers. The test team for each issue is also formed out of subscribers, who can apply through the membership area of the website.
Trying to plan ahead has really helped smooth out the “running around like a madman” problem. Sure, it’s still crazy and I still get a ridiculous number of emails, but it’s just about manageable. Again, the Ed Team have been amazing.
3. Stability and Expanding
At this point, the magazine feels much more stable than it did 6 months ago. I don’t think I’d describe us as “established” just yet! But a foundation is being laid that we can grow from. It still doesn’t quite pay for itself, but the loss is much less. (Personally this is far less alarming than 6 months ago, since it’s still all coming out of my salary!)
From here, I feel confident that we can grow and expand. Broadening the free content we have available online, through the blog and newsletter, will be a big feature of 2019. I think it’s also really time to get a handle on our social media – thanks for your patience with that so far!
I’m really trying to create a place where everyone can go to find women in adventure. There are so many brilliant people doing brilliant adventures out there. It should not be this hard to find them. Intrepid Magazine is going to be the solution to this problem – whether through the print magazine, or the blog, our social, the Adventure Bulletin… Everything needs to focus down on helping you find out about these women. We want to help women in adventure get found. Content sharing is going to be a big feature of 2019.
Maybe it’s because I’m writing this at the start of a new year, but things feel a lot less stressful than they did 6 months ago.
1. Time and Deadlines
We all have jobs and lives. Even though we’re only a bi-monthly magazine, the deadlines seem endless and relentless. There is only about a week between getting one magazine out, to starting on the next. I’m discovering that I’m not the kind of person who’s motivated by deadlines. Sure, I’ll hustle to get stuff done and meet that deadline. But given a choice, I’d rather not have lots of short term deadlines. Maybe it’s a combination of lots of deadlines from lots of aspects of life piling up.
This is several things in one. A few months ago, we changed printers in a pinch. We were forced to change to keep the magazine working, but that meant a stab in the dark. I found a solution that looked like it could work and I think it has… The interior printing style looks a bit different, but the feedback we’ve had about it was overwhelmingly positive. Given other options, readers would rather keep it how it is.
However, I’m still concerned in the back of my mind about the printing. Because it does look quite different on the inside. More like a matt book than a glossy mag. I’m okay with that as long as everyone else is! I’m not 100% fixed on this solution – and I hope people will say if it’s not alright! We’re always happy to find the best solution for readers.
The Big Issues
It doesn’t feel like there are any enormous challenges/problems like there were 6 months ago. Like I said before, it still doesn’t pay for itself, but we are much closer. I guess the big thing now is spreading the word, expanding the content available and the readership. If we can crack that puzzle, then we’ll be well on the way.
Watch this space!