I recently had the chance to interview up and coming entrepreneur Ashley Allen who tells us about Avenue Magazine and where he hopes to take it. Read on:
First of all tell us a little bit about Avenue Magazine?
Avenue Magazine is a digital youth and culture magazine that is distributed quarterly to readers with access to the internet (we are coming to print in 2012). The magazine is all about reflecting the interests of young people - music, fashion, technology, gaming, film and more - as well as providing them with a platform in which they can showcase their talents and achieve their goals in life.
When did you start this & what was the inspiration behind it?
I started Avenue Magazine in July 2011. The main inspiration behind it came from the London Riots. The negative press that the youth of the world received immediately after was too much for me, although some of it was deserved, but there are young people out there doing well with their lives, and trying to make their careers as successful as they can, whether this be at Uni, working in the community, running their own businesses, etc, and I wanted to put these people on the map. Me being only 23 years-old myself, this is something I really feel passionate about.
So I got myself a desk in my bedroom, set up a basic website, and dived straight in. There was no planning before, it was quite literally “I’m going to set up a magazine for young people” and that was that.
What were you doing before starting Avenue Magazine?
I’m actually still working full time as a sales representative for a local industrial transmissions company. I work 5-9 (and early mornings, and weekends) with Avenue Magazine, but I can’t complain because it’s been an amazing experience so far.
What revenue channels do you have or are looking at?
I’m looking to raise revenue from advertising both online (banners, ad squares, homepage takeovers, etc) and in the magazine (double page, full page, half page, etc). To be honest, it’s not something I’ve really pushed up to now, because the magazine was started so quickly I wanted to build up the audience and content first. Looking back it should have been the other way, I know, but I have no regrets. And roughly three weeks ago a local design agency called Dawson Designs became our first site sponsor with a 125x125 ad square for a three month period!
What advice would you give to aspiring entrepreneurs?
My advice to anybody thinking about going in to business is always the same short but to the point line. If you want to go out and do something, do it and don’t wait around until it is too late.
At what point did you think that running your own business is what you really wanted to do?
You may laugh at this, but ever since I left school and saw people walking around town in suits, I always wanted to run my own business so I could dress like them - that’s a pretty stupid reason, eh? On a more serious note, the drive to have my own business began a couple of years ago when I started reading up on it via books, Google, YouTube, Twitter (basically, as any free tools I could get my hands on). I’ve studied administration, bookkeeping and now I'm studying journalism. Everything I’ve learned is self taught, I’m a big fan of D.I.Y. And 2012 will be the official launch of Avenue Magazine UK as a business.
What challenges have you faced starting a business & how have you overcome them?
Getting people interested in my magazine was a big challenge to begin with. There are a lot of magazines out there that are similar to what I do, but on a much bigger scale. How did I overcome it, I annoyed my friends by posting links on their Facebook profiles, so that their friends would read it and pass it on, and on, and on. Avenue Magazine isn’t a business as such yet, so the challenge in 2012 is to make that happen. How I'll overcome it... I'll have to let you know on that one!
So what are your future plans, where do you hope to be in 5 years time?
In 5 years time I want my Avenue Magazine be a youth-run organisation, a part of the community. A place where young children and people can come on work experience, placements, school holidays, so I can give something back to Ilkeston, the town I grew up in. I also want to have the magazine stocked in local stores, bars, hairdressers, any location that young people go. That’s the plan. BRING ON 2016!
You can follow the progress of Ashley and Avenue Magazine via the following links: